Color Coordination

What Is Unlacquered Brass? Here's What You Need to Know

Read Time (
4
minutes)
December 30, 2022
By
Kallista Design

With a rich history dating back to the Victorian Era, brass has been beloved in home and commercial designs for its durability and warm color. In the 21st century, unlacquered brass, also known as raw brass or uncoated brass, is enjoying a resurgence among designers, architects, and homeowners because of its beautiful living finish that adds character and charm to any room.  

golden brass faucet handle
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If you’re looking for a timeless and low-maintenance addition to your bathroom or kitchen, unlacquered brass fixtures may be just the thing. Explore our ultimate guide to unlacquered brass to learn all about this unique finish and how to incorporate it into your home’s aesthetic.  

What Is Unlacquered Brass?  

Unlacquered brass is simply brass with no protective coating, also known as lacquer. Most brassware features a coating that protects the material from natural wear and air exposure, but unlacquered brass is designed to tarnish and darken as it oxidizes. As a result, this finish develops a graceful patina with age, creating a timeless and classic look. The original golden luster of unlacquered brass can also be brought back with a simple surface buffing.

Because unlacquered brass ages gradually over time, no piece will look identical. This aging process results in fixtures that match, with each exhibiting its own individual coloring, adding visual interest to any design.  

unlacquered brass faucets aging and becoming tarnished
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Unlacquered brass hardware can add a sense of character and history to a home, making it an ideal choice for both new builds and redesigned rooms. Whether you’re planning an interior from the ground up or looking to renovate an existing space, unlacquered brass pairs well with many design styles, especially classic and timeless aesthetics.  

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Using Unlacquered Brass In Your Home Design

From shower fixtures to bathroom faucets to drawer knobs and handles, the living finish of unlacquered brass fits seamlessly into many designs and can be utilized in almost any room.  

This finish fits well in both classic and modern designs because it gives off an upscale feel. There are many designer collections within the KALLISTA portfolio with unlacquered brass finishes that are ideal for traditional, modern, eclectic, or contemporary interiors.

Unlacquered Brass In the Bathroom and Kitchen  

golden wall-mount bathroom faucet with a long spout and two lever handles
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Unlacquered brass bathroom faucets pair well with classic or transitional bathroom designs, providing a touch of glamour to lighter sinks and tubs. You can easily color-match your brass faucets with other elements throughout the room, including unlacquered brass shower heads.  

golden shower fixtures
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For shower décor ideas, the elegant simplicity of unlacquered brass complements a wide variety of tile patterns and colors, fitting gracefully into any design.  

angular kitchen faucet with golden brass finish
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Unlacquered brass kitchen faucets are a perfect touch of style against any patterned backsplash and can easily be matched with other hardware throughout the room, including drawer pulls and cabinet handles. The result is a cohesive design that exudes sophistication and Old-World charm.

The best kitchen faucets stand out and make a statement while simultaneously providing practical function and ease of use. From cross-lever handles to graceful gooseneck faucets, KALLISTA offers an abundance of styles in unlacquered brass to suit your unique kitchen design and needs.  

How to Clean Unlacquered Brass

One of the best features of unlacquered brass is that it can easily be restored to its original shine with a quick polish. You can use a soft cloth and brass polish, then rinse with water and gently dry to restore the sheen of any unlacquered brass fixture or hardware.  

tall spout bathroom faucet with two cross handles in a golden brass finish
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Remember that time is not the only thing that creates a patina. Other factors, such as the oils in your hands and the minerals in water, can age unlacquered brass more quickly. This is especially important for hardware that will see a lot of use, such as door and cabinet handles, and fixtures that will regularly be exposed to water, such as faucets and shower heads.

FAQs About Unlacquered Brass



How long does the aging process take?  

Due to being a living finish, unlacquered brass tarnishes with time. Because of this, each piece will age over time, depending on its exposure not just to the surrounding air, but to water and the oils in hands as well. The more you touch or use a piece of hardware, the more quickly the patina will form. If you are wondering how to age unlacquered brass, frequent handling of the hardware and exposure to air can speed up the process.

Can you prevent unlacquered brass from aging?

To maintain its shiny original color, you can regularly polish unlacquered brass fixtures.  

Will unlacquered brass corrode?  

While unlacquered brass hardware will tarnish over time, creating a natural patina, it will not corrode or rust.  

How do I know if hardware is lacquered or unlacquered brass?  

Most hardware is lacquered unless the description or label specifically states otherwise. This includes fixtures that come in polished brass, satin brass, brushed brass, and often even antique brass. For these pieces, the color will stay the same because of the protective coating.  

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