Copper accents. A do or a don't?

From a very young age, I really loved the look of copper. I remember visiting family in Chicago and driving past these great big houses with copper plated awnings, roof accents, and downspouts. They were either shiny and new, or old with a perfect patina.

Image via Decor Pad

Image via Decor Pad

But what about inside a house? Choosing copper accents adds an old-world, traditional design element that paired with other, more modern choices, can look fresh and "of this era."

When Jay and I first took a look at the house that we now own, the contractor had already decided on a cooper sink, faucet, pot filler, and range hood. My nostalgia kicked in and I was pumped about it!

Fast forward 2 years...and my excitement has seriously waned. Why? Copper is a tricky little element! It looks good from afar...

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But as you get closer...

You start to see that the bright and shiny has started to turn to dull and damaged. Years of dirty dishes, pots/pans, and left over food particles have aged this sink...and not gracefully.

Every once in a while, when I just can't take the sight of it, I use Bar Keeper's Friend to remove the tarnish and make the sink shiny again. But it enviably goes back to looking discolored. I've thought about replacing the sink with porcelain, but I must admit, this sink is a labor of love, and it makes me really happy to see it as shiny as a new penny when I polish it.

By the way, the faucet and the pot filler are in great condition. It seems to me that they have some sort of enamel or coating that protects the metal.

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Before you go out and buy anything copper (which can be quite an investment) here are a few things to consider:

Pros:

  • Copper is truly beautiful and unique! It's one of the first things people comment on in our house.
  • It's naturally antimicrobial, which means copper can actually resist bacteria, and that makes this germaphobe very happy.
  • A well-worn patina can develop over time. If you're lucky enough for that to happen evenly over the entire surface, I'm sure it would be gorgeous!
  • Copper sinks are very strong. It won't scratch, chip, or warp.

Cons:

  • Copper is sensitive and highly reactive, so the color can become inconsistent over time
  • Acidity will wear away the natural patina that develops, so nix the lemon or lime peels if you're trying to keep it all one color
  • Maintenance is time consuming. Technically, you're supposed to wipe all of the wetness off of the sink after every use so you don't get water spots. Who has time for that?
  • If you're anything like us and sometimes dirty pots or pans get left in the sink until the next morning, a copper sink is an unwise choice. Black spots can develop where cast iron or metal pots/pans/utensils sit for a prolonged amount of time.
  • It's expensive! In my eyes if you choose to install copper finishes, you should really take good care of an investment like this!.

In conclusion, it comes down to your lifestyle. Take the time to evaluate how you really use your sink and/or finishes before opting for copper. Young family? Not so much! Meticulous compliment-loving germaphobes? Sure, give it a shot!