Years ago, the number of pot rack styles available on the market was small, with most designed for utility rather than attractiveness. When interest in interior design that focuses on organization without sacrificing style started to increase, manufacturers began producing more and more styles of both hanging and wall models. Now, racks are available in a variety of looks in everything from minimalist styles to elegant, ornate designs.
One of the most important style elements to any rack is its finish, and to enhance their product lineups and ensure that there is a perfect selection for everyone's taste and kitchen decor, most manufacturers offer a wide array of finishes. Often, shopping for racks by finishes is an ideal way to narrow down your search for the perfect piece and hone in on those that best suit your individual style.
We created this Buyers' Guide to Shopping for Pot Racks by Finish to help guide your quest to find the perfect rack. The guide explains the various terms related to finishes and provides helpful hints to assist you in both shopping for and caring for your rack. We suggest you read over the entire guide once and then keep it handy to refer to as you shop.Getting Started
Before you begin to browse selections by finish, you'll need to make a few important decisions and determinations to make the shopping process simpler.
These include:Wall vs. Hanging
You'll find two categories of racks produced by today's manufacturers: wall and hanging. Deciding what type best suits at the outset of your search is vital. To help you make your choice, use the following points as a guide:
- Available wall space is necessary for selecting wall racks. Wall styles can be placed on a completely bare wall or above a counter top, appliance or sink. If your space is small, your available wall space may not be adequate to fit a large enough rack to meet your needs.
- Ceiling types may also lead you to choose one category of rack over the other. Hanging styles can be added to any kitchen, but plaster and masonry ceiling types may require you to consult a professional for guidance or assistance with securely installing your rack. If you prefer to handle the project entirely yourself, you may wish to opt for a wall mount style.
- The locations of your appliances may discourage you from opting for a hanging rack if the location that is ideal for the piece is directly over a cooktop, range, or in-island grill. Some people prefer to store their pots and pans away from their cooking surfaces to cut down on the cleanup that may be required if food splatters reach their pots and pans. You can, however, minimize the likelihood of splatters by hanging shorter cookware items above cooking surfaces.
- Your work habits in the kitchen also play a large role in determining whether you should select a wall or hanging style. If you prefer to have items within easy reach, evaluate how close your available wall space is to the spot where you ordinarily work. In kitchen layouts where the wall style will be distant from your preferred workspace, a hanging style may be best. If you are a home cook who is constantly in motion in the kitchen or who works in a variety of spots, an off to the side location may not be as important, or you may want to opt for whichever style can be placed in the most central location in your kitchen.
The size of models determines not only whether or not they will fit safely into your space, but also how easy they are to use. As you shop for styles by finish, the first thing you should do when you spot a style that you like is check its product description to review its length, width and height. Typically, these measurements are given in inches and are listed by length first (often marked by an "L"), followed by width (often marked by a "W") and height (often marked by an "H").
For tips on how to determine the right size for your style type, visit our Buyers' Guide to Hanging Styles
or our Buyers' Guide to Wall Styles.
These guides provide step-by-step instructions that will ensure you pick the perfect size for your space. Cookware Inventory
The last element to any successful shopping experience is ensuring that the piece you select will accommodate all of the cookware that you want to store. Take time to examine your cupboards and decide which pieces you would like to move to your new piece. Make a list and keep scratch paper handy, so that you can sketch the various styles of racks that appeal to you and see how well the design will work for your needs. When possible, select models that will have some extra space or that feature the flexibility of adding additional hooks as your cookware collection is more likely to grow over the coming years than shrink. Finishes vs. Materials
As you start to shop for pot racks by finish, you'll need to keep in mind the difference between finishes and materials. The term materials refers to what the product is made out of, while the term finish refers to how it looks or appears. In some cases, the material and finish may be one and the same. For example, a hammered steel rack with no coloring added would have the same material and finish. A stainless steel rack with a copper coating would have a difference in its material and finish.Colors
Product descriptions often feature color listings in addition to finishes and materials. The color refers to the actual hue of the piece. When a piece is painted, its color may not correspond to its finish, while in other cases, the finish and the color may be one and the same.Protective Coatings and Electroplating
As you shop for racks by finish, you may encounter descriptions of protective lacquers, which are used to prevent tarnishing on precious metals and extend the life of the style. You may also see the term "electroplating."
Electroplated racks are typically stainless steel pieces that have a thin metal covering over them to change their appearance. This is achieved by using electricity to add a thin coat of a different metal over top of the steel. For materials that may tarnish, like brass, electroplating is often preferable to solid styles as the stainless steel core of the piece makes it less prone to turning.Types of Finishes
Likely, you'll select the type of finish for your rack based upon your personal tastes and the cabinetry and fixtures of your kitchen. Here is a rundown of the most popular finishes and some care tips for each.
- Stainless steel is a type of sheet metal made from iron, carbon and other materials called alloys. Natural finishes for stainless steel include brushed or No. 4, which reflects very little light, satin or No. 5, which includes a small degree of light and mirror or No. 8, which reflects light all across its surface. The metal is resistant to tarnishing, but does have the potential to rust from a lot of use or damaging cleansers. If rust forms on a stainless steel frame, it can usually be removed with a rust remover. When cleaning stainless steel, avoid harsh chemicals whenever possible. Painted styles of stainless steel pot racks are also available and must be cleaned with a mild soap to avoid stripping away the color.
- Hammered steel is steel sheet metal that has been pounded and allowed to form a natural, rich black patina. The metal is typically covered with a protective coating. Use the same care tips for your hammered steel frame as you would for stainless steel to keep it looking its best.
- Copper is a metal that is found naturally in the environment. Copper has a rich reddish-orange color that adds warmth to kitchens and is very popular for racks. Unfortunately, true, solid brass racks have the potential to tarnish, as the metal is very susceptible to the effects of oxidation. Should tarnishing occur, always use a specialized copper cleaner to remove the discoloration. Electroplating and lacquered copper styles will be less likely to tarnish than fully copper ones.
- Brass is a metal made from a blend of copper and zinc. The color of the metal is similar to gold. Pot racks that are made entirely of brass may tarnish and can be cleaned with any jewelry cleaner. Like copper, electroplated and lacquered brass is less prone to tarnishing.
- Wood is an ideal finish for those who want to complement the look of their cabinetry and unify their entire kitchen. Wood racks are generally available in a number of painted or stained colors to march your cabinets. If you opt for a painted style, always use a mild soap or detergent to clean the fixture to avoid removing the paint.
- Chrome is a plating made with chromium that is generally added to stainless steel. It has a very sleek shine and a silver color. Chrome electroplating is generally resistant to tarnishing and rust.
- Iron is a naturally occurring metal with a dull, rather than shiny, surface that is dark gray to black in color. Iron is generally more susceptible to rust than stainless steel.