The Different Types Of Finishes On Pianos
Piano finishes are more than just a colour, as a piano is a piece of furniture in many homes, getting the instrument to fit the aesthetic of the room is just as important as how it sounds! Whilst the finish of the piano will not affect the sound it produces, having an instrument that you don’t like the look of can be a real turn off from enjoying your piano play.
Following our guide on where to best position your piano, this guide is intended to offer an insight into the kinds of finishes available on many digital, upright and grand pianos. We’ll also be offering a quick insight into the pros and cons between each finish.
Of course not all finishes can be applied to each piano and whilst it may not seem like much of a change, the finish of an instrument can dramatically change the price attached to it. For example, a polished white finish on certain types of piano can easily add a few hundred, or even thousand pounds to the instrument.
What Kinds Of Finishes Are Available On Pianos?
Due to the materials used to create many digital pianos, particularly at the lower end, namely plastics, it’s not uncommon to find some rather wacky finishes on many digtial pianos. For example PX-S Portable pianos by Casio comes in a wonderful red colour, however on the whole the most common finishes on digital pianos are:
By far the most common and accessible finish. The satin place pianos are not only the most cost effective finish, but also the easiest to get hold of as they are the most common finishes. Satin finishes offer a non-glossy finish that absorbs light rather than reflecting it like you find on polished finishes. As a result, satin finishes are generally a little more ‘low profile’ than other finishes.
- Generally, lowest price points
- Reality available
- Easy to clean
- Can look a little ‘cheaper’ when compared with polished finishes.
- Shows dust more than some finishes.
Much like the satin black finishes, satin white finishes absorb light rather than reflecting it unlike a polished finish. Many consider the white finishes to be incredibly modern and suitable for modern or minimalist style homes. White pianos are incredibly popular as they do offer a far more statement piece than black pianos and generally draw all eyes in the room towards them. As they are less popular than their satin black cousins however, white pianos are often slightly more expensive and generally have slightly longer lead times as they are generally produced in smaller numbers.
- Incredibly sleek and modern
- Striking image
- More cost effective than polished finishes
- Can become sun bleached, and turn a yellow if left in direct sunlight.
- Shows general grime
- Slightly harder to clean than darker finishes
- Popularity changes all the time, sometimes white is very ‘in’ sometimes it looks outdated.
The final most common finish that pianos come in is ‘Rosewood’, this is an almost dark brown colour that gives the impression of a traditional wooden finish. Ideally suited to those looking for traditional cabinet styles and feeling.
- Offers a more traditional style of cabinet
- More affordable than polished finishes
- Shows grime and dust less than white or black finishes
- Can seem outdated in many modern homes
- The most expensive of the satin finishes
- Longer lead times as produced in smaller batches
Often found on many premium digital instruments, the polished ebony finish is far more akin to that of a black acoustic piano and designed to look as close to an acoustic upright piano as possible. The shine of the polished finishes reflects light far more than the satin finishes and gives a stunning glossy feel to the instrument, adding a great sense of presence into the room.
- Incredibly sleek, striking and stylish
- Very popular – readily available in most finishes.
- Easy to clean
- Evergreen in terms of fashion and style, polished black is always popular and works in most modern rooms
- More expensive than satin finishes
- Longer lead times than satin black finishes
- Shows fingerprint and dust marks far more easily
Much like it’s satin white counterpart, polished white pianos are a striking piece, perhaps even more so than the satin finish due to the enhanced glare and shine from the instrument. Ideally suited to modern homes and minimalist settings.
- Incredibly striking, particularly against minimal or coloured walls
- Add a real sense of elegance into any room
- The most expensive finish on digital pianos
- Far longer lead times than satin finishes
- Shows fingerprint and stain marks far more easily
- Can also become sun bleached if left in direct sunlight for too long.
In terms of their finishes, acoustic pianos are different and as they have been created throughout the decades, particularly older pianos can be in almost any finish imaginable, mostly in wooden style finishes, in fact one of the most expensive pianos ever sold was even made from solid gold!
Generally speaking, most acoustic instruments typically come in polished finishes, this is a combination of both the quality of the woods in the instrument and the history of the piano.
Things to note: Whilst the exterior of the piano is likely to have an polished style of finish, for the most part the soundboard is almost always left as a natural spruce finish. This is so as not to tamper with the acoustic properties of the wood.
Also, unlike digital pianos, one thing that can change on acoustic instrument is the fittings that the piano houses. These fittings are either typically a traditional brass finish that offers a real sense of golden grandeur to the instrument and reflects beautifully from the piano’s finish and keys, or chrome fittings which offer a far more modern feel to the instrument that is incredibly sharp and modern. Whilst these fittings may seem rather minimal, the difference between the two is incredibly stark when stood next to each other.
Similar to digital pianos but on a far bigger scale, acoustic polished ebony finishes are extremely popular and incredibly universal to most modern living spaces. The striking finish of the piano, combined with the addition of visible actions and soundboard offers a fantastic viewing experience that is incredibly striking to all who see.
- Incredibly popular
- Universal in most modern living spaces
- Shorter lead times
- Generally the most affordable acoustic piano finish
- Shows dust if not cleaned regularly
Again, polished white pianos are a real statement piece in any room they find themselves in. Against a coloured wall, these instruments can look truly mesmerising and make a real centrepiece for any room they find themselves in. Particularly on grand pianos, a white finish will inevitably draw all eyes to it and stand out from anything else in the room.
- Incredibly bold – a real statement piece
- Sleek – looks incredibly stylish in modern settings
- Modern – Ideally suited to modern homes as a piece of furniture.
- Longer lead times
- Can become sun bleached if left in direct sunlight
- Show marks very clearly
- More expensive than polished black black finishes
- Can almost be too overpowering in a room
Offering a sleek authentic wooden finish that is incredibly sophisticated and adds a real sense of elegance to the instrument, a polished mahogany finish not only reflects the light beautifully but also adds a brilliant sense of tradition and grandeur to the piano.
- Sleek – Offers a real sense of sophistication into any room
- Elegant – Really adds to the heritage of acoustic pianos
- Shows marks less easily than black or white
- Ideal for those looking for a traditional looking piano
- Can look ‘dated’ in modern homes
- Can be more expensive than black or white finishes
- Can have incredibly long lead times as less commonly produced
Other Wood Finishes:
Cherry Satin is a traditional wooden finish without the polish that typically comes with many acoustic pianos. This piano can look incredibly clean and revitalising in the right room, however is rather rare to come by, with only a handful of models being produced in it. For this finish, it may be more cost effective to find a second hand instrument with the same finish as these are far more common. Walnut is then essentially a darker version of the cherry satin, offering a more ‘earthy’ tone. Likewise, in the right setting these pianos can look fantastic, however for the most part, it is incredibly rare to come by and will add a significant amount to the price of the instrument. Because wood is relatively easy to varnish and colour, its not also uncommon to find a few more varieties of wooden finishes, such as a redwood, or a light oak finish, however these are mostly found on older pianos.
- Can look elegant and sleek like mahogany
- Incredibly unique and eye catching
- Long lead times
- Rare to come by
- Can be very expensive
- Can look incredibly dated and old
We hope this guide has offered some insight into the kinds of pianos available on the market and the finishes they may come in! As we said at the start, we believe that pianos are not only incredible instruments, but also pieces of furniture that need to work within the room that they call home. Want more advice or to see these piano finishes in person? Come visit our showroom or contact our piano experts today!