Metals: Mix it Up!

WRITER | LIZ JERORE
PHOTOS |@HOME CABINETRY & INTERIORS

Gone are the days of “matchy-matched” finishes for plumbing, lighting, and home hardware. We are no longer stuck with choosing between oil-rubbed bronze or brushed nickel alone. Pretty exciting, don’t you agree?!

Perhaps you’ve seen images of inspiring rooms featuring unexpected combinations of mixed metals and thought, “I would love to update my kitchen or bath just like that!” You may have set off for the local design center in search of that new pendant light, faucet, or knobs only to return empty-handed. You are not alone if you are anxious about making the right combination of choices. It takes a little thoughtful planning to create what appears to be an effortless “eclectic” décor. Understanding a few basic design principles will help you create a cohesive blend that is pleasing to the eye. We’ve outlined a few helpful tips to help you embrace this fresh new trend.

Simple & Easy: Start with a main metal and then choose a single accent metal. For instance, in a kitchen, you may already own stainless steel appliances. These occupy most of the visual space, so stainless steel would naturally become the main metal. If you have fallen in love with a special item such as a bronze pendant light for over your kitchen sink and island, then bronze becomes your accent metal. Easy, uncomplicated update!

Dial it up: Do you dare to add a second accent metal? Example: Start with a gorgeous focal point such as a black enameled range and a hood that has copper and steel fittings. Add a copper farm sink, faucet, and pendant. Then add in the cabinetry hardware in a brushed steel. In this example, the black enamel and black base cabinets are visually the “main metal” while the copper and steel are the two accent metals. The different metals live harmoniously because of their balanced placement around the room.

Which one is right for you? Metal fixtures for the home are available in endless finish options. Offerings include not only the color but also varying degrees of refinement, rusticity, or surface interest. For instance, a perfectly smooth matte black could be interpreted as “modern” or “elegant” whereas a matte black fixture with a little rub-through or distressing becomes “rustic” or “industrial”.  We’ve created a simple outline of the most current and popular finishes and how they are typically used:

Matte Gold: Not the brass of the ‘80s, but a new, warm, rich range of gold that has emerged from the Italian jewelry industry. We see this color used very strongly in Transitional and Mid-century Modern décors. You will also see matte gold combined with blacks for both Traditional and Industrial Farmhouse décors.

Matte Black: A timeless finish currently used in the super-popular Modern Farmhouse style. It is also a natural choice for an accent in Urban or Industrial décors as well as very glamorous Transitional rooms.

Polished Chrome: Polished chrome is making a tremendous comeback as a fresh classic finish that has the added benefit of cost savings.

Polished Nickel: Polished nickel is warmer than classic chrome and is primarily associated with glamorous Transitional settings or Traditional rooms.

Whole-home Cohesiveness: Selecting your metal finishes should also extend to furniture, balustrades, windows, doors, and exterior details. A feature such as passage door hardware that is found throughout the house should remain consistent in finish color(s). Plumbing fixtures may be changed up from bathroom to bathroom if you wish to give each room a unique style. Just remember the item in the odd finish will automatically be the star or focal point, so make that piece count! A custom round zinc-blackened steel and copper coffee table is a perfect example of a focal point in a living room. It brings textural interest to the center of the room.

With the endless variety of products available today, you will have fun creating a unique voice for your home. Remember, if you are at all hesitant, you may consider hiring a professional designer to review your thoughts. Professional guidance often helps to put your mind at ease and save you time and money!