5 Tips for Mixing Metals in Your Home

Don’t be afraid to mix metals! Toby Young said, "I had always been taught that, like the color of my shoes, belt, and handbag, the metal hardware in a room should match.” Luckily for us, that is absolutely not true!

In larger spaces like kitchens and great rooms, master bathrooms, and closets, we often see designers adding allure by mixing the metal type on cabinet hardware, and fixture finishes. Brass is beautiful, and nickel is pleasing, but too much of a good thing can wash out a space. Choosing two different metals that harmonize with the selections can elevate a design and add just the right amount of interest to expansive rooms.

Mixing metals has become a favorite way to create a collected-over-time look in kitchens, bathrooms, living areas, and more. Varying metal finishes across different types of hardware, furniture, lighting, and other fixtures add depth and character that a matchy-matchy look would lack. Mixed metal kitchen appliances can include anything from stainless steel appliances to a copper sink. To mix metals in your kitchen, start by identifying which metals you want to use.

Need some inspiration? Check out this example from Jean Stoffer Interior Design.

Once you've decided on the metals you want to work with, consider how you will incorporate them into your space. If you're mixing different metal finishes, be sure to create a cohesive look by using similar colors and textures. For example, you might pair a brushed stainless steel fridge with a copper farmhouse sink. If you're mixing metals in a bathroom, be sure to use finishes that complement each other. For example, you might mix polished nickel fixtures for your towel bar with oil-rubbed bronze hardware for your shower fixtures or shower head. By creating a mixed metal bathroom, you can create a space that is both stylish and functional. BlackBand Design said it best, "Mixing metals adds interest, depth, and timelessness to a design". For those without much design experience, however, deciding on the right combination of metals and applying them within the space can be daunting.

When mixing metals in your home décor, keep the following tips in mind to make it look effortless and look like an interior designer did it:

1. Choose one Metal as your Primary Finish

A hierarchy of finishes is key when mixing metals in a room. A space with metal finishes evenly distributed or in perfect thirds can look chaotic and lack cohesiveness. Metal mixes should always have one primary color that acts as a focal point, with other finishes used as accents to complement it. Start by selecting a metal that reflects the overall aesthetic of the room. For example, satin or polished nickel works well in traditional-style spaces, while matte black has a more contemporary feel. High-shine finishes like chrome and polished brass can be tricky to mix effectively with other metals. Polished brass can easily appear dated or tacky if not done carefully, so an aged, brushed, or satin finish is often a better choice. When using silver-tone finishes, opt for nickel over chrome because its warm undertone works better with brass finishes. By following these tips, you can create a harmonious and visually appealing metal mix in any room.

There are many different metals that can be used as finishes for your home. You may want to consider the following factors when choosing a metal finish:

  • The overall style of your home
  • The climate you live in
  • Your budget

Some common metal finishes include brass, bronze, copper, nickel, and stainless steel. Each of these metals has its own unique benefits and drawbacks.

Brass is a popular metal finish for homes because it has a warm, golden tone that can add a touch of elegance to any space. However, brass is also one of the more expensive metal finishes. Bronze is another popular metal finish. It has a rich, earthy tone that can give your home a more rustic feel. Bronze is also a bit more affordable than brass. Copper is a beautiful metal finish that can add a touch of luxury to your home. However, copper is one of the more expensive metal finishes. Nickel is a classic metal finish that has a bright, silver tone. Nickel is a great choice for homes with a more modern aesthetic. Stainless steel is a popular metal finish for homes because it is very durable and easy to maintain. However, stainless steel can also be one of the more expensive metal finishes.

2. Complementary Metals for Accents

When mixing different metals in your home’s décor, aim to have your dominant metal make up approximately 60-75% of the finishes. Then choose one to two accent metals, paying attention to the undertone to help determine which metals go together. In general, brass, copper, gold, and nickel have warm undertones, while stainless steel, chrome, and other silver metals give off a cooler look. Matte black is fairly neutral. Although you can mix warm with cool, you'll have to be careful to avoid clashing. When mixing two very different metals, such as polished stainless steel with aged copper, bridge the gap with a finish that's somewhere in the middle, like brushed stainless steel.

Cabinet hardware and cabinet knobs are available in many different metals, including brass, bronze, oil-rubbed bronze, copper, nickel, and stainless steel. Mixing knobs and pulls on kitchen cabinets can create a unique look with your kitchen cabinet hardware. For example, you could use brass knobs on copper-finished cabinets for a luxurious look. Or, you could use nickel pulls on bronze-finished cabinets for a more modern look. There are so many options for your cabinetry hardware!

3. Use different Mix Metal finishes and Metal Types

Mixing Metals in Your HomeThere are endless possibilities when it comes to mixing metals in your home decor. The key is to choose finishes that complement each other. For example, you can pair polished nickel with satin brass for a contrast of soft and shiny. Or go for two matte or satin finishes to create a more subtle look. Just remember that polished metals can be quite glamorous, so if that's not the effect you're going for, stick to softer, more muted finishes. “We treat metals as neutrals,” Jui told Houzz. “You can mix and match them as long as you’re consistent with where each one is going, so it looks intentional.”

4. Use different Metals Throughout Your Space

Apply your chosen metals throughout the room according to your hierarchy of finishes. In a kitchen, for example, use cabinet hardware in your primary finish and incorporate a chrome faucet to showcase your accent metal. To ensure a cohesive effect, consider adding a mixed-metal light fixture, pendant lighting, or piece of furniture that combines both of your desired finishes.

5. Do What You Love and Looks Best to You!

Choose metals for your home that reflects your personal style, and complement your existing paint colors and surfaces. If you love the way a certain metal looks in your home, then consider it a success! Don't be afraid to go with your own taste, even if it isn't what is currently popular.

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