One question I often hear repeated in interior design circles is whether it’s okay to mix metals in a single space. Is it really so bad if you have chrome hardware on your doors with a vintage brass light fitting? Or can you have stainless steel appliances and showcase your collection of copper pots as well?
There was a time when most interior designers would have told you that mixing different metal finishes in the same room was a big fat NO-NO. But times they are a’changing and this means that having different metallics in one space is not only okay, it’s actually encouraged. With the trend for warm metals like brass and copper becoming increasingly popular (and looking to continue this way for the foreseeable future), then it might be nice to understand how and when bringing in these warm tones will suit your interiors – even if you have mostly stuck with chrome or stainless cool finishes in the past.
For me, I do love warm metallics and have for quite some time but that doesn’t mean I don’t like a good mix. In my kitchen (seen below), brass and gold finishes mix quite well with cooler accents and they both play their role in creating a welcoming space. You may do what I have done in choosing one dominate metallic finish and then peppering in touches of other tones.
I think one of the simplest methods is not too different to adding any accent colour into a space. As long as it’s repeated somewhere else in the room, you are absolutely okay to add it in. But this is by no means a hard and fast rule and as always, rules are meant to be broken.
You can consider bringing in one large piece in a different finish as a stand-out to other finishes. A kitchen with stainless steel appliances and fixtures could be warmed up in an instant with a stately row of copper hanging pots.
Or you can mix and match everywhere, peppering your interiors with cooling silvers, blackened bronze and warming brass or coppers throughout. I always say playing it too safe will result in a less-than-interesting design regardless so taking risks can always result in something that looks more timeless and intriguing.
If you are a bit shy at mixing different coloured metals, you can always choose to mix your finishes instead. In my bathroom (seen below), I used a number of different tones of brass – antiqued, polished or brushed, it all works together quite nicely to marry with the cool grey and monochrome palette. So if you want to combine a shiny chrome with a more industrial finish or use an antique gold mirror with a sideboard that has brushed gold pulls, there’s no reason you can’t mix in this way too.
The only place I’d probably caution you to mix too much is in your door hardware – it looks more cohesive to chose a single metal for your door knobs and hinges and repeat those throughout your home. Hang a copper pendant light or bring in some vintage brass side tables to get the mix just right.
If you are new to the idea of mixing metals, just keep in mind that metals like brass, gold and copper will warm a space and stainless finishes or chrome will cool it. So consider using a warm brass in a grey room or bring in touches of silver in a space dominated by reds or oranges. The contrast will create a certain tension that works brilliantly to add dimension.
Have you mixed metals in your own home? I’d love to hear what you think!