One of the most common questions we get is if all metals in the same room need to match, and we’re here to tell you that no, they absolutely do not! We believe that mixing metals — when done correctly — actually elevates your space. Using the same finish throughout your room or home may feel like the safe choice, but it often leads to a space that can feel a little flat. So keep reading below for our tips on how to mix metals the right way.
1. Stick to 2 or 3 Finishes Max
So now that you know that it’s okay to mix metals, the question is how do you actually do it? Our first tip is to make sure you are sticking to a max of two or three finishes per room. The key is to add dimension through different finishes without it feeling like a jumbled mess. If you incorporate too many finishes, you run the risk of the room having a lack of cohesion and feeling disjointed.
2. Repeat Each Finish Throughout the Room
Once you’ve selected the finishes you want to use in the room, the next step is to make sure you are using each finish multiple times throughout the room. Say for instance you are designing a bathroom, and you are going to select polished nickel plumbing fixtures. If all of the plumbing fixtures in the room are polished nickel, that’s great – you’ve repeated polished nickel throughout the room.
Then try pairing those polished nickel fixtures with a brass mirror or brass hardware. The key is to make sure whichever elements you are brining in, you can repeat them multiple times. So perhaps the mirrors and the hardware are brass, while the lights and the plumbing is polished nickel.
Pro tip: sometimes the color of the cabinets can function almost like a “metal.” For instance, if you have black cabinets (like you see in the bathroom from #simplynorthernroots below), that will count as one of the black elements in your room. White oak cabinets often can give off a brassy vibe based on its finish, so that could have the potential to count as one of your “brass” elements.
I feel like this goes without saying, but all plumbing fixtures should be the same finish within one space. If you select faucets in one color and the shower head in a different color, it’s not going to look the best.
Sometimes you can do different colored bath accessories from your plumbing fixtures if it’s done intentionally and they are enough of a focal point. If they aren’t though, we generally recommend keeping the bath accessories the same color as the plumbing fixtures.
Lights are a different ballgame. All sconces should be the same finish as each other, but if you have sconces AND ceiling fixtures, it is okay for those to be different.
4. Avoid Pairing Metals that are too Similar
When selecting the colors you plan to mix, it’s important to know which pair well together, and the first trick to figuring this out is to look at the undertones.
Chrome has a cooler undertone, and it pairs best with other items with cooler undertones. So if you selecting chrome, try mixing it with black, gunmetal, or black nickel.
Polished nickel, while similar to chrome, has warmer undertones. These pair beautifully with brass because they bring out each other’s warm undertones.
Just like a little black dress is staple in many wardrobes, black can also be a staple in home design because it is the ultimate neutral. It pairs well with chrome, polished nickel, and brass.
Lastly, you want to avoid pairing colors that are too similar such polished brass and brushed brass, chrome and polished nickel, or black and oil rubbed bronze.
5. Consider Appliances as their Own Element
Clients often ask us how appliances fit into the picture. If you are using stainless steel appliances, you can generally ignore them. The reason being is you have multiple appliances that are all stainless steel, so that in and of itself creates some uniformity, and the appliances honestly become more of a backdrop. You don’t really have to worry about undertones of other fixtures complementing the appliances – generally speaking, our advice is just ignore the appliances altogether if they are all stainless.
The one exception to this is if you are doing more of a statement hood like we did at #simplynorthernroots. Since we went with a black and brass hood, we made sure to carry those finishes throughout the kitchen via the lighting, plumbing and cabinet hardware. We also incorporated white oak floating shelves to add a little more warmth that played off the brass accents.
Overall, we highly recommend mixing metals because it can add so much character and visual interest to your home.
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