For generations it was considered unacceptable to mix metals – you’d have to pick one and stick to it. But now, it’s time to shake things up. Mixing metals in the home can add character and depth and create strong visual interest in an otherwise uninspired space.
So what’s the best way to “mix things up?”
1 First, a great starting point is to pick a dominant metal. Your choice will act as the focal point from which to work around when selecting the remaining pieces in your space. To best complement your dominant metal, the magic number of accent metals are 2 – 3 more.
According to California interior designer, Lindye Galloway, “Focus on your installed hardware items like faucets first and hold off on choosing the metals for your mirrors, drawer handles and pulls until everything starts to come together a bit more.”
As faucets and other fixtures are harder to swap out before calling the plumber or electrician, it’s best to start with those first and choose ones in a metal you love. After that, draw inspiration from your selected metal to decide on things that are easier to change, such as drawer handles and mirrors.
2 Second, it’s okay (and even recommended) to mix warm and cool metals! It may feel like a risk, but these complementary tones result in an interesting, robust palette in your room. Some examples of warm metals are gold, brass, and copper. You’ll find cool metals in chrome, nickel, and gunmetal. A touch of copper to stainless steel really makes the room pop.
The temperature of the room is important here, too, and we’re not talking about the thermostat. Too much of a cool metal can leave a space feeling uninviting and sterile. Suggests popular interior designer, Kathy Kuo, “Adding a gold or brass accent gives the perfect amount of warmth, color, and texture.”
The ratio matters! In a larger room with 3 metals, an ideal mix is 60:30:10. For smaller rooms, use no more than 2 metals at a ratio of 66:33.
3 Third, varying the texture of your metal finishes can make all the difference in defining a space. Combine matte,
polished, hammered, or oil-rubbed finishes for a truly rich and elegant style. Three is once again the magic number here; any more than three and all the metals will begin to compete for attention.
Choosing a dominant texture can work here too. Just like picking the focal metal, perhaps a majority polished finish is exactly what the design calls for. “Focusing on a singular finish helps create a unified look,” points out lifestyle blogger Tara Mastroeni.
4 Fourth, metallic is not just metal! What does that mean? Lustrous fabrics, textiles, and decorative art pieces with metallic hues are perfect for weaving the color palette across the room, and guiding the eye from dominant colors to accents. This can include a statement piece or coordinating elements such as a piece of wall art – but keep in mind that the marrying element should be similar in tone to the finish on your metals.
A great example is CAVALIERI DESIGNS’ own modern luxury guest bedroom redesign. The client’s existing artwork served as the inspiration, and tasteful metallic fabrics brought it all together. Check it out here.
These few simple guidelines will have every room looking as good as gold (and silver, and bronze!), so be bold and think about mixing up your metals.
Would you like professional help reimagining mixing metals in your space…or any other design project that you’re in need of answers? CAVALIERI DESIGNS is your answer! Contact us anytime–we’re here to help you enhance the quality of your everyday life.
Claire Cavalieri, CEO + IDS
Modern Interior Designer