Designers Have Rules You Should Follow Or Ignore when Mixing Metals in A Room

Mixed metals are a common feature in spaces. However, it is essential to remember that this is not a requirement. When done correctly, the variety of finishes can significantly elevate a space. What are some key points to remember when mixing metals in your house? Eight designers share their best tips.

Do not limit yourself to one type of finish.

Designer Shannon Claire Smith stated that rooms and spaces with the same finish on all metals could look too flat or one-dimensional. Mixing metals and tones can add depth and interest to a space.

Designer Cynthia Vallance agreed. She noted that mixing metals is essential when entering a room. It creates the “ah-ha” moment. More matching can be a faux pas for designers. Vallance said, “Much like my aversion for matchy-matchy furniture, mixing is something I do wholeheartedly in all areas, metals or fabrics.”

Mixing metals can make a home, even a new one, look more collected and curated. Designer Killy Scheer stated that mixing different metal finishes and sheens create the illusion that a design has evolved. It’s a great way of creating depth and an appearance that feels more collected than straight from a catalog.

Consider Opposites

Smith shares some tips for those looking to add intrigue to their spaces. If you are stuck on how to proceed, think about the opposites of what you want. She said she prefers contrasting tones, such as brass and Bronze, over brass and copper. Be encouraged if the choices you make are too different. It could mean that you are onto something. Smith stated that the more stones you have, the more it appears purposeful. Scheer agreed. Scheer commented that mixed metals should not be too similar in color or finish. This could lead to an error. “If one metal was a satin nickel, maybe the other is polished brass. The intent was to create contrast.

You can use multiple metals, but be intentional.

The good news is that it’s okay to stick with just a few metal types in a room and call it a day. Vallance explained that while there was no set rule, Vallance curated between two and three metals. She then chooses the dominant one to carry the space and places the rest of the metals as accents or on the same plane.

Intentional mixing is critical. “For metals to be mixed properly in a space, there must be a sense that each presence is important,” Miriam Silver Verga, Hill designer, and Hillary Kaplan said. Our rule of thumb is to have each type of metal in at least two rooms, except appliances.

Stick with one type of metal per piece.

It is important to remember that designers can only mix so many metals. Teri Clar, a designer, explained why this could happen. She stated that mixing metals in one room is fine, but avoiding mixing them in the same room is best. “If I have black door handles, we should keep the robe hooks at the back of the door dark, even if my sink faucet and pulls happen to be brass.

Match Your Dominant Metal with Ease

Scheer stated that this is crucial when choosing multiple fixtures, like in the case of a bathroom. She explained that chrome looks the same regardless of the manufacturer. However, oil-rubbed Bronze may look different. “In this case, chrome would be the dominant metal, and oil rubbed Bronze can be an accent. You can therefore be sure that all oil-rubbed brass pieces are from the same manufacturer. This will ensure that the finishes match.

Choose Metals that Match the Vibe of a Space

Designers have noted that it is essential to be mindful when choosing metals for a space. This includes taking into account the room’s purpose and overall feel. Designer Mary Patton stated that brass is preferred in more formal areas, such as the powder bath or primary bathroom. Designer Brittany Farinas shared a tip for working with this finish. She suggested that brass should be used in harmony with other elements.

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