Mixing metal finishes – what you should know

I love mixing metals because it’s an effortless way to design a room that has a collected feel. Mixing metal finishes will also add interest and depth to a room — as long as it is done right, of course. Not done right and your space will become mismatched or overbearing.

So how do you do it right? These are my top five tips on decorating with mixed metals:

1. Choose a dominant finish

While all the metals you will choose will play an important role in the overall look you should focus on a dominant one and then decide on the others. Choosing the dominant metal finish depends on the overall look you want to achieve. Once you decided which metal will work with your design style you can go ahead and choose the accent finishes just as you’d choose an accent color.

In the kitchen below the gold used for fixtures and accents adds a warm glow and charm while complementing the oil-brushed hardware used as a dominant finish.

Kitchen design - mixed metals

Kitchen design – mixed metals


2. Treat metal finishes like colors. 

When planning your design thinking about metal finishes the same way you do for a color scheme can be helpful. With mostly cool finishes or colors in the space adding warm metals, like gold and brass can come off as a pop of color.

We used gold accents in the dining room below to add warmth and contrast with the navy walls and dark wood.


3.  Don’t single out.

The same way we would do with color, pattern or any other design element, repeating a metal in the space will create balance.

Kitchen Design - mixed metals


4. Placement is key

Another way to mix metals successfully is by separating the different finishes by height. In the picture below even though both silver and gold finishes were used they never compete for attention. They add to the room dynamic and can I say just how much I love the contrast between the gold handles and dark cabinetry!?

Bathroom Design|Mixed Metal Finishes| Gold and Chrome

Bathroom Design|Mixed Metal Finishes| Gold and Chrome


5. Consider Your Color Scheme

Traditionally, warm metals like gold and brass are usually used with a warm color palette and cool metals like silver and chrome with cooler hues. In neutral rooms, adding metallic accents is mandatory in order to bring texture, color and warmth. When using gray tones like we did in the living room below using gold accents can really make a room come to life.

great room interior deisgn project on the main line phildelphia

Additionally, using cooler metals in combination with an earthier color scheme can give an updated feel.