Master Bathroom design using mixed metal hardware by ML Interiors Group in Dallas, TX

The art of mixing metals in your bathroom not only gives you a chance to unleash your creativity, but also provides an opportunity for respite to find a permanent residence in your space.

The concept of mixing metals opens up a world of possibilities where brass can live harmoniously with stainless steel, or copper can blend seamlessly with chrome - all of which can bring you back to that time of relaxation. I mean, really? Who says that peace of mind found on vacation can’t be created at home?

Master bathroom bath tub design using mixed metal hardware by ML Interiors Group in Dallas, TX
Master bathroom shower design using mixed metal hardware by ML Interiors Group in Dallas, TX

The Benefits of Mixing Metals

1. Mixing metals in your bathroom can offer numerous advantages.

For one, it allows for a more customized and personalized space, breaking away from the uniformity and monotony often associated with single metal designs. Though consistency is necessary, this can be demonstrated through other aspects of the design - whether that’s choice of finishes, balance of warm and cool colors, or presence of texture and shape.

2. You can control where the eye is drawn when admiring your space.

By mixing up your hardware, a balanced energy can be achieved through a thoughtful combination of warm and cool tones and finishes. Make sure a hierarchy of finishes is established, allowing you to control where to create the focal point of the bathroom. Once chosen, you can then incorporate other finishes as accents to complement it - again giving center visually to the space.

3. Mixing metals provides flexibility.

As much as we wish it was a perfect world, sometimes outside factors can make us feel like we’re forced into a corner - when actually the opposite is true. Whether you have a certain budget, a limited budget of resources or time, mixing metals can give you the wiggle room needed within your design while still maintaining style.

Boy's bathroom design using mixed metal hardware by ML Interiors Group in Dallas, TX

The Guidelines to Mixing Metals

Although there are no hard and fast rules, there are some guidelines to ensure the mix of metals in your bathroom is balanced and aesthetically pleasing.

Select your metals thoughtfully.

With so many options out there, it can be difficult to know where to start when selecting metals for your bathroom. Our team at ML Interiors Group suggests picking 2-3 metals that either complement one another through their shared undertones, or contrast between warm and cool tones. For example, if the goal is a complimentary mix of hardware - nickel pairs beautifully with brass and gold because of the cozy undertones presented. Whereas a design that displays cohesive contrast might mix the coolness of chrome with that of a warm brushed brass - giving a rich pop of color and texture wherever desired. Lastly, remember that black acts as a neutral and can make a design look complete.

Bathroom design using mixed metal hardware by ML Interiors Group in Dallas, TX

Pick a Dominant and an Accent.

Though it is tempting to equally distribute each metal chosen, this can actually make the space feel rigid and appear disjointed. Whether you are incorporating a pre-existing metal or starting fresh, choosing one dominant metal for all of your major finishes creates balance and flow as you move from room to room. In this design by Debbie Pratt, the bedroom already had black and brushed brass found in the door hardware and industrial crystal chandelier. These metals were then carried over into the adjoining bathroom to create intentional unity and fluidity between the spaces. In this example, black acts the dominant metal, while brushed and antique brass accentuate the design as a whole. You’ll notice that the positioning of these metals is deliberate, leading us to our next guideline…

Girls Bedroom design using mixed metal hardware by ML Interiors Group in Dallas, TX
GIrls Bathroom design using mixed metal hardware by ML Interiors Group in Dallas, TX

Placement is key.

The beauty of designing a bathroom with mixed metals is that symmetry can be established through placement. Separating metals by height so that similar items are on the same horizontal plane generates a clean look that is visually pleasing. In this example, designer and CEO Michelle Lynne opted for three finishes- brushed nickel for the cabinet handles on the lowest plane, silver chrome for the faucets and towel rack on the middle plane, and black stand-out hanging lights for the top plane.

Master bathroom design using mixed metal hardware by ML Interiors Group in Dallas, TX

In occasional cases, mixing metals on the vertical plane can allow a designation of purpose or bring certain aspects of the design to the forefront or background. Designer Debbie Pratt utilized black to keep the closet in the background of this master bathroom design, which allowed the shiny silver of the chrome hardware everywhere else to take center stage. By separating respective metals into different lines of sight, you prevent one metal from overpowering the other - promoting peace of mind over dysfunction.

Master bathroom design using mixed metal hardware by ML Interiors Group in Dallas, TX

Additional tips to consider:

  1. Be open to making mistakes- Mixed-metal fail? No problem! The great thing about experimenting with mixed metals is that if you try a combination of metals out and it just isn’t working in your space, it usually isn’t anything that a can of spray paint or tube of gilding wax can’t fix. Though not a permanent solution, a spray-painted finish on a properly prepared piece of hardware will remain in place for quite a while. Gilding wax is the newest tool for elevating your metals to their highest potential. Gilding waxes are considered metallic wax based mediums composed of beeswax mixed in with elements such as red ochre, verdigris, alum, vitriol, copper scales and borax - offering a ton of variety for any finish you may need.
  2. Factor in maintenance and durability - Some metal finishes require more maintenance than others. For example, chrome and stainless steel are often low-maintenance and resistant to water spots, while stainless steel is more-likely to resist fingerprint smudges. Contrarily, brass, bronze, and copper tend to develop a patina over time, and you may find that regular polishing may be necessary to maintain their appearance. Be assured that this does not limit your mixed-metal journey! But this does act as a reminder that though we LOVE a picture-perfect space, livability and function is definitely a component worth considering.
  3. Identify your preferred design style - whether you’re more modern minimalist or eclectic bohemian, choosing metal mixes that emphasize the style you want in your design is a must.
    1. Modern and Minimalist - this style can feel sleek and unencumbered, often featuring clean lines and geometric shapes. Chrome, stainless steel, and matte black finishes offer a simple and contemporary aesthetic solution.
    2. Eclectic and Bohemian - this design style typically consists of an unconventional mix of colors, patterns, and textures throughout the space. With this in mind, a mix of bronze, brass, or copper is ideal - with an array of options for finishes to choose from to make the space cohesive.
    3. Classic and Elegant - Class and elegant bathroom design usually incorporates ornate pieces and intricate detailing. By choosing brushed nickel, gold, or polished brass, your bathroom will boast lavish sophistication.
    4. Rustic and Industrial - Usually involving natural elements and organic textures and materials, this design style can illustrate a very raw and agronomic look. Bronze, brushed brass, or copper enhance this style’s rugged appearance.
Powder bathroom design using mixed metal hardware by ML Interiors Group in Dallas, TX

Conclusion - You’ve got this!

Though the allure of mixing metals can feel quite daunting, the chance to experiment in your bathroom design can actually be liberating! With thoughtful application and a keen eye for detail, you can create a bathroom that is both functional and visually stunning - transforming your bathroom into the stylish oasis of your dreams. Remember that the key word is balance, and that the beauty is in the details. So, dare to mix, find the “fun” in the process, and let your bathroom design tell a metallic tale of style and finesse.

Still need a few tips from the experts? Connect with us at ML Interiors Group for your next bathroom (or whole house) makeover!
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