How to Mix Metals in Your Home (and make it look intentional!)

How to Mix Metals in Your Home

Silver and gold, silver and gold. Everyone wishes for silver and gold.

That goes for your home, too. Yes, Virginia, there is a way to mix metals in your house — with good design. But there are some guidelines you’ll want to follow.

Yes, Virginia, there is a way to mix metals in your house -- with good design. But there are some guidelines you’ll want to follow.

First up: Pick one dominant metal type to use throughout the house. Most of the time, this will be a silver tone such as a polished or brushed nickel because it’s such a safe, neutral hue that goes with virtually everything.

With that as your base, you can then mix in two or three different metals around the home. Just follow the tips below:

Don’t go all matchy-matchy with your metals

We’ve been over this before, folks. Don’t you remember anything we’ve taught you!? Matchy-matchy is boring with a capital B. We talked a lot about this when it came to light fixtures, and the same concept applies here.

There’s always a lot of metal fixtures in the kitchen. One of the easiest ways to break them down is to have all your plumbing fixtures be the same color, then make your cabinet hardware a different color and your lighting a third color.

That doesn’t mean you have to use the same metal tone for lighting fixtures near by, but you can coordinate them. So if you have floor lamps in an adjacent space, and the kitchen lighting is gold, your lamps can also be gold if you like but look for a different shade — champagne gold is one of our favorites.

Basically: Mix things up!

Metals should be relatively subtle and flow throughout the different rooms in your home. You don’t want them fighting for attention so don’t go placing all the silver ones in one area and all the gold in another. Space things out and mix them together so it doesn’t feel like you’re walking into a lighting store.

Mixing the warm and cool tones in the various metal finishes gives a nice contrast to the space. So if you have gold and black, which are both warm tones, don’t be afraid to add some silver in as a balancing cool tone.

This dining room mixes metals by using gold in the chandelier, sunburst mirror, and drawer pulls, and a series of nickel mirrors as wall decor

Consider your color palette and texture

If you want to keep your metals a little more neutral, try matching them with the hues in your space. So if you have a lot of white, beiges, browns or taupes, try using warmer metal tones like brass, nickel and copper. If you have a lot of blues and grays, go with silver and chrome metals.

You don’t have to stick with this if you want to add more contrast, but it can be a nice way to separate warm and cool tones throughout your home. And there’s enough variety now in metal tones that you can still mix it up while sticking with the warm or cool theme.

You also need to consider texture. If you have a large mirror or piece of artwork with a really bold, ornate, gold frame, that needs to be combined with something that’s a little more smoothed out somewhere else in the room. That can be done through metal accents on the side of your table, your chairs or even your curtain rods.

Just don’t go overboard and add a ton of different tones — you don’t want to mix oil-rubbed bronze with chrome and then add in some brushed and matte gold on top of it.

That would be overdressing, just like that older lady who loves to wear 5 million pieces of jewelry in all different styles and metals when she goes out. It’s too much! But also, let’s applaud that lady next time we see her — you do you, girlfriend — just don’t bring that type of style into your home design.

This master bathroom mixes metals by using oil-rubbed bronze light fixtures and planters, and polished nickel for the drawer pulls and bath fixtures.

Add some eyeliner

We like to use black iron or other black features (black painted doors, anybody?) in a lot of our projects. It acts like an eyeliner than ties everything together. It’s classic and traditional but still edgy at the same time. It’s a great colored metal to use throughout the house if you don’t want to go with the standard silver.

If you don’t want to go full on black, you can try using a really dark oil-rubbed bronze instead.

Just remember to keep things interesting, and if you ever are in doubt about your design choices, just go hire a designer. We’re good with things like that.

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