The One Mistake To Avoid When Mixing Metals In Your Home

Anyone who has renovated a bathroom or kitchen inevitably asks themselves the question: Do all my fixtures and fittings have to match? Even homeowners who consider themselves pretty savvy designers can be stumped when it comes to choosing metal finishes. The old-fashioned rule that says you shouldn't mix silver and gold (the same one we're told about jewelry) is just plain old-fashioned. A quick look at popular kitchens on Pinterest will show you that mixing metals not only looks OK, it can look extremely chic. However, once you open your mind to mixed metals, it can still be difficult to decide which metals to use where. Here are our tips for mixing metals in your home and what to avoid.

Choose from different color families

Because they can have a huge impact on a room, there's nothing wrong with putting as much emphasis on the metals you use in your home. However, incorporating multiple finishes into a room doesn't have to be as difficult as you might think. There are plenty of tips on how to do it, but there's one rule of thumb we always follow when mixing metals: don't mix two metals from the same color family. Choose either shiny chrome or satin nickel – the two are similar in color but actually have different undertones and won't create a cohesive room when used next to each other. The same goes for aged brass and shiny gold. Also, be careful about using the same levels of shine, like shiny chrome and shiny gold. Instead, shiny chrome and aged brass don't compete with each other. When mixing metals, you want the variety to look obvious and intentional – when it does, the results are beautiful. If you use two nearly identical metals in a room, it can give the impression that you couldn't find one of your fixtures in the right finish or didn't notice the difference yourself.

Choose complementary colors

There are a few more simple tips that are key to achieving the perfect mixed-metal look: Choose two, maybe three metals that complement each other. A mix of cool tones like nickel and chrome and warm tones like brass and gold will create balance. One should be the dominant, more pervasive finish throughout the room (think your cabinet hardware and light fixtures). The second can be an accent (think your mirrors or faucets). Be sure to use the dominant finish on multiple elements throughout the room, not just the more eye-catching features. Your eye will follow the similar finish throughout, creating balance for any other finishes you decide to add.

Choose Neutral

Chrome, nickel, bronze and brass are popular metal finishes, but if you're looking for another finish that's easy to incorporate into the mix, both black and glass can serve as neutral colors in almost any room. If you're concerned about pairing silver with brass or vice versa, one of these neutral finishes can add a more modern touch to a completely coordinated room.

Make a statement

Using the same metal finish in a room can lack depth. Adding another metal adds interest, as does mixing fabrics and colors. For example, an antique brass light fixture creates an unexpected surprise in a stainless steel kitchen. A black mirror flanked by aged brass lighting is the focal point in a bathroom with chrome fixtures. Think of mixing metals as an opportunity to showcase an interesting piece you like.

Use metals throughout the room

But don't limit yourself to mixing your metals to one particular piece. Add accents throughout the room. If your cabinet hardware and lighting match, add a matching faucet. Furniture or decor with metal accents also makes an impact. A mixed metals piece that matches your finishes can also complete the look.

Use one metal per item

To avoid overdoing the metal mix, limit the number of metals used on each piece. If doorknobs or drawer pulls are chrome, don't use brass hooks or hinges on the same piece, even if it is used elsewhere in the room. The piece should have an intentional look. An exception is a piece made from a metal mix.

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