There was a time, not so very long ago, when the thought of mixing silver and gold in a room would have sent shivers down your decorator’s spine! Thankfully, times have changed and we now welcome the opportunity to mix metals to create depth and interest to a space and understanding a few design basics can help ensure your adventure into mixing metals is successful.
I think that one of the most important things to keep in mind when mixing metals in a space is to understand that metals, like paint colours, can be described as warm, cool or neutral. Warm metals include brass, copper and gold while cool metals include aluminum, stainless steel and silver. Finally, there are those metals that are considered neutral such as cast iron and black metals.
Not only are there a variety of metals to choose from when designing a space, metals can be finished in a variety of ways; they can be polished to a modern, mirror-like finish, they can be hammered for a rustic or vintage feel; they can be brushed for a subtle, subdued feel or, antiqued to compliment rich traditional styles.
When mixing metals it’s best to mix just two or three and to be sure you are balancing warm and cool hues. Choose one metal to dominate (think of this as the main colour in your pallet) and then add a second metal as an accent to the first – exactly the same process as adding an accent colour to a colour pallet. Speaking of colour pallets, use metals to compliment your colour pallet. For example, if your room is made up of mostly warm colours then stick to warm-hued metals like copper, gold or brass. On the other hand, if your space consists of mostly cool colours then choose white metals like chrome, stainless and silver. When in doubt, or if your palette is neutral, try cast iron and black metals.
As with adding an accent colour to a space, don’t group all the metals together, spread them out throughout your rooms. Experiment with different combinations, maybe all polished metals or a single metal in different finishes Updating your space with mixed metals doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, it can be as simple as spraying a few accessories with any number of metallic paints on the market or, try updating your gallery wall with frames in a few different finishes or colours.
So, my top tips for adding mixed metals to your spaces?
Choose one dominate metal
Consider the overall style of your space when adding metals; shiny metals suit modern interiors, brushed metals work beautifully in contemporary and transitional styles and, those with traditional interiors just glow with the addition of burnished brass, aged/antiqued finishes.
Whenever you are adding mixed metals to a space it’s important to find a common thread that ties the pieces together; brass in a variety of finishes or a decorative piece that brings the metals together.
When trying to create a unified look, focus in on a particular finish. You might opt for all shiny, all brushed or all antiqued pieces.