You may have heard it the first time you put on one of your mother’s gold necklaces and paired it with her silver bangles.
Or the time you came home from the hardware store with brass towel racks for your family’s bathroom, only to be met with stares of disbelief as your spouse pointed out the chrome faucet and knobs.
We’ve all heard it somewhere: “You can’t mix metals! Gold with gold, silver with silver, copper with copper, etc.”
Finally, there’s good news for those who’ve always bucked the “matchy-matchy” system, since mixing metals isn’t just acceptable—it’s hot!
As more and more designers enter the arena to show off their metal-mingling acumen, the look is catching on everywhere.
There is a method to the mixing madness, so don’t go rushing to the fixture store just yet.
We’ll start things off by going on record as saying there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the kitchen below. If you appreciate a smooth, uniform look, then matching your stainless steel appliances with silver drawer pulls, faucet and chairs is a nice choice.
But take a look at this:
Even though both kitchens are primarily white, the difference in tone is the difference between a brisk winter morning and a balmy summer afternoon. Compared to the first kitchen, the second exudes warmth and gives the eye so much more to do.
Of course, the flooring has a lot to do with it, but check out those antique brass pendant lights. Not only are they the perfect complement to the stainless steel hood and appliances, but they pull they entire room together and guide its overall tenor.
We also like the black iron light fixtures next to the hood and the black sliding track over the refrigerator. This designer has done a masterful job mixing three metals to gorgeous effect, which leads us to hint number one (we call them “hints” because this is not about rules):
- 1. Stick to two or three metals in order to avoid an overly “busy” or confused look (unless you really know what you’re doing).
Below is another example of a warmer metal saving an already chilled-out space from being a touch too frosty. Although the designer went with only two metals here, the antique copper pendants are all that’s needed to offset, even complement, the room’s coolness.
Below we see three cool metals being used together for a pleasingly eclectic look. Although the metals used here more correlative than contrasting, the finishes are not. And that’s what makes it interesting! Yep, texture mixing isn’t off-limits either. From the brushed stainless steel hood to the satin nickel faucet to the polished stainless steel canister set, this scene provides some fiber for your visual diet.
You’ll also notice that the black iron light fixture ties in perfectly with the black iron cabinet pulls, the darker lower cabinetry and the island, making this kitchen charcoal dominant, which brings us to our next hint:
- 2. When mixing metals, pick a dominant one that’s used more than once and position the others as accent pieces.
Here’s another great example of a lovely dominant metal informing the ambiance of an entire room:
We love the copper hood, sink and bar top and think they look splendid with both the stainless steel appliances and the brushed bronze light fixtures. This kitchen positively glows with hospitality, thanks in no small part to the prevailing copper influence.
But copper also does a bang-up job in a supporting role, too. Doesn’t this hammered copper sink look amazing amongst its vintage nickel and stainless steel neighbors?
The last hint we’re going to offer involves visual planes and we’ll lead with our example:
At first glance, this kitchen seemingly has a lot going on, but it’s metal medley arrangement is really quite simple. Here we have a juxtaposition of mostly ebony tones with both brushed and antique brass, with a little stainless steel thrown in for good measure. But if we divide the room by horizontal planes, we see that the brassware is mostly contained to the central portion of the room.
Even though there are myriad elements at work in this kitchen, it’s still cohesive and has a sense of order, since the rich, bold, darker surroundings are made snug and toasty by the burnished brass that constitutes the “heart” of this space. So, hint number three is:
- 3. When mixing metals, try to keep different finishes on separate horizontal visual planes (divide the room into bottom, middle and top).
As we mentioned before, none of our tips are hard and fast rules.
In fact, if you paid close attention, you may have noticed one or more of our tips were completely disregarded in many of our own examples. Of course, most of our examples are the work of professional designers and our tips are merely guidelines for people who are just getting started.
When it comes right down to it, so many of today’s trends are about breaking rules, making it a most opportune time to “get your remodel on.” Never before have there been so many fun and exciting options, or as many ways to express your unique personality.
If you’d like to know more about what we’ve covered here, or see other combinations and possibilities that will really get your brain humming, reach out any time to schedule an appointment.