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Decorating Decoded – Rock The Metal

Interior designer Tabitha show you how metallic finishes work


by Tabitha Dietrich - January 26, 2018

It’s a new year and time to try new ideas. Today, we are going to tackle a topic that I’ve found frequently challenges my clients, especially when they are building a new home. The question that always seems to come up, particularly when doing a kitchen or bathroom, is “Can I mix metallic finishes?” The answer is an emphatic, YES. In fact, I actually encourage it! Mixing metallic finishes helps contribute to that curated look where things appear to have been collected over time. The room will have more depth and visual interest. It also makes it easier to incorporate a new trend into your existing décor.

Back in the ‘80’s, the mantra was “do not mix metals”, but then, there weren’t a lot of choices either. Polished brass or polished chrome were your only options. But now the choices are plentiful to include brushed nickel, antique brass and silver, oil rubbed bronze, copper and wrought iron. While the popularity of polished brass has faded, brass is making a comeback in a softer more sophisticated version called French gold that has become the hot new trend.

Now I know your heads are spinning with the questions of “what about continuity?” and “won’t that disrupt the flow of the design?” Relax, we’re not looking at creating visual chaos. As always, there are some guidelines that need to be followed and I will share those with you.

Now it’s time for your lesson on how to mix metallic finishes in your own home.

First and foremost, it’s important to remember that all metallics are considered to be neutrals. As I have told you before, all neutrals go together even though some do have leanings toward warm or cool tones. For example, gold, bronze and copper are more likely to be paired with warm yellows, reds and browns; while silver, nickel and chrome go with cool blues, greens and purples. However, that doesn’t mean that never the two shall meet. Imagine silvery gray walls that take on a warm glow because of the punch of a bold copper light fixture?

As with planning any color scheme, you want to make the mix intentional as part of the homes design. Do this by choosing a dominant metal for the space and then selecting one or two metal accents. Your primary choice will provide the unity as the accents draw your eye around the room. Remember to keep it subtle. You don’t want the finishes competing for attention. When in doubt, throw an iron finish into the mix. This will help ground the space. Iron is the safety neutral amongst the metallic finishes. It is also a great way to bring in that “little touch of black” that I’m always telling you every room needs.

Texture also plays an important role in creating visual interest among your metallic finishes. Even if you’re not comfortable with mixing gold and silver together, use one in a variety of finishes like polished, matte and hammered. For example, your kitchen could have matte stainless steel appliances, a polished chrome faucet and a hammered light fixture. Three different textures is the limit. More than that and it’s no longer subtle.

Restraint is key. Take doorknobs. The knobs and hinges on your doors should be the same finish and I would recommend keeping them the same throughout the house for continuity. What I’m not advocating is that the door knobs have to match all the light fixtures, which have to match all the cabinet hardware, which have to match all the faucets and so on. What I am saying is, a home is like a family. Each has its own style. Each room, like individual family members, has its own personality. Let them shine!


Idea/Concept: Tabitha Dietrich

Videography: Kaitlyn Callahan, Tim Crane, Andrew Moore

Video Editing: Kaitlyn Callahan

Writing: Tabitha Dietrich

Anchor: Tabitha Dietrich

Photography: ,


Produced by Vogt Media

Funded by First Citizens Community Bank, Dunham’s Dept Store

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