Mixing Metals: A Guide to Creating a Chic and Balanced Look

by | Jun 11, 2024 | Interior Design, Trends | 2 comments

In the world of interior design, trends come and go, but one trend that’s here to stay is the art of mixing metals. Gone are the days of sticking to a single metallic finish throughout your home. Today, combining different metals is a surefire way to add depth, character, and a modern edge to any space. Whether you’re renovating your kitchen, updating your bathroom, or just looking to refresh your living room, mixing metals can create a chic and balanced look. In this blog post, we’ll explore the basics of mixing metals, offer practical tips for achieving harmony, and provide inspiration for incorporating this trend into various rooms in your home.

studio mcgee mixed metals

Image Source: Studio McGee

The Basics of Mixing Metals

Before diving into the specifics of how to mix metals, it’s important to understand why this trend works and what it can bring to your home:

Depth and Dimension: Mixing metals adds layers of visual interest to a space. Different finishes and tones can make a room feel more dynamic and engaging.

Versatility: Combining metals allows for greater flexibility in design. It opens up a world of possibilities, enabling you to blend traditional with modern, rustic with refined, or industrial with chic.

Personalization: By mixing metals, you can create a unique look that reflects your personal style. It’s a way to customize your space and make it truly your own.

Balance: When done correctly, mixing metals can achieve a perfect balance between warm and cool tones, adding harmony to your design.

Interior Design mixing metals

Image Source: Phoenix Tapware

Practical Tips for Mixing Metals

Mixing metals can seem daunting, but with a few key principles, you can master this trend with confidence:

Choose a Dominant Metal: Start by selecting a dominant metal that will serve as the primary finish in your room. This could be the metal used for larger elements like fixtures or furniture. Once you’ve chosen a dominant metal, you can then introduce one or two complementary metals in smaller accents.

Consider the Undertones: Pay attention to the undertones of the metals you’re combining. Metals can have warm undertones (like brass, gold, and copper) or cool undertones (like chrome, nickel, and stainless steel). Mixing metals with similar undertones can create a cohesive look, while blending warm and cool tones can add contrast and interest.

Balance Warm and Cool Metals: Achieving a balanced look often involves mixing warm and cool metals. For example, pairing warm brass with cool nickel can create a pleasing contrast. The key is to ensure that neither type overwhelms the other.

Use Metal Accents: If you’re hesitant about mixing metals, start small with accents. Decorative items like picture frames, lamps, or hardware can introduce a new metal finish without overwhelming the space.

Distribute Evenly: To create harmony, distribute different metals evenly throughout the room. This helps to avoid creating visual clutter and ensures that the mix looks intentional.

Stick to a Limited Palette: While mixing metals can add interest, it’s important not to overdo it. Stick to a limited palette of two to three metals to keep the look cohesive and stylish.

mixing metals bathroom

Image Source: Zoe Feldman Design

Room-by-Room Guide to Mixing Metals

Different rooms in your home offer unique opportunities for mixing metals. Here’s how to incorporate this trend into various spaces:

Living Room: The living room is a great place to experiment with mixing metals. Start with a dominant metal for larger pieces like coffee tables or shelving units. Then, introduce complementary metals through lighting fixtures, picture frames, and decorative objects. For example, a brass chandelier can pair beautifully with chrome table lamps and a mix of gold and silver picture frames.

Kitchen: The kitchen is one of the most popular rooms for mixing metals. Begin with your hardware and fixtures. For instance, if you have stainless steel appliances, consider adding brass cabinet handles or a copper faucet. Pendant lights in a contrasting metal can also make a stylish statement. Remember to balance warm and cool metals to create a harmonious look.

Bathroom: In the bathroom, mixing metals can add a touch of luxury. Start with your faucet and shower fixtures. If you have a polished nickel faucet, try adding brass or black hardware for contrast. A gold-framed mirror can complement chrome fixtures, adding a hint of elegance without clashing.

Bedroom: The bedroom offers many opportunities to mix metals subtly. Consider a metal bed frame as your dominant piece. Accent with mixed metal nightstands, lamps, or picture frames. For a cohesive look, choose bedding and textiles that complement the metal tones in the room.

Dining Room: In the dining room, mixing metals can create a sophisticated atmosphere. A brass chandelier can serve as a focal point, paired with chrome or stainless steel dining chairs. Tableware and decor, such as candlesticks and serving trays, in varying metals can tie the look together.

mixing metals design

Image Source: Alexandra Boussogal

Inspiration for Mixing Metals

To give you some inspiration, here are a few examples of how to effectively mix metals in different design styles:

Modern Glam: For a modern glam look, mix polished metals like chrome and brass. A brass coffee table paired with chrome lighting fixtures and mirrored accents can create a chic and glamorous living room. Add plush textiles and bold colors to enhance the luxurious feel.

Industrial Chic: Industrial design often incorporates a mix of raw and refined metals. Think black iron paired with brushed nickel or stainless steel. In a kitchen, you might have black iron shelving with stainless steel appliances and copper light fixtures. Exposed brick and wood elements can complete the industrial vibe.

Rustic Elegance: For a rustic yet elegant look, mix aged metals like bronze and copper. In a bathroom, an aged bronze faucet can pair beautifully with copper light fixtures and wooden accents. Soft, neutral colors and natural materials like stone and wood can enhance the rustic charm.

Eclectic Mix: An eclectic style allows for more freedom in mixing metals. Combine a variety of finishes and styles to create a unique and personalized space. In a living room, you might mix a vintage brass lamp with a modern chrome coffee table and silver picture frames. The key is to maintain a cohesive color palette to tie everything together.

interior designer portland

Image Source: My Moderndom

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While mixing metals can elevate your interior design, there are some common mistakes to avoid:

Overdoing It: One of the biggest mistakes is using too many different metals. Stick to a limited palette of two to three metals to avoid visual clutter.

Ignoring Undertones: Pay attention to the undertones of the metals you’re mixing. Clashing undertones can disrupt the harmony of the space.

Uneven Distribution: Ensure that different metals are evenly distributed throughout the room. Concentrating all the metals in one area can make the design feel unbalanced.

Neglecting the Rest of the Room: While metals are important, don’t forget about other design elements like color, texture, and pattern. These elements should complement the metals and create a cohesive look.

Mixing metals in interior design is a trend that’s here to stay, and for good reason. It offers a way to add depth, versatility, and personalization to your home. By following a few simple guidelines—such as choosing a dominant metal, balancing warm and cool tones, and distributing metals evenly—you can create a chic and harmonious look that reflects your personal style.

Remember, the key to successfully mixing metals is balance and intentionality. Start with small accents if you’re hesitant, and gradually introduce more metals as you gain confidence. Whether you’re designing a modern glam living room, an industrial chic kitchen, or a rustic elegant bathroom, mixing metals can elevate your space and add a touch of sophistication.

So, go ahead and experiment with this exciting trend. With a little creativity and a keen eye for design, you can transform your home into a stylish haven that beautifully blends the best of different metals. Happy decorating!

Talk to you later, friends!
Interior Designer Portland
PS  Do you have a room where you have successfully mixed metals? Share a photo with us! Tag us @thenestedmethod

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  1. Alistair Giles

    Thanks for the advice on mixing metals in decorating. Do you think that I can find an accent metal to go with my gold coloured door knobs and hinges? Or are those too 80’s/90’s?

    • hello nested

      Of course! Black is always a classic that will go great with gold. 🙂


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