Editor’s Note: I want to give a big warm welcome to Desi, of Desi Interior Design.  I asked Desi to impart all of us with her designer wisdom and contribute to a series called “Design Do’s and Dont’s”.  She is kicking it off with one of the questions I hear most frequently…how do you mix metal finishes?  

I used to be against it (mostly because I didn’t prefer the warm finishes), but now I am all for it!  I think mixing metal finishes adds so much more dimension and interest to a space.  Metallics really should just be viewed as another color and finish in the room.  What I love about Desi’s take on this post is there aren’t really any don’ts.  If you follow her tips here, you can’t go wrong.

It used to be that mixing metal finishes was a major don’t - not anymore! When done properly, a combination of silver, gold, brass, oil rubbed bronze, or iron (just to name a few), can peacefully coexist while adding add visual interest and depth to a space.  In fact, mixing metals is a great way to achieve an effortless, layered look as if the objects have been collected over time.

Do's and Don'ts of Mixing Metal Finishes by Desi Interior Design for tealandlime.com Pictured (Affiliate Links): Pendant Lights | Gold Mirrored Tray | Pitted Hardware, Vintage Color Wheel Print | Sunburst Mirror, Gold Urchins | Natural Iron/AntiqueBrass Side Table | Bronze Metallic Pillow | Gold Zebra Tray

Not sure where to start? Below are my top Design Do’s and Don’ts for Mixing Metal Finishes.

Do Choose a Dominant Metal
Determine which metal will be the most prominent and select one or two other metal finishes as accents. The dominant metal will create an overall sense of unity, while the accents will draw the eye throughout the space.

Don’t Be Afraid to Mix Warm and Cool Metals
You’ll get the most impact by mixing warm and cool metals. Warm metals, such as gold and brass, will pop when placed in the same space as cool metals, such as silver and chrome.  In a kitchen full of satin nickel a vintage brass chandelier will make a statement.

Do Consider the Other Colors in Your Space
As a general rule, warm hues such as red and yellow look great with warm metals, and cool hues such as blue and green look great with cool metals. However, you can certainly break this rule and mix things up. Concerned that your grey walls and sofa look too cold? A gold mirror will instantly add warmth.

Mixed Metal Finishes Interior Decor Dwell Studio Chester Leather Sofa

Don’t Forget About Texture
Textured finishes are another opportunity to add interest. Try combining matte, polished, and hammered finishes in one room.

Do Use Natural Iron As a Neutral
Every interior should have a touch of black to ground the space. Iron functions as a neutral in the metal world and is an excellent choice for adding a dark element to the overall palette.

Don’t Forget to Use Other Metallics
Metallic finishes are everywhere now.  Don’t limit yourself to metallics on hardware and fixtures.  Bring in metallic touches on other surfaces, like textiles, artwork, picture frames, and wall coverings.

Do have fun with it!
Don’t take mixing metallics too seriously.  Bring in a few fun pieces in a new metallic finish to get started!

What do you think of mixing metals in a space? Do you consider it a do or a don’t?

Desi Creswell, ASID is a Certified Interior Designer that specializes in designing signature spaces for distinguished executives and professionals. Desi loves to share her creative spirit and inspiration on her blog, which reflects the unique ways in which her readers live, work, and play.

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8 Responses to Design Do’s and Don’ts: Mixing Metal Finishes

  1. Michelle says:

    I am refreshing my living room and adding gold to the now cooler toned space is giving me just the warmth needed – great tips!

  2. Holly says:

    Great advice. I’ve been admiring the look, but wasn’t sure how to pull it off with my things. Thanks!

  3. Catherine says:

    So glad to see this post today! We are making plans to update our kitchen, living room, and bathroom. I was always under the impression that you should choose one metal finish for your home & was struggling to choose between our existing satin nickel and some antiqued bronze & rubbed bronze that I’m loving. Maybe I’ll do all of them! ;)

  4. This is a great post! I’m in the process of looking for a new place and can’t wait to start decorating it, so I’m super glad that I found your blog!

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