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Mixing Metallics in the Home

Mixed Metal Accessories

It was once an unwritten rule that metals should never be mixed, especially in the home. A fashionable faux pas that met resistance from interior decorators and ambitious DIY homeowners alike. But design fashions shift and evolve with as much wanton abandon as a teenagers musical affiliation, and subjectively, there is definitely a certain beauty to be found in the mixing of metallics. Indeed, metallics are very much in vogue right now, with silver and gold especially in high demand. Though there is a tendency to see the use of metals in decoration as ‘clinical’ and ‘cold’, with the right tough the effect can be the complete opposite. Chrome, for example, can lend a deceptively warm tone to a room, and brass, gold and copper are tones and textures that the best painters in the world have spent decades attempting to duplicate. In short, mixing metals can create a sense of unique depth, richness and character in your home, which is simple and affordable to achieve and maintain.


Metallic paint can lend your furniture a unique sheen that it would be impossible to replicate any other way. The texture too is generally thicker and more complex than conventional paint. The great thing about paint is that you also get to experiment with different tones. Metallic paints are far more dynamic than conventional paints, so if you’re going to be mixing them, you’ll want to see what they look like side-by-side before you take the plunge. There’s also polychromatic paint to consider, which is commonly used on cars. This paint is designed to reveal the contours of vehicular bodywork, so could add a touch of unique glamour to your metal fridge or bathtub. It includes small flakes of metal, which create a subtle sparkling effect.

mixing metals paint

Note the glorious brass coloured walls here add a vintage glamour feel to this living room.


Accessories are a wonderful way to ‘test the waters’. Start off small by introducing some silver elements into the room and off-set them with subtle traces of gold. By examining how these accessories contrast and work together in the room, you’ll get an idea as to how the colour combinations might look in a more permanent situation. From nickel plated chandeliers to brass framed wall clocks, the great thing about using accessories is that you can mix and match to see what fits where. Each accessory will also be a slightly different shade. Different shades of gold can be especially pleasing.

Mixed Metal Accessories
The bright brass mirror frame here stands in stark contrast to the beige tones in the rest of the room. Also, note the metal legs underneath the polished white sink.


If you prefer the texture and complex pattern work of wallpaper over paint, there are many options to consider. Contrast a dark silvery coloured wallpaper with polished copper light fittings and you’ll notice they really seem to pop out of the walls.

Mixed Metals Wallpaper
Here is an example of an en-suite bathroom using mixed metallic wallpaper, which is off-set effectively by mirrored fittings and copper light fittings.


Of course, what actually constitutes art is subjective, but metal sculptures can (in some cases) form a really bold talking point in a room, especially in a large open space. Also consider framing your original paintings and prints with a bold brass or gold frame. The contrast between the muted colour palette of a landscape painting and the boldness of a gold frame could lend your living room an element of subtle drama.

Metal Art


See how this modern dark iron metal sculpture sits organically against the golden pillows and walls here.


Metallic furniture can give any room a real touch of vintage Hollywood glamour. This is especially true of antique furniture, which can often be found in metallic hues. Metallic bedposts and frames too are becoming more popular and are generally sturdier and more durable than their wooden counterparts. Try off-setting a silver bed frame with a shimmering brass coloured ceiling and the effect is almost futuristic without feeling campy. If you fancy giving your kitchen an industrial look, meanwhile, consider brass or copper cabinets with silver handles.

Metal Kitchen

Here the designer has decided on giving their kitchen cabinets a bright copper sheen, which contrasts nicely with the marble floor and walls.

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