Add Interest and Dimension with Mixed Metals

It’s a question we hear often: “Can I mix different metals in a single space?” And every time our answer is an enthusiastic YES!

When done thoughtfully, mixing metals provides a great way to add interest and dimension to a room. In this post, we’ll explore some tips for mixing metal finishes and share popular combinations to inspire your next home renovation project.

Contrast is Key

The first rule of mixing metals is to ensure contrast between the finishes. Ideally, you will mix warm and cool metals to achieve a cohesive look. Warm metals include brass, oil-rubbed bronze, and copper. Cool metals include chrome and nickel. A black finish serves as a neutral that you can pair with just about anything.

Choose Two to Three Metals Per Space

When it comes to mixing metals, less is more. It’s best to stick to two to three finishes per space to avoid a busy, cluttered look. However, when it comes to plumbing fixtures, you’ll want to stick with a single finish. As plumbing is one of the most costly and permanent parts of a renovation, it’s important to keep this in mind as you select finishes for your kitchen and bath.

Mixed Metal Bathroom Interior Design

Repeat Each Metal at Least Twice

To avoid making your choices look like a mistake or an accident, we recommend that you repeat each metal in your space at least twice. This ensures that the combination looks intentional and well-planned. For instance, if you have a polished nickel vanity faucet and light, you can mix it with a matte black mirror and cabinet knobs. Make sure you sprinkle the finishes evenly around the room so you see the combination happening together in multiple places.

Mixed Metal Kitchen Home Interior Decor

Mixing Metals in the Kitchen

Many of our clients feel stumped when it comes to mixing metals in the kitchen. The reason? Stainless steel is a common finish for appliances and sinks, so clients think they have to choose stainless steel for cabinet handles and other finishes. Not so! Think of stainless steel in the sink and around the cooktop as a neutral. Select a metal scheme that works for the rest of your room and the stainless elements will simply disappear into the background.

Metal Combinations

Here are popular metal combinations we recommend to our clients:

  • Chrome and aged brass
  • Matte black and polished nickel
  • Brushed nickel and matte black
  • Polished nickel and polished brass

And here are some no-nos:

  • Avoid mixing polished chrome and polished nickel
  • Avoid mixing matte black and oil-rubbed bronze


Blue Bar Mixed Metals Renovation

Additional Tips

Chrome is the least expensive, most widely available, and most classic metal finish. If you’re renovating within a tight budget consider using chrome for your large pieces and accenting with more costly finishes.

Certain metals work especially well for certain finishes. For example, chrome works great for plumbing while aged brass is ideal for hardware, lighting, and mirrors.

Some metals, including chrome, will look the same no matter the manufacturer. Others, like brass, vary widely in appearance across manufacturers. It’s OK to purchase from different manufacturers, but you’ll want to be sure metals of the same type match one another.

Feeling good about your metal knowledge? Solid! (We couldn’t resist.)
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