Mixing Metals

Say goodbye to the days of choosing one metal and sticking to it throughout your entire space because they are over. For a long time this has been the design rule but we’ve come to shake things up a little bit. Although there are still a couple of rules to follow to make sure that mixing metals is a successful design feature this trend is pretty new and that gives both you and designers some space to experiment and make their own rules!  The great thing about mixing metals is the effect they can have on your space. This adds a whole new personality and in addition will increase the visual dimensions as well. The contrast between the different metals and their characteristics are an entirely new aspect that is able to be seen in an environment.

A great way to get started is to know a little bit about the metals that you could use within your space. Just like colors there are warm and cool characteristics of metals. Some examples of warm metals include gold, brass, bronze, and rose gold. Cool metals are Aluminum, stainless steel, silver, and chrome. In theory warm metals work well warm colors (red, orange, and yellow) and respectively cool metals work well with cool colors (green, blue, violet) but when you mix a warm metal with cool colors and vice versa you get an effect that works to balance out the temperature of them both. Different types of metals also give off looks of different styles. Warm metals give off more of a homey feel while cool metals have a more modern effect on a space. So if your space is looking a little to vintage for your taste add some cool metals to gain more of a contemporary style.

A mix of the different metals here is key. If you end up putting too many warm metals in a space you are going to turn you living room into an old antique store and if you put in to many cool metals your space might to start feeling a little bit like a surgical room. It’s all about the balance. And here is how you find that balance…

yarns, plies, or strands that are twisted or braided together into a larger and stronger form.

Start with a Dominant Metal

Choosing a metal to take dominance over the space is a very important step. This will be your anchor. When you are designing the space and run into a spot where you are unsure of what metal to use a safe place to go is back to your dominant metal. Gold and black seem to be coming out on top as the most common and most easy to work with in a space. In the photo above, you can see that the black metal, which is most likely a oil rubbed bronze, is acting as the dominant metal. In all aspects of the bathroom we are brought back to this metal. The mixing of metals comes in with the pendent lights. The gold lights are able to stand out make the statement that they do because of the contrast between all of the rubber bronze. In this example the designer is using the rubbed bronze to hold the design together while the gold metal to be the element that stands out. After a dominating metal is chosen then you are able to start working in a secondary coordinating metal.

How Many Metals Can I Use in my Space?

Finding the perfect amount of different metal elements you can use in a single room is a delicate balance. As a rule, the bigger the room the more mixing you are able to do with over whelming the space. Large, open spaces can sometime handle up to four metals like the kitchen picture above. In this kitchen the designer used gold, rose gold, and a black oil rubber bronze as well. This spaces uses three obviously different metals and each one had coordinating kitchen items that help pull each metal into the space. The gold stool had the smaller gold pipping running along the back wall, the rose gold pots are located throughout out the space in order to not lose the sense of that metal in the rest of the kitchen, and the black island also uses the counter top and other object to anchor in that color and make it feel in its place.  Smaller rooms, like bathrooms can usually handle only two, maybe three metals. Usually the third metal in a small room is used only in one place.  The important thing with adding metals is that you find your balance and make sure everything feels like it belongs there.

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