Mixing Metals in Interior Design
First it was the silver trend; now its the gold thing…whichever one we’re in, most clients think you have to stick to the same one everywhere. I always say, too much of a good thing is never a good thing.
Every decade seems to have its ‘thing’. It’s usually a trend that starts in the high end market and by the time it trickles down to the masses, its waaaay overdone.
Take the 80’s. (Okay, I was just a little girl, then, but very perceptive:) It was a ‘thing’ then to have a piece of black asian furniture in the room. (I think we called it ‘oriental’ back then – my contemporaries will chuckle) All the best homes and apartments in Manhattan or Toronto had a piece. All the top magazines had examples of this in their high end interiors done by the likes of Mario Buatta. Soon enough though, I would go into nice average suburban homes and find them filled with black asian screens, black asian chests, coffee tables, chairs….You name it, they found it.
Too much of a good thing.
Similarly with metals. When the masses caught on to the grey paint trend a few years ago, most people just assumed you have to do cool metals with this. We had just come out of a couple of decades of “Under the Tuscan Sun” type colours. So people were anxious to steer clear of anything warm looking. They would look at us like we had nine heads if we even suggested gold. The chrome or silver trend caught on like fire. Soon enough, we’d have grey on grey on silver on chrome interiors. This is not to say it can’t work if you know how to vary the textures and depths of colour. But most of the time it looks like it all came out of your local bargain retailer.
Here are our top reasons to embrace mixing metals!
Mixing metals stops a room from feeling flat or monotone
Design king, Brian Gluckstein did it beautifully at the latest Princess Margaret Showhome. Note the gold side table, gold lamps, dark iron cocktail tables, and silver legs on upholstered chairs. The overall scheme is warm but not flat. A little chrome for a modern edge and the dark iron is grounding.
Mixing metals gives a room more depth
Natural iron acts like a neutral that grounds, kind of like black in a room. In the powder room below, we mixed a gold mirror with an antique silver chandelier and bronze coloured wall sconces. The dark sconces really pop and the wall bracket repeats the colour adding more depth. The connecting thread: they all have an antique patina and traditional feel.
Mixing metals makes the room look collected, not purchased altogether from a big box store
In the bathroom below, all the light fixtures are an antique silver (including wall sconces not in view) and the bathroom fixtures are chrome. Adding the gold hurricane lamps and gold framed mirror warms it up and looks collected. In fact, it is. The gold pieces came from a previous house and looked perfect in this bathroom!
Mixing metals helps to balance room temperature
In a very grey room, adding grey metals might be the instinctual choice. But adding some warm tones balances it. In the room below, adding the gold side tables, art framing, and accessories balances the overall coolness of the room. The connecting thread: they all have a contemporary feel.
Mixing metals avoids looking dated quickly
Finally, and most important, mixing metals helps in not making the room feel dated quickly. When you embrace good principles of design outlined above the room has classic staying power.