Mixing Metals

If you’ve ever considered it a faux pas to mix metals within a space, you’re not alone. In years past, that was certainly common practice. But today mixing metals is something we encourage and love – and for good reason, too.  It’s applicable to both residential and commercial areas of practice and it gives a space an undeniable touch of character.

 This kitchen adds a touch of bronze and brass to create a beautiful, soft blend of mixed metals /  Source

This kitchen adds a touch of bronze and brass to create a beautiful, soft blend of mixed metals / Source

 
 Brass advances while chrome recedes in this midcentury kitchen /  Vela Creative

Brass advances while chrome recedes in this midcentury kitchen / Vela Creative

 
 This living room creates the perfect blend of texture by mixing metals together seamlessly /  Source

This living room creates the perfect blend of texture by mixing metals together seamlessly / Source

The fact is that we gravitate toward the unexpected, and mixing metals definitely fits that bill. It adds interest, elevating the aesthetic of a space and transforming it from something replicable to something unique and dimensional – a space that encourages creative thought and innovation.

Beyond that, it also helps to keep the design timeless. You don’t have to worry about relying on the trendiness of one particular metal, wondering when you’ll need to replace everything once it goes out of style. By mixing metals, your design remains ever-present in whatever style is popular, but beyond that, it retains a sense of class and cohesiveness that transcends years.

 A mixed metal bedroom strikes the perfect balance between modern and glam /  Source

A mixed metal bedroom strikes the perfect balance between modern and glam / Source

 
 A chrome coffee table provides the perfect contrast to the bronze side table and black iron-inspired details surrounding this commercial space (The Reading Room in St. Paul) /  Vela Creative

A chrome coffee table provides the perfect contrast to the bronze side table and black iron-inspired details surrounding this commercial space (The Reading Room in St. Paul) / Vela Creative

 
 Brass and chrome play together to create a stunning mixed metal kitchen /  Source

Brass and chrome play together to create a stunning mixed metal kitchen / Source

Metal can often be perceived as a neutral, too, so mixing a variety together with whatever style is at play in a space is visually pleasing. It has the same effect as layering a few hues of a color in a space – the result is a blend of texture and dimension that helps the space come alive. It doesn’t look messy or misplaced, but curated and intentional.

And that’s the key – making a design feel balanced. Because as designers, we break rules all the time. But unless rules are broken using a systematic approach, the result will lack cohesion. Instead, we strive to create rhythm and harmony in a space, tying everything back to a central concept. By doing so, a design is unified, allowing for flexibility while still maintaining its core aesthetic.

 Brass hardware and light fixtures pair with a matte black mirror frame and a chrome faucet in this bathroom /  Source

Brass hardware and light fixtures pair with a matte black mirror frame and a chrome faucet in this bathroom / Source

 Light fixtures in this office space vary from copper to white, and chrome chair legs and black metal detailing on the separating walls help to keep things curated /  Source

Light fixtures in this office space vary from copper to white, and chrome chair legs and black metal detailing on the separating walls help to keep things curated / Source

 Matte black hardware, fixtures, and faucet keep the colors in this kitchen feeling soft while the floating shelf uses brass brackets and brass tchotchkes to add warmth and a pop of character /  Source

Matte black hardware, fixtures, and faucet keep the colors in this kitchen feeling soft while the floating shelf uses brass brackets and brass tchotchkes to add warmth and a pop of character / Source

So, as you consider the concept of mixed metals in your own space, remember that as with any interior design element, it’s all about finding a few statement pieces that speak to you. Once you have those in place, you can then find balance, making your residential or commercial space timeless and unexpected. And that’s a perfect blend in our book.

 

By Megan Johansson, Contributor to Vela Creative

 
Megan Johansson