As we’ve been making minor updates to our home to make it more attractive to potential buyers, I’ve wrestled with whether to match our faucets to our light fixtures, our cabinet hardware to our doorknobs, etc. I’m a bit stuck between my own eclectic style and the more conservative look that Brookhaven buyers seems to favor.
There’s no question about where I fall in the mixed metals debate. I am all for it. The key, in my opinion, is to make it look deliberate. Your home shouldn’t look like you’ve been swapping out builder-grade features one at a time and haven’t gotten around to all of them. The goal is to create balance by juxtaposing styles and finishes that complement each other.
A note: Because many appliances don’t come in warm metals (and not everyone can afford a La Cornue range or cabinet-paneled pieces), I generally consider stainless steel appliances to be a neutral. There are some exceptions, but I say ignore ’em.
We’ve done some amateur metal-mixing in our home, but for a master class, check out these insanely beautiful kitchens:
#1: Chrome, Antique Brass and Bronze
With its glossy flat-front cabinets, contemporary chrome barstools, marble waterfall island and mirrored tile backsplash, this kitchen from Rue Magazine could have skewed toward cold and unwelcoming very easily. The antique silver pitcher and bronze/brass Hicks pendants add a lived-in touch. See a few different angles here.
#2: Brass, Bronze and Copper
In designer Sarah Sherman Samuel’s recently updated kitchen, she used warm metals exclusively. Again, those and the rustic wood elements keep the mostly-white kitchen from feeling too cold and modern. See more photos here.
#3: Brass and Stainless Steel
With chalky-finish cabinets, subway tile and a farmhouse sink, the overall feel of this kitchen is heading toward country. The stainless steel pot rail (from Ikea!) gives it a utilitarian edge. Photo from HusmanHagberg, via Apartment Therapy.
#4: Silver and Wrought Iron
Once more, we see a mix of modern finishes (glossy solid surface countertops, a chrome coil-spring faucet) and rustic elements (reclaimed wood shelves with wrought iron brackets, terra cotta pots, wood cutting board). Modern + rustic is one of my favorite kitchen combos. From House & Home’s June 2014 issue, found via SF Girl by Bay.
#5: Brass, Copper and Chrome
In contrast, if you want to mix several metals without losing cohesiveness, it helps to pick one style and stick with it. This kitchen, photographed by Aubrie Pick, uses modern fixtures across the board, which allows for some flexibility in finishes.
#6: Silver and Gold
Luckily for renters, light fixtures and hardware aren’t the only way to mix metals. If you’re dealing with generic builder-grade finishes, add a collected, custom vibe with gold-framed vintage art and a well-loved rug. See more of Naomi Stein’s Philadelphia loft (one of my all-time favorite homes, FWIW) here and here.
#7: Silver and Bronze
For those who think you can only mix warm with warm and cool with cool, I bring you this beautiful kitchen by Benjamin Dhong. The warm bronze cabinet hardware and sconce play well with the putty-colored cabinets and pops of yellow, but the big silver banded globe chandelier takes the otherwise-traditional kitchen to another level. The standout piece would have been a focal point in any finish, but the contrasting metal really draws your eye.
#8: Gold and Polished Silver
I absolutely love the bravery that Tobi Tobin employed when she updated her 100-year-old farmhouse’s kitchen. The high-gloss black cabinets modernize the room a bit, but the visible brush strokes keep things cozy. In this case, I think brass cabinet knobs would have taken away from the ornate gold and crystal chandelier. Using polished silver for the hardware and faucet is the perfect way to keep the eye where it belongs. See more at House Beautiful.
#9: Steel, Gold and Silver
Technically, I think those pendants might be glass, but let’s call them gold for simplicity’s sake. In any case, you certainly wouldn’t expect to see them paired with industrial steel bar stools, but there they are, and I think they look fantastic. The flea market stools, glam pendants and brass deer head give a curated feel to what would otherwise be a pretty typical modern white kitchen. See more of the loft at Design*Sponge.
#10: Brass, Stainless Steel and Bronze
There’s a lot going on in this kitchen: industrial stainless appliances, reclaimed wood shelves, brass bin pulls, a copper colander, a bronze pendant … And you can’t even see the two gold chandeliers over the table in this photo. Somehow, though, it all contributes to a lived-in bistro style that never feels schizophrenic. It helps that the decor is minimal: The shelves are sparsely-styled, there’s not much on the counters, and even the two patterned fabrics in the room (the roman shades, not pictured, and the rug) are tone-on-tone, close in shade to the lower cabinets. Makes you feel like you could pull off a kitchen with about seven different finishes, right? See more at House & Home.
So, what do you think? Would you try mixing metals in your home? What parameters would you use to keep things from looking crazy?