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Mixing Metals: 3 Considerations to Help Guide You

As an interior design professional, mixing metals is a very natural and instinctive thing to do. In luxury design, the goal is always to create something truly bespoke, uber comfortable and of course done in a design style and lifestyle sensibility that fits a client like a glove. But beneath this – which I realize sounds like “mumbo jumbo”, but hang in a sec – beneath this, a key driver to successfully create ALL the above, means having to create well nuanced and textured spaces.

On the topic of metals in space, that translates to a strategic consideration of how to mix metals in a room and throughout a residence. Metals appear in interiors in a variety of places: Lighting, plumbing fixtures, cabinetry and door hardware, furniture legs and accent detailing, accessories, artwork framing and window treatment hardware.

Here is a shorthanded “Need-To-Know" when it comes to mixing metals successfully:

1.  Metal has color: From warm to cool, from dark to light. In interiors, your choices are:

+Black

+Rustic Bronze (an almost black)

+Brown

+Gold

+Silver

+Champagne (a rosy silver-gold)

+White (rarely seen today)

That is your entire hit list.

In the echelon where our company practices, we do not use the same metal color throughout a residence. But I do not throw in a metal-rainbow either. Design style and client preference immediately narrows the playing field. From there, I might do a total of 4 metals throughout a home, being careful on ratio. For a DIY-er hack to keep your life super simple: Try to stick to 2 metals in a room AND use the 80/20 rule.

2. Metal has a finish: This texture ranges from matte and brushed (so it absorbs light), to polished (so it bounces and reflects light).

Once again, design style and client preference narrow the playing field. Logically, in a Rustic Farmhouse, you won’t likely do furniture with shiny silver legs, but you might in more Modern setting. Design style matters. For a DIY hack, go with your preference, and the 80/20 rule again. 

3. Metal is an important textural element in all design styles:  From Modern Farmhouse to Transitional, to Contemporary, to Glam, to Single Dude Bachelor Sexy Pad and beyond, ALL design styles and interiors contain AND benefit from some metal.

Never ignore the power of metal to either underscore a design style, drive one, or provide an interesting and intentional counterpoint.

About Donna Hoffman: A multi-award-winning Bucks County based designer, Donna heads her design company specializing in new construction, renovation, whole home and full room design to deliver livable luxury to discerning clients. Seen in Forbes, Real Simple, TV and radio, Donna is one of the nation’s design thought leaders and also founded, TheInteriorDesignAdvocate.com which provides online courses for DIY’ers. 

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