Mixing Metals in Decorating a House


In contemporary interior design, metals play a major role in creating the clean, spacious, high-tech home interiors featured in showplace homes. Cocktail tables, end tables, counters, appliances, lighting fixtures, lamps, vases, furniture legs and a wide range of accessories and accent items feature metal surfaces in one or more metals. Consider the room colors and consult a color wheel to help select metals. Follow a few guidelines to mix metal accents successfully in decorating a house.

Things You'll Need

  • Copper items, such as bowls and kitchenware
  • Silver items, such as candelabra, tea set or serving tray
  • Bronze items such as statues and other decorative pieces
  • Gold and brass items: drape tie-backs, candlesticks, mirror frames, gilt picture frames and furniture with gold accents such as glass-topped tables with a gold rim
  • Pewter figures and decorative items
  • Plan the mixed-metal decorating scheme. For an eclectic approach, mix metals in every room. For the appearance of a more intentional design, select a primary metal for each room and mix in secondary metals as desired. Write down furniture and accessory ideas for each room. For example, select copper as the dominant metal in the kitchen with silver or gold as the secondary metal color, depending on which goes better with the appliances and furniture. Or go with bronze as the primary living room metal, with silver accents.

  • Select metals to complement the existing furnishings. If the dining room table has vintage chrome, play it up with some casual silver accents with contrast elements in a warmer metal such as brass or copper.

  • Create contrast with metal furniture and accents. In a room decorated in primarily warm tones, such as an oak den with brown and yellow, add some cool metals, such as a silver letter opener and desk set. In a cool room done in blues, grays or violets, add gold or copper to create more balance. Mix it up with some pewter and brass figures.

  • Arrange metal decorative items such as candlesticks, bells, vases, or statues singly or in groups of three or five. Asymmetrical arrangements add interest. For example, center one gold candle-holder with a metallic silver candle on it on the left side of the mantle and three silver candle-holders with metallic gold candles on them on the right end of the mantle. Echo the silver and gold arrangement with other arrangements in the room, such as a silver ice bucket and bar set on a gold tray on the sideboard.

  • Create focal points of mixed metals in prominent areas. For example, display a tabletop fountain made of two metals such as copper and brass centered in front of a picture window in the dining room. Carry the copper-and-brass combination through the room with a copper serving platter and brass candelabra on the dining table. Install drape tie-backs with a brass finish.

  • Nightstands with silver and gold hardware or edges carry the mixed metals into the bedroom. A steamer trunk with brass fittings works as a blanket chest. Set out metal bowls of potpourri on the dresser and the bathroom counters. Keep metal vases on a chest of drawers and on the bathroom counters filled with cut flowers.

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  • Photo Credit copper casserole image by lefebvre_jonathan from Fotolia.com
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