The Design Rule Pinterest Says is Made to Be Broken


We’re definitely living in a time when classical design rules are being thrown out the window for the sake of individuality and creativity, and we’re more than okay with that (though, we’ll never be on board hanging too-short curtains). One of those rules we’re especially found of snapping in half? Not mixing metals. In fact, we say mix all the metals, and evidently, so does everyone on Pinterest (according to a recent trend report). What used to be total style taboo both in your wardrobe and in your home is now not just welcomed, but sought after.

Along with instantly jazzing up a room, using a blend of copper, nickel, chrome, gold, and brass finishes is a stylish way to add depth and dimension to a small space. While the look can be accomplished by anyone, there are a few things to keep in mind so your living room doesn’t end up looking like the jewelry clearance bin at Banana Republic.

Start Small

If you’re wary about mixing metals at home, then we suggest starting small. A compact bar cart (like this gold one on PopSugar) or petite bookcase is a great way to play with different finishes, while getting a feel for what kinds of metals work well together. Stick to just two finishes if you’re a beginner.

Pick an MVP

Instead of trying to evenly mix an assortment of different metals throughout a room, pick one main finish—like the gold fixtures in this bathroom on Architectural Digest—and then incorporate smaller amounts of other metals to supplement it. Another example of this is the lead image of this post, also from Architectural Digest. While the majority of the metal finishes in the kitchen are chrome, a touch of brass via the pendant lighting is delightfully unexpected.

Shine On

When it comes to combining metals at home, polishes can make a difference. Super shiny finishes (like the chrome and copper seen in this image via StyleCarrot) blend well together because they don’t compete with each other, while too many other varying tones of metallics can often wind up looking gaudy.

Stay in Your Plane

Kitchen fixtures are the perfect place to play with different metal finishes, as long as you remember to coordinate polishes on the same plane. For example, in this chic kitchen reveal from Maison de Pax, we see that Rachel used brass finishes for the tall lighting fixtures, copper for eye-level cabinet hardware, and silver for the faucet. This way, the metals work to complement each other instead of overwhelming the space.

Clean Lines Can’t Lose

Whether it’s with the legs of a chair or a picture frame, clean lines are a great way to experiment with metals and finishes—like Consort did in this brass and chrome dining room. Anything too ornate would draw too much attention, making for a bit of a visual buffet (but hey, if you prefer an OTT look, we support you).

Natural Elements

Sometimes less is more, especially when playing with different metals and polishes. Instead of going overboard with metallic accessories, try softening a couple of shiny metal statement pieces—like the lamp and chairs in this Better Homes & Gardens photo—with natural elements such as a wooden table and woven textiles. Another trick is to mix intensity levels. Because the shiny brass lamp and starburst mirror draw the eye, the galvanized steel of the Tolix chairs play nice without going overboard.

Make a Scene

Wall vignettes—think: bookcase displays and gallery walls—are an awesome place to play with metals without distracting from the rest of the space. Take a cue from Mary Orton’s office on Memorandum, and sprinkle small metallic objects in varying finishes along a slim bookshelf to make a surprisingly impactful scene.

Go Glam

A little metal goes a long way when dressing up an all-white space. Bring instant glamour to your bathroom (or bedroom, or kitchen, or living room for that matter) with nothing more than a handful of wall-placed metallic furnishings (like this one on Kathy Kuo Home that’s all chrome and gild). Even if it’s a just a mirror and hardware with contrasting tones, you’ll make a sophisticated statement that’s outside the conventional bathroom box.

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