Metallic accents are the perfect way to add a dash of glam to any interior. Whether you want an eye-catching statement piece or just a subtle sheen, there are plenty of options to add a bit of shine to any room! From statement lighting to fabrics to décor, metallic finishes can be found in a variety of pieces. They highlight the beauty of a piece and help instantly pull together a space. Here are a few of my favorite ways to incorporate metallic accents into your designs to make the whole room sparkle.
Our Top Tips for Mixing Metallic Accents in Your Home
#1 Set Your Intentions Before Selecting Metallic Accents
The first step when mixing metallic accents is to set your intentions. Are you going for industrial or antique? Cool and contemporary, or vintage and quirky? When it comes to bringing metallic accents into your home, the key is to be intentional about the style and atmosphere you want to create. Whether aiming for glamour and opulence or a more minimalistic approach, setting your intentions will help you select finishes and scale for each metallic accent in your space.
#2 Select a Statement Piece
If you want to create a focal point in the room, a metallic statement piece works beautifully. It immediately adds sophistication and elegance to the space. But before investing in a showstopping piece, consider the overall color palette. Since the statement piece will be center stage, make sure the metallic sheen blends well with the colors used throughout the interior.
This gold Bernhardt bed frame from our Krist project gives the space a gorgeous pop of color against the neutral color palette of whites, creams and wood tones. It warms up the space, while adding a luxe touch to the bedroom. And the light reflecting off the bed frame brings in a bit of visual texture which I love.
You can also use metallic pieces to bring together different color tones. In the second photo below, the warm bronze metallic finish of the Arteriors Home Lowery side table trio at our Astoria High Rise project complements the cooler tones of the blue sofa and lavender chair. It’s an inviting, modern space that you can relax in and enjoy.
#3 Go Rogue in Different Rooms
There’s no need to stick to the same two or three metal tones in your living room, powder room, and primary suite. Mix it up! Go rogue in different rooms, but lean on the color palette in each space to inform your choice of metallic accents.
#4 Select Two or Three Tones and Finishes
Most designers recommend selecting two or three tones and finishes for each space in your home. In an article for Better Homes & Gardens, Jessica Bennett recommends that you pick” one metal as your primary finish” and a couple others as accents. As you place metal accents throughout the room — whether in lighting, wallpaper, art, or decor — think about balance and dynamism.
Bennett warns against creating spaces in which “metal finishes are split 50/50 or in perfect thirds.” Instead, she recommends that your “dominant metal make up approximately 60 to 75 percent of the finishes in the room.” Now, this rule does not refer strictly to the number of metallic items in each room. It is also about scale.
For example, the burnished brass pendant light in your entryway might be much larger than all the silver accents sprinkled throughout that space. Consider scale when determining that primary-to-secondary ratio.
#5 Add Subtle Hints in Wallpaper, Art, and Textiles
Adding metallic accents to your home decor need not overwhelm the space. To add a subtle sheen to a neutral space, consider metallic accents in wallpaper, art, and textiles.
For example, we chose Phillip Jefferies Saint Germain Hemp II Gold on White grasscloth wallpaper for the formal sitting room at University Place. Its subtle metallic finish pairs well with the brass curtain rod. It also recalls the flecks of gold in the Serafina Globe and Storm Globe pendant paintings from Zoe Bios Creative.
#6 Don’t Be Afraid to Combine Different Tones
Mixing different tones and finishes in a single space prevents the room from feeling dated. In an article for The Spruce, Sarah Lyon writes that “‘the more different the tones are, the more purposeful it looks.'” A matchy-matchy space feels prefabricated instead of customized and curated. In an article for Southern Living, Maggie Burch agrees, warning homeowners not to “mix two metals in the same color family.”
However, we typically recommend against mixing metals in the same fixture — especially when the finish is identical. As shown above, mixing painted or coated metal is a different story.
#7 Use Each Metallic Accent Multiple Times
While mixing metals is an easy way to make your space feel intentional and curated, it will fall flat unless you use each metal multiple times. A single occurrance will seem odd and out-of-place. Feature each tone throughout the space to create depth and continuity while encouraging the eye to travel.
#8 Switch Up the Silhouettes and Scale
When decorating with metal accents, think about how you select jewelry for an evening out. Balance is key, right? To create visual interest and avoid weighing down the space, switch up the scale and silhouettes of your metallic accents. If every metallic accent is enormous, you will overwhelm the space. However, if every accent is tiny, their impact will disappear.
Consider the three spaces pictured above. At Braeswood Place, we balanced the fine lines of a floor lamp with a bold hourglass-shaped side table. In our Heights Modern project, we took a similar approach — pairing a conical table base with a delicate abstract chandelier. For the primary bath at Viscaino, we selected a slender silver-toned spout to pair with the bold stacked disc chandelier.
#9 Strategically Place Metallic Accents Where You Want to Bounce Light
A striking light fixture is one of my favorite ways to add a touch of metallic in a space. A light fixture with a dramatic sheen can make a big first impression because it’s one of the first things to catch your eye when entering a room. When you’re using a light fixture as a focal point, be sure the other pieces in the space aren’t competing with the fixture.
A light fixture for your entryway sets the tone for your guests when they enter, and lights their way in the evening. So you want to make sure it’s not only stunning but that it also provides lots of light. I love how this Aerin Mill Ceiling Light from the Harper Home is almost like an art piece and allows the light to really shine through. The gold sheen in the light and frame seamlessly bring together the deep red accent rug and dark green background of the artwork.
An open kitchen is another space where you might consider using a dramatic light fixture. To pull the look together, incorporate other metallic touches in the kitchen. A metallic vent hood or drawer pulls give the space a modern and industrial feel. And I LOVE how all the natural light in this kitchen makes the metallic accents shine! The chandelier at Drexel is a rarity – it was sourced from Dolce & Gabbana’s now-closed restaurant.
#10 Let Black Be a Neutral Base
Whether you prefer steel and bronze or chrome and cast iron, black metallic accents serve as the perfect base for brass, silver, and other tones. Because black is typically neutral, you can layer any color metal on top. Choose matte black for even greater flexibility when selecting additional accents.
#11 Take Cues from Your Color Palette
Next, we recommend taking cues from your color palette, considering the temperature before selecting metallic accents. Pictured above are three rooms that demonstrate this approach: one is warm-toned, one is cool-toned, and one is neutral.
In the warm-toned powder bath at Green Tree, we chose warm-toned metal accents to complement the color scheme. For the jewel-toned primary bedroom at Braeswood Place, we selected cooler metals for the light fixtures and four-poster. There are a few warm-toned metal accents in this space, but they occur less often than the silver-toned accents.
In the primary bath at Hedwig Village, we split the difference between cool and warm. The ceiling features warm-toned wooden beams, so we chose a warm-toned antique chandelier for this zone. Towards the floor, the tone becomes cooler with a white and gray marbled floor, leafy houseplant, and white tub. As such, we opted for cool-toned hardware in this zone.
#12 Tie Different Tones Together with Glass
Last but not least, tie different tones together with glass. Whether. you select a statement mirror or transparent lamp shades, glass acts as a bridge between cool and warm tones. Mirrors are particularly helpful in small spaces like the Colonial Drive powder bath pictured above.
How Do You Incorporate Metallics in Your Home?
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