How to Mix Metal Finishes
One of the questions we get most often is “Do you mix metals?” and “How do you mix metals?” Over the years, as styles and trends have changed, we’ve shifted our preferences on the topic, and although we’ve been more drawn to matching metals in our more recent projects, mixing metals is about much more than just choosing finishes for one room. You have to consider the furniture pieces inside the room as well. Today, we want to talk about mixing metals throughout the entire home and share a few tips for choosing cohesive finishes that make your home feel elevated.
No. 01 | Narrow Your Palette
It can be hard to know where to start when selecting metals for your home, and if you’re starting a new project or remodel, you might be wondering how many metals you should mix. We suggest curating two to three metals that work well together by identifying their undertones. For example, nickel has a warm undertone and generally works better than chrome when paired with brass and gold. When it comes to black metals, we call it a neutral, it goes with everything, and so we don’t count it as a metal finish when pairing.
In The McGee Home, we chose a few different finishes throughout with warm undertones: nickel, unlaquered brass, and copper. These metals all work together through the hardware, lighting, and even on the exterior gutters.
No. 02 | Pick a Dominant Finish
You may think that you need to distribute each metal you choose equally, but typically, we prefer to choose one dominant metal and use the others as an accent. When you’re mixing metals throughout the home, you will likely have one dominant metal for all of your major finishes. From room to room, you want to have one metal flow consistently through the house and change up the accents. We like to use the same metal on all of our door handles, but play with the hardware.
For example, in The McGee Home, Shea and the design team chose more unlacquered brass than any other metal, but they used nickel and copper in a few areas for some extra dimension and interest.
No. 03 | Consider the Placement
When mixing metals in one space, Shea and the design team like to separate the metals by height so that the similar items are on the same plane. We often use one metal for a lighting fixture and another for cabinet hardware and faucets to create a cohesive blend.
No. 04 | Create Balance
Spreading the dominant finish throughout the home gives mixing metals context, balancing all of the finishes and allowing them to work together.
Another way to create this balance is by using decor accents to create synergy. On the exterior of The McGee Home, Shea chose copper gutters that will patina over time and age with the home. Although she didn’t use copper in any other of the major finishes throughout the home, she infused it into the kettle in the kitchen, the vintage pans in the pantry, and a few other decor objects in built-ins.