Remember the days when you had to declare yourself a gold or silver person? When rooms had to choose their metallic preference and stick to it? Each and every piece of hardware, fixture and framing had to match perfectly because – heaven forbid – you’d be at risk of clashing. Those days are over with more and more interior designers proving that mixed metallics can be just as stylish.
Cool metallic tones (such as silver, nickel and steel) bring a slick, modern aesthetic whilst warmer tones (gold, rose gold, bronze and brass among others) are inviting, flattering and subtly glamorous. A mixture of the two offers unique looks – modern with a touch of glamour, minimalism with an inviting appeal and rawness refined.
Not only does a clever cocktail of metallics draw attention to the beauty of the materials (rather than having them simply become uninteresting design inevitabilities), it also brings with it somewhat of a daring attitude. So in that spirit, don’t let your metallics become just another neutral – draw attention to them in the most stylish way with these inspiring metallic decor ideas. In other words, show your metal.
Image Credit: Greg Natale
1. Think outside the box
First things first – remember that metallics aren’t only actual metals. Metallic tones can be found in just about anything you can think of – artwork, églomisé glass, embroidered curtains, wall coverings and (especially) upholstery – so keep that as an option if you’re looking to try this look.
Silver grey fabrics, in particular, are such a staple for interiors these days that it would almost be a sin to feel confined to coordinating cool tones. Consider accenting silver upholstery (like a sharp tuxedo sofa) with a golden framed console or coffee table á la this Greg Natale project. Similarly, bronze and gold are good friends (Art Deco anyone?) thanks to their shared warmth so try bronze-hued cushions in a room with gold touches.
"Fabrics in metallic hues are an interesting way to channel the trend".
Image Credit: Katharine Pooley
2. Plan it
Although we appreciate the passion that inspires unmethodical creativity, sometimes mixing metallic tones and finishes and styles with wild abandon can be a little overwhelming – although that’s definitely not to say that it’s impossible to make all three harmoniously coexist. To master this approach to styling, pay careful attention to how each element relates to the others and don’t introduce too many styles. A couple of decorative pieces will do well to be tempered with some clean lined pieces (like the coffee table in this living room). By doing this, you’ll keep your space thoroughly up-to-date and give yourself room to add other textures and tones. Similarly, if you plan to use items in a lot of differing tones, try to find a common thread which unites them. This could be a common use of other elements like wood or complementary shapes.
Image Credit: Greg Natale
3. Take it easy
Instinct would have you think that your existing silver pieces could only handle silver accessories and vice versa but don’t be fooled. It’s simple enough to ease into the trend by adding accessories (like mirrors, ornaments and candle holders) which contrast your traditional colour scheme. Vignettes are the simplest way to do this. Team a low golden bowl with a pair of elegant silver candlesticks for a display that both pops and lives by the “something tall, something low” rule. Or take the easy route and find a beautiful two-toned piece.
Image Credit: Taylor Howes
4. Keep a sophisticated palette
Clearly the brightest interior minds aren’t shying away from this rule-breaking trend (as seen in all of these projects). One thing they are doing, however, is keeping the palette thoroughly sophisticated – whilst a playful palette could work, the appeal of this technique is found in its design richness. In some spaces that means dark and moody; in others it’s fresh and chic- this will depend on the atmosphere you want to create and the kind of pieces you’re contrasting. Consider an accent colour with care and try to just stick to one. If you’re going for a maximalist look, jewel tones like navy and emerald green work well; for a chic look, use a subdued grey-tinged colour; or for femininity, choose a pastel but not saccharine shade. Doing this allows the focus to remain on the beauty of the contrast and showcases these undoubtedly statement pieces.
Image Credit: Spinocchia Freund
5. Work with lighting
If all else fails and you’re struggling to get the look right in your space, play some tricks with lighting. Throwing some warm lighting on to silvered finishes, for example, is a good alternative to adding gold accents – instead they just appear gold as seen in this chandelier. Many lamps are available with gold-lined shades and, additionally, special foiled bulbs can be purchased which give this effect. This is ideal for mixing metallics for a short term and keeps things flexible.