Metal furniture continues to make waves in the design world but which of all the metals is for you? As many designers suggest, look to your wardrobe for the answer. Are you a brass detail kind of girl or a minimalist silver gent? You might love the glamour of gold but you also crave the edginess of bronze.
Here we sort the golds from the bronzes, the silvers from the pewters in our round up of four of the most popular looks (and our favourite ways to style them right now).
Gold Metal Furniture
Gold has been used for centuries in the decorative arts (thoughts of French Rococo might spring to mind) but, these days, it takes a cleaner approach. Going for high-gloss gold usually requires either some restraint in silhouette or a strong design gut. (We’re not opposed to Eichholtz’s Galileo coffee table but it might take a little convincing to less intrepid style minds.) If you like the colour but can’t give up your statement pieces, matte and brushed finishes work the look without being too overwhelming and can make sculptural silhouettes really pop.
When it comes to styling, nothing makes soft pastels look more refined (we know Aerin Lauder feels the same) and retro tones look classier than a little gold. Soft blue, baby pink and olive green have become covetable counterparts to Au of late. Pairing your gold furniture with natural linen upholstery and free-form patterned accents is an easy way to maintain a smart yet easy design vision.
Silver Metal Furniture
Image Credit: BoxNine7
Silver’s characteristically modern nature makes it a winner for those with cool design tendencies. If your ideal space leans more towards a crisp and airy contemporary look, silver might be your metal of choice. Nickel, chrome and steel are the main finishes to know – nickel, a warm silver; chrome, a bluer, bright silver; and, stainless steel, a deeper silver. Most luxury furniture will be finished in a fine nickel or chrome plate or crafted of a solid stainless steel frame which is extremely durable.
Being one of the cooler metals, silver benefits from being warmed up by visual and tactile textures (rugs, cushions and throws prevent a clinical look) and earthy finishes like ceramic and woods. Try not to accessorise solely with other metals – you run the risk of your space feeling uncomfortable. Bear in mind that super-glossy silvers tend to jar with extremely natural decor and instead prefer marble.
Bronze Metal Furniture
Image Credit: Yabu Pushelberg
Bronze is an ancient metal and has been used since its Bronze Age days for everything from everyday pots to monumental sculptures and, nowadays, to super-sharp furniture designs . As well as speaking of ancient and antique art, it recalls early twentieth century design (it was a favourite in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods) where it was used prolifically. It’s since been rendered in much less classical ways as a rugged Brutalist finish courtesy of Paul Evans, patinated by Phillip and Kelvin LaVerne and, most recently, molten, mirror-finished, perforated and cracked (by Based Upon, Fredrikson Stallard, Kelly Wearstler and FBC London, respectively).
We love embracing its industrial loft aesthetic á la our Brutalist Luxe edit by teaming it with aged mirror, cracked glass and pitted metal. Refined additions, like plush suede and velvet and flawless marble, instantly up its luxe factor. Read our How To Use Brutalism At Home article for more inspiration.
Black Metal Furniture
Image Credit: Guillaume Alan
Black metal benefits from its ambiguity (is it wood? Is it metal?) By nature, it is minimalist, sharp and feels the most industrial of the metals thanks to its no-nonsense confidence. It has a sooty quality at times (if powder-coated) and an industrial one at others. Black metal furniture has all the modesty of nonchalant but impossibly cool Parisian interiors (think Joseph Dirand and Guillaume Alan).
Since it’s inherently understated, it works well when treated as a blank canvas. Make a statement of its simplicity with gallery-like accessories, stark expanses and sculptural vignettes of singular minimalist pieces.
If you just cannot choose or you prefer a little unconventionalism, check out our top tips on mixing metals.