How to Mix Metals

Once upon a time, mixing metals was considered a design faux pas. You would never add a nickel-based lamp in a room with a chrome table or – worse yet – a brass chandelier. And if you purchased a piece of furniture with pulls in a different finish than the other items in the room, your first stop would be to the hardware store to swap them out for something that matched.

Fortunately, design rules have relaxed in recent year, and mixing metals is much more acceptable. In fact, it can look downright rich when done well. The key to making it work is to follow some basic guidelines. Here are five things you need to know about decorating with metallic:


Mix metals, match finishes. Look to the reflective quality when combining metals. Pairing polished brass with chrome, for example, will give your room a stylish effect. Or pair brushed brass with gold leaf. You’ll get maximum impact by mixing warm metals, such as gold and brass, and cool metals, such as silver and nickel.

Mix finishes, match metals. The opposite approach is also a good way to go. You can pair sterling silver with chrome, for example, keeping everything in the silver tone. Or mix textured finishes, such as matte, polished and hammered. The combination will add depth and interest to the room. Choose a dominant metal tone. Then use a contrasting metal as an accent. The dominant metal will create an overall sense of unity, while the accent metal will add pops of metallic in certain spots within your space. This approach will help create balance in the room.

Choose a piece that marries the metals. An accent item such as piece of art or table that contains two metals will marry your mixed metal scheme. It can serve as an inspiration piece, and will make your mix of metals look deliberate.

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Repeat the metals more than once so the combination looks purposeful. Stand back and take in your room as a whole, then play with the balance moving things around your space until it looks just right. If you have all gold in your room and a single silver tray, it might look like a mistake. Adding a small gold sculpture on the tray, however, will tie it all together.


Design 101: Wingback

If wingback chairs look cozy and comfortable, it’s because they were designed to be just that. The back and sides were originally meant to protect users from chilly drafts that were common in homes before central heating. Today, the wingback is as elegant as it is practical, and the design has been utilized in headboards, settees and barstools.


Here are four wingback furnishings that will make you feel totally modern as you celebrate its long history.







Design 101: Midcentury Modern

Midcentury Modern is a classic style that never grows old. It came to be in the mid-1940s. According to the remodeling and design website Houzz, “[Midcentury modern’s] uncomplicated, fresh aesthetic arose from a desire to propel postwar America into the modern era and recast design through a bold new lens.”

The style puts an emphasis on simple forms, contemporary patterns and natural materials. Here are five of its signature characteristics.


Clean lines. Midcentury Modern furniture features simple lines and taut upholstery. The look is understated and there is minimal ornamentation. The Bradley Gray Tufted Chair is a great example. Designed with the sleek scale in mind, it’s covered in soft grey linen and features a tufted back and birch-finished legs.


Organic shapes. Complement the straight lines of Midcentury Modern seating with tables that feature graceful curves and geometric or organic shapes. Cocktail tables are an important furnishing in this era (think about the cocktail hour on the TV show Mad Men.) The Rocket Cocktail Table is a perfect example, with its faux metal top and pecan wood base. The eye-catching design is chic and sleek.



Wood. Furnishings in Midcentury Modern rooms are often crafted from wood with finishes that showcase their natural beauty. The dark walnut finish of the Casarano Midcentury Desk showcases the sleek curves and contrasting white drawers.



Statement light fixtures. In a streamlined Midcentury Modern home, every piece counts. Add a style statement with an unusual light fixture or lamp or pendant with clean, geometric lines. The tripod base of the Dryer Floor Lamp is a Midcentury Modern classic, with its wood base and textured shade.


Neutral hues with a jolt of color. Midcentury Modern rooms use neutral tones as their base, but the look is completed with pops of strong color in wall art, throw pillows or decorative furniture. The Pascal Chair combines the beauty of a natural wood frame with a bold red seat for a look that’s retro and fun.