There is an undeniable charisma to metals that has kept them relevant in interior design since as far back as we can remember. From gold inlays and bronze hardware to steel furniture and chrome finishes, metals have been hard at work bringing character and richness to our living spaces. But they have never been in as much demand as they are now, when home décor finds itself caught in a whirlwind of fleeting trends and changing tastes.
Take a look at any well-appointed modern home, and you’ll detect at least a few traces of metal in its décor. If you look closer, you’ll possibly even discover a mix of different metals and metallic finishes coexisting in one space. Mixed metal décor was once seen as something to be avoided at all costs. Gold could rarely exist in the same aesthetic scheme as silver, brass or copper, and satin nickel could hardly ever find a place amid stainless steel. But contemporary aesthetics have warmed up to these heterogeneous compositions, in the same spirit with which they equate contrast with balance and variety with richness.
This is not to say that just about any duet of metals would fare well in present-day interiors. While there are no rules governing the use of metals in home décor, there certainly are some best practices that can help you get the most out of the metallic objects and finishes you bring home.
1. Start with the colour scheme.
Metals are best treated as finishing touches rather than foundations. Before venturing into the details of the metallic elements you would like to use, set the foundation for a sophisticated space through well-chosen colours. Metallic finishes widely used in interior design can generally be clubbed with either warm or cool colour groups. Gold, copper and bronze, for instance, belong in the same category as pink, orange, yellow and warm earth tones, whereas silver, satin nickel and chrome have more in common with blues, greens, purples and cool greys.
Of course, warmer metals can be used to complement cool colours as well. The copper craze is a characterizing example, as is the rampant use of gilded accessories in grey-themed rooms. Millennial homes often find a balance by using a foundation of neutral colours to enhance the impact of the metal artworks and accents that they use. For instance, spaces crafted in white, beige or grey can safely flaunt a wide variety of bold metal artwork and fixtures. But whether you opt for vivid colours or take the neutral route, the core principle remains the same – choose your colours before you choose your metals.
2. Layer finishes for depth and interest.
It is the innate sheen of metals that gives them their natural sophistication. But a flipside to too much lustre is the fact that it can leave a space wanting for gravity and focus. This is where finishes come in. While selecting metallic elements for your home, pay attention to their surface textures. An antiqued gold accent can often amplify the richness of dark wooden furniture and panelling. Likewise, a brushed finish can often do wonders for a silver object placed amid soft fabrics and weaves.
At the same time, if a space is already layered with dark colours, rough textures and bold prints, a hint of glimmering polished silver, gold or copper could help lighten the weight of the composition. Similarly, a sparsely furnished space largely articulated in whites and neutrals can find an anchor in mixed metal artwork or decorative accents that make use of both colour and sheen.
3. Keep things moving.
A great way to play with metals is to keep their applications versatile and flexible. Opt for movable metal elements such as accent furniture, lighting fixtures, and sophisticated wall art, to give yourself the option of trying new layouts and colour schemes. Metals are quite flexible in their ability to gel with different colours, forms and finishes. Start with a few well-chosen elements and scale up as you find your balance with the temperatures and textures of the metallics you use.
Looking to give your home a metallic upgrade? Explore our metal wall art collection to discover sophisticated accents that will complement your décor.