Mixed Metal Lust

Photography by Sarah Elliott

When it comes to design, it’s all about the mix, and the same certainly goes for luminous metals. Recently we published our 10 mixed metal essentials for the home, in partnership with method and the brand’s prismatic new Urban Metallics Limited Edition Collection. As promised, here’s a look at how we unleashed our creativity and pushed the pedal to the metal in styling these shining stars.

Yes, mixing metals, a practice that used to be considered a total style taboo in your wardrobe, your jewelry, and your home is now not only accepted, but sought after. The theory that you cannot mix metals is an antiquated design rule. And a “no-rules” approach to decorating has always appealed to me. It is my belief that artfully mixing metallics makes a home more interesting, creating visual intrigue and curiosity. And it seems I am not alone in my assessment – metallics are the law of the land nowadays. They are used in such abundance as of late that they are indeed new neutrals.

The variation of pewter, brass, gold, copper, and whatever other metallic finishes you dare to pair can shine against any backdrop to add depth and dimension to a space. So the question is, how do we use these finishes the “right way” when we have so many options? Here are a few tips to help guide your designs.

Pair forever-shiny, polished surfaces with those that will eventually wear and tarnish. The latter category is part of an explosion of living finishes that oxidize over time, like my unlacquered brass faucet seen above — so why not take advantage of them? This mix is what makes a home multi-faceted. We are not just gleaming and shiny all the time. We change and are imperfect, and that is precisely what makes us so interesting — and the same goes for metallics. So I say, embrace it all.

Athena Calderone Eyeswoon Method Mixed Metallics | Sarah Elliott Photography

Shine is the ying to a timeworn or hammered matte yang.

Athena Calderone Eyeswoon Method Mixed Metallics | Sarah Elliott Photography
Athena Calderone Eyeswoon Method Mixed Metallics | Sarah Elliott Photography

Adding plant life, wood, leather, rough hewn stone, and woven materials like a jute and sisal basket are wonderful ways to ground a space and balance the metallics. Those more natural elements are complementary to the metal and act as a warm foundation. The end result is a space that looks pulled together and effortless.

Our homes tell our story. They are the truest expression of ourselves. The things we collect over time conjure memories of a time and a place and make a home feel layered, textured, and eclectic. Perhaps it was travel to a foreign land where you first discovered a beautifully patina-ed brass lantern that you brought home from your journey? For me, a perfect example is a chair that belonged to my parents in the late ’70s – it had a white leather seat and chrome base. In the ’70s we saw so much chrome and with every new era of home décor it seems that there was often a single use of a metallic finish. That very chair is a piece of my story and I have since had it reupholstered in a lavender velvet. Today, the majority of light fixtures in my home are antiqued brass but the chrome chair still has a place. It is a part of my history.

We would never want to design our space with furniture from a single store, or paint our entire home one exact color, or buy our clothes from just one designer, so why should we be beholden to just one metal in our home? That’s just boring. So rather than calling the use of mixed metals a trend, I’d like to instead consider it license to get creative.

Share this Swoon   –  

Necessary Objects

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