6 Essential Tips For Mixing Metals in Your Home

Posh Pennies
by Posh Pennies

Let’s look at mixing metals in interiors. You may feel you don’t know how to mix metal finishes correctly or you don’t feel confident pulling it off.

As a result, you may just play it safe and pick the usual generic satin silver-colored hardware, which can be boring. Hopefully, these ideas will help you mix metals like an interior designer!

One metal finish in a kitchen
One metal finish in a kitchen can be boring
Different metal finishes in a kitchen

1. Decide how many metals to use

Let the size of your space dictate this.

Mixing metals in the kitchen

How to mix metals in a kitchen
Large kitchens can handle three metals.

Mixing two metal finishes in a small kitchen
Mixing metals in a kitchen

A condo, townhouse, or smaller kitchen would look good with one to two metals maximum.

Matching metal finishes to appliances

Pay attention to the finish of your appliances. If you have stainless steel appliances, you’ll want to consider stainless steel as one of the metals in your scheme.

Using one metal finish in a bathroom

Mixing metals in the bathroom

Standard-size bathrooms and small powder rooms look best with one or two metals.

How to mix metals in a bathroom
Mixing metals in a bathroom

There are always exceptions to the rules. This smaller bathroom uses three metals: brass (mirror and sconces), chrome (taps), and black metal (knobs). The room doesn’t look chaotic because the Roman shade and the dark stone counter and shower tie everything together.

If you have a huge bathroom, you can use up to three metals.

Mixing metal finishes
Mixing metal finishes with what you already have

Working with what you have

If it’s not possible to swap everything out, you can work with what’s there. Be flexible and incorporate what already exists into your mixed metal scheme. Bring in your favorite metal as a secondary choice to work with what you have.

Matching metal finishes to the interior design style

2. What style are you going for?

It can be easier to align certain metals with certain decorating styles.

Traditional and timeless metal finishes


Nickel, antique bronze, gold, and brass give a timeless, elegant feel and feel most comfortable in traditional, classic interiors.

Matte black in a kitchen
Matte black accents in a kitchen
Matte black hardware in a kitchen


Matte black is quite contemporary. I feel like too much black metal can quickly become overpowering. Repeat it once, using it in only two places in a kitchen or bathroom.

Matching metal finishes
Glam kitchen styles


Mixing multiple polished metals can give you more of a glamorous, luxe feel and lift a dull, flat space.

How to get the balance of mixed metal finishes

3. Select your metals

Once you know the number of metals to use and your style, choose a primary metal, secondary metal, and accent metal–if you’re using three metals.

Primary vs secondary metal finishes


The primary metal is used for about 70 percent of your space and a secondary metal is used for about 30 percent of the space.

Here’s a general idea of how to use three metals. Aim for a primary metal used in 60 percent of the space, a secondary metal for 30 percent of the space, and an accent metal for 10 percent of the mix.

Mixing metal finishes in a kitchen
In this kitchen, the primary metal is unlacquered brass used on the cabinet hardware, flush mounts on the ceiling, and the sconces. Three faucets are in chrome. The black pendant light shade is the accent metal. The stainless steel range has chrome handles to tie in with the faucets.

Mixing metal finishes in a laundry room

Laundry room

Matte black was used on the cabinet hardware, there are stainless appliances, and there are chrome accents throughout. Wood and woven textures warm up the space, as well as the warm undertones of the gray cabinet paint.

Clashing metal finishes
Clashing metal finishes
Clashing warm and cool undertones

4. Pay attention to undertones

Undertones are important to getting the color right. If you get them wrong, things can clash. Avoid mixing metals that are in the same family but have different undertones.

Cold vs warm silvers
For example, you can use two silvers but one is cool and the other is warm.

Cool vs warm golds
Here are two golds where one is cool and one is warm.

Neutral metals
Neutral metals are iron, gunmetal, and any matte black metal. Neutral means you can pair it with cool or warm

Cool metals
Cool metals are silver, chrome, stainless steel, and aluminum.

Warm metals
Warm metals are gold, brass, bronze, copper, and nickel.

Polished nickel
Warm vs cool undertones in silver
Nickel is the perfect example of undertones in metals. It’s silver, but it has warm undertones. Look at nickel next to chrome and you can see how warm it looks. They clash.

Brass varying from brand to brand

Always remember companies have the same metal but in slightly varying finishes and undertones so they rarely match company to company. Buy everything from the same company to make sure everything matches.

5. Mixed metal combination ideas

Try the following combinations:

Polished nickel and polished brass
Polished nickel and polished brass

Polished nickel, matte black, and polished brass
Polished nickel, matte black, and polished brass

Any gold and matte black
Any gold and matte black

Chrome plus brass
Chrome plus brass

Chrome plus matte black
Chrome plus matte black

Satin chrome, polished chrome, and stainless steel

Satin chrome, polished chrome, and stainless steel

Avoid these combinations:

Polished nickel and chrome
Polished nickel and chrome

Polished brass plus brushed gold

Polished brass plus brushed gold

More things to avoid:

Two types of metal finishes in a bathroom

Don’t mix more than three metals.

Sprinkling metals around a kitchen

Don’t use metals in an even 50/50 mix and instead sprinkle them around the room.

Don’t mismatch faucets.

Don’t mismatch interior door handles and hinges.

Don’t mismatch your metal undertones.

Contemporary faucet
Trending metal finishes
Classic metal finishes

6. Metal trends

Some metals have more staying power than others. Chrome, brass, and polished nickel will always be classics.

Too much matte black

Matte black may be too trendy–instead, incorporate black light fixtures.

How brass ages

Unlacquered brass develops a dark patina, but it can be viewed as trendy, too. Brass, however, may be overused at times, too.

Mixing metals

If you choose metals you love, you have successfully mixed your metal finishes. I hope this was helpful to you. Leave me comments about how you’ve mixed metals in your home or lessons learned when mixing metals.

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