Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I get asked quite a bit about mixing metals in a home, whether it is the hardware, light fixtures, faucets, or whatever. If you look at photos of our work you see that we mix metals fearlessly. However, this is a somewhat sophisticated process that deserves a lot of thought - we understand why this is one of the hardest dilemmas you encounter when remodeling/building your bathroom.

First it is important to understand why we mix metal finishes.
1. To give the room balance  2. To create a more "collected" look  3. For a unique and personalized feel (so your bathroom doesn't look like you chose everything from one collection in a hardware store)

For my first "how-to mix metals in your home" I am going to focus on the bathroom...

1st STEP: YOUR FAVORITE - Pick your favorite fixture/faucet/hardware in whatever finish you love.

With this project we were loving the aged brass from Amerock for our hardware. We knew we wanted some brass (not shiny) in the bathroom so we started with the hardware.

2nd STEP: MATCH - Find another element in the room you would like to match or coordinate with what you have already picked.

We chose 3 brass sconces from Pottery Barn that almost matched the hardware. I was glad it wasn't an exact match as the brass sconces were a little more gold than the hardware, but it's important that they are close so when the room is done it doesn't look like you have 4 or 5 metal finishes making the room look chaotic.

3rd STEP: A DIFFERENT FINISH - Pick another finish that compliments (not matches) what you have already chosen. If you have chosen a satin or aged finish then go with a polished - mix finishes as well as metals.

In these two pictures you can see we chose polished chrome for the shower door handle, shower head, and tub filler. We chose polished chrome for 2 reasons - 1) it was the cheapest option 2) it doesn't match brass at all and it was shiny.

When mixing metals and finishes here are some great combos:

Aged Brass + Polished Chrome + Lucite
Oil Rubbed Bronze + Polished Nickel + Aged Brass
Black + Aged Brass + Satin Nickel
Polished Nickel + Aged Brass
Brass + Satin Nickel + Oil Rubbed Bronze
Brass + Satin Nickel + Polished Chrome
Black + Polished Chrome + Lucite

There are so many great combinations! Study pictures of bathrooms you like to get more of a feeling of how you would like to mix metals and finishes.

4th STEP: FINISHING TOUCH - Add at least one more metal/element to tie it all together - preferably a light fixture that will add another dimension to the room, such as crystals, lucite, a linen shade, and a metal.

We added this crystal (lucite) chandelier that has an Oil Rubbed/Aged Brass finish on the metal. This fixture tied it all together perfectly. If we had done an all brass fixture here it would have made the bathroom look too gaudy and gold; if we had done a black fixture it would have been heavy and too much of a focal point and stolen the show (which is not what we wanted). A glass fixture was what we needed.

5th STEP: NO MORE THAN 4 FINISHES, NO LESS THAN 2 If you introduce too many finishes it will look too eclectic (think bag lady eclectic) or chaotic. A tailored collected look is what you are going for. 

W+G TIP: When picking out all of your elements of your bathroom think of it like an outfit.

It's not a good idea to wear all gold jewelry or all silver jewelry. It would look cheesy and/or boring. Like this picture, you should mix elements - lucite, ribbon, rose gold, metallic glitter.

DO NOT OVERDO IT or your bathroom will look like this (keeping with the outfit analogy)...

Keep it classy and interesting. You are going for the cool, collected look when mixing metals, so the finished product looks like this...

Mix the warm and cool tones of the bathroom to give the room some balance. All silvers and marbles will feel icy and cold. All golds and travertines or granites will look overdone and gaudy.

And that's "HOW TO" mix your metal finishes in your bathroom!


  1. This is really helpful, I'm gonna try mixing metalics in the kitchen, and your set of guidelines will be of great help!!
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Excellent post! You articulated the process and why it works perfectly.

  3. I love this post! I did one awhile back about keeping all the metals the same to make the room harmonious...but I love that you can mix them to and also have a harmonious design. thanks for the tips!

  4. Thank you for sharing your formula for metal mixing success! This will be a very helpful post for a lot of people -- one of the best I've read anywhere.

  5. Great post! I am a fan of mixing metals for sure!

  6. Great post. It helped answer a lot of questions I have as I begin renovating my bathroom.

  7. I love metal finishing! It's so pretty. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  8. Love -- love! Your ideas are so inspirational -- I've awed over your marble bathroom for months and am loving the mixing metals. I went with brass cabinet hardware and light fixtures and chrome faucet hardware. Immediate thoughts for mirrors, chrome or brass?

  9. Wow! Your pictures are gorgeous! You have a very talented mind! I have been working on the metal finishing in my bathroom and it doesnt look anywhere near as good as yours.

  10. These are some nice pictures showing metal finishing. I'm thinking about putting some stuff like this in my home.

  11. Great blog post--thank you!! Would you be able to share the bathroom paint color?

  12. I can't tell you how RELIEVED I am to find this article!! I have a powder room that has all chrome fixtures, and I have always been taught that they all have to match. But then I found the most fabulous triple sconce that is in an aged brass (it looks very similar to your Pottery Barn sconces). I have lost sleep over this because I didn't think it was "kosher" to mix metals....but now I know it can work. The goal now is to see if I can pull it off as well as the bathroom in the photos! Wish me luck! :)

  13. this is EXACTLY what I needed! Now, thanks to google, I have another blog to follow :) Question: I love the Amerock hardware you used above, do you recall the name of that hardware? Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom in this blog!

  14. Very helpful and reassuring!

  15. I'm late to the party, but I too am so relieved I can mix chrome and gold. Can you tell me the size of the Amerock drawer pulls you used? For everyone who's asking, the style is Mulholland, but is it the 3 3/4 or the 6 1/4? Thank you!

  16. Love your ideas! Very inspirational.

  17. Love your ideas! Very inspirational.

  18. Really very helpful information for everyone. I learnt some basic tips about cleaning the bathtub faucets. We can easily clean our bathroom faucets with the help of waxed paper and washing powder. The chrome furnished bath faucets always dirt by the water spots.

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  20. Beautifully written! I love this post. Bathrooms are indeed important part of every house. Decorating with stylish objects such as attractive bathroom faucets enhances the beauty.

    Keep updating your blog with ever green contents.

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