Brass, copper and gold are having a moment. Flick through any interior design magazine and you’ll find copper lampshades, decorative brass accessories and gold ornaments on every other page.
Long considered ‘old fashioned’ and ‘outdated’, brass, copper and gold are now overtaking chrome and stainless steal as the “must-have metals” in the home.
It’s out with “cold, minimal and clinical” home styling, as the more eclectic, bohemian traveller and industrial chic-style themes grow in popularity. Soft shades of brass, burnished gold tones and artisanally-hammered bronze pieces are making a comeback.
The desire for brass and other warm metallics began in the United States and has travelled over to the UK in the last year or so. (As an aside, I am a strong believer that Pinterest has a huge influence over home decor trends – I know I spotted metallics on the site long before you could find them in every shop up and down the British high street.)
US designer Kelly Wearstler has been using brass in her work for seven years. She says,
It is the warmest of the metals and makes everything feel so elevated and rich. In addition to that, brass goes with any other colour. When it’s used in furniture it works amazingly well in smaller spaces where the reflective texture can make a room feel bigger. (quote via FT.com)
How to use metallics in your home:
You really have two choices when it comes to using metallics in your home decor. Either pick a metallic tone to use as an accent in your room’s colour scheme or go all out. Look for large, metallic statement pieces that dominate the focus of your room.
The former suggestion is easier to work with. A few decorative accent pieces will not cost you hundreds of pounds; they’re less of a commitment than a room covered top-to-toe in metallic tiles, or a large gilded mirror that sets you back a month’s wage.
Thankfully, metallic candle holders, photo frames, display bowls and lamps can be found in most high street shops and from cute little boutiques online too.
If you are feeling a little more adventurous, use your favourite metallic tone to make a big statement. These kitchen splash-back tiles from Original Style certainly pack a punch. The designer has styled them with natural materials (wood, glass) and neutral colours. The tiles are the focal point of the room. They’re bold, but not overwhelming.
Alternatively, opt for a wallpaper (or statement wall) with metallic detailing for an easy-to-achieve take on the trend. There are plenty on the market at the moment. This is one of my all-time favourites:
The metallic wallpaper is charming, and works well with the other metallic accents in the photo. I could imagine this wallpaper in a bedroom, with a canopy bed and white voile drapes. It’d also look wonderful in a dining room, as the guests dine by candle light.
More ideas for metallics:
- Spray Ikea’s “floating” shelving with metallic paints. Display white, black and neutral coloured objects
- Create a DIY piece of metallic art for your wall, like the ladies at A Beautiful Mess did
- Create a metallic statement by surrounding a fireplace with copper sheets
- Light gold hues, especially in wallpaper, will really brighten up a room
- Metallics work really well with “natural” elements like wood, woven rugs etc
- Aim for an industrial chic feel by mixing with poured concrete accessories, exposed brickwork and wooden floors
- Mix a range of interesting metallic objects with rich, vibrant pinks and deep blues for an “well traveled”, eclectic feel
- Mirrored furniture in warm tones can add interest, plus it reflects light around the room (bonus!)
Finally, trends come and go all the time. As a rule of thumb, only choose items that you can live with, and that you absolutely love.
Which metal should I choose? Brass, copper or gold?
Lacquered brass pieces will achieve a high-shine glamorous look, while unfinished and aged brass will add a burnished, subdued glow to your room, without making too much of a statement.
Copper accessories have a lovely glowing, warm tone, which creates a modern and vibrant effect. Pair with soft colours and glass for an easy, airy feel.
Gold is certainly back in vogue, but today it’s all about mixing the tone with understated, pared down colours. Think soft blues, greys and whites. Forget large displays of wealth, gaudy furniture and plush fabrics. It’s is all about using gold to add a hint of dreamy luxe to your home.