Un-Bundling: How to use more than one metal in a room, and still make it look good

brass and black metal




You’re standing on stage in front of thousands of people, your heart’s racing, the TV lights are hot. You know it’s important to make the right impression. Your whole career depends on it!

And then out of left field one of your fellow colleagues on the stage calls you straight out “low energy”

Who wants to be labeled that?? What do you respond??

Yep, that’s what happened in the presidential debate with Donald Trump to Jeb Bush.

We may call it bitchy. Yet Trump is pointing out a human truth about decision making that lots of us would rather deny…

A large portion of our impression of someone isn’t logical, but completely emotional.

Have you’ve ever had a feeling that something is kinda off when you meet someone?

Or laughed out loud when one friend tells a story vs another?

Then you know what I mean.

And its the reason why so many presidential candidates (although full of great ideas) will never be close to making US President, because they just don’t make you feel right.


So what does feeling right have to do with your home?

Lets imagine for a moment you’ve been given an insane present. Something that’s gonna make you so incredibly happy and ecstatic.

In your hand you’ve got a key with the most beautiful bow and your putting the key in the lock of your surprise.…

It’s your dream home.

Click, the door opens, and you walk in to see it decorated exactly how like. What do you see? How does it feel to be inside?

You’re certainly not going to be getting that uneasy (somethings not right) feeling. Or that it’s just plain blah are you?

So how do you make the home you’ve got feel just right? First we have to look at what’s making us uneasy.


What makes interiors feel blah or just not right?

No matter where you’re at in the decorating process, it’s normal to have this feeling.

And most often its because of balance. Why? Balance creates visual order and harmony which we are naturally attracted to

The easiest way to demonstrate this in our home, is with (since we all have them) metallics. So lets dive in to the two classic balancing mistakes.


How to use more than one metal in your room


Balance mistake #1 Bundling

Think of it like this. If everyone sat only at the back of the bus bundled together, it draws your attention there in a big way, and leaves the rest of the bus feeling sad and empty.

It creates only a single point of interest, which you’d most likely get bored of really quickly

Yet if you un-bundle those people and they disperse themselves throughout the bus, when you stepped on the bus, there’d be multiple people and areas in the bus to catch your eye.

This’d give you more visual entertainment. And overall the bus would feel more full, and balanced.

The same is true for the items in your home. If you have all furniture and accessories with silver finishes clumped together it’s going to feel heavy and out of place in one single spot.

If you instead unbundle them and disperse them throughout the room. The whole room will start to feel more right and balanced.

Got this nailed, but your room still feels blah. Here’s where mistake number two comes in.


Balance Mistake #2 Matching

This ones kinda deceptive because you’ve done the work to make it all look even, and it really is.

You have two identical lamps either side of the sofa, and the same metal finishes throughout your home.

It looks nice, but let’s face it ‘nice’ for interiors is saying it’s pretty yet boring. So where are we going wrong?

Well, while its been a general belief that the more symmetrical something is, the more beautiful it is. Like faces. Recent studies show that to be completely false.

youbeauty recently mirror matched the same side of celebrities faces together to see if symmetry was more beautiful than their current face. It wasn’t. See for yourself below.


symmetry vs asymmetry


So when I say in mistake #1 to un-bundle your metallics for balance, it doesn’t mean that they have to be perfectly balanced corner to corner, throughout the room.

Actually, it’s better if they’re not perfectly matched. All you have to do is spread the metallic items enough, to avoiding huge gaping holes of nothingness.

The second part of not being perfectly matched, is not having only one metal.

The old interior design rule was to match one metal throughout the house. Yet our personalities aren’t one note so why should your interior be.

Do you truly only love only one type of metallic?

Hands up who used to think brass finishes were fuddy duddy, and now you happen to be lusting after all the latest brass accessories?

Yep. Different metals rise and fall with fashion. So if you fit out your entire home in the latest metal having its moment, more likely than not, your home’ll be feeling dated in a few years.

Mixing up two, or possibly three different metals throughout your home ensures that it’ll still feel modern in years to come.

And by that I mean…

  • Evenly dispersing the brass in the room.
  • Evenly dispersing the chrome in the room.
  • Hell, evenly disperse whatever metals you like in the room.

So now we’re clear on the magic of mixing your metals. Un-bundling them, and dispersing them semi-evenly across your room. Lets look at some examples of how that’s done.


Metal finishes

Top to bottom, left to right – Bronze, Rubbed Bronze, Pewter, Polished Brass, Brushed Chrome, Chrome, Brushed Brass, Polished Copper, Brushed Copper.


How to mix metals in the living room


mixing different metals


Metallics can kind of act as neutrals. So in living spaces its much easier to get away with any combination.

In the living room above, you’ve got a chrome edge table, a fine silver metal chain chandelier, mixed with a gold framed silver mirror, and gold and crystal sculptural objects in the far corner.

They look good because there is breathing space between them. What would have been weird, is having them bundled together.


how to mix metals


Are you now confused? All of these metallics are on one wall!

Yes, there’s exceptions.

If you want to make glamorous statement. Then bunching metallics en masse like above is a beautiful way to do it.

It only works if it really is the statement feature of the room though (you’ve probably heard it called a focal point – that’s the first thing that grabs your eye as you walk in the room).

So, if you were to bunch a collection of metallic accessories in one corner it wouldn’t have enough visual pulling power and thus it’d look a little funny.

That doesn’t mean you can’t put silver and copper accessories together on the same shelf. You’d just want to do that throughout the room.

And saying that, even this room with a focal point would most likely still have a few metallic accessories sprinkled in other areas of the room to balance this wall out.

Now let’s move on to where mixing metals really matters.


How to mix metals in the kitchen or bathroom


mixed metal kitchen


What’s working in the above kitchen is relationships. The copper pendants relate to the warmth of the wood and the floor. The silver faucet and chair legs to the grey lines of the marble.

What it shows is that you don’t necessarily need to add more copper or chrome in the room  to balance it out, if it picks up on other colours in the room it’ll also disperse perfectly well.


brass and black metal


See how the cabinet colours are bought into the rest of the room.

The black cabinet is echoed in the metal faucet and pendant as well as black accessories.

The brass cabinet is blended into the room in the cabinet door hardware and kitchen accessories.


how to mix metals


I popped this kitchen in because I want to show that mostly one metal can also be beautiful.

Yet the finishing touch here is the black and brass pendant.  Why? Because it picks up on the colours of the floor and countertop balancing out the entire room.




Now this bathroom has mostly rubbed bronze of black finished metal which look very similar. See handles, cupboard pulls and the wall light and how they’re evenly dispersed.

Yet the faucet and taps are chrome. If you’d gone matching in this instance it’d look pretty heavy.

This is by far the most common way to combine metals in the bathroom and is a fail safe way to ensure it all looks good. I find it best with metals that are furtherest apart in terms of look.


how to mix metals


Chrome fixtures and black metal form the basis of this bathroom. Alternating dark metal on light walls and light metal on dark cabinets is also a very common way to combine metals.

The faucet remains chrome to keep it looking modern and fresh.

Notice how on a very classic colour palette the brass and copper accessories really enliven the space.


So let’s recap:

  • Rooms give you an uneasy feeling because they lack balance.
  • Un-bundling your metallics in a room and dispersing them will help you room feel more balanced
  • The prettiest balance isn’t perfect symmetry but where there aren’t huge areas without anything.
  • Using only one metal makes a room feel flat. Mix your metals for the most enduring look.
  • For living rooms you can get away with almost any combination of metals. The key is dispersion throughout the room.
  • If you’re making a big statement feature in your room with metallics, then its ok to have them grouped together, but don’t forget to sprinkle some other metallics in the room so the feature doesn’t look completely out of place.
  • For kitchens and bathrooms consider the relationship the metals you’re using have with the other colours of cabinets and tiles in the room. Light on dark and dark on light is a good way to balance the whole scheme.


Now’s your turn:

Take a look at one room in your house.

  • Where is the metal in the room?
  • Is it evenly dispersed or all in one corner or space?
  • Do you have only one type of metal or a variety of metals?

Now move the metals you have evenly around. It’ll instantly remove that uneasy feeling

And add in more metals as you need, to elevate your home from that “low energy” Jeb Bush feeling to truly inspiring.


Published by: Rach Bryant

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