Design Tips for Mixing Metals in the Bathroom

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Is it OK to Mix Metals in a Bathroom?

Gone are the days of having to choose one metal finish for your entire home.  It’s now very common to mix and match metal finishes–not only in the bathroom, but throughout the home. Mixing metals in the bathroom can add visual interest and create a unique and stylish look. Here are some design tips to help you successfully combine different metal finishes in your bathroom.

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Choose a Dominant Metal

Start by selecting a dominant metal that will serve as the primary finish in your bathroom. This metal will be the most prominent and should be used for larger fixtures like faucets, showerheads, or lighting. Consider the overall style and color scheme of your bathroom when choosing the dominant metal. While mixing metals is ideal for adding interest, I would recommend selecting no more than three metal finishes for one room.

I also think it’s a good idea to stick with timeless finishes like chrome, polished nickel, and brass for permanent fixtures like faucets, shower heads, and lighting.

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Select a Secondary Metal

Once you have chosen your dominant metal, select a secondary metal to complement it. This metal should be used for smaller accessories and accents like cabinet hardware, towel bars, or mirrors. The secondary metal should harmonize with the dominant metal but offer a contrasting or complementary finish.

Consider Warm and Cool Tones

Pay attention to the warm or cool tones of the metals you are mixing. Warm-toned metals include brass, copper and oil-ribbed bronze. Cool-toned metals include chrome, polished nickel and brushed nickel. Black is considered a neutral metal and makes a great third metal to add to any space.

Just about anything goes, but there are a few mixed metal bathroom combinations that are a match made in heaven. One of my absolute favorite pairings is brass and polished nickel. Compared to chrome, polished nickel has a warm undertone and it looks stunning with brass.

If you prefer the crisp look of chrome, I recommend using matte black as the coordinating metal. Although I do have brass and chrome mixed together in our powder room, I prefer the look of brass with polished nickel. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

Balance the Distribution

Distribute the different metal finishes evenly throughout the space to create a cohesive look. Avoid clustering all the fixtures or accessories of one metal finish in a single area. Instead, spread them out to achieve a balanced and intentional mix. Be sure not to mix metals in the same color family. For example, chrome and polished nickel are both silver, however, chrome has a cool undertone in comparison to warmer polished nickel. This partnership highlights their differences and they end up clashing. There are ways to balance the undertones in a room, but this is not one of them.

I also advise against mixing metals with different finishes, such as brushed and polished nickel. You wouldn’t want to use these together but each work well with brass or matte black.

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Are Brass Finishes Still in Style?

While chrome and polished nickel bathroom fixtures are trending for 2023, brass–especially antique brass–is still in style, adding a luxurious touch to any room.

Brass works well in both warm and white spaces as well as rooms with darker tones. Use brass when you want your eye to be drawn to the fixture or metal finish.

In general, brass finishes are becoming more subtle and toned down, with more of an antique or aged deep golden look, rather than yellow, pink or shiny finishes.

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Consider the Overall Style

Keep in mind the overall style and aesthetic of your bathroom when mixing metals. Different metal finishes can evoke different moods and styles. For example, polished chrome and matte black can create a sleek and modern look, while brass and polished nickel can add a vintage or traditional touch.

Remember, mixing metals in the bathroom is an opportunity to showcase your personal style and create a unique and customized space. Trust your instincts and have fun experimenting with different combinations. With careful consideration and a thoughtful approach, you can achieve a stunning and harmonious mix of metals in your bathroom design.