How to Work Metallics in a Modern Interior / by Tash South

To say I have a particular penchant for metallics would be a bit of an understatement, although I do try not to go OTT! Used well, metals can add an instant touch of glamour or edge - depending on how they are used. When incorporating metallics into your décor, there is an art to striking the right balance. These days metal is making it's way into our homes in all guises, and in the most unusual of places, from wallpaper to flooring inlays.

Calico Wallpaper Photo from Design Milk. Photo by The White Arrow

Calico Wallpaper Photo from Design Milk. Photo by The White Arrow

THIS! It just makes me want to sprint right up to that bar! Image from Dezeen, Herzog Bar & Restaurant München

THIS! It just makes me want to sprint right up to that bar! Image from Dezeen, Herzog Bar & Restaurant München

I definitely prefer my metals a bit more burnished or hammered for a more natural look, but I’m also a massive fan where they appear in sinuous sculptural forms, which is shown in much of Tom Dixon’s work... swoon!

Bert & May's Rich, Burnished, Brushed Brass Kitchen, which I've blogged about before here

Bert & May's Rich, Burnished, Brushed Brass Kitchen, which I've blogged about before here

Tom Dixon's sinuous, sculptural Melt Pendants. Image from hqdesigns.de

Tom Dixon's sinuous, sculptural Melt Pendants. Image from hqdesigns.de

Tom Dixon Copper Shade Cluster Lighting

Tom Dixon Copper Shade Cluster Lighting

Using metallics is by no means new. Trends have evolved through the decades, in the Twenties, chrome was the metal of choice, paired with plenty of mirrored surfaces. Brutalist metalwork become popular in the Sixties and Seventies, and in the Eighties, gold and brass were all the rage.

Thinking about going for gold? My advice is: Do it!

Here are 4 style tips to help you to start incorporating some shine into your home:

1. Start small

If you are a tiny bit hesitant because you’ve never used metallics before, start with some accessories to test it out, there are some fab items out there at the moment, from copper pineapples and lamps to gold cowhide cushions, buy a few and change them around a bit in your space to see if you like it. And if after a while you LOVE it - go for it! Use your metal of choice on a larger area or as a statement piece.

One of my go to wallpapers to make a subtle yet impactful metallic statement is Antilles weave gold from Thibaut – it has a grasscloth texture, it has dark drama, it has fine threads of gold running through it, personally, it has everything I could ever want in a wallpaper - and I’m definitely finding a place for it in my new house when it’s finished. And I promise I am not being paid to write that!
So try it - using metallics and mirrors reflect light, open up a space and brighten up a dull room in an often unexpected way.

Copper Pineapples by Oliver Bonas

Copper Pineapples by Oliver Bonas

2. Moderate your metallics

There is a definite trick here to avoid ostentatiousness - unless that’s what you want of course!
To show off metallic pieces in moderation or as a single feature, mix with different textures to balance them out. I love adding rough or soft textures (or both) to the mix - like velvet and exposed brickwork or natural grain wood, for example - so that the metallics stand out even more in contrast.

3. Think about your palette

When adding metallics to your space, think about the colours that would work well with your chosen metal. Gold and brass look lavish with darker hues, such as navy, emerald green and other jewel tones (one of my favourite combos is gold paired with rich green velvet). Steel and silver complement greys, white and blues, while copper loves grey and navy.

I love the gold base of this coffee table paired with the green velvet. Image from My Domain. PHOTO: Interiors by Studio M.

I love the gold base of this coffee table paired with the green velvet. Image from My Domain. PHOTO: Interiors by Studio M.

Gold and navy, image from avestyles.com. Photo by Rennai Hoefer

Gold and navy, image from avestyles.com. Photo by Rennai Hoefer

4. Mix you metals

Approach with caution! Mixing different metals with abandon should probably be avoided - and best left to the professionals. But if you combine the same colour metal in different textures and finishes, for example; polished, hammered and burnished finishes of gold, a striking effect can be achieved.

 

I hope I’ve inspired you to try a metallic. If you’ve used metallics in your home, please share them in the comments below.
For more metallic inspiration, check out my dedicated gold and copper Pinterest boards here:
Copper Cool and You are Gold.