The days of matching the same metal color for lighting, cabinet hardware and plumbing are over. Today, designers and homeowners are getting creative and letting their personal style shine with mixed metals. Although this may seem complicated, there is a simple recipe for successfully mixing metals: pick a dominant metal finish for the room and coordinate accent metals with that. Try for a 70/30 ratio, where the dominant metal choice is on 70 percent of the lighting, accessories, hardware and plumbing, and add one or two metallic colors to make up 30 percent of the accent choices.

As with the rest of the accents in the home, mixed metals are trending in lighting, and many lighting manufacturers offer fixtures that blend two, and sometimes three different metal finish colors. Choosing one of these fixtures is a great place to start a mixed metal adventure.

When selecting the primary metal, keep the room’s overall style in mind. For example, for a modern look, chrome may be a good selection. For a traditional room, brass may be the way to go.
Consider the tones of the metal. There are warm metal tones like brushed brass, gold, and bronze; and there are cool metal tones such as chrome, polished nickel, and silver. And don’t forget black. Black is one of the trendiest finishes on the market today, and it mixes beautifully with most metal finishes.

Make sure to choose contrasting tones. For example, try black plus gold or silver, or chrome plus gold. Using metals that look too much alike gives a dated look – one that seems like a mistake.

Kitchens typically contain the most metal in the house, and there are lots of ways to creatively bring items together in harmony. Try placing mixed metal pendant lighting over the kitchen island, then match an accent metal finish from the fixture to coordinate with the cabinet and plumbing hardware. A rule of thumb in the kitchen is to pair finishes on metals that appear within the line of sight: for example, the sink faucet and cabinet hardware should match for a consistent look.

In the bathroom, blend metallic accessories like a metal-edged mirror, metal soap dispensers, and metallic wall hangings with lighting choices for seamless style. Bathroom lighting finishes do not have to match the bath hardware, but remember to choose complimentary, contrasting metal tones.

The larger spaces of living and family rooms are ideal for mixing metal accents. Again, think about starting with a lighting fixture for the primary metal choice, since lighting can be one of the most significant accessories in the room. Then add accents, and here’s where experimentation can come into play. Mirrors, wall art, tables, and other accessories in contrasting metallic tones make a dramatic statement and add visual interest and depth to the room.

In the bedroom, overhead lighting is often a prominent feature. Choose either a mixed metal fixture or a fixture in one dominant finish color, then select subtle metallic touches for table lamps and sconces, furniture and wall décor to provide a cohesive flow.

To get started with the mixed metal trend, visit an ALA-member Showroom for tips and guidance on lighting choices that add style and personality to any room.