Mixing metals

You all rock! I loved your responses to the bed making post. :) Thanks for the leads on sheets that fit the monstrous mattress – I’m going to check them out!

I get a lot of questions about what’s kosher when it comes to mixing metal finishes on hardware, light fixtures and faucets in houses.

First of all, I must say (again) – if you want to have 15 different finishes in your house, go for it. Seriously – if you like what you have then ENJOY. It’s YOUR house! Do what makes YOU happy.

Some in the “biz” say you should stick with one and only finish only for everything. So if your knobs in the kitchen are brushed nickel, the faucet, light fixtures, everything should be the same. But I find that can get a little bit monotonous. I think mixing them up a bit can be a very good thing. (And that may or may not be because my house is in a state of “mixed” right now.)  ;)

I currently have three finishes throughout our house – shiny brass, oil rubbed bronze and brushed nickel. I am not a fan of the shiny brass, and I am happy to announce (from the rooftops!!!) that we are shiny-brass free when it comes to the light fixtures:


Pffffffttt…brass. You are dead to me.

OK, that’s a little harsh. Brass…I highly dislike you! Don’t let the door smack you on the booty!

I’ve also been working on replacing our brass door knobs with beautiful, dark oil rubbed bronze (ORB) knobs for the past six months or so. YES – it’s been a long process. That’s a story for another day.

But once those are gone, I will be free of the brass.

Can I get an AMEN?!

Anywho, I still count the shiny brass as one of the finishes in our home because we do have a few doors knobs left to replace.

Otherwise, we have a mix of the brushed nickel/chrome/stainless finishes (I group those together) and ORB. The chrome I am not a fan of anymore – it’s starting to give me brass-like hives. We only have it on a few of our sinks, so for now I’m able to handle them.

For NOW.

So the million dollar question -- can you mix metals within one room?

I say YES, abso-posi-lutely you can. In our kitchen, I chose ORB knobs and handles for the cabinets:

And I sprayed the light fixture in ORB spray paint to match:

But most of the appliances are stainless, so when I picked out the new faucet, I went with that finish, and I LOVE IT:

I wanted it to pop off the black sink, and it does beautifully.

As a side note, let’s check out the before shot I have of our sink from last fall, and the after one more time:


Look at the difference! Sigh. Happy face. Hearts. Eyes flutter.

Our family room has a dark brown finish on the ceiling fan, and I sprayed the vents with ORB spray paint to match:

I also spray painted the brass bars on the fireplaces in the family room and the bedroom:

I did not use high heat paint, and it has still held up great!

I have really been digging the look of brushed nickel lately. I think it looks so classic. I used it all OVER the Bub’s room redo:

propeller art

(Target propeller sprayed in brushed nickel.)

I used it on lamps, accessories, frames – and it looks FANTASTIC with the navy and white:

When it comes to light fixtures, I still prefer the darker tone of ORB – I think they make more of a statement hanging in all of that empty space. Most of our lights are the darker finish now:

 dining room

But we picked out brushed nickel light fixtures for our foyer and staircase when we built our house:


And I LOVE the actual fixtures, I just wish they were darker! The light in our foyer is much bigger than this one, and I would really love to just have them taken down, spray paint them, and then put them back up. But to that, we’d need scaffoldings and lotsa lotsa cash to pay someone brave enough to do it.  ;)

And if we’re going to pay that much, I’ll probably just replace them, and not mess with taking them down, painting, doing the hokey pokey and putting them back up.

Side note – anyone have a clue how to change a light bulb in these things? I guess we’ll be waiting till they all go out. :)

We still have brushed nickel lights in two of our bathrooms, including the master bath:


In our master, I’ve gone the ORB direction with the towel rods and light switch covers:

So I think the brushed nickel does look out of place. But so do the chrome faucets. :) But all of those will get replaced…someday. They are about 1,793 on the list. It’s a long one.  ;)

Our son’s bathroom has the same light, but I worked with it and went with the same finish for the toilet paper holder, towel ring, etc. So who knows if it will stay or go – for now I’m completely happy with it.

So you can see, we’re all over the place around here. :) My goal? I’d love to have (at least most) of the light fixtures and faucets in the oil rubbed bronze finish. I’d love to have little extras like vents, thresholds and railing brackets in the darker finish as well.

I am drawn to that dark, lovely metal tone – some say it will go out of style one day soon, but I think it’s a classic, traditional finish. (Remind me of that in ten years, umkay?)

If you are starting from scratch or want to get your finishes more cohesive – there are a few tips to follow:

  • Knobs on cabinets and dressers are the “jewelry” of your spaces, and you should have fun with them. Do whatever you love!
  • Light fixtures should be fairly consistent – but it also very much depends on the look and decor in the room too.
  • Our faucet finishes are mixed, and even when I’m done replacing them all, they’ll probably still be. :) That’s another one that depends on the space.
  • Ideally, door knobs and hinges should be consistent throughout the the house. But we’ve been living with a mix of ORB (lurve) and shiny brass (ick) for months, so do as I say, not as I do.  ;)

Most importantly -- keep in mind the style of your home and your decorating – as long as you are true to yourself and what you love, anything will work. :)

So how many finishes do you have in your house? Do you stay fairly consistent or are you in constant transition like me? What’s the metal for you? Nickel? Antique brass? Oil-rubbed lovely?  :)


Thanks to my new advertiser!:


**I’ve got a great giveaway coming up this weekend! Stay tuned!

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