“Mixed metals” have been an interior design trend for several years now, with designers and homeowners opting to use a variety of finishes on doorknobs, drawer pulls, faucets and light fixtures, often in the same room.

Instead of an entire house with all brushed nickel or brass knobs everywhere, people are experimenting with their hardware finishes. Experimenting can be intimidating, so we asked Ted Roberts, style and design chief for lock manufacturer Schlage, for his advice on how to choose hardware so it looks timeless and on trend. In an email, Roberts provided the following tips:

1. Mix metals: When it comes to installing hardware in a home, new builders and fixer-uppers alike tend to install the same hardware finishes for efficiency and simplified aesthetic sake. This one-size-fits-all approach is a tradition we can challenge with the mixed metal trend. I encourage homeowners to mix two or three metals together to establish a proportionate connection between everything from door hinges to lamps. Some of my favorite pairings include: For the bathroom, polished nickel shower heads, and antique brass doorknobs. For the kitchen, metallic copper lighting and stainless steel faucets. For the bedroom, brass trim and matte black dresser pulls.

2. Pick a focal point: Believe it or not, there’s a strategy at play for how you’ll mix these various metal finishes. It starts with creating a focal point in the room that features two or three metals, such as a silver candelabra or an ornamental brass lamp. When this has been established, repeat those same metals on their own in other items (i.e. couch legs) to retain focus and organization in your space, while simultaneously adding significance to a piece and elevating your decor.

3. Create contrasting balance: From there, your focal point’s metals act as a North Star. Mix finishes accordingly with the decorative piece (i.e. gold mirrors and glass knobs) to create contrast with its supporting items. Alternatively, you can pair identical finishes next to each other (i.e. copper pendants and copper stove hoods), which heightens hardware from its backdrop, like a white tiled backsplash, to create a desired new-meets-old world look.

4. Complement your colors: Keeping your focal point top of mind even applies to choosing a hardware finish and color for your front door that complements the home’s exterior and highlights its architectural details seamlessly. For example, if you choose a bright blue paint, pair a matte black front entry handle for a visual pop that keeps the designer-inspired style going from the inside out.

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