Looking for an easy way to add polish to your home? Metallic accents — copper, brass, silver and platinum — are having a moment in today’s interiors. They create a feel of “relaxed luxury,” says Wisteria head designer Marlene Kennedy, adding sophistication without pretension.
When used sparingly, today’s metals can also help make gilded heirlooms look expertly eclectic in modern rooms. “So many people inherit amazing pieces from their parents or grandparents. . . . People want to keep those treasured items, but they want to freshen them up with new pieces,” Kennedy says. To achieve this, she suggests mixing metals: Pair your grandmother’s gold antique sunburst mirror with something that’s burnished brass, silver or pure iron, and the mirror goes from dated and traditional to fresh and hip.
The trick is not to go crazy with too many pieces or too many types of metals. As Kristin Peake, an interior designer in Rockville, says: “Whether it’s metallic or color, you want it to be subtle. You want it to be the surprise of the space.” And as a bonus, metallics, like mirrors, reflect light and can help make a room feel spacious. Here are some of our favorites.
● Stanley Pendant in brass, copper or nickel — over a white table or tablecloth in the dining room ($598-$898, www.anthropologie.com).
● Metal-framed mirrors, such as Wisteria’s silver-painted-finish Magnolia Mirror, are one of designer Kristin Peake’s top picks for giving a room some shimmer and shine ($299, www.wisteria.com). For other easy accents, Peake recommends metallic drapery rods, drum tables and art.
● Another bright idea from Peake: Use a modern metal shade, such as the hand-finished Metal Drum Lampshade in pewter, gold or black, to refresh a lamp ($89, www.shadesoflight.com). “It’s cool to use a different type of lampshade than fabric or linen,” she says.
● Why shouldn’t plants get the golden touch? Use one of West Elm’s four-inch Metallic Planters to add sparkle to any tabletop or bookshelf vignette ($12, available soon, www.westelm.com). Or, for a more glamorous statement, line a few up in a row.
● Peake loves how nailhead trim gives textiles and furniture a layer of understated metallic detail. See: the Lissa Nailhead Chest, made of hardwood and canvas and accented with solid brass nailheads ($3,399, www.horchow.com).
● “Sometimes gold can come across as pretentious and stuffy,” Kennedy says. So stay away from the big, gold statements and go for softer, smaller items, such as glassware and textiles; Peake is partial to drapery with nailhead trim, for example. Pillows are another good choice. Room & Board’s Shimmer Pillows come in a subtle gold, taupe, copper or silver ($99, www.roomandboard.com).
● Both Kennedy and Peake recommend mixing metals but caution that it may take some trial and error to get it right. One good rule of thumb, Kennedy says, is to use only one of each — copper, platinum, etc. — “depending on the size and scale of the pieces,” she says. A set of Fleet Brushed Nickel Chairs around a dining table, for example, would be fabulous but might preclude using nickel elsewhere in the room ($179, www.cb2.com).
● The mix of materials in Serena & Lily’s Metallic Suede & Hemp Rug — natural hemp keeps it relaxed, sueded silver leather makes it special — epitomizes the kind of understated, sumptuous look that Kennedy says is in vogue ($195-$1,150, www.serenaandlily.com).
● For a cohesive look, choose your materials based on the warm or cool tones of a room’s color palette, Kennedy says. Canvas Home’s Dauville Platter, in gold or platinum trim, will work in either case ($50, available soon, www.canvas homestore.com).
● Warm materials such as copper, gold leaf and burnished brass are now the “refreshing” metals of choice over the shiny ’80s brass and cooler silver, Peake says. Anthropologie’s round or square Brass Mirrored Tray ($98-$128, www. anthropologie.com) has a a softer, antiqued finish.
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