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    Mixing Metals

    styleForget that old design rule that states you need to stick with one metallic finish when furnishing a room. Find out the secrets to mixing metals with abandon to create a layered and luxe space.

    Last year I went to the home of a potential client for a consult. During our discussion, it struck me that everything in the apartment matched—every metal element in the house was the exact same polished chrome. Being the inquisitive designer that I am, I found out that he matched everything to the existing chrome kitchen and bathroom faucets! While an extreme example, it raises the question: How do you mix metallics with each other?

    Fortunately, fellow designer and business consultant Krista Coupar of Coupar Consulting found the perfect recipe for serving mixed metals in her stylish San Francisco dining room. As a mother of six children, you would think Coupar would shy away from a space full of surfaces most would consider prone to showing fingerprints, and not necessarily friendly to roughhousing. However, her dining room routinely serves up weekday breakfasts, math flashcard drills and the occasional birthday party. The secret to the room’s success is Coupar’s flawless mixing of different metals, from brass to chrome. This free-spirited approach to mixing metallics elevates the room’s sophistication, but also reinforces the space’s carefree persona, making it equally comfortable playing host to 10-year-olds and 30-year-olds.


    styleTo create a similar effect in a room, follow these four tips to effortlessly mix metallics:

    Designate an anchor piece.

    If metallic is going to be a central theme in your room’s design, call it out by designating a metallic piece to anchor the space. In this case, Coupar used her sideboards as anchor pieces from which the remainder of the room flows. The soft sheen of the furniture pieces complements the other decorative elements in the room.

    Add metallics in layers.

    Did you notice the champagne sheen in the floral wallpaper? The brass frame of the wall mirror? The silver rim of the plates on the table? Look again—they all are there, but are not screaming for your attention. The repetition of the metallic elements reinforces the design direction of the room but is not overt. Subtlety is key when mixing metallics.

    Keep it in the same finish.

    Coupar chose to keep all the metallic elements a brushed finished. In doing so, no one metal element pulls the eye and breaks the harmonious palette. From her chandelier to the sconces to the sheen of the wallpaper, the brushed finish is a linking element.

    Mix in textures of the same metal.

    If mixing metals still frightens you, then stick with the same metal. Try experimenting with it in various textures, like hammered, etched or burnished. It will still bring visual interest to the space, but is easier to implement.

    So why match when you can mix with abandon? Follow the above rules and you will be mixing and matching metallics in your home like a professional designer.

    Courtney Lake is the interior designer and lifestyle expert behind Monogram Décor ( and its celebrated blog, “Courtney Out Loud.” His work and writings have appeared on television and in writing including “The Wall Street Journal,” “The Nate Berkus Show,” the “San Francisco Chronicle,” “Life & Style Magazine,” “RUE Magazine,” “Real Simple,” “This Old House” and “7×7 Magazine.”