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Mixing Metals: The Do’s and Don’ts… Oh, and my Go-To No-Fail Formula (I Got You!)

I would like to start off by saying: Yes, you CAN mix metals in your home. In fact, it’s preferred. (Do it!) Mixing metals actually gives a space dimension and it can be so visually striking… Rather than bland or too “matchy matchy.”

BUT it can feel intimidating if you don’t know where to start or what to match. Good news: The key is to set-up a good system (I literally have a formula!) so you NEVER doubt yourself when choosing a metal or two… or three. (Do you dare to choose three?)


Keep reading for my tried and true tips – my do’s and don’ts - to keep in mind as you select metals whether it’s for one space or an entire property.


DO: Limit your metals to three or less per area


The idea is to cohesively layer different metals rather than overwhelm one space with one metal… Again, just one metal can feel a bit bland or very “matchy matchy.” As a rule, don’t choose more than three. Anything more than three won’t feel cohesive. If you’re not feeling super confident, just pick two. Matte black is always a safe choice because it matches everything – but be careful, as you have to consider the style of the property. Matte black is typically seen in more modern properties, where brass and nickle are seen in more historical properties.


Do: Select a “foundational metal”


What do I mean by “foundational” metal? This is the metal you’ll see throughout the ENTIRE space – your doorknobs, hinges, etc. These should all match. If you’re flipping or developing an property, I actually recommend they match throughout the entire property. THEN you’ll choose another metal that will accent this metal… These accent metals can change throughout the property. For example, your kitchen can have a completely different second metal than the baths… But these accent metals should be your light fixtures and plumbing. If you’re challenging yourself to choose a third metal, your last metal should be your hardware.


So, what’s the plan? What’s the formula? Here it is:


Foundational metals (doorknobs and hinges), followed by Accent Metals (light fixtures and plumbing) and ending with a dash of Hardware.


If you want to stick with just two metals, your accent metals and hardware metals should match.


I recommend writing this formula on your hand.


Now, it’s time for the don’ts!


Don’t: Forget about texture when mixing metals. (This is so important.)


Let’s not forget that metals come in forms… There’s satin, polished, hammered and matte. (I think I covered all of them.) If you consistently mix and match these various textures, that will keep the look intentional.


Now may I make some recommendations? Here are some combinations I like! Feel free to copy and paste them.


(Note that matte black is essentially the universal donor of metals… It just pairs well with everything.)


Matte Black + Brass + Polished Nickel

Brass + Polished Nickel (A match made in heaven because polished nickel has a warm undertone that pairs well with brass… NEVER pair brass with polished chrome as polished chrome has a cooler tone!)

Matte Black + Satin Nickel

Matte Black + Polished Chrome (Polished chrome really only pairs well with Matte Black as it has a cooler tone…)


You’ll notice Copper isn’t on my list… And it shouldn’t be unless you are working on a farmhouse or industrial style property. Copper is very style specific. That’s a whole other blog.


Need to see the options? I get it, I’m also a visual learner. Here are a few ideas for mixing metals.

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