When I was working in retail one of the questions I got asked the most, came about in the bathroom hardware section. It was all about mixing metals. “Shouldn’t all my fixtures and faucets be the same finish?” A lot of customers would be so afraid of mixing metals in their bathroom!
But mixing metals in your bathroom can work out amazingly. When you know how…
Mixing metals adds interest and a modern twist to the bathroom. It’s totally common nowadays to see a mixture of different metals in the space. But how do you go about deciding what metals work well together?
If you’ve been wanting to experiment with more than one finish in your bathroom, here are the best tips for mixing metals.
Mixing Metals In Bathroom
The important part about mixing metals is the colour and undertone. As well as the finishes. These different factors will help in figuring out the right combination for your bathroom.
Metals & Finishes
Bathroom and kitchen hardware need to last. So invest in quality when you can. Plated hardware options will have a shorter life span. The most common finishes you’ll find for hardware in the bathroom and kitchen are:
- Brass (a gold finish)
- Chrome (silver with a cool blue undertone)
- Nickel (warm yellow undertone)
- Stainless Steel
- Oil Rubbed Bronze (a dark brown to black)
- Finishes & Sheens
- Brushed Or Satin
- Powder Coated
Remember when choosing a brass finish there are many different finishes and colour ranges. A bright polished gold or antiqued. It can be very tricky to get an exact brass match when buying from different companies.
One polished brass finish will look totally different to another polished brass finish. When using the same brass finish, get all your brass fixtures from the same company. You can add in a aged or antiqued brass from a different manufacturer.
One type of brass finish one company.
A chrome metal is a popular finish for hardware and fixtures. It has a high reflective shine with a cool blue colour undertone to the metal. But picks up fingerprints easily and water marks. However it’s still a popular choice.
A polished nickel can look very similar to chrome from a distance. But the main difference between chrome and nickel is the colour tone. Nickel has warm yellow undertone to it. When you place a chrome and a polished nickel finish side by side it easier to tell apart.
The textured finishes for nickel are usually a polished, satin or brushed.
Stainless steel hardware for the bathroom are great for a modern look. A grey silver colour finish that is durable and more resistant to staining than a chrome finish. A brushed steel finish gives more of an industrial look.
oil rubbed bronze
Oil rubbed bronze is more of a rustic feel and traditional feel. It’s a warm toned metal. Oil rubbed bronze is a dark brown to black finish depending on the manufacturer.
Matte black hardware is great as a neutral. Adding a black matte is a great contrast against a chrome, brass or nickel. Or practically any other finish. It’s works well for a modern space or contemporary bathroom space.
Is It Ok To Mix Metals In The Bathroom?
Yes mixing metals is more than ok! It just depends on what look you’re after. Mixing metals has been a strong trend in interiors for a while now. Because it does look good! It adds interest, depth and helps get a high end look for your space.
You just have take in to consideration placement of your mixtures and hardware. Also the size of your bathroom. And the style of fixtures and hardware you need to put in there.
The fixtures that need to be taken into consideration when mixing metals in the bathroom are; vanity faucets, plumbing fixtures, shower fixtures, mirrors, light sconces and pendants, cabinetry hardware, towels bars and rings. And switch plates!
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How Many Metals Can You Mix In A Bathroom?
When mixing metals it’s best to go for no more than three metals in the bathroom. For a smaller bathroom size, two metals are good. A larger size bathroom can push up to three finishes. That way, the bathroom design doesn’t get too busy. You want the bathroom to look visually interesting but not overwhelming.
The metal finishes you use should be repeated at a minimum of twice each.
Choosing Your Metals
Even if you’re choosing up to three different metals, there should be a more dominant metal. This will be the foundation of your design. Then choose one or two accent metals that will work well with your main metal and finish.
One thing about choosing your metals, it can be difficult to choose a finish from off a screen. It’s always best to order a sample if possible. This is easier to do with hardware pulls and knobs.
With bigger items like mirrors and water faucets, you will have to wait until they are delivered or see them in person. So make sure you’re happy with the bigger items first. Then work around those to finish off your bathroom design.
The bEst Tips: mixing metals
Here are the main tips to remember when mixing metals in your bathroom:
1. Choose A Dominant metal
The dominant metal should be repeated in the space and should be the finish of a main focal point. This could be the mirror on the wall. Or the light pendant or the sink in the bathroom. It should be repeated throughout the space at least in two different places.
2. Accent Metal
Your accent metal should compliment the dominant metal. All together there should be a maximum of three finishes all together including your dominant metal. Depending on the size of your space you might only opt for two finishes instead of three.
3. Repeat the metal Finishes
The metals need to be repeated. When adding in your accent metal finishes you should add it in at least two places. Only putting in your accent metal in one place will look like a mistake. Especially if you’re mixing only two metals.
Just make sure the dominant metal is repeated more than the accent metals.
A time you can get away with only using a finish once is with a centred vanity mirror. Plus while using three metal finishes throughout the bathroom. Then the wall mirror then becomes a focal point instead of looking like a mistake.
4. Contrasting metals
Contrasting the metals is how you get the design to look intentional.
So the colours need to stand out against each other. For example, a black and a brass finish would work well. Where as a nickel and chrome is hard to tell apart from a distance. An oil-rubbed bronze with a matte black is too similar.
Stay away from mixing two finishes together from the same family as well. Like satin nickel and polished nickel next to each other. A strong contrast between metals makes the design look elevated.
5. Finish Placement
The best way to pull off this trend is to have different metals sitting next to each other. If you have a polished chrome faucet for your sink vanity then choose a different finish for the mirror hanging directly behind it.
Even though the same finish should be repeated, it should be spread apart from each other.
This same rule applies if you are using two finishes from the same family. Like using nickel and chrome. In this case, a third metal would be used to balance out the two finishes. Like a contrasting black matte or a brass. And the nickel and chrome finishes wouldn’t be placed next to each other.
6. Mixing textures
In the same way you should only stick to two or three metals, is the same for mixing metal finishes. Don’t go for a different finish for every different metal. Stick to two finishes or sheen’s. For example a matte and polished finish. Polished and brushed.
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Which Finishes should match?
That being said, mixing your metals is a definitely a go ahead, there are some metal finishes that should match. The shower fixture and the sink faucets are a good pairing to match. Simply for unity to the design.
Items that have the same function should have the same finish.
It’s better if you can get these fixtures from the same company to ensure the metal finish is the exact same. Then you can work around which other fixtures you’d like to contrast.
Can you mix gold and silver together?
Gold and silver is a great contrast for mixing metals. Mixing gold and silver is going to give the bathroom space a luxurious look. A cool-toned and warm-toned metal together actually balances the space really well.
Even if gold and silver aren’t the look for you, just remember a warm metal and cool metal together will work well.
Mixing finishes in a small bathroom
If you have a small bathroom mixing a maximum of two metals is the best option.
You don’t have to mix metals in every space. Generally the smaller the space the more restraint for finishes and styles. You don’t want too many different things into a small space. It can be overwhelming even in a large bathroom space!
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The Best way to Start Mixing bathroom Metals
1. Different levels
An easy way to put different metals together in the bathroom is looking at the different levels in your bathroom. Dividing the space up this way is a good starting point and keeps things simple.
One metal finish for the bottom which would be the hardware on the vanities. The next level up would be the faucets which would be a different finish. Then the mirror a different finish.
And repeat a finish already used for the light fixtures. Preferably the same finish as the hardware on the vanities. This way all the finishes are repeated but not next to each other.
2. Decorative fixtures
Another way to mix in your metals, is to have the same metal for the faucets and the hardware on the drawers. The contrasting metal this time would be for the lighting fixtures and the mirror.
Mixing metals on a budget
Have you got the same finish throughout your bathroom? You want to add another metal to enhance your space but you’re not doing complete overhaul? Here’s one idea you could try.
The easiest way is to swap out your knobs and pulls on your vanities and cabinetry. If you want to go a step further you can find some spray finishes for the hardware instead of swapping the knobs and pulls entirely. Make sure you seal the sprayed finish with a clear sealant coat.
If you have framed pictures in your bathroom, you could change the colour of the frames too.
Steer clear of spray paint for major pieces and plumbing features. Like light pendants, faucets and shower fixtures. You don’t want it to look cheap.
Mixing Metals BATHROOM INSPIRATION
A modern bathroom using just black and chrome finishes really stands out against the warm wood tones in the space.
Anthology Creative Studio have mixed three metals in this beautiful bathroom. But even using three different finishes you can still simply the design by the styles of hardware used.
The black finish is repeated in the dainty black knobs on the vanity drawers and the faucet. A bronze finished mirror and brass scones contrast nicely.
The style of hardware you choose is important as well. If you want to mix three finishes but think it could be too much, go for hardware that is smaller in size. Or choose a fixture with no backplate for a more simple look.
This transitional bathroom design from Chris Loves Julia uses only two finishes. Using a timeless combination of brass and oil rubbed bronze.
I love this bathroom design. A fresh blue colour for the cabinetry and black fixtures make a great contrast. And gold mirror fixtures uplift the look with a little touch of luxe to the design. The black veined marble is beautiful.
Brass fixtures and black finishes gives this bathroom a modern look mixed with white subway tiling and penny flooring in black and white.
Mixing gold and silver together creates a glamorous design! Double chrome fixtures are fitted above bright brass-trimmed mirrors. And nickel-finished faucets for the sink area. The brass mirrors separate the chrome and nickel fixtures from each other.
So you can definitely pull off chrome and brass in a bathroom together!
That wraps up the post for mixing metals in bathrooms! I hope this helps figure out your bathroom style and provides lots of inspiration!