Decorating with Metallics

Fashion-Forward Classic

Metal is the type of neutral decorative accent that runs the gamut in terms of finish possibilities. Whether you gravitate toward gold, silver, copper, chrome, or brass (or more than just one), the effect always adds polish. Here are a few ways to incorporate this sophisticated detail into your own home.

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Mix Finishes

white table top with drawers with gold and white home decor
Jason Donnelly

Have you ever used the range of hues on a paint chip strip to establish a cohesive palette? The same idea can be used with metal. Simply start with a polished version of a metal, then add in another accent with an antiqued surface, and complete the transition with one raw metal piece. Take this entryway, for example. A classic white console table sets the tone with brushed gold legs and embellished Lucite drawer pulls. The metallic accents continue in modern tabletop accessories and a decorative wall mirror. The mix of white, gold, and neutral creates a timeless, elegant look.

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Master of Mixing

brass accents and furniture in modern living room
Edmund Barr

Metals have the uncanny ability to mix with ease. Because of the similarities in sheen and the natural, earthy tones, brass furniture and accents are easy to pair up. The more you layer this metal, the more it exudes an eclectic flair.

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A Nod to Nostalgia

front entry with basket of canes and large gold mirror

Lately, metal has been touted as a largely contemporary design element, but the material has been around for centuries. You have only to tour your local antiques mall to see that metal has been consistently on-trend in everyday homes throughout the ages. Achieve a worldly effect in your own present day space with a metallic piece that features a bit of patina. This classic ornate mirror is a stunning nod to just how far gold has come as a favored finish.

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Nail the Industrial Look

rustic kitchen

Skip the built-in island and, instead, consider embracing the industrial tone of a raw metal island that once served as a lab table, industrial work table, or cart. Although the search may take time to find the perfect fit and style for your space, that one-of-a-kind metallic character isn't easy to replicate.

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Gilded Age

Traditional White Sofa with Round Wood Side Table and Black Shaded Table Lamp

Gold is a metal that isn't likely to fade from the design world anytime soon. Celebrate its timeless elegance by infusing your space with things like gold lamps, metal nesting side tables, and gold-trimmed display shelves. Since this type of metallic finish is considered a neutral, it can be worked into any room no matter the color scheme.

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Metallic Fabrics

neutral living room with silver cushions

Metallic detailing doesn't even need to be the real deal to add shimmer to a space. These plush silver poufs bring the luxe feel home without having to add in heavy metal furniture or architectural detailing. Plus, they make quick party seating.

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Wishful Metallic Thinking


Even a small hint of metallic shine will add something special to a space. Here, a decorative gold wishbone perched on a tabletop offers subtle glamour. Whether or not you carry the element through the rest of the room, this tiny detail makes all the difference when it comes to your tabletop styling.

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Learn How to Gold Leaf

Turn almost any object into a metallic work of art with this DIY gold leafing technique.

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Stylish Metallic Supports

bright yellow, blue, and pink living room with patterned chairs
Brie Williams

Metallic gold display shelves are the perfect solution for showing off your carefully curated collection. The polished finish of the shelving unit won't compete with or distract from your prized possessions. Happily, even your silver accents will look beautiful beside the gold frame of the shelves since metals mix well.

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Silver Is Still Strong

living room

Although gold has held the design limelight for the past several years, chrome and other silver finishes still make a metallic splash. The classic sheen of that mirrorlike detailing is difficult, if not impossible, to ignore. Soften the cool metal with mercury glass accents and whitewashed wood lighting.

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Wire Frame Coffee Table

living room

Metal chicken wire is an excellent addition to a small space, thanks to its see-through property. By not disrupting the sight line, the metal coffee table in this living room gives the illusion of extra space.

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Mix and Match

Condo Decorating

For a collected-over-time look, commingle different shades or patinas of a metal. Try incorporating light fixtures with a dark, burnished gold finish and furniture with a more polished sheen. Despite the differences in finishes, the look still is cohesive and feels intentionally collected.

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Perfect Blend


Chrome is a contemporary design element, but can it work in a traditional space? Pay attention to the silhouette: Choose a piece that features the metallic silver finish you love done in an elegantly beveled shape. Here, a contemporary chrome and glass table is a natural addition to the transitional space thanks to ornate detailing at the corners.

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Dark Side

living room

Turn lighting into a work of art by choosing a metal structure in a rich, bold black or an oil-rubbed bronze finish. These elegant sconces are as much a part of the gallery wall as the frames, thanks to their dainty silhouette done in a strong metal. When using such a dark color of metal, it's best to repeat it throughout the room in things like window treatment hardware and table lamps.

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Curated Collectibles

floating wood shelf with knickknacks including books, gold giraffe vase, pine cone and houseplant

Achieve eclectic style with metal conversation pieces that speak to your whimsy and tastes. Things like gold birds, classically influenced brass busts, and chrome sculptures all have the unique ability to bring character to an otherwise bland room. Scour local thrift and antiques stores for one-of-a-kind treasures that won't bust your budget.

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Ease On In


Like most decorative finishes in a home, a little bit of metal really does go a long way. So if you need to ease into this finish trend, try adding a range of tiny accents. Even things as subtle as metal trim on a glass mirror and modern metal drawer pulls can do the trick.

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Spot the Golden Secret


Go for the unexpected and add a metallic finish as a single surprise detail or two. Here, a space outfitted mostly with wooden and upholstered details benefits from an aluminum tabletop. But the real surprise comes from a small glimmer of gold lining the overhead lighting.

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Smartly Steel


When it comes to high traffic areas like the dining room, kitchen, and family room, durability becomes a key element of design. So choose furnishings that can withstand anything your family throws at it. Steel, for example, is a beautiful metal that is built to last—making it the perfect material for things like barstools, utilitarian storage cabinets, and coffee tables.

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Cohesion in Color

fireplace in living room

Although mixing metals, both in color and style, is a fun way to test your designer capabilities, there's something to be said for a matching collection of metallic finishes. In this living room, a single tone of gold runs all the way throughout—from the fireplace mirror and hearth figurines to the lighting and decorative tabletop accents. The singular finish stands out against the white surfaces and creates a cohesive rhythm.

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Just a Taste


Add a hint of old Hollywood nostalgia with polished gold or brass finishes. This manifestation of the metallic trend may be a little harder to nail since an overabundance of the finish can read as dated, but when used in moderation—as with this single statement lamp—the effect is bright and brilliant. Try softening the highly reflective finish with wooden elements, burnished aluminum, and rich colors.

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Beautiful Oil-Rubbed Bronze


The oil-rubbed bronze trend in metallic finishes is an everyday easy alternative to more glamorous golds and chromes. Nowadays, it's common to see this type of dark, saturated finish on dining room chandeliers, family room coffee tables, and even the doorknobs throughout an entire house. This metal works best solo as opposed to bringing in other metallic textures. The finish also pairs nicely with natural textures and organic materials.

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Grid Out Chrome Details

living room

You'll often notice that your favorite contemporary design elements and furniture pieces are built with a metallic finish at their core. This era of design was built on the idea of sleek silhouettes and stark character. Very few materials and finishes get that point across better than metal. This grid side chair is an excellent example of the contemporary metallic thought process.

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Do-It-Yourself Artwork

Gold wall hanging above pink sofa in living room

You don't need a big budget to pump up the wow factor in your home. Use golden foil cardstock cut into squares, folded in half, and arranged into a pattern you enjoy. Secure the top row to metallic shower curtain rings, and hang it with pride on a dowel or curtain rod.

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Reclaim Rustic Edge

home office

Reclaimed iron is another type of metal finish that adds interest to a space. It all comes down to that natural, raw texture, and the introduction of earthy colors that make for an exceptionally cozy space. This multipurpose entryway and office area is filled with rustic wood tones balanced by the cooling effects of iron table legs, metal lighting, and cafe chairs.

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Glamour Is in the Metals

Fashion-Forward Classic

This living space is undeniably glamorous in nature, so what's the one element that brings the tone home? It has to do with the interplay of gold metal, of course. The more of this material you add, the more that shimmery finish contributes to an overall feeling of high style flair.

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Soften the Look

close up of pink flowers in metal vase

Take the modern edge off metallic accents when you group them with natural elements, such as a bouquet of flowers. Decorating with florals also makes it easy to update colors seasonally—or week by week. If you crave a modern metallic look, spray paint a few branches you find in the yard a golden tone and set them in a metallic vase.

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