Using gold in home design goes back as far as ancient Egypt, and it appears in every period and style through the ages since. A truly cameleonlike accent, it can appear aged and traditional on the gilded frame around a Victorian oil painting, or sleek and contemporary on the rim of a midcentury martini glass. Today's use of gold pulls from all the eras. What makes it notable is the mixing of periods -- Victorian with midcentury -- into a uniquely of-the-moment look.
It is often said that gold is a "warm" metal, due to its yellow cast. Any hue in the red, orange, and yellow range is considered a warm color because it evokes the flames in your fireplace and has a resulting cozy feel. Gold is also a rich hue because it was once used to show that a homeowner was of wealthy status and that he or she could afford the rare and exotic, such as a gold-leafed ceiling or gilded birdcage. And finally, gold has an elegance that comes from its use through the ages in beautiful jewelry. Adding gold handles to a chest is like dressing up an outfit with a gold necklace. As a precious metal, it's used to set off gemstones of every hue, and in a home setting it works with all colors of the rainbow.
1. Make a statement. Gold has impact on a room, so you can really create a "wow" moment with very little effort. Use gold-pattern wallpaper on one wall in an entry. Place a gold-covered pillow in the mix on your sofa. Paint a side table with gold paint to perk up your bedroom.
2. Mix it in. Gold is the tool to create a truly eclectic look. Hang a gilded antique mirror in a wall arrangement with collected and modern art pieces to add patina and pedigree. Or wheel a contemporary gold-and-glass bar table into a traditionally decked out study to bring levity to a somber space.
3. Use it like jewelry. It can dress up a dull or hardworking space, and provide something unexpectedly beautiful. Think of a small desk lamp in your home office or a gold hook to hold your towel by the shower.
As hot as this trend is right now, nearly every retail source has gold-patterned fabrics and wallpapers, gold-accented furniture, gold-leafed lamp bases and chandeliers, and decorative accessories coated in gold. You can shop flea markets and thrift stores for vintage pieces like gold-painted picture frames or 1970s barware that won't break the bank. Or, you can go the DIY route: dip the legs of your coffee table in gold paint, stick a metallic gold decal to your dining room wall, or iron a gold-fabric monogram onto a pillow for your bed. Watch the video below to learn how to gold leaf.