We’re not big fans of design ‘rules’ but when they are based on good taste or what works and what doesn’t, we can accept them. One area that skates close to that mark is mixing metals.
There’s something about the character and quality of metal that requires more thought than if you were mixing colours.
That’s especially true when you’re dealing with a smaller room like the bathroom. Which makes mixing metals in the bathroom doubly challenging!
Is it a good idea to mix metals in a bathroom?
We hear this question a lot. Not always about a bathroom, but in general. Our usual answer is, wouldn’t life be boring if everything looked the same? If you walked into a room and all you saw were matching colours and textures?
The answer is yes, we think it’s a very good idea to mix metals in a bathroom.
In the same way we mix textures in any room to layer, add flavour and keep the room interesting, you can do the same with metals.
Which metals can be mixed within a bathroom?
Some designers tell you to steer clear of certain combinations. We would generally disagree with that.
We would say, ‘if different metal sheens look good together to you, use them. If they don’t, don’t use them’.
Interior design is incredibly subjective, so what looks good to you should look good in the bathroom.
The usual guidance would be to mix a warm tone like copper, brass, gold or bronze with a cool tone like nickel, chrome or stainless steel.
Black metals can be either warm or cool depending on what it is and where it will sit in the room.
Personally, I don’t like cool tones in a room as I think they make the place look like a commercial kitchen. Yet others in our team love cooler tones.
Cool vs warm metals and how they mix
As you can see from the image above, you have to be careful when mixing metals in bathrooms, regardless of taste.
The copper on the wall looks amazing, but is cheapened by the chrome (or chromed plastic) shower fixings. If you wanted to go that way, we would suggest using black.
As we mentioned above, black is the perfect middleman. It works with both cool and warm tones and can be safely combined with most other metals.
Like this for example:
But this isn’t a ‘rule’, it’s more about being careful about the quality of the materials and how they look.
Check this out:
We think you’d agree that this is a much more successful example of mixing the warmth and depth of copper with chrome. Exactly the same colour as that first image, but miles apart in terms of quality and how the two work together.
So, it’s not necessarily about the metals and colours. It’s about much more than that.
Our final example is from the Siam Hotel in Bangkok. It mixes black metal and brass exceptionally well to create a 1930s look. It balances the modern and the heritage so successfully, it makes the bathroom an event in itself.
While it wouldn’t work for every bathroom, it’s proof that you really can mix metals if you want to.
Ensure those metals are both of similar quality and have similar gravity and depth and you can mix whatever colour metal you like!