Mixing Metals in the Bathroom 101

September 13, 2017

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When we were choosing the metal finishes for the room–faucets, lighting, towel rings and bars, toilet paper holders, mirrors and frames–I was all over the map. I knew I wanted to mix a few different metals, but I also wanted to make sure it didn’t look crazy. There were a lot of choices to make and I learned it’s definitely a delicate balance to achieving the mixed metal look. I’m excited to share a few things I learned along the way.

1. Pick a dominant metal for your space, this will be the finish that is used for the majority of accessories in the room. For us, this was Chrome. We worked with Delta Faucet to outfit the bathroom with faucets for the sink and shower, but we also brought in Chrome with the towel rings and bars, the shower curtain rod and the toilet paper stand. Chrome is an easy dominant metal because even across different brands, it generally looks the same. Unlike brass, which seems to look different depending on where you get it–this is why we chose it for our supporting metal.

2. Choose a supporting metal. We chose aged brass for our bathroom and brought it in through the hardware on the vanity and the lighting. I love the mix of the shiny Chrome and the more aged brass and we used the same combination (with unlaquered brass as our dominant) in our kitchen so it felt natural to bring it in here, too. Like I mentioned above, aged brass is going to look different across different brands (we got our hardware from Rejuvenation and our lighting from Schoolhouse Electric) so it’s best to not put them on the same sight lines in the room. Separated by our dominant metal, Chrome, the difference is less detectable.

3. Black always works as an accent. Our mirrors and art frame, and even the knob on our linen cabinet are all black and it’s the perfect accent. You can absolutely use a matte black as your dominant color, but even if you don’t, I firmly believe every space could use a touch of black and it mixes well with just about every metal finish out there. However, if it isn’t your dominant or supporting metal, it shouldn’t appear as much.

4. It helps to gather all your metal finishes in one document, so you can better see what your dominant, supporting and accent metals are. Below, you can clearly see we have the most Chrome, with brass as our accent (there’s one more wall sconce, too!) and a touch of black as an accent.

1. Wall Sconce | 2. Mirrors | 3. Mask Picture | 4. Sink Faucet | 5. Faucet Handles | 6. Towel Bar | 7. Shower Head | 8. Towel Ring | 9. Toilet Paper Stand | 10. Drawer Knobs | 11. Tub Spout | 12.  Shower Valve | 13. Cabinet Pulls 

We’re putting the final touches on the bathroom and can’t wait to share the full reveal with you next week! In the meantime, I gathered a few other excellent examples of mixing metals in the bathroom:

I love this aged brass, Chrome and black bathroom from Amber Interiors.

This polished nickel and brass combination from Studio McGee is beautifully classic!

Christina’s Adventures did this farmhouse bathroom in matte black and aged brass.

Lastly, this bathroom by Mindy Gayer with brass as the dominant, nickel as the supporting and black accents.

Which is your favorite? Do you like to mix metals in your home, too?


Special thanks to Delta Faucet for providing the beautiful faucets for the sink and shower in our bathroom. 


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What do you think?

  1. To Nickel or To Chrome says:

    We’re getting out bathroom remodeled and have chrome fittings throughout. However, when shopping around for shower doors, many of the styles that we like are in brushed nickel frames instead of chrome. We’re on the fence about mixing metals. Help!

    • Chris Loves Julia says:

      I typically avoid mixing metals in the same color family, so if have chrome, I would normally pair with black or brass if available!

  2. Kaye Rizzo says:

    Love the bathroom and mix of metals. I have settled on Calamine to paint the walls and would like to know what sheen you used.

  3. Corinne Nickel says:

    I’m planning on painting our bathroom in a lush dark emerald green because I love the look of lush green with gold. However, our existing fixtures are, silver faucet on the sink and silver shower head. Brushed aluminium light fixture and glass shower door fixtures. We have a white upright washer and dryer. Cream/taupe tiles in the shower. Espresso bathroom cabinets, with a cream & taupe tiled vanity. Our toilet and sink are both white. I can buy a new mirror with a gold frame and even spray paint the light fixture. Buying new a faucet and counter top is too expensive since we plan on moving within the year. Should I stay away from a bold color like dark green?

  4. Brianna says:

    What was the paint color in the bathroom?

  5. Marta says:

    We are mixing metals in our Cottage Cabin and using antiqued brass and black (and also a little stainless steal in the appliances and, by default, the handle of the SMEG fridge). Fingers crossed but I think it’s going to turn out great!

  6. Brittany says:

    THANK YOU! I had yet to see someone come out and say they mixed polished chrome with brass. I have only seen polished nickel with brass so I wondered. THIS LOOKS SOOOOOOO GOOD. Such a beautiful bathroom down to every detail.

  7. Jenny says:

    P.S. I would love to see a post about mixing wood tones, too! (i.e. lighter and darker tones, warmer and more neutral tones, and mixing in painted wood)

  8. Jenny says:

    Beautifully done, as always! I’ve been looking forward to this post since you mentioned it was coming up in one of your podcasts. I totally agree about black curtain rods, by the way! But here’s a question the next time you go through your “mail bag” on the podcast…I’m stumped on what to do with a pair of curtains I have with silver-colored grommets. I love the curtains, but I think they look funny on my black rod, and in doing a little research it seems like designers always match the grommets with the rod. Do I switch out the curtains? The rod? Just chill about it? I always love to hear your opinion! (Even about brushed nickel.)

  9. Lindsey says:

    On your podcast about mixing metals you mentioned that you’d recommend black curtain rods for window treatments. If you were to replace your main living room rods for black ones, do you have a recommendation? I love how substantial the West Elm ones are but they don’t come in black.

  10. Kelsey says:

    Maybe I’m the only one, but I cannot tell chrome from nickel. I wish you would have talked about the difference between the two.

  11. Steph M. says:

    Big fan of mixed metals. We also mixed chrome and brass in our bathroom remodel. I did use a shiny brass, which I know can be 80s sometimes, but with the dark teal walls, chrome and a little black it adds such a warm glow. Plus, it’s only on our shower rod, mirror pivot mounts and cabinet knobs.

    The pink you chose for the walls here is soooo good!!

  12. Lu says:

    I love aged brass look… I like the mixed metals look, but didn’t know how to mix them without looking weird… thank you for this post!

  13. Lara says:

    Your bathroom is beautiful! What about your shower rod – Do you have a preference of straight vs. curved for a small bathroom? Is it tension or mounted and how do you choose one that won’t rust easily?

    • Julia says:

      I really like straight rods, personally. In my heart, I love the idea of a mounted rod, but I could NOT drill into our tile, so we just went with a tension rod this time and are very happy with it. This one, in particular.

  14. I love that Studio McGee bathroom! I am working on a bathroom renovation in October and am planning on doing all brass since its such a tiny room and want it to look as pulled together as possible. You are brave to go with mixed metals! It totally works in your space and I love that sweet pink you painted the walls!

  15. Jordana says:

    Hi! What about mixing metals in a dining room? I heve a chrome table and black with chrome legs chair, and a wallpaper with golden dots. I was thinking about a brass light fixture… Do you think the brass chandelier would work above the chrome table and chairs? Thanks, Jordana.

  16. Brit says:

    I always worry about mixing metals, and somehow managed to do it easily within our den. At least in the den I took YoungHouseLove’s advice and just made sure I repeated the metals at least twice in the space. Some have more than, but it really does work.

    For a bathroom I’d be so stumped! So thank you for sharing this because you guys pulled it off so well in the girl’s bathroom–and in such a small space for it not to feel out of place is huge to me! I think my favorite aside from y’alls is Christina’s adventure. That faucet is made of dreams!

  17. Christina says:

    Love the way you mixed metals and the first inspiration photo is perfectly dreamy in every single way! Only b/c we are purchasing individual pieces for our bathroom and handing the lot to our contractor as he finishes our basement, were there any other connector pieces you needed to purchase for inside the walls in order to hook up your bath/shower? Thanks so much.

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It’s been over a year since we started designing our bathroom. We were working with Unique Kitchens and Baths for the cabinetry, and they came up with two different layouts. We selected one, tweaked it a bit and chose a lot of the finishes…annnnnd honestly we could never quite give the final “go ahead.” This […]

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