How things have changed when it comes to buying kitchen hardware and bathroom brassware these days. It feels like not too long ago, you could only choose between chrome, chrome or… more chrome. From showers to kitchen taps, you were fairly limited in terms of the look you could create in your home. But now, as we all want to introduce personality and individuality within our décor, the choice really is much more exciting – or at least I think so.
Recently, I was speaking to Benjamin Peak, the managing director at The Watermark Collection, who believes the turning point was around a decade ago. “We began looking for more authentic and warmer finishes, together with an industrial-luxe aesthetic,” he tells me. “Once our eyes were opened to non-chrome metallics, there was a resurgence of interest in other metal finishes such as brass, copper and gold, and in more recent years we have seen more advanced, post-working treatments such as antiqued, vintage and aged becoming increasingly popular too.”
But with so much choice available, where do you start with finding the finish that’s right for you? Well it all depends on the style you’re trying to create. For example, with the retro revival bang on trend, if you love the richness of the 70s, why not opt for golden hues.
Or is the industrial look more your cup of tea?
Then tarnished brass, gun metal or pewter could be the perfect option.
Art Deco is also seeing a resurgence, and if this is something you like the look of, then Ally Dowsing-Reynolds, co-owner of Dowsing and Reynolds suggested to me that combining black and gold can create this glamorous aesthetic.
Interestingly, Massimo Buster Minale, founder and creative director at Buster + Punch, he thinks your choice of metal actually says a lot about your personality. He put it this way when I chatted to him: “Brass is confident, steel is calm, black is modern and burnt steel shouts rock star.”
But regardless of who you might be, it’s advisable to always be to use solid metal products – as they age better. Another tip is to contrast your metallics with your cabinets and walls. For example, brass and steel work best on dark materials and blacks and gun metals on lighter hue materials.
So, where to include these metallics?
Think beyond bowls, vases and photo frames consider the often-overlooked, more boring items too, such as light fittings and plug sockets. “A gold dimmer switch with beautiful detailing can be as eye-catching as purely decorative objects,” Ally says, agreeing with me. But truly, the great thing about metallics is you can use them as much or as little as you want as well.
Brass kitchen handles can help make a traditional Shaker-style kitchen feel more contemporary, whereas an adventurous tarnished copper used for your shower, bathtub and mixer taps can create a real statement – especially if you don’t treat it so it will develop a natural patina over time.
Or, if you simply can’t decide on a metal, why only pick one?
“The variety available is exciting, along with the striking contrasts that can be created,” Benjamin tells me, “In fact, we’ve seen a real rise in more than one metallic finish in a scheme, opting for dual and tri-finish combinations.” I can relate – my kitchen features a matt black tap and aged brass handles.
Whatever you pick, however, a word of warning: be careful of matching products from different brands. “There is no standardisation in finishes resulting in a huge variation in tones, so even if it has the same name – copper for example – the colour of the finished item can vary greatly,” Benjamin adds.
Also, your chosen finish might need treatment and regular TLC, so check before you buy. Also, if you plan on mixing and matching, get samples in and see how they go together before committing.
So, with all this in mind, how rock star will you be?
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Featured image: iStock.com / ume illus