6 Tips for Successfully Mixing Metals in Your Bathroom


mixing metals

SOURCE: Pinterest

It’s not always necessary to do a full blown renovation in order to give your bathroom a brand new look. One of the easiest ways is by updating your fixtures. If you haven’t shown any love to your bathroom in more than 10 years it’s time.  If the vanity and tiles are holding up well then a simple refresher will do the trick. If you’re seeing bathrooms that are mixing metals you might be wondering whether that’s a new trend or something to avoid. 

Just like we’ve seen a recent trend in fashion towards combining both gold and silver, bathrooms can benefit from the same fun in mixing metals. 

It might seem risky but if you do it with intention you’ll create a beautiful, polished look. The goal here is to create something that doesn’t draw attention to the fact that you used multiple metal finishes. You want the finished space to have such a seamless look that nothing stands out. It just creates a gorgeous finished product.


1/Don’t Combine 2 Metals From the Same Family

The secret to success lies in the opposition. If you’ve ever had to combine wood tones in your home you’ll know that the goal is to create strong differences. This stops the spaces from looking like you tried to match woods but got it wrong. The same applies with mixing metal finishes.

This means if you use chrome for your sink and shower fixtures don’t then use nickel for your towel rack and toilet paper holder. They’re just too close and will give the sense that you bought them separately without getting the finish right.

The same goes for matte gold mixed with brass. Go for metals that have a higher contrast.

This look works so well when you just embrace the differences. If you’re feeling nervous and try to play it safe, that will be obvious in the end. Just have fun and go all the way with it.

mixing metals

SOURCE: Studio McGee

2/ Keep the Finish Consistent

If you struggle with decorating your space one of the tips that can be useful is to always keep something consistent between materials. It could be different shaped tiles but all in the same colour. Or upper and lower cabinets in different colours but the tie is the door frame. 

In the case of mixing metals keep the finish consistent to attain the intended look. It’s important when using different materials to always stay intentional with some part of the equation. In this case, the finish can create the link between all the metals.

If you’re mixing shiny chrome fixtures with gold drawer pulls choose a gold with a glossier finish as opposed to a matte finish. This will give some consistency to the materials even though the metal colour is different.


mixing metals

3/ Use More Traditional Materials on the Fixtures

Unless you like to change things up every few years, stick with tried-and-true finishes like chrome and nickel for all your main fixtures. That includes your sink faucets and your bath and shower sets. Those are the pieces that nobody gets too excited to replace so let’s plan to hang on to those for the long term.

Have fun and use today’s trends for things that are easier to replace. Look at light fixtures, drawer pulls, towel racks and toilet paper holders for the fun and more contemporary pieces to add the bling.

Having said that, if you really have your heart set on a gold sink faucet then do it. Just know that you’ll be replacing that sooner than a chrome or nickel faucet because this will eventually become a dated trend. If you love it and you’re ok with that then just have fun!


4/ No More Than 2-3 Different Metals

Have you ever heard the fashionista advise that when your outfit is complete go take a look in the mirror and remove one piece?

Restraint is always the key to fashion (usually) as well as design. You can play around with your metals but don’t use more than 2 or 3 separate metals or you’ll be in clash town. 

To make this a successful look, you should be able to repeat each finish at least a couple of times. That isn’t possible if you include too many varying metals.

For instance, use silver for the vanity faucet and shower kit. Now add some gold in the drawer pulls and light fixtures. If you really have to have a third finish you can use that in the mirror trim and the towel holder. You can see how even 3 is getting a bit busy so I wouldn’t recommend this unless you have a large bathroom and some interesting art that helps harmonize all these colours.

5/ Think About Their Arrangement

Try to avoid creating columns of finishes in your bathroom. Don’t use all chrome in the shower and then switch over to all gold on and around the vanity. This is definitely going to draw your eye to the fact that you’ve used different finishes.

I’ve already said this but it bears repeating – the successful design will incorporate the mixed metals in a way that doesn’t draw attention to it.

You want to mix them in a way that feels thoughtful and well planned. Take your time with this and definitely don’t make these decisions when you’re standing in a store with the pressure on you to pick something.

6/ Black Looks Great With Every Finish

If you want to add black it’s kind of a chameleon and works well with every metal and every finish. This is a good tip if you aren’t feeling brave enough to dip your toe into the extreme change between silver and gold.  

Look at how beautifully this bathroom utilizes two metals together. The light fixture with a combination of both finishes is the perfect way to join the colours, especially if you have a small space. You may not always have room for repeating finishes in tiny rooms. 

One of the design principles that’s rarely discussed but taught in school is that every room needs something black. If you add it to your bathroom finishes you’ll notice that it doesn’t scream for attention. It just adds a dimension that can be subtly appreciated.


What are your thoughts on mixing metals in your bathroom? Have you tried it or are  you a puritan when it comes to mixing?

Need some help in your home with selecting finishes for a renovation or a new build? Check out my Design Consultation or Designer By Your Side services.


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