Mixed Metals: Designer-Approved Kitchen Finishes

Mixed metals: designer-approved kitchen finishes

The kitchen is sometimes called “the heart of the home” because it serves so many purposes in our lives. But depending on your needs, the ideal kitchen can look very different. A chef might want top-of-the-line appliances, while a family might need a cozy spot to gather and make memories. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of cooking, so I would choose aesthetic details over fancy appliances any day. My dream kitchen would have beautiful backsplash tiles, sleek and stylish countertops, and mixed metals to make the space literally shine. Each metal finish may have its own distinct vibe, but mixing them together is one of my favorite ways to create a layered look in a kitchen.

Mixing metals might seem tricky at first, but it’s really just a matter of learning how to use them together effectively. Check out the tips below to learn about the metal combinations that I love and how you can mix them to create the kitchen of your dreams!

Consider Kitchen Style

The end result of mixing metals should look effortless, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should throw together any and every metal finish that you find. Most designs with an effortless look actually involve a clear sense of direction and quite a bit of intentional effort. Above all else, your kitchen’s style and overall aesthetic should guide your metal finish choices.

When thoughtfully selected to align with your kitchen style, mixed metals can create a tasteful and intentional layered look. For example, a modern kitchen might look great with a chrome faucet and bronze, brass, stainless steel, or nickel cabinet hardware, but a traditional kitchen would benefit from warmer metal finishes, like aged brass or oil-rubbed bronze. If you have a traditional kitchen, avoid chrome! For a more classical look, you can also try mixing polished nickel with polished brass.

Mixed metals: designer-approved kitchen finishes

Choose a Dominant Metal

After nailing down the style of your kitchen, choose one dominant metal finish and run with it. It is partly a personal preference, but you should also consider any existing metal finishes that you don’t plan to update in the space. The dominant finish is meant to serve as an anchor, or foundation, for your design. I recommend using it on key items throughout the space, such as appliances and cabinet hardware, to create a connection between them. 

Cabinet hardware, including drawer pulls and knobs, is a small detail that can have a big impact on your kitchen design. This is one area of the kitchen where it can be quite rewarding to try different combinations, show off your personality, and have a little fun. 

While you can easily mix styles and finishes on upper and lower cabinets, I recommend keeping hardware consistent when it’s at the same eye level. For example, all of the hardware on upper cabinets should be the same finish, but it doesn’t necessarily need to match the finish or style of the hardware on the lower cabinets. Just remember to keep the brand consistent! The “aged brass” finish from one vendor does not always look the same as the “aged brass” finish from another, and if the two don’t jive well, it’s going to be very apparent. Consistent color tone and texture are especially important, as some brass finishes may appear warmer or smoother than others. 

Luckily, there are many hardware brands out there with a wide selection of coordinating styles and finishes. These are some of my favorites:  

  • Top Knobs is my go-to for high-quality, affordable hardware. From knobs, pulls, backplates, and latches to hooks and bathroom accessories, they offer a little bit of everything in a variety of styles, sizes, and finishes. I am currently using the Garrison pull in honey bronze for a kitchen remodel project:

I can’t wait to share the final result when it’s complete (if you aren’t already, be sure to follow us on Instagram to see how we incorporate it into our project)!

  • Buster and Punch is perfect for high-end splurges. Their luxurious collections of cabinet hardware and door hardware are bold and unique, making for great statement pieces that exude sophistication and style. They even have lighting and plumbing fixtures to take your kitchen to the next level.
  • Casson is a great choice for those who appreciate quality craftsmanship and a curated selection of stylish hardware. They carry many high-end brands, with options for door knobs, outlets, appliance pulls, and more.

Create Balance and Contrast

Once you’ve chosen your dominant metal finish, you can also explore complementary options to add depth and interest to your design. Look for metal sinks, plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, and small appliances that harmonize with the primary finish, while also providing contrast. It’s a good idea to aim for a balance between warm and cool tones, too.

Below is an example of an effective way to mix a dominant metal with accent metals in a modern space. In this Healdsburg kitchen remodel that is currently underway, we paired champagne bronze cabinet pulls with a black faucet:

Mixed metals: designer-approved kitchen finishes

Small metal accessories, decorative objects, and even kitchen tools and utensils also provide great opportunities to incorporate metal finishes as accents. For example, you could include an oak and steel kitchen island cart in the same space as a copper dish rack, silver cast aluminum tray, and black metal wine rack if you’re going for a modern industrial look. For a cleaner, contemporary kitchen style, that same black wine rack pairs nicely with a silver-plated cooler and nickel coasters. You can mix and match these items and more from my collection of designer-approved kitchen finishes to find the best combinations for your kitchen.

It’s important to note that while I encourage my clients to have some fun with mixed metals, there is one area where I always recommend matching finishes. Matching hardware on a door is non-negotiable because each piece is in such close proximity to one another. The hinges should match the doorknobs (on both sides of the door). However, the doors throughout your home do not need to be the same, unless they are very close together, such as in a hallway.

Combining mixed metals in the kitchen is truly an art form that allows you to express your personal style and create a space that is uniquely yours. By considering kitchen style, exploring practical applications, and tapping into trusted hardware vendors, you can learn how to mix metals in a tasteful way and design a space that is unforgettable. 

If you need professional support along the way, I am always happy to lend a second set of eyes and an expert opinion. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me at hello@revelryinteriordesign.com!


Dana Feagles, Principal Interior Designer

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