Meta description: Mixing metal finishes in the kitchen, like brass, chrome, and nickel, creates depth, visual interest, and a custom look. Here are 5 compelling reasons to incorporate mixed metals in your kitchen design.

Mixing metal finishes is one of the hottest trends in kitchen design right now. Once considered a decorating faux pas, the mixing of metal finishes like brass, chrome, and nickel can create depth, visual interest, and a custom look in your kitchen. Here are 5 compelling reasons to incorporate mixed metals into your kitchen design.

1. It Creates a Layered, Collected Look

Mixing metal finishes prevents a kitchen from looking flat, matchy-matchy, and one dimensional. Using different metal finishes creates a layered, collected look in the kitchen suggesting the space has evolved over time.

For example, pairing brass hardware with satin nickel lighting fixtures and stainless steel appliances creates visual interest and depth. The metal finishes play off each other for added character and style.

This collected look works especially well in vintage, farmhouse, and traditional kitchens. The mix of metals lends a timeworn, heirloom feel.

Tips for Achieving a Layered Look:

  • Incorporate 3-4 complementary metal finishes for maximum depth. Don’t be afraid to mix brass, chrome, nickel, copper, oil-rubbed bronze, etc.
  • Use metals in varying proportions. Use one dominant finish like brushed nickel for hardware paired with pops of black metal, brass, or oil-rubbed bronze in lighting fixtures.
  • Repeat the same mixed metals in multiple places. If using chrome and brass hardware, bring in those same finishes in pendant lights, sinks, and faucets.

2. It’s Highly Customizable

One of the best aspects of mixing kitchen metal finishes is it allows you to create a custom look tailored to your personal taste. The combinations are endless.

Maybe you prefer a nautical vibe with satin nickel, stainless steel, and aged bronze. Or maybe you want an urban industrial look with matte black, brushed stainless, and antique brass.

Whatever aesthetic you’re going for, blending metal finishes lets you hand pick pieces you love rather than relying on matching sets. The key is choosing complementary finishes that work cohesively together.

Inspiring Metal Mixes for a Custom Look:

  • Black and brass – Matte black and antique brass create an elegant, glamorous vibe.
  • Satin nickel and aged bronze – Satin nickel offers a clean look while aged bronze provides depth and contrast. Great for traditional aesthetics.
  • Polished chrome and stainless steel – This classic mix works well in retro and modern kitchens.
  • Oil-rubbed bronze and brass – These two warm metals pair nicely for Tuscan style kitchens.

3. It Provides Period Authenticity for Historic Homes

For old home renovations and historic neighborhoods, mixing up metal finishes helps kitchens maintain period authenticity.

Since many older homes were renovated and updated over decades, blending metals like unlacquered brass, bronze, nickel, and steel mimics the evolution and conveys vintage authenticity.

Using all matching stainless steel or a single finish like brushed nickel in a 19th century Victorian home or 20th century bungalow, for example, would look inauthentic. Blending metals appropriate to the time period provides historic accuracy.

Some era-appropriate mixed metal ideas include:

  • Victorian – Unlacquered brass, bronze oil-rubbed bronze, satin nickel
  • Arts & Crafts – Brushed nickel, antique copper, brass
  • Colonial Revival – Polished nickel, solid brass, satin nickel
  • Midcentury Modern – Stainless steel, chrome, satin brass

4. Adds Warmth to Modern, Sleek Kitchens

The clean, streamlined look of contemporary kitchens can come off as a bit cold and sterile without the warmth of mixed metals.

Integrating metals like unlacquered brass, oil-rubbed bronze, and antique copper adds welcome texture and richness to modern spaces.

Sleek kitchens dominated by stainless steel, glass, and lacquered cabinets gain depth, character, and a collected look with mixed metals. It brings human scale to ultra-modern rooms.

Tips for Warming up Contemporary Kitchens:

  • Soften an all-stainless kitchen with brass pendant lights and antique bronze hardware
  • Incorporate unlacquered brass shelving brackets into an industrial space for patina and imperfections that contrast perfectly with crisp white cabinets.
  • Opt for satin or oil-rubbed bronze faucets rather than chrome for an earthy element.

5. Provides Endless Design Possibilities

At the end of the day, one of the best aspects of mixed metal kitchens is the sheer range of design possibilities. It opens up more options compared to picking one dominant material.

Just look at all the directions you can take it:

  • Go bold with a vibrant, eclectic mix of brightly colored metals
  • Keep it subdued with quiet, complementary finishes like stainless, nickel, and bronze
  • Experiment with an unexpected mix like brass, zinc, and blackened steel
  • Create an intentional mix of old and new – aged patinas paired with sleek stainless
  • Focus on texture combining glossy and matte metals

Whatever you envision for your kitchen, blending metal finishes gives you more freedom and flexibility to achieve that vision.

The options are endless, and creating your signature metal mix allows you to put a unique stamp on your space.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mixing Metal Finishes in the Kitchen

Should all the metals in my kitchen match?

It’s no longer considered necessary for all the kitchen metal finishes to perfectly match. Mixing complementary metals is on-trend, highly customizable, and adds depth and interest to kitchens. Just stick to 2-4 finishes that work well together.

What metals work well together in the kitchen?

Some popular combinations are stainless steel + brass, chrome + nickel, bronze + black, brass + satin nickel, and oil-rubbed bronze + brass. Just be sure to blend metals with similar sheens to create cohesion.

How do I mix metals without it looking haphazard?

Repeat the same 2-3 metal finishes in different places to link the look together. If using chrome and stainless appliances, repeat those in lighting and faucets. Also be mindful of proportions – use one dominant metal as the main thread.

Should I avoid certain metal combinations?

Yes, some metals clash when paired together. Avoid combos like commercial polished brass and shiny nickel or oil-rubbed bronze and polished chrome. Stick to metals that share undertones and sheens.

Is mixing metals still on trend?

Yes! Mixed metals remain one of the most popular kitchen design trends. It provides a layered, collected look that feels customized to each homeowner. Just stick to 2-4 complementary finishes.


The days of perfectly matching metal finishes are over. Mixing metals like brass, chrome, nickel, and bronze in the kitchen is here to stay.

Blending complementary metals creates visual interest, depth, and a highly customizable look perfect for achieving your ideal kitchen aesthetic. It works in spaces from modern to farmhouse.

Just remember these 5 compelling reasons to incorporate a mix of metal finishes in your next kitchen design:

  1. It achieves a collected, layered look
  2. Highly customizable combinations
  3. Provides period authenticity in historic homes
  4. Warms up sleek, contemporary kitchens
  5. Endless design possibilities

So don’t be afraid to pair brushed bronze with stainless steel or blend oil-rubbed fixtures with satin brass. Thoughtfully mixed metals can bring any kitchen to life.

Does mixing metal finishes appeal to you for your upcoming kitchen remodel or renovation? Let us know if you have any other questions!