Brass and gold accents have seen a resurgence in popularity in home décor and fashion accessories over the past few years. These metallic finishes add a touch of glamour and timeless elegance to any space or ensemble. Here is an in-depth look at the return of these rich, warm metals and how you can incorporate them into your own style.
The History of Brass and Gold in Design
Brass and gold have a long history of being used in design and décor. Brass dates back over 5,000 years to the Bronze Age and was initially used for everything from weaponry to cups and ornaments. Its warm glow and durability made it a coveted metal. Gold first emerged in jewelry and decorative objects around 3,000 BC in ancient Egypt. Prized for its rarity and radiance, gold was symbol of wealth, stature, and divinity.
Throughout history, brass and gold were incorporated into furnishings, architectural details, jewelry, and more by civilizations from around the world. The 17th and 18th centuries saw baroque, rococo, and other ornate styles make lavish use of gilded gold accents. Brass fixtures and hardware were prominent in Victorian and Industrial style décor in the 19th century. After falling out of favor in the pared down mid-20th century, brass and gold have returned as key details in contemporary design.
The Allure of Brass and Gold
So what makes brass and gold accents so appealing in home décor and fashion?
Warm and Inviting – Brass and gold lend a warm, inviting glow to any space. Their soft sheen provides an elegant ambiance. The warm, vintage feel of brass makes it perfect for cozy, boho chic, or traditional rooms. The richness of gold adds glamour and sophistication.
Timeless Beauty – While trends come and go, the beauty of brass and gold remains timeless. Brass recalls vintage elements like steamer trunk hardware or antique lantern fixtures. Gold has an enduring association with luxury and ornamentation. These metals bring a sense of heritage and tradition to modern contexts.
Versatility – Brass and gold are versatile metals that pair well with a variety of design aesthetics and color palettes. The muted tone of brass complements woods, leather, and neutrals. Gold pops against black or white backgrounds. Both metals work for classic or contemporary styles. Brass and gold strike the right note whether you prefer an elegant hotel lobby aesthetic or cozy cottagecore.
Artisanal Appeal – In an age of mass production, the one-of-a-kind artisanal nature of brass and gold carries appeal. No two brass or gold pieces have quite the same hue or patina. The variations in tone and texture add character and a human touch. It creates a depth and nuance beyond factory finished metals or plastics.
The Return of Brass and Gold in Home Décor
Brass and gold accents are gracing everything from light fixtures and door knobs to mirrors, tables, and other home furnishings.
Lighting – Vintage-style brass pendants, chandeliers, sconces, and table lamps lend a soft glow. Gold-finished statement lights feel glamorous. Use brass or gold fixtures alone or mix metals for eclectic charm.
Furniture – Gold-accented tables, chairs, headboards, and cabinets make any piece feel special. Brass-trimmed furniture, shelving, or accented hardware gives a vintage edge. Metallic finishes elevate otherwise basic designs.
Mirrors and Wall Décor – An antique-inspired brass mirror can serve as a striking focal point. Backsplash tiles or wall art with metallic details add flair. Wrought iron, metal screens, and hardware in brass or gold bring visual interest.
Kitchen and Bath – Gold and brass kitchen faucets and showerheads feel upscale and special. Knobs, pulls, and hinges in these finishes lend charm to cabinets and vanities. Brass pots, pans, and other accent pieces make cooking feel more artisanal.
Outdoor Living – Brass lighting and accented patio furniture help create an inviting outdoor living space. Gold garden stools and planters give floral arrangements an elevated look. These metals withstand weather fluctuations well.
Gold and Brass Style in Fashion and Accessories
From jewelry to handbags, brass and gold accents elevate any outfit. These metallic details feel fresh, fun, and dressy.
Jewelry – Gold jewelry remains perennially chic, from everyday studs to statement necklaces. Brass jewelry has a vintage appeal perfect for accessorizing boho looks. Mix metals for an eclectic style.
Shoes – Metallic shoes are a huge trend, with gold and brass-capped heels, detailed straps, or accents on flats or booties. They lend sparkle to any outfit and feel glamorous for a night out.
Handbags – A bag with brass or gold hardware instantly feels luxe. Metallic bag details like chain straps, lettering, or zippers add style. Consider a vintage brass piece or glittering gold clutch.
Hair Accessories – Slide a thin brass or gold barrette into your hair for an easy way to polish any look. Turn heads with a sculptural cuff or comb. Metallic hair ties and scrunchies are also on trend.
Belts – Cinch in dresses, blazers, or tops with a shiny brass or gold belt. Look for linked metal styles or details like engraved buckles. Make even casual jeans and a tee feel intentional.
Hats – From wide-brimmed straw hats to baseball caps, any hat feels upgraded with metallic embroidery, ribbon, or logo detailing. It lends a glamorous, polished touch.
Tips for Incorporating More Brass and Gold
Ready to add more of these glamorous metallic accents into your own space or look? Here are some tips:
- Mix metals rather than going all gold or all brass for visual interest. Combine silver and pewter too.
- Use brass/gold accents in small doses – a little goes a long way. Try a frame, vase, pillow, or just hardware.
- Look for authentic vintage brass pieces like lamps or trays for boho flair at flea markets or antique shops.
- Powder-coated brass offers a more matte, muted effect compared to shiny polished brass.
- Balance warm metals with cool tones like grays, blues and greens in upholstery, walls or accessories.
- Incorporate metallic accents into an otherwise neutral palette for a pop of glamour.
- Look for brass with blackened, antiqued or white-washed finishes for different, vintage-inspired effects.
- Pair gold jewelry with other yellow gold accessories like watches, glasses or handbags.
- Allow brass finishes to develop a patina over time or clean regularly to maintain their shine.
Brass and Gold Accents Make a Comeback
Brass and gold accents undeniably make a statement. They lend a sense of timeless glamour and warmth to any space or look. After falling out of fashion for decades, these ornate metals are back in vogue, with their vintage appeal and artisanal, luxe effects. From lighting to faucets, jewelry to shoes, thoughtful use of brass and gold details can elevate the aesthetics of any home or outfit. Their striking yet versatile brilliance shines once more.
Frequently Asked Questions About Brass and Gold Accents
What are some easy ways to incorporate brass and gold accents into a home?
Some easy ways to start incorporating brass and gold accents at home include using brass or gold hardware like doorknobs, cabinet pulls, or light switch plates, displaying brass and gold-toned objets d’art like vases or trays, choosing brass or gold finishes for lighting fixtures or plumping fixtures, or upholstering furniture in metallic gold or brass-colored fabrics. Even small touches like brass picture frames or gold candlestick holders can make a difference.
How do you clean and care for brass?
To clean tarnished brass, use a mild metal polish and a soft cloth. For a DIY approach, mix equal parts white vinegar and salt to make a paste and gently rub onto any tarnished areas. Rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly afterwards. Avoid harsh chemical cleaners which can damage the finish. Maintaining brass regularly helps prevent excessive tarnishing and maintains its shine.
What are some ways to wear gold and brass jewelry or accessories without looking overdone?
Stick to one or two statement gold or brass pieces at a time. For example, pair a bold brass cuff with simple stud earrings and no necklace. Or wear a chunky gold necklace as the focus, avoiding other jewelry. Mixing metals also helps gold or brass accents look more nuanced. Wearing mostly neutral clothing helps the metallic accents really stand out. Finally, choose more muted, antiqued brass finishes over very polished, shiny gold for a toned-down effect.
Should all the brass finishes match in a room or can you mix them?
It’s fine to mix brass finishes in the same room for extra visual interest. Oil-rubbed bronze offers a dark, antiqued look compared to polished brass. Opt for blackened brass for a bolder contrast. Just ensure the mixed metals make sense together aesthetically and don’t clash. If desired, unify them with other metallic accents like chrome, silver, or aged iron.
Can brass and gold décor work in contemporary, modern spaces?
Absolutely. Just use them minimally and intentionally as accents against sleek, modern backdrops. For example, a bold brass pendant light would pop against white walls and help warm up a contemporary, stark space. A glass-topped brass coffee table would feel modern yet still incorporate the warmth of brass. Avoid ornate, baroque-style brass and gold furnishings in modern settings.
Brass and gold accents offer timeless elegance and a touch of glamour to any home or fashion aesthetic. Their warm, luxurious shine feels both vintage and modern. Small touches of these metallic finishes can elevate the look dramatically without going overboard. Brass and gold décor transcends trends and brings enduring style to your space. For fashion, these metals easily dress up any ensemble. With so many options for incorporating brass and gold today, everyone can tap into their revival in a way that suits their personal taste. Just a few subtle or statement details in brass or gold make an impact.