How to Mix Metals in Your Kitchen

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Can you mix metal finishes in a kitchen?

Choosing the right kitchen cabinet hardware can be a stressful process if you don’t know where to start. Whether you want to add to your existing pieces or create an entirely new look, I’m going to share everything you need to know about mixing metals in your kitchen to help you find the right style for your home.

When we moved into our current home, renovating the 90s kitchen was at the top of the list. I’d aways dreamt about a classic white kitchen so my focus was on the cabinetry and marble countertops.

SOURCES: Lanterns | Knobs | Door Latches | Drawer pulls | Sconces

I wasn’t quite ready to embrace the look of a kitchen with brass hardware so I made the last-minute decision to stick with the cooler tone of polished nickel. Between the lantern pendants, sconces, and cabinet hardware, I created the beautiful coastal kitchen I was going for.

Over time, my love of design and decorating introduced me to several of the top designers I still adore today. This opened my mind to things I was hesitant about—like brass kitchen hardware.

Why mix metal finishes in a kitchen

Kitchen cabinet hardware has a significant impact for something so small. It’s perfectly acceptable to use the same metal finish throughout, but mixing metals in a kitchen makes it feel more collected and visually pleasing.

I’ve mentioned layers and texture multiple times in other posts, but this applies to every space in your home. For example, a living room is more pleasing if you have a variety of throw pillows vs. the same color or pattern in every corner.

mixing metals in kitchen, white cabinets, stainless steel appliances, brass cabinet hardware, polished nickel sink, black and brass island pendants, hardwood floors

Pendants | Sconces | Rug | Door latches | Drawer pulls | Knobs | Cutting board | Faux artichokes

Another reason to mix metals in a kitchen, ironically, is matching! It’s difficult to find the same color if you are trying to match hardware and fixtures from different manufacturers. Paint colors can easily be matched because they all have a specific formula. Unfortunately, hardware finishes like honey brass or champagne bronze don’t have the same option and can look quite different.

Best mixed metal combinations for a kitchen

In a recent post about mixing metals in a bathroom, I shared my current favorite combination which is brass and polished nickel. The same goes for mixing metals in the kitchen! I used aged brass in my primary bathroom and adjacent custom closet, but in the kitchen, it’s unlacquered brass all the way around.

Unlacquered brass starts with a shiny polished surface, but the living finish will tarnish and change over time. You can embrace the changes, polish it back to a shine, or choose something with less maintenance.

Matte black goes with everything! To me, black hardware on white cabinets in the kitchen gives a modern farmhouse vibe and that wasn’t the look I was going for. But it does coordinate well with both gold and silver hardware so it makes a great accent.

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Check out my post:


for tips on how and where to install your hardware!

Expert Tips

These helpful tips on how to mix metals will make the process of choosing hardware for your kitchen a breeze!

Establish dominant and secondary accents

The kitchen is usually the largest space in modern homes. That’s a lot of metals between appliances, cabinet hardware, lighting, and plumbing fixtures! Think about the style you are going for in your kitchen design. If you prefer a warmer look, use more metals with warm tones as your dominant choice— or the majority. Add a smaller amount of other metals into the mix as the secondary accent.

Larger kitchens usually have more cabinetry and larger light fixtures. Consider this when deciding which metal will be your dominant choice. In my home, the lighting and cabinet hardware is brass and I use polished nickel and black as secondary accents with the faucet and door hardware.

All my hardware is the same metal so mixing knobs and pulls on kitchen cabinets is a great way to make it more interesting. I added door latches on the upper cabinets too!

mixing metals in kitchen with white cabinets, white subway tile backsplash, stainless steel appliances

Door latches | Drawer pulls | Knobs | Learn about my Microwave Drawer!

Now that you are learning how to mix metals, having stainless steel appliances doesn’t need to pressure you into matching your hardware with something like brushed nickel. Nowadays, manufacturers are even offering appliances with color options for the knobs and handles so it’s easy to mix things up.

Limit the number of metals

There isn’t a steadfast rule to follow when it comes to the number of metals you can use in a space. However, smaller spaces may end up feeling cluttered if you introduce too many. That said, my philosophy is to do what makes you happy in your home.

In the image below, I paired polished nickel cabinet hardware with the black accents on the light fixtures and doors.

mixing metals in kitchen, the cabinets, SW Agreeable Gray walls, polished nickel cabinet hardware, black accents on door and pendant

Pendants | Counter stools | Knobs | Door Latches | Drawer pulls

Mixing metals in a kitchen depends on the size of the space, the lighting situation, and other elements like cabinetry color and countertop materials. My tastes have changed over the years and I’m sure yours have too! Swapping out hardware is a great way to make changes.

Can you pair cool and warm tones?

Mixing silver and gold metals in a kitchen used to be a design faux pas. Industry trends have evolved and now we are seeing plenty of examples of this combination. The trick, in my opinion, is to use polished nickel because it has a warmer undertone that compliments any gold-tone metal.

Are you wondering when NOT to mix silver and gold metals? That’s a personal choice, but for me, I don’t love the look of chrome and brass together. Chrome is so cool compared to brass and it just doesn’t blend well in my home.

Shiny-painted gold fixtures were all the rage in the ’80s. When the ’90s rolled around, homeowners made the switch to brushed nickel and some haven’t looked back. It’s durable, doesn’t show fingerprints, and is inexpensive making it a popular choice for builder-grade quality designs.

Creating a home that has a high-end designer look doesn’t have to break the bank, but quality is important. Go for the best hardware within your budget and you’ll be on your way to designing the perfect mixed metal kitchen.

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