Mixing metals in the bathroom is so on trend and not a decorating faux pas anymore!  See which metals mix well together and how to use different toned metals to warm up a design.

4 steps to mixing metals in the bathroom | mixed metals bathroom | mixing metals bathroom | bathroom design | mixed metals decor |

One of my favorite design trends is mixing metals.

And, in particular, BRASS!  I LOVEEEE that brass is back in style.  It’s not quite as blingy as gold but still adds SO much warmth to a space.

With brass (and gold and copper) coming back in style, there has really been a shift in metal finishes for room.  I’m specifically focusing on bathrooms here, but, it applies to other spaces, too!

It used to be considered a design no-no to mix metals in a bathroom.  You had to have polished chrome or nickel everything.  Well, gone are the days where every single finish on everything at to be matchy matchy.  And boy does it feel good to see that trend dying.  Combining different metal finishes creates depth and adds visual interest in any room.  And, it makes the room feel collected and made over time instead of builder-grade (not that there’s anything wrong with builder grade, necessarily).

Love the mixed metals in this bathroom from Amber Interiors.

As I was working on our master bathroom design, I really wanted to incorporate different metal finishes in our modern vintage bathroom.  Not necessarily to be “trendy” but to really warm up the space.  The thought of having everything be chrome just seemed boring to me.

Plus, as I scoured Pinterest for design inspiration, I realized that mixing metals doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb.  In fact, mixed metals can create a more sophisticated, complete look.

But, don’t take my word for it!  Take a look at some fabulous bathrooms that used mixed metals.  And, we will dive into some ground rules for mixing metals.  Because, you can’t use every single metal in a single room 😉

1.  Choose a dominant metal

So, you can’t just have all the metals in one room.  Especially a small room like a bathroom.

For our bathroom, we had already purchased a chrome shower head.  So, I knew I wanted to keep the chrome look going throughout the bathroom for the main fixtures.  I didn’t want to have chrome in the shower and then brass for the tub.

Chrome is a simple, classic, and beautiful dominant metal.  Unlike brass and warmer metals that can have twenty bajillion different finishes, polished chrome is polished chrome is polished chrome.  No matter where you shop, all of the polished chrome pieces will match.

Studio Mcgee combined polished chrome with brass in this beautiful, timeless look.

2.  Add in one or two accent metals

In general, you don’t want to use more than 3 different metal finishes in any room.  With more than 3, you risk the room looking jumbled and not a unified space.  I think ideally mixing two metals creates a cohesive look but you can do up to 3.

You’ll want to mix cool metals with warmer metals.

Cool metals include chrome and nickel (and to a less extent – black).

Warmer metals include brass, oil-rubbed bronze, gold and copper.

For our bathroom, I chose to mix my dominant metal (polished chrome) with, you guessed it!, BRASS!

I love how Chris Loves Julia combined brass, chrome, and black mirror in their bathroom.

3.  Repeat each metal at least twice

This is especially important for the dominant metal you picked in step 1.  For me, I have chrome repeated 3 times in the bathroom.  The shower head, tub filler, and sink faucet are all polished chrome.  I’m probably also going to do towel bars, toilet paper holder, and hand towel hooks in polished chrome as well.  That’s a LOT of polished chrome.  Enough that you will notice it’s been repeated several times.

New Darlings mixed black and brass in this gorgeous bathroom!

For my accent metal (in my case brass), I’ve decided to use that for sconces and vanity hardware.  The antique dresser we purchased already has beautiful old brass knobs and pulls.  I need to clean them up a bit but honestly they’re beautiful and one of my favorite parts of the room.  I also purchased two brass wall sconces that are more of a shiny brass.  Gasp!  I’m mixing different brass finishes…. that leads me to the next point –>

4.  Consider the metal finish

A brass fixture from Target may not look the same as a brass fixture from IKEA.  In addition to brass (and other warm metals) looking different depending on the brand, there are different brass finishes.  There’s polished brass, unlacquered brass, and aged brass.

If you’re already using chrome as your dominant metal in the bathroom, you probably don’t want to add in a polished brass mirror with aged brass sconces and unlaquered brass vanity hardware.

You want to stick with the same brass finish.  And this applies to the other warmer metal accents as well.

You CAN use different finishes for the same metal.  But, I would try and separate them as much as possible so that the differences aren’t at obvious.  For example, using vanity hardware and sconces in two different finishes instead of a mirror and sconces.  Which is exactly what I plan on doing with our bathroom!

I can’t get enough of this bathroom from Mandy Gayer.  Black + brass + chrome = AMAZING!

So, are you convinced that mixing metal is a good idea?  Or at least that it’s an acceptable idea?

I’ve shared a bit more about our master bathroom design with you and I’m hoping (fingers crossed!) to have the full design plan up sometime in the next 2 weeks.  Hint: we are mixing metals 😉


as we renovate and update our builder-grade home!


  1. Kristi

    You’ve totally hit the nail on the head! LOVE the idea of mixing metals and these tips make it feel so do-able! Can’t wait to see your bathroom come together!

    • Susan

      Your post was so helpful! I had purchased all chrome shower and faucet fixtures but fell in love with a brass vanity light. Now I think I know how to create the space of my dreams without sacrificing what I love.

      This helped tremendously!

  2. Laila

    Thank you Sara for this post !!!!! I was going back and forth in my head about mixing metals especially in our master bath and I really wanted to mix things up but was worried I would be making a mistake .
    THank you I feel confident to do it!!!

  3. Kim LaPilusa

    Oh, so confused, help! So we are remodeling our master bath. What are your thoughts about brushed nickel shower fixtures and shower door handle then having Champagne sink fixtures? What would you do for lighting fixtures? I would appreciate any advice!

  4. debra boney

    I have chrome shower and sink and light fixtures. I am thinking of mixing black for the toilet paper holder and towel hooks. My counter tops are black with white cabinets. could this work?

    • Derick

      Hi there,

      I’m doing a DIY bathroom remodel. All of my fixtures are chrome (claw foot tub, facets) except the shower. It came in brushed chrome.

      Would that be ok to have the two types of chrome in the master bathroom?



      • Sarah @ Making Joy and Pretty Things

        Hi Derick! hmm.. that’s a tough one. In general, you shouldn’t mix two different types of finishes of the same metal. If you do use brushed chrome in the shower, you’d need to repeat that same metal on something else in the bathroom, so it felt cohesive. Hope that helps!

  5. Carmen

    we’ve been talking through whether or not to do this when we redo our master so this is SO helpful! thank you!

  6. Betty

    I’m looking at a stainless steel hand held shower with slide bar. What metal grab bars with go with this. Stainless steel and chrome are hard to find. Thanks, Betty

  7. Siobhan

    We are doing a bathroom in the fall. I love oil rubbed bronze, but the tub doors have a silver trim-is this terrible? I really don’t like chrome, and like the antique/rustic look, but i’m scared that it may not look right, and we will be spending lots of money on this reno.


    • Sarah @ Making Joy and Pretty Things

      Hi Siobhan! I’m not sure I know what you mean by tub doors? If you mean shower doors, I think that will look fine! You can always order one of the oil rubbed bronze fixtures and compare it to the silver door before ordering all of them, in case you don’t like it. Or, even go to Home Depot and pick up one of their oil rubbed bronze fixtures just to compare metal finishes, then return it! Personally, I think it will look fine 🙂

  8. Vanildes Espudo

    My dominant metal in the living area and dining area is polished chrome but I’ve brushed nickel fans. I’d like to hang a rectangular gold mirror in the dining area but introducing a warmer metal in a large scale scary me. Will that be O.K.? I may have to get a few other small gold decor item to add to both rooms.

    • Sarah @ Making Joy and Pretty Things

      I think the gold mirror is a great idea to break up those metals. I wouldn’t ever use more than 3 metal finishes in an area, with 2 finishes being ideal. In the future, if budget allows, I’d update the brushed nickel fans to polished chrome so that you just have two metals – polished chrome and gold. Gold is so trendy right now so you’ll have no problem finding plenty of gold accents.


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