Mixing Metals In The Bathroom

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 😉

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This Post Has 69 Comments

  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!

    1. 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?

    1. 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?

      Thanks

      Derick

      1. 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.

    Help!

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  9. Andrea

    I am updating a bathroom and putting in a tiled shower (white gloss tile on walls with a faint gray line) and white/gray tile for the floor. The vanity will be white and it comes with brushed nickel hardware that I like. The vanity top with be a speckled white quartz.
    I originally thought about getting BM hardware for the rest of the room – it is a very small bathroom. Now I am wondering if the bathroom has to much of a modern, shiny feeling to do BM for all.
    Is it possible to do chrome instead for the other fixtures without looking mismatched. Also, is one (chrome vs. brushed nickel) a better look than the other.
    Thanks

  10. Robyn Powell

    Hello! I am SO on board with the idea of mixing metals! I need help though! We have a large bathroom (approx. 160sq ft). I’m trying to mix brushed nickle, copper and maybe hints of black. We have a “modern farmhouse” feel with timeless white porcelain vessel sinks, freestanding tub, and subway tile. We have incorporated live edge cedar countertop on the vanity with live edge shelving over the toilet, My individual vanity space across the room is with a white quartz counter. We have brushed nickle shower head/fixture, tub filler, sink faucets, shower door hardware. I’d love to incorporate the copper and black somehow – I’m THINKING copper mirrors and then copper accents (towel bar, etc). My biggest hold up i the light fixtures and the cabinet hardware – matching nickle? copper to match the mirrors? And then how to bring in the black? (i’m planning a black barn door system for the closest) and then maybe a dark grout on my subway tile and then little pops of black (side tub table, black/copper soap dispenser), etc.. am i thinking way too much into this? I just thought black might help “ground” the space so i was trying to work it in.

  11. Heather

    Hi Sarah!
    We are finishing our basement and I found a navy blue vanity with a Carrara marble top and brushed brass hardware. The shower is going to be tiled in white and the floors are a gray wood plank look. I’m thinking of doing a round gold mirror and wondering what other metal would be best to incorporate. I’m not a big fan of chrome. Thank you so much for any advice you can offer!

  12. Leslie

    I have white cabinets with black hardware currently, as well as brushed nickel finishes in the shower, towel bar and toilet paper holder. I really want to do a gold/brass light fixture that I’ve fallen in love with, but not sure what I should do for the sink faucet? Do I go black to match the cabinet handles, or gold/brass to match the light? Or do I go brushed nickel for the faucet, and then change up the towel bar and toilet paper holder?

  13. Paige

    We recently redid one of our bathrooms at one end of our house with polished chrome fixtures. Now we are redoing the powder room that is directly off the main living area, which has brass and antique bronze light fixtures. I like the look of the chrome fixtures in that powder room, but feel like it will look too bright compared to the main living area ones. Any recommendations? Should we mix black and polished chrome to create more cohesion across the whole house? Thanks for the help!

  14. Theresa Gaisser

    I’m redoing my master bath. I want to use brushed nickel for the shower head and trim and for the vanity sink faucets. I also want to use the brushed nickel for the TP roller and towel bar.
    The cabinets will be white. I think that oil-rubbed bronze will look nice against the white. I wanted to repeat the ORB in the light fixtures (above mirror vanity lights and ceiling light). Unfortunately I have brass door knobs which need to stay because I would have to replace all my door knobs in my house (they can be seen mostly from room-to-room), and the trim and accents on my fireplace are also brass. I had thought about using brass or subtle gold on the mirror frames. My other options are painting the mirror frames to match my cabinets or should I match them with ORB or paint them dark brown? I know I have been verbose, but I want to give the best picture I can of the situation. Will you please suggest and idea for the mirror and let me know where I’m going with any of the ideas I have? Thank you so much.
    Tee

  15. Jo Walsh

    I am remodeling my guest bathroom. My bathtub and toilet are in an adjacent doorway space to the vanity–but not all visible like in one room. I have chrome fixtures on the bathtub and shower head. I would like to use brushed nickel for my faucets and vanity door knobs. Would that work because they are the same metal with two different finishes? I can get my faucets and door knobs in chrome, if necessary. I would like to have your opinion of what is the best up to date look.
    Thank you,

  16. Kam

    Thank you for this posting! I am currently starting a bathroom remodel and I am so confused on what to do. I ordered a double vanity with polished nickel hardware (faucets not included). I also ordered matte black hardware for the shower/tub, black trim for the sliding doors, and black mirrors. Would you recommend I use polished nickel for the sink faucets to match the vanity hardware or black to match the shower hardware? What about lighting fixtures? I would like black matte to be my primary metal finish but feel like I need to add more polished nickel, unless I take it out and just go all black. Thank you for your feedback

    1. Personally, I would use polished nickel sink faucets. The light fixture I would go with black. But, you have your two metals here so as long as you stick with one of them I think it will look great regardless. What I said above is just my personal preference!

  17. Jordon

    I have Polished Chrome shower fixtures and sink faucets. Can I use brushed nickel in the same bathroom, or should I stick to polished chrome? Thanks!

      1. Andrea

        Love this post! Would you say the same for brushed nickel? We have brushed nickel hardware for our cabinets, faucets, towel rods etc. in our bathroom. Although we added a built in makeup vanity where our small shower use to be on the opposite wall of our sinks (we removed the whirlpool and put in a large shower in place). I would like to use a gold or bronze bar pull and the same color mirror? Would this look okay? I feel like it’s almost too matchy-matchy to keep the same brushed nickel but I’ve also never mixed metals!

        1. Hey Andrea! I just want to make sure I understand. You have brushed nickel everything and want to use gold or bronze on the built in vanity and mirror? If that is the case, I think it would look fine! There’s nothing wrong with keeping the same metal throughout the space. I wouldn’t just use gold or bronze once though. If you use it for the pull on the makeup vanity, I would repeat it with the mirror.

  18. Cintya

    My master bathroom will have all polished nickel faucets, shower handles and tub filler. I now need mirrors, Moroccan pendant lights over the bathtub and two sconces for each basin. I found plated, oxidized, silver champagne Moroccan (arch) mirrors but the Moroccan light fixtures come in polished brass. Should I look for silver light Moroccan fixtures in this scenario or look for gold mirrors? Thank you!

  19. Lori

    Can I get a bronze washstand, bronze sconces and Bronze faucet and chrome silver shower head?

    1. I wouldn’t do that combination. The reason is you have all bronze and then one chrome piece. I would always suggest using the same metal twice in the room.

  20. Emily

    Hi! I’m struggling with this a bit in our bathroom reno as well. I plan to primarily use oil rubbed bronze, as I prefer that against our off white cabinets, and they seem to best mimic the original 130 year old door knobs all throughout our house. I have already purchased the shower fixtures, sink faucets and curtain rod in bronze (some with more of an aged finish than others). However, I have have fallen in love with a mirror that has a distressed silver frame. I am trying to figure out if this will look ok against a bronze faucet and next to bronze lights? What else would you suggest I bring in to help balance it, and will this be too difficult to balance as it’s not a typical brushed nickel finish? I have also seen several bronze light fixtures that had small aged brass accents on them, and love the combination, but I’m really fearful that this would be way to much going on if we go with the aged silver mirrors. Any advice?

    1. I think a distressed silver frame would look perfectly fine next to oil rubbed bronze! If you don’t have anywhere else to duplicate that metal (like a drawer pull or light fixture, etc) you can always find a small candle holder or vase or soap dispenser in that same metal (doesn’t have to be exact because they won’t be directly next to each other but needs to be relatively similar) to place on the vanity. I don’t think the fact that it’s not a typical metal like brushed nickel should have any effect on creating a balanced look. It’s not the type of metal but rather how it’s repeated and used in the space that makes the difference. I don’t particularly love the oil rubbed bronze + brass look so I think, in general, bronze + silver or bronze + nickel is actually a really pretty look!

  21. Craig

    What is the colour blue on the vanity? It looks great.

  22. Leslie Buhl

    I want to use bronze faucets throughout the bathroom including the tub/shower. I’m struggling with the glass tub enclosure. I’ve looked at pictures and it seems the ones that have bronze hardware and upper and bottom trackS stick out kind of obnoxiously. Is it ok to have bronze fixtures with a brushed nickel door hardware and track and perhaps some galvanized looking wall scones? I’m going for a modern farmhouse look.

  23. Katy Giannelli

    I have redone the master bath…used polished nickel for all of the fixtures . I want to add 2 black mirrors over the vanity sinks. Can I use a mirror that has silver edging along the inside of the mirror frame? Thanks!!

    1. Hmm that’s a tough one. You can always try it and see how it looks? Mirrors are easy enough to return. My initial instinct is no, because of the silver edging. Black mirrors paired with polished nickel would look great! I am worried about the silver edging, though.

  24. Lisa Miller

    I love all of your advice! We are working on a new, large master bath and have already bought 4 antique brass sconces that will be in the mirror over the vanity and an antique brass chandelier for the middle of the room. Vanity hardware is glass, not metal. My question is which metal would be good for the faucets (sinks, freestanding tub, shower)? I was thinking polished nickel since it can look goldish and would go well with the goldish color of the lights, but now wondering if there is more of a contrasting metal you would recommend? Thanks!

  25. Klaudia

    Hi Sarah! This post has been so helpful! Quick question: I mixed aged brass and brushed nickel in my bathroom. We put aged brass pulls on a cabinet above the toilet and want to add two towel hooks on the wall perpendicular at the same height. I’m planning on using the same finish for the hooks, but what about the toilet paper holder that will be farther down on the same wall and the toilet handle? Since they’re lower down can I switch to the nickel for those? Thanks!
    Klaudia

    1. I think it could go either way and would depend on what you are using brushed nickel for in the bathroom. It seems like most of the fixtures are brass so my initial thought was to keep the toilet paper holder brass.

  26. Rachel

    Hi there, I love your site and the story on mixing metals. In the kitchen do the appliances count as a metal. I’m asking because I have brushed nickel appliances (fridge, ovens, etc) and polished chrome faucets and hardware. I want to mix a soft gold or champagne color in by changing the cabinet hardware but I don’t know if that’s too much.

  27. Lena

    Hi there , thank you so much for your info, i too am struggling with finishes. We have a new white kitchen going in , we have stainless steel appliances , faucet and sink , I would like to know if we could use brushed nickel handles to break it up. I don’t have brushed nickel anywhere else. I also have a new bathroom we have polished chrome scones, faucet, and shower bar and shower head.. could I use brushed nickel handles on the vanity and the man door handle.
    Would this work and if so what metal should I use for the towel bar, towel ring and TP holder.
    Greatly appreciate your advise.
    Thank you

  28. Natasha

    Hi, I am currently designing my dream en-suite at the moment but am stuck on what hardware to go for. We are doing dark green wall tiles, a copper bath and a black double vanity. What metal would you recommend to do the faucets and handles in please?? I was thinking maybe satin brass? Any recommendations would be great! Thank you!

  29. Marie

    I agree that mixing metals is fine for a great design that you, personally, love, but, if selling a house, it’s really about what the average buyer would want. I think that the majority of buyers won’t so much be appreciative of mixed metals. I’m struggling with decisions on this right now for a house I’m preparing to sell.

    1. I think if done correctly a buyer isn’t going to go in to a bathroom and see different metals. They’ll either like the bathroom or not. I wouldn’t go too trendy (like brass, gold) for major fixtures like shower hardware or a tub filler. Anything that’s really expensive. But, a mirror or sconces that can easily be replaced or changed depending on personal style would be fine I think!

  30. KayCee

    Mixing metals I find tricky! I have a beautiful new tub and installed brushed nickel finish on hardware. Guess what – it looked like lead to me it just didn’t show the lustre and richness of true nickel. I had them take it out -cost me an extra $800 as not returnable and put in all polished chrome and it looks super; everybody who saw both said they agreed with me! Now the thing is I need things such as a light fixture, Door hinges, doorknob plate, door hook and I can’t picture doing that all in chrome as my taste is traditional w. modern twists. I’m thinking the brushed nickel will look good on those elements. Does anybody disagree or have any advice? I am going with a glass handled door knob as There are five other doors are joining the hallway to the bathroom that are all in brass so rather than have brass and then brushed nickel I will have brass and crystal. There will be crystal glass with just a wee bit of brushed nickel on the doorknob plate. I hope it works for me. I also have brushed nickel on the new vanity cabinet hardware which I do not like. Probably poor quality. I think I will replace them with crystal pulls And go with brushed nickel on everything else aforementioned: door knob plate, door hinges, back of door hook. It can be tricky. Unfortunately there are not enough displays or showrooms that capture true to life baths size-wise. They show these way big huge over the top things. In box stores there is nothing at all, not even pictorials. Anyway it is tricky. Suggestions very welcome! Love my chrome good quality stylish design and gives traditional pizazz to a mostly white bath. Can i mix it with brushed nickel?

  31. Ariana

    Do you think I can have different metals for the sink faucet and the shower finishings? I am looking at doing a brushed gold for the sink faucets and a brushed bronze for the shower head and handle.

  32. Patsy

    Hi Sarah, I so wish I had found you before I started my bathroom remodel!
    I am in a pickle! I have a small BR and I found a floating Navy Blue vanity with gold handles that I loved. My thought was to do gold fixtures, but as you have pointed out, there are a bazillion different gold colors which I didn’t realize at the time! I wanted a soft brushed gold but when the fixtures came they are more “brass” colored which I don’t like. The light fixture is a little darker gold also, but I love the design of the light fixture so I can live with that, plus it’s not front and center like the sink faucet when you walk in the BR. I think the light fixture and the handles, TP holder, and towel holders all go together fine, but my question is what can I do about the shower head and the sink faucet? I really don’t like that brassy, copper look they have. The mirror I have is a pretty round light wood but I am open to changing that if I need to as well. Please help!

    1. Matching gold or brass can be such a pain! I would go with chrome or nickel maybe? No need to change the mirror if you like it. If you try and do gold or brass for the other fixtures you run the risk of having 5 different types of “gold” and it not looking great together. So, for that reason I’d go for a chrome or nickel finish. Hope that helps!

  33. Kristie

    Oh my gosh! I googled bronze with silver shower head and came up with your webpage. I was so confused as to what to put in my bathroom as the accent wall in my shower is brown and silvers/nickel, so I didn’t know whether or not to go with bronze or nickel. Now I see I can do both!! All fixtures bronze and I can incorporate nickel on the vanity drawer handles (already there), vanity accessories and mirror! And maybe garbage can! Thank you so much for this advice! You have helped me immensely!!

  34. Lynsay

    Hello! Mixing metals on faucets ok?I’m planning on doing brushed gold for sink faucet, cabinet pulls along with the sconces. The mirror will be brushed nickel as well as shower system and all other accessories. Will that work?

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  36. Walter Johnston

    We are remodeling our master bathroom which has dual sinks, a Jacuzzi tub and separate shower. Cabinets are stained maple and counter top is white with slight grey veins. We are reusing our existing oil rubbed bronze for all of the plumbing fixtures but are looking to go chrome for the light fixtures. Light fixtures will sit above each of the sinks mounted in the glass mirrors. Thoughts?

    1. I think that will look perfectly fine. I would just put that chrome somewhere else in the bathroom too. Maybe chrome handles on the cabinets? Or chrome towel ring? Just something to repeat the chrome metal. Hope that helps!

  37. jazzy

    Hello I am redoing my master bathroom and I am so confused. I have an existing two side single shower trimmed in gold, separate jacuzzi tub with gold hardware, new white vanity. Since the jacuzzi tub has gold hardware that i cannot replace i thought about brushed gold sink faucet, hardware, mirrors & lights. I really do not know what finishes i can use for the shower. Gold shower trim is very expensive. Is there another finish that would work

    1. You could definitely stick with all gold if you wanted. You could also do chrome or brushed nickel for the sink faucet, hardware, and lights and then do a gold mirror so that that metal is repeated over by the vanity and it looks cohesive

  38. Karen

    Help! Just moved to a new home and attempting ro redo the bathroom – mostly replace the mirrors and light fixtures. The hardware is all silver/polished Crome along with the handles which are Lucite with silver hardware. I want to mix metals to give it some life (cabinets are white) but worry that it may throw things off given is likely want to mix up color of mirror edge and light fixture. Any suggestions?

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