Learning To Live With, And Love, Metallics

Abbas Youssefi
Abbas Youssefi
18th June 2020

At Porcelain Superstore, we have learnt that many of our customers are very conflicted when it comes to metallic finishes. While they are drawn to the glamour, intrigue, and impact metallics can bring to bathrooms, and kitchens, many would be purchasers shy away from metallics from fear of making a design faux pas. Among homes finishes - it seems - metallics rank as the scariest!

This is a real shame because metallic glazes have come on in leaps and bounds over the past two or three years. And, at the same time, stunning matt ceramic surfaces and bold tile patterns have emerged that truly look incredible when paired with some of the new metallic paints and metallic wallpapers.

So, even if your metallic experimentation only extends to selecting one of the newer metallic finishes for your mixer taps or showerhead, there are tile pairings out there that will make the most of your new brassware.

Rather than fearing metallics, we think home owners should embrace their potential. Rest assured, it is not all about bling. Yes metallics can be bold and bright, but they can also be subtle and serene, elegant and understated.

Proof that metallics can be both eye-catching and understated

It is not just brass and gold finishes that are setting the design agenda. The last couple of years have seen nickel, silver, and cooler metallic tones pushing through, while the mixed metal look featuring rose gold and copper tones has taken more of a backseat.

Home owners are also being drawn to coloured brassware; which in recent years has been popular in the hospitality sector as a way to deliver aspirational bathroom elegance. These brass tones work really well in high contrast colour schemes, particularly when set against dark walls.

Copper fixtures are can really sing when paired with burnt oranges, blush, and coral tiles, but work equally well when combined with neutral grey, blue, and brown background colours that draw the eye to these lustrous and shimmering metallic accents.

Some of the very best metallic-enhanced domestic designs import elements from commercial interiors, with metallic components combined with pattern and colour. Here silver and brass are the popular choices as they have a grown up look and are fairly neutral, sitting well with patterned fabrics and coloured upholstery.

Furniture manufacturers are setting the trend with chairs and tables featuring plain and painted metallic combinations, dual-metal looks, and subtle polished and brushed finish combinations. Just as in today’s tiles, contemporary furniture is just as much about surface texture and differentiation as it is about colour and pattern.

So, what material and colour combinations are worth exploring? Well, if you want a bathroom with a sense of grandeur - soft and lustrous – why not combine strong and durable copper with a mix of light and dark woods?

If you want a more edgy, cosmopolitan, vibe, consider brushed and gloss aluminium combinations. These are both current and edgy. Another option is copper’s old world feel used as a captivating contrast in an otherwise modern décor scheme.

Highline Copper - olde-world yet thoroughly contemporary

Gold glazed tiles - both flat or 3D - can serve as an eye-catching accent wall that demands the spotlight. And we really like some of today’s flat matt gold glazes. They simply ooze sophistication. Regal, yet delicate, they are the ideal way to spice up a mainly grey interior.

Bronze pairs well with a traditional bathroom design and neutral walls. It is easy to maintain and elegant, with just the right amount of warmth - as shown with our Onice Beige Mosaics, below.

Silver is a consistent favourite among interior designers and home decorators alike. Attractive and cool, silver adds drama, reflects light; and works with a vast spread of colours. It is the perfect metallic finish for opening up small spaces, or adding definition on larger walls.

Our Foundry Silver tiles are ideal for small spaces, such as bedrooms and ensuites

At Porcelain Superstore we love textured, layered, eclectic spaces, and mixing metals is an effortless way to bring implied history and depth to your home. However, mixing metals is exactly the kind of interior concept that brings out the home decorator’s insecurity.

Fear not! Apply a few simple rules and it will prove to be a surprisingly easy to carry off. The absolute key is to choose one metal you really love to be the most prominent finish in your space, then select one or two metal accents to complete the look. So if you have opted for stainless steel worktops in the kitchen, soften the look with silver light fittings or gold splashbacks. Bronze tiles work well with copper pots and accent pieces. Alternatively, warm metals (like gold, brass, and nickel) add an attractive contrast of both colour and texture when set against cooler metals like chrome or silver.

Olde-world copper colouring can make a striking contrast to a minimal kitchen scheme

For years, home owners has sought to match finishes to achieve a co-ordinated look for a bathroom or kitchen, but today that matched-look feels a little monochromatic and dated. So mix it up a bit!. Remember; if, most metals can work well together, if the look is planned and there is clear design intent. Make sure each finish is a thoughtful addition to your space and go for bold contrasts rather than a near matches.

And while Porcelain Superstore advocates mixing and matching, it is very important to consider your colour palette when selecting the metals for your space. We recommending using warm metals (like brass, nickel and copper) with warm hues (like buttermilk, beige, and taupe) and cool metals (such as chrome and silver) with cool hues (such as grey, blue, and green).

However, it is often neutral rooms that will benefit the most from a metallic accent that adds warmth, texture, and colour. For example, if you’re using a mix of greys, setting a large mirror in a “frame” of gold tiles can truly bring the whole room to life.

When using metals, don’t forget to consider texture as this can make all of the different in a space with mixed metals. Combine matt, polished, and hammered finishes to create a visually rich atmosphere.

Use the different textures and herringbone pattern of Chroma Grey to add interest

And metallics can also be used as a background. Take today’s uber-fashionable iron-effect tiles. Leading tile manufacturers understand that iron is the neutral of the metallic world. It is a modern industrial material; a dark neutral that does not clash with other metal tones. And, wonderfully, it also highlights warmer metals, such as gold and brass, as a strong pop of colour.

Foundry Iron - the perfect foundation for a modern living space

Our final metallic tip is have fun, but don’t over do it. Play around with metallics, but try to stick to two finishes. You may get away with three if one is limited to a statement piece of some kind, or in a large space, but ideally you want just two metals: a prominent tone and an accent.

At Porcelain Superstore we urge you to be bold and fully embrace the design potential of metallics. We’re sure you’ll soon wonder what took you so long!