Elegant home with stone and metal details

Mixing Natural Elements: Stone and Metal

Art and architecture are all about inspiration. And who better to take inspiration from than Mother Nature?

Natural elements like stone and metal are the building blocks of some of humanity’s finest architectural triumphs. These materials are also mainstays in interior and exterior design, and for good reason—they look polished and professional.

Whether you’re wondering how to mix metals in a bathroom or planning to completely remodel your home, we’re here to help. It’s time to explore natural elements and how to make mixing metal designs work for you!

Tips for Mixing Metals

Combining different metals was long seen as a faux-pas in the design world. These days, that couldn’t be further from the truth. As long as you’re strategic in your choices, you can create a space that wows and delights.

Follow these tips on mixing metals in interior design for a sure-fire path to your next masterpiece.

Mix Different Types of Metal

There are three types of metal to keep in mind when building out your vision.1 They are:

  • Cool metals – These include aluminum, stainless steel, and other bright, silvery materials.
  • Warm metals – Examples include gold, copper, and bronze.
  • Neutral metals – Iron and other darker metals fall into this category.

It can be tempting to keep to one class of these metals. For example, when completing a kitchen, your first instinct may be to match the metal of the fixtures. Instead, try mixing metals in kitchen design by creating contrast between cool aluminum faucets and warm gold accents. 

Neutral metals work well to add variety in any situation. By bringing in cool metal and warm metal options, the different metals create an eclectic design. This strategy creates excitement in the overall design.

Pick a Dominant Metal

While mixing metals isn’t an issue, it’s still ideal to choose one primary metal as your dominant element. From there, you can select other materials that accent the color of your anchor choice. Use your dominant metal tone in cabinet hardware or in a light fixture so that the metal accents (in the primary tone) can bring the look of the room together. 

Don’t Forget About Texture

Mixing the types of metal in a room is visually pleasing, but so is the combination of different textures. Rather than sticking with smooth, shiny metal for an entire space, experiment with various textural changes.

Combining pieces of matte, polished, and hammered metals provides interest in the room. Subtlety is your friend here, as mixing too many colors and textures can look disjointed. Have fun with these and mix and match as you see fit!

Ideas for Mixing Natural Elements

Looking for inspiration for your next project? We’ve conceptualized a couple of design ideas to start you off on the right foot.

Metal and Marble

On their own, metal and marble can certainly deliver the “wow factor” to modern interior spaces. But when you combine the two, their visual grandeur is undeniable. Mix a crisp, clean Danby or Montclair marble with bronze, for instance, and you’re really on to something. Let’s look at how these two ancient mediums meet in 2021!

In the history of art, architecture, and design, marble holds its own special place. Michelangelo used white Italian marble to carve the statue of David; the ancient Greeks used white marble for temple after temple; Danby marble from Vermont graces many historically significant American buildings.

As for metals, bronze doesn’t take a back seat in terms of historical significance. After all, there was the Bronze Age with all the accompanying advances in tools and trade.

Fast forward to today, and white marble tops the list of many design plans. The Danby quarry, for example, produces one of the hardest white marbles available, with a purity of color that is hard to match. Pairing the rugged aspect of stone with smooth, metallic design focal points is a growing design trend.

To develop a few more thoughts on combining bronze and marble, we recently had the chance to catch up with an old friend, Mr. Ted Lowitz, the founder of Bronzework Studio in Chicago. Lowitz explained, “I have always felt that bronze added a sense of gravitas to the marble when they are used together.” 

As a true bronze artisan, Lowitz holds an M.F.A. from The University of Illinois at Chicago. As such, his inspirations arrive from many sources—as can yours! During our chat, he shared that a visit to Rome motivated his creation of the bronze Roman Liner—the liner second from the top in the image above.

If you want to pair metal with stone in a way that stands out, look for contrasting tones. The dark honey color of bronze creates a striking juxtaposition with iridescent white marble or grey stone slabs. Stop into a Materials Marketing showroom and let us show you more.

Metal Mosaics 

Most followers of interior design trends can tell you about the current market passion for metal mosaics and tiles. It’s naturally quite valuable to find professionals who can add their unique perspectives on such trending concepts. 

A fine case in point is architect Ronique Gibson, who always has an inspiring take on design. Not long ago, she posted a piece on Freshhome.com about metals, saying, “when it comes to the most used and specified finishes of kitchen, bath, and interior designers it has to be the silvery metallic family of metals which include: nickel, chrome, aluminum, and stainless steel.”

Materials Marketing has recently introduced a collection of metal mosaics called Aluminum which lines up nicely with Gibson’s philosophy. This collection isn’t limited to the “aluminum foil” color that might immediately come to mind. As you can see at the top of this post and immediately below, there’s a wide array of colors available.

The collection also demonstrates the ability to have that additional third dimension—beyond length and width—by adding discernible depth. Although this online medium struggles to depict more than two dimensions, the partial section view below will indicate this additional design component.

As Gibson notes, cool metals like aluminum and stainless steel are popular when mixing metals in a bathroom or kitchen. But when creating a metal mosaic as a backsplash or pattern for the wall, you can also mix warm and cool metals. Choosing a warm metal (such as gold or bronze) and integrating it with a cool metal makes for an attractive contrast. You can mix in dark neutral metals like cast iron for more variety.

Metal mosaics—whether flecked with aluminum, bronze, gold or otherwise—offer a unique design opportunity. Feel free to creatively mix metals in your next project and prepare to be amazed at the results.

Materials Marketing: Pay Us a Visit

Whether you’re remodeling your bathroom, spicing up a kitchen, or playing with the appearance of any indoor space, we’re here to give you a hand. With ten showrooms in the U.S., Materials Marketing is ready to show you the finest in metal and stone. 

Stop in for a visit, and let’s express our creativity with natural design elements.

Sources: 

  1. Invaluable. 8 Tips for Mixing Metals in Home Decor. https://www.invaluable.com/blog/mixing-metals/ 
  2. Kathy Kuo Home. Mixing Metals at Home: The Do’s and Don’ts to Know. https://www.kathykuohome.com/blog/mixing-metals-the-dos-and-donts/