The Resurgence Of Brass In Home Design

a photo of pink velvet bar stools with brass legs

Did you live through the 1970s and the gaudy brass hardware phase? Yup, me too. Now, guess what? We are being thrust back into the age of brass – but it’s a new brass! So how will you design with it? How to keep this bold finish looking chic, without feeling dated? Let’s explore the resurgence of brass!

Who Could Have Seen This Coming?

I have been working in the design field for many years and I have seen trends come and go. I never thought I would see the resurgence of brass as strongly as it is right now in the marketplace.

A decade ago we heard rumblings from plumbing and lighting suppliers that brass was going to make a big comeback. Outrageous! For those of us who lived through brass previously, we all turned our noses up to the idea. There was no way we could possibly welcome this bold finish back into the mainstream.

The problem with brass is that it was so widely exposed that we all just got sick of it. Brass represented commonplace. In its attempt to be elegant, it just looked tacky. Brushed nickel and oil-rubbed bronze seem so much more sophisticated than gaudy brass.

A photo of a kitchen sink, white counter, and a brass faucet

Photo by Michael DeMarco

Modern design styles require new and updated finishes!

Right now we are seeing the wildly popular Modern Glam design style in the marketplace. Modern Glam lends itself so well to brass that the two create a stunning look.

There is another innovative design trend gaining traction and it is called Grandmillennial. This look has a definite throwback feel of old-world traditional. It is full of formality, chintz, and of course, brass!

The good news is that the brass infused in these two design styles has a softer look. It isn’t the shiny, in-your-face brass of yesteryear.

Designers are stepping up their game by manipulating the look of brass as well. New finishes such as Brushed Brass and Satin Brass are enjoying a wave of popularity. Retail shelves are also filled with hammered brass accents that can add sine and textural interest to any room. 

a photo of brass lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling

Photo by Diz Play on Unsplash

Should You Commit To Full Home Installations?

The thought of installing all new light fixtures or hardware throughout your house is a daunting task. With brass, you can keep installations simple. This trend is not one that I would recommend installing throughout your home – just yet.

So how to mix finishes? Designers are well-aware that replacing all the lighting or hardware in a home is a costly venture. The newer brass finishes are carefully thought through so they can work well with both oil-rubbed bronze and brushed nickel. I have even seen a successful merging of polished chrome and satin brass!

If you are going for that eclectic look, be sure to keep one of the finishes at least in the 70% range and just add smatterings of the other. Blending the two 50/50 is going to be a mess.

Coastal Markets respond first

As with most trends, the coastal markets of LA, Miami, and Manhattan are the first to bond with this latest look. If you are reading this from middle America, hang on tight. Brass is coming your way very soon!

a photo of a kitchen counter with brass ladles

I recently completed a product tour in an upscale area of the East Coast. Brass was everywhere! From accents to door hardware and light fixtures, this new brass is simply the popular kid in town right now.

Retailers such as Crate & Barrel, Arhaus, and Z Gallerie have this finish absolutely everywhere in their showrooms. It works beautifully with Millennial Pink, but I really love it mixed with emerald and grey. I’ve created a look book and found some great pieces that you can shop from retailers right now.

Everything old is new again!

About five years ago, I installed a model home with a black and white color scheme and I added pops of vibrant gold for accents. A lot of the finishes in that home were brass. I recall that the brass finish was quite controversial at the time. That model home has since been repurposed and is still installed at a newer community. I am sure it is getting a welcome reception by the young millennials shopping in that neighborhood.

Design trends are fun to follow. By updating your surroundings with current trends, your home will always feel fresh. Will you be adding brass and how will you be updating your look? Comment and share!

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Ellen Phillips

Living a Beautiful Life

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