News & Information

Why gold fixtures and hardware are back in style. Did they ever go out in the first place?

July 13, 2017

Flip through any home design magazine, peruse photos on Pinterest and Houzz, and you’ll notice that gold fixtures and hardware are back in style. But the real question is, did brass ever go out of style? The answer is yes, and no.

At Dunbar Builders, we are using more brass finishes in homes, but not the brass you recall from the 1980s - bright, shiny, overpowering - your grandmom’s brass. Homeowners are a bit hesitant to put brass back in their homes when they feel they’ve just removed all the 1980s brass, from chandeliers to bright door handles. But the brass that is on the rise in homes is different. It is more understated, subdued, quiet. The gold finish of brass provides warmth, sophistication, and elegance to any room, and these days, it has a brushed finish, not a “brassy” one.

Homeowners are requesting gold and brass hardware more often in the kitchens we build. Cabinet hardware is the finishing touch - it's like the jewelry of the kitchen.

In the past, we often used silver finishes (stainless steel, brushed and polished nickel) in a kitchen because of their beauty, but brass finishes are on the rise. Why? Because painted gray, blue, and white cabinetry adorn innumerable kitchens, and brass hardware provides a golden warmth against the cool tones of the painted cabinetry. We love the combination of white cabinetry with gold pulls and handles; it is a timeless kind of beauty that will never go out of style. And our current favorite is a kitchen with painted gray cabinetry and gold hardware - the contrast of the cool and warm tones is universally pleasing.

Gold fixtures and brass are more beautiful these days because the finishes are brushed and more understated than those of the 1980s. The quiet, golden tone of the brass commands more attention than the loud, shiny brass of before. It provides an element of warmth and sophistication in a home. Since it is time to change your thoughts about brass, we have some tips on how to approach gold and brass in your home:

  • Treat brass as an accessory. When used in a tasteful way in a home, brass never goes out of style.  It’s not necessary to use it all over your home. Look for brushed finishes in gold/ brass that are quiet, not the shiny, loud brass of the 1980s. A little brass goes a long way!
  • Is brass going to be the new stainless steel? Likely not. Brass is well-suited to accent pieces, fixtures, lights, hardware, and other smaller decor items. This is why you see brass more often in kitchens than bathrooms - constant water and humidity are hard on brass, and brass shows fingerprints and spotting more than stainless steel and porcelain. Usually when you see brushed gold and brass fixtures in a bathroom it is on faucets and fixtures because they are smaller places which mean easier maintenance.
  • If you are a bit hesitant to bring gold  into your home, fixtures are a good way to ease into the brass scene. They’re an easy and inexpensive way to accessorize and update a room. Brass light fixtures can make a big impact in a room, or provide a small pop of warmth - it all depends on the look you are after.
  • Can you mix metal finishes in a home? This is a question we are often asked. Our answer is yes! The trick is making sure that one metal dominates, and don’t use more than three metals within your home. So if you love silver finishes, use them throughout your home, and add in brass elements here and there.  Sometimes all a room needs is one touch of brass to bring in that element of sophistication!  Brass mixes well with nickel because both are metals with inherent warmth, and black, as you know, goes with everything!  Another trick we use when we mix various metal finishes in a home is to make sure all the planes within a room are the same.  For example, all the hardware on cabinetry would be brass, while the light fixtures would be the same - whether silver or wrought iron.

Maybe it is time to change your mind about using brass and gold in your home.  As far as we can see, the trend of subdued brass and brushed gold fixtures is not going anywhere!