Are Brass Finishings Coming Back In Style?

Brass finishes were a staple of home décor during the glittering '80s (via Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette). Yet, as they always do, styles changed and moved away from brash elements toward a minimalist aesthetic that utilized clean and cool chrome. Later trends, including farmhouse and industrial, supplanted chrome with utilitarian and honest finishes more likely to be found in historic homes and buildings, such as oil-rubbed bronze, wrought iron, and nickel. And copper and rose gold metallics blipped onto the scene, too, complementing the clay and blush (aka millennial pink) paint colors fashionable at the time and providing a reprieve from the prevalence of gray.

After many years of yellow and gold metals being out, brass has rushed in along with eclecticism and maximalism. These themes celebrate individual tastes as well as joy and coziness in our home environment. Brass finishes are now being offered in more than the polished incarnation of the past, including brushed and satin, while unlacquered options are growing in popularity. Furthermore, Julie Blanner explains that the uncoated brass patinas darken with wear and age. While not as widely available, it is worth searching for the character it contributes to the overall scheme. Whether featured in cabinet hardware, lighting fixtures, or furniture accents, glowing brass will add liveliness and, believe it or not, updated flair to your interiors.

Vintage vibes

Brass is becoming a go-to finish in contemporary décor, yet it's perfectly suited to a style it was frequently paired with in the 1950s. A new take on a mid-century design features the same low and stream-lined silhouettes popular in the retro trend's heyday but suffuses them with more luxury and comfort than they once possessed. Brass complements the warm neutral upholstery and plush carpeting that accompanies this new version, perhaps even better than its original incarnation. Plus, it looks amazing with many currently in-demand paint tones, like warm ivory, deep greenish gray (against which it creates a satisfying contrast), and rich earthy shades.

According to Forbes, traditional interiors and bold statements are on the upswing. Designer Ariel Okin told the outlet, "We are going to continue to see a rise in more layered, traditional interiors that are cozy, warm, and inviting. A blend of old and new: contemporary artwork and lighting paired with classic furniture silhouettes like an English roll arm sofa, for example." Adding brass-accented furnishings and objects, such as a vintage-inspired Sputnik light fixture or metal and glass occasional tables, can effectively freshen the usually conventional and sometimes stuffy style.

The timeless material can also give credit and history to a modern space. To that end, an opulent mirror is a foil to clean-edged furniture, while traditional brass and irons would be an interesting choice in a minimal fireplace. When done well, the mix results in an eclectic and personalized home.

Timeless and tested design

According to Rotax Metals, brass is both antimicrobial and resistant to corrosion, making it an ideal material for items that experience frequent surface contact, like door knobs and cabinet pulls, for example. Regarding aesthetics, unlacquered brass will benefit from hands-on use, developing a pleasant patina. And per Housetrends, matte and muted finishes, as opposed to lacquered, look most current. Additionally, the outlet notes that brass can be an expensive option but says cabinet hardware is a cost-effective way to pepper the warm and trending metal throughout your space. Home Square likens it to jewelry for the kitchen. However, a brass faucet or chandelier could be a worthwhile statement splurge, particularly in a simply outfitted space.

Home décor expert Kaitlin Madden says wood-toned and dark green cabinets are big in kitchens this year. By the same token, Forbes believes dark wood furniture pieces will experience a new appreciation. Deep colors and warm woods are spectacular with brass fixtures and lighting, as they contrast and bring forth the inherent richness of the metal. Furthermore, as seen above, it's a gorgeous component of an ever-classic black-and-white combination, adding a dash of heat to the refined and timeless palette. While brass is great in modern and colorful kitchens, Home Square also recommends it in traditional rooms for its conveyance of history. Alas, the new brass finishes feel just right, no matter the style.