Explore trends we are watching this spring with variations on brass accent tones.
This year, we wave goodbye to stainless steel and polished nickel, and welcome brass accents back into our homes. Brass is a surprisingly warm and subtle alternative to the expected steel accents. And it’s back in style.
Not only is brass an emblem of new retro-chic championed by design influencers including Instagram lifestyle blogger Kelly Wearstler, interior designers at Intarya, and trend forecasters at Scarlet Opus in the UK, but brass as an accent feature brings balance and subtle elegance to any room when in tandem with the right designs.
Brass has come back with a vengeance in many variations: a rich antiqued version, golden French brass, polished brass, satin brass, and brass accents on wood or painted pieces.
Trends in Brass Accent Finishes
Rich Antiquated Brass
“There has been a move away from the high shine, perfect finish of gold towards metals with a warmer aesthetic. Brass is glamorous without being ostentatious and that is what feels more palatable for consumers right now. “
-Victoria Renshaw, Scarlet Opus
Rich, antiquated brass works well for designs that favor more classic tones. The traditional finish of antiquated brass invokes brass’s longstanding role as a staple of vintage luxury design. Traditional finishes like rich antiquated brass are particularly alluring as accent pieces, with the warm, golden finish creating a contrast to a room with more modern design.
Golden French Brass
“I have been using [brass] for the last seven years. It is the warmest of the metals and makes everything feel so elevated and rich. In addition to that, brass goes with any other colour. When it’s used in furniture it works amazingly well in smaller spaces where the reflective texture can make a room feel bigger.”
-Kelly Wearstler, Kelly Wearstler Lifestyle Brand
Golden French brass evokes a sense of luxury and high-end aesthetic. Rather than the contrasting rustic nature of rich antiquated brass or traditional finishes, Golden French brass truly completes a room with its soft, gentle glow and aura of ageless refinement.
“The new generation is more about style and less about bling. Both brass and gold finishes are more subtle this time around with warm rather than yellow tones. Antique and brushed finishes are also popular and the taps are being used to work with the decor rather than to create a bold statement.”
-Howard Birch, Aston Martin
Polished brass synthesizes the rustic elegance of Rich Antiquated styles and the high-end refinement of Golden French finishes. As Howard Birch of Aston Martin notes, polished brass is best incorporated into a design when it works with the decor, particularly as an element in tandem with deep wood tones, soft colors, or rich patterns framing semi-understated yet refined aesthetic.
“[Brass is] back with a capital ‘B’…. In a bright polish or a burnished glow, brass introduces a warmer, richer tone and softer reflections into a room. Unlike the cool simplicity of silver, warm metals speak to a much more diverse and varied design heritage – everything from Moroccan tea kettles to Italian hardware.”
-Vanessa Holden, West Elm
Satin brass is perhaps the least exotic and most easily integrated accent finish. The smooth textured glow of satin brass is more understated than Golden French finishes and more accessible than its bolder cousins such as Polished brass styles. Soft tones, ethereal styles, and atmospheric lighting work best to truly bring out the beauty of satin brass, but satin brass is perhaps the most adaptable of all finishes, adding warmth, simplicity, and elegance to any design.
Brass Accents on Wood
“…Brass brings a sense of modernity, heritage, and comfort. We have been mixing it with darker metals, such as oil-rubbed bronze and copper, for a more eclectic, less formal look… [t]he trend towards monochromatic, neutral interiors is long gone.”
-Daniel Kostiuc, Intarya
Mixed metals are in this year, and nothing invokes brass’s traditional utility with a rich, refined interpretation of luxury more than brass accents on wood. Brass accents on wood are most appealing with darker, deeper tones of each medium that truly bring out the richness of each, and softer palettes framing brass accents on wood are best for highlighting the luxurious aura of the aesthetic without overpowering the visitor.
“People have wanted their homes to feel warmer and more relaxing given everything that’s going on in the world outside. Brass is a soft color with a sense of inherent quality. We have been seeing it more in hotels and restaurants – and when it comes to the fore in public places it ends up in more intimate spaces.”
-Peter Sallick, Waterworks (interior designers)
Painted pieces offer a more creative yet still vintage-inspired take on brass accent finishes, providing new opportunities for contrast and elaborate cohesion of designs in a room. The variety of options of painted pieces create a lovely addendum when used in addition to other brass finishes, elegantly tying together the stylish aura of a brass piece with a painted, more personalized design twist.
Brass today is much more understated and luxurious than it used to be. In tandem with its cousin shiny gold, brass is now beginning to overtake chrome and brushed nickel as the preferred metal of choice for accent furniture, faucets, handles, picture frames, lighting fixtures, and, of course, beds.
The best thing about brass? When you do your decor just right, it never goes out of style.