How to Mix Metal Finishes for Modern Kitchen Aesthetics

Mixing metals in the kitchen can lend to a modern design, but you need to be intentional. Mixing more than two metal finishes may look mismatched rather than on-trend. 

How to Mix Metal Finishes for Modern Kitchen Aesthetics


Common Kitchen Metal Finishes

Common Kitchen Metal Finishes

Standard metal finishes for modern kitchen aesthetics include stainless steel, copper, polished brass, brushed nickel, and more.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is durable, corrosion-resistant, and easy to clean. It’s common for appliances, sinks, and countertops and works with most kitchen styles. Two interior design styles that go very well with stainless steel accents include industrial and contemporary.

Brushed Nickel

Brushed nickel has a matte silvery finish, which hides fingerprints and smudges. Its subdued shine works well with stainless steel appliances, making it popular in modern kitchens.

Polished Brass

Polished brass is ideal for homeowners who want a gold finish without overpowering other metals in the kitchen. Brass complements natural, earthy tones and works well with black accents.

Oil-Rubbed Bronze

Oil-rubbed bronze fixtures have a distressed black finish with a bronzey-gold hue peaking out underneath. They fit traditional and contemporary kitchen designs, contrast white backgrounds, and hide smudges and fingerprints.

Matte Black

Mattle black finishes match most other metals. Popular combinations include matte black and gold hardware in the kitchen. Matte black lends well to modern designs but is also popular in farmhouse-style kitchens.


Copper is a reddish metal that works for most designs, including industrial and farmhouse kitchens. Over time, copper develops a natural patina that adds a unique, aged appearance to the kitchen.

Key Tips for Mixing Metal Finishes in the Kitchen

Mixing the wrong metals in the kitchen can clash. Here’s how to get it right.

Establish a Dominant Metal and Secondary Accents

Select a primary metal for fixtures and appliances. Add a secondary metal for contrast and visual appeal. The secondary metal is ideal for smaller accents like cabinet hardware, light fixtures, or faucets.

Pair Warm and Cool Tones for Balance

Pairing warm and cool metals creates visual balance. Warm metals include copper, gold, oil-rubbed bronze, and brass. Nickel, stainless steel, iron, and chrome are cool metals.

Limit the Number of Different Metals for a Cohesive Look

Mix two or three metal finishes for a cohesive look. Consider other materials and colors in your kitchen design when choosing finishes. Warm-toned metals like copper, brass, and gold pair well in black kitchens. Cool metals like chrome and stainless steel complement bright kitchen interiors.

Where to Add Metal Accents in the Kitchen

Mixing Metals in Various Kitchen Elements

Kitchen elements with metal finishes include kitchen appliances, hardware, kitchenware, and decor.

  • Faucets and Sink Fixtures: Mixing metal faucets and sink fixtures allows you to add personality to your kitchen. Mix brass or gold faucets with stainless steel or matte black sinks for a bold contrast.
  • Cabinet Hardware and Pulls: Similar metal finishes in upper and lower cabinet hardware create a cohesive look. Alternating between the two adds a sense of balance.
  • Lighting Fixtures and Pendant Lights: Light fixtures and pendant lights create a focal point, use your primary metal for light fixtures.  
  • Appliances and Range Hoods: Most kitchen appliances are available in standard finishes like stainless steel. You could add a range hood with a contrasting metal finish, such as copper or brass. To avoid overwhelming the space, choose a limited palette of metals.
  • Kitchen Furniture and Seating: Pay attention to the metal frames on your chairs or bar stools to ensure they match your design. 

Mixing Metals in Different Kitchen Design Styles

Mixing Metals in Different Kitchen Design Styles

When choosing metal finishes, consider your kitchen’s style and color palette to ensure they complement each other.

Modern and Minimalist

Stainless steel is popular as the primary metal, with brass or matte black as the accent metal.

Rustic and Farmhouse

Copper’s warm, rich tones suit rustic and farmhouse kitchens. Use copper in light fixtures, range hoods, sinks, or kitchenware. You can also accessorize using items made from wrought iron for a vintage touch.

Traditional and Classic

Brass, bronze, and brushed nickel are standard in traditional kitchen designs. Pairing warm-toned brass with cool-toned nickel creates an appealing contrast. Chrome fixtures are also popular for classic kitchens. 

Eclectic and Bohemian

Boho styles mix a lot of brass with other metals, including copper, chrome, and nickel. Create an eclectic look using many metals and different textures.

Inspiration Ideas for Mixing Metals in Your Kitchen Design

Combining different metallic elements adds a unique flair to the kitchen space.

  • White cabinets with black stainless steel kitchen appliances: To achieve a modern look, contrast your cabinets with bold black stainless steel. 
  • Silver sink with black faucet: Installing a silver sink with a sleek black faucet creates contrast. The idea works best in an industrial, minimalist, or contemporary kitchen.
  • Brushed nickel appliances: Brushed nickel appliances have a soft, matte finish. Consider pairing brushed nickel appliances with metal finishes like gold or brass faucets.
  • Gold hardware on white cabinets: Mixing these two evokes a sense of luxury and elegance. Gold accents add warmth and richness to the white cabinetry. Use gold cabinet pulls, hinges, and knobs to achieve this luxurious look.
  • White and brass appliances: Combining white and brass creates a more eclectic design. The blend makes the kitchen space bold and striking. Pair these appliances with brass elements, such as cabinet hardware or light fixtures.