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posted: 12/30/2012 3:00 AM

Gold decor is golden once again

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  • Gold lamp.

    Gold lamp.
    Courtesy of Hudson Valley Lighting

  • Gold sink

    Gold sink
    Courtesy of Kohler

  • Gold futures: A metallic yellow pillow adds a pop of color and shine.

    Gold futures: A metallic yellow pillow adds a pop of color and shine.
    Courtesy of Peking Handicraft

  • In the bath, a sculptural faucet demonstrates the regal, contemporary look of gold.

    In the bath, a sculptural faucet demonstrates the regal, contemporary look of gold.
    Courtesy of THG

By Alice Oglethorpe
CTW Features

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other's gold.

That adage now applies to one of the hottest trends in interior design. When it comes to metals in the home, silver -- the most popular finish for decades -- has had to step aside for gold.

"Even five years ago, the design community turned its nose up at anything that was gold or brass," says Jason Oliver Nixon, partner in the interior design firm Madcap Cottage Interiors in Brooklyn, N.Y. "But in the past year, we've seen a huge resurgence in interest from our clients in golds and bronzes."

This transformation is due in part to a change in the preferred aesthetic. Nixon says, "People are returning their homes to more traditional looks. Designers had been going with minimalist tendencies but are now adopting a grander look, and gold goes along with that. Gold is almost like custom jewelry for the home -- it can feel handmade and bespoke -- whereas silver can feel more run-of-the-mill and mass market."

Switching out silver fixtures for gold is an easy way to instantly give your home an updated look. "My clients are asking for more and more gold fixtures and I think it's because gold is a warmer tone that looks beautiful with all kinds of interior design styles," says Rebecca Buchan, founder and principal of Denton House Design Studio in Salt Lake City, Utah. "Gold is classic. It was popular in the time of Louis XIV of France, after all, but it's not just for traditional interiors. Use it conservatively and it can give a rich pop to modern décors."

Buchan recommends mixing golds with greens and aquamarine. She also says mixed metallics can work throughout the home, no need to go all-in on gold.

This isn't the same gold that people filled their homes with in the 1970s and 80s. "The new golds aren't nearly as brassy as the ones used back then," says Travis Rotelli, a designer at the Kohler Design Center in Kohler, Wis. "It's evolved into a richer, warmer color than brass, which can have a yellow tone to it."

Kohler offers several different shades of gold, Rotelli says: "We have a gold with a brushed finish to it, another that almost feels like a white gold and even a brushed bronze that has a rustic, deeper tone than normal bronze."

While gold has an expensive look to it (and gold jewelry is often much pricier than silver), the price difference doesn't necessarily translate to metallic fixtures. "The general rule of thumb is that chrome finishes are the lowest price point while gold is typically somewhere in the middle," Rotelli says. "But like any finish, you can see a variation in price and find something for your budget."

Don't feel like you're stuck using gold only in the kitchen and bathroom for metal fixtures. "Gold is popping up in surprising places and really does translate across the board, from furniture to hardware. I'm even seeing bathtubs that are completely copper," Nixon says.

And it doesn't stop there. "Think about everything that's silver in your home: lighting fixtures, dishware, flatware. All of those items are trending toward gold now, too," Buchan says. "Even upholstered furniture is getting the gold treatment with new fabrics and leathers in metallic golds."

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