All about the brass? Mix and match with caution

  • It's OK to mix brass near stainless steel appliances in a modern kitchen.

    It's OK to mix brass near stainless steel appliances in a modern kitchen. Courtesy of Tobi Fairley

Updated 6/1/2015 6:43 AM

So you want to bring in brass, but what if you have a stainless kitchen sink or appliances?

It's OK to mix metals among appliances and decorative hardware and accessories -- all in moderation, says designer Tobi Fairley.


"There are some gorgeous and sophisticated kitchen designs that have a gorgeous balance of silver tones and matte brass tones or even copper with nickel," she says.

Fairley says it's fine to have a stainless sink in a kitchen and also bring in brass through accents and lighting without it looking tacky. It's all about the mix and spacing.

Homeowners should avoid mixing brass faucets and fixtures with a stainless sink bowl. For that, it's best to use an enamel white sink, or maybe a stone or marble apron sink.

There's also been a rise in colorful kitchen sinks that pair well with brass hardware.

For total kitchen remodels, brass goes with wood or cutting-board countertops and a farmhouse or porcelain sink, says Courtney Lake, owner of Monogram Décor, an interior design firm in the San Francisco bay area.

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"It's just this really great way of bringing in unexpected warmth," Lake says. "You can find great brass knobs or a faucet and it brings in that living quality don't get it when you're looking at a higher -end countertop."

It's trickier trying to make brass work in an ultra-modern kitchen. You may have to switch to matte black appliances or work with a designer to add in a few whimsical, antique or balancing elements.

"It's figuring out what your balance is going to be," Lake says. "If you have all stainless steel, you may need to reconsider because it's not going to have the proper background to really pop against the other metallic finishes in the space. The one trick I use, if there's a lot of metallic, is to do accent tiles or cement tile on the wall or a great geometric pattern as a way to tone down a fairly modern kitchen."

-- CTW Features

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