Metallic moments

Ally Dowsing-Reynolds of home decor specialist Dowsing & Reynolds explains why metallics are a great trend for interiors, and gives practical advice on how best to bring striking accents to your home

Whether it’s handles, light fittings or switches and sockets, incorporating metallic finishes into your home can bring a sense of magic to an interior scheme. They reflect light, adding a level of sophistication and attracting the eyes to each area of detail in the room.

The best general tip is to focus on design accents and replace existing fixtures with metallic alternatives to subtly but effectively upgrade your space.


The trend for metallics is as popular as ever but it’s important to do your research before investing in metallic fixtures and decor. Finishes can vary between designs so bear this in mind when choosing between tones.

Gold and copper are great alternatives to chrome, but if you love silver, a softer, satiny, brushed nickel finish will make your interiors look more up-to-date.

As a general rule, be selective and stick to one metallic finish and repeat it around your space. But that’s not to say you can’t mix metallics within the same product. For example, the backplates of your light switches could be tarnished copper, but the toggle itself could be a contrasting nickel or gold.


The influence of the Art Deco aesthetic is strong in interior design, and remains popular in many homes. The contrast of black and gold, which is synonymous with this glamorous period, has influenced many of us to revisit gold fixtures and fittings when decorating.

When it comes to planning a room scheme and deciding whether to use metallic accents, a great place to start is with a mood board. Combine the colours that speak to your personality with a few different metallic finishes to see how they might work together in your space. Once you have your colour scheme, it’s easier to feed in accents and details.

Jewel tones and brushed metallics complement each other beautifully, creating a sense of eclectic glamour. Copper works particularly well in lighting fixtures and is popular in kitchens, with softer gold finishes sitting well in bedroom schemes against navy or dark green walls and geometric prints. Touches of metallics in soft furnishings will heighten the effect of any metal flashes on your walls or in your lighting.

Once you start gathering inspiration it’ll become clearer which hues and tones excite you the most. A carefully placed gold detail can dramatically elevate a neutral scheme from ‘nice to look at’ to subtly sophisticated. Metallics work well in a number of ways, and the same accent will add punctuation to deeply saturated hues by catching the light, leaving the possibilities almost endless.


Add visual interest in your room by contrasting materials. Bringing in metal details is an easy way to achieve this. By swapping the handles on your wooden units for detailed knurled metal handles, you can quickly update your kitchen and bring together old and new. Contrast the hues for a stronger look, or tone them for something more subtle; gold against navy or brushed steel against grey.

Equally, replacing plain white switches and sockets on your walls with metallic equivalents immediately adds a point of interest and this shiny metal detailing contrasts with the softer textures and earthy tones of curtains or blinds, creating balance and depth.

Mixing materials such as velvet and wool with rattan and then finishing with metallic detailing helps prevent a room looking one-dimensional.


If you’re looking for truly remarkable accessories then more adventurous metallic options are available. Tarnished copper and smoked gold are stunning choices above the usual shiny chrome and gold, instantly making a statement wherever you use them. They work well with both dark ‘cocooning’ interiors, or light and airy spaces. For a modern take

on classic silver, try brushed nickel for added depth and reduced shine, creating something more visually interesting.

Think beyond metallic bowls, vases and photo frames when you’re adding your finishing touches. Consider the often overlooked, more ‘boring’ items too. A gold dimmer switch with beautiful detailing can be as eye-catching as purely decorative objects.

However you choose to incorporate metallics into your home, through small changes or a full fixtures overhaul, previously dull spaces will now capture your attention and become subtly luxurious.

Fixtures and fittings no longer have to be simply functional, they can be beautiful and striking too.

Ally Dowsing-Reynolds is co-owner at Dowsing & Reynolds –