Brass is Back!

(For some, it never really went away, but for others of us, it was GONE.) Metal finishes are like anything else: they go in and they go out. This is why I think it's important when choosing finishes for your home that you choose ones that work with your artchitecture & the feeling of your home versus what's hot or not. This way it always feels "classic."

I know of many people going through their entire homes and replacing all of the brass builder's grade hardware with brushed nickel or oil rubbed bronze or some other finish. It certainly improved the look of many homes. But I have to admit, I do have a thing for burnished brass right now. (Chandelier above in "antique brass" I recently had installed in a client's dining room and pendant below to go in her hallway.)

Sometimes brass just works in a home and it would feel funny to have anything else. The warm metal is needed and nothing else will do. This was definitely the case with this client's home and it really did open me up to brass. Here's another beauty:

As with all things, it seems that when you sort of ease in with one exception, (for example, antiqued brass) you start to open up your mind to other possibilities, like perfeclty polished brass:

Which I now think is just beautiful. I love this chandelier below:

Although I have to be honest, and I'm still not really into the typical 80- 90s brass dining room chandeliers unless they really work with a room's decor. -below- There are still alot of rooms out there with "inappropriate brass." hahahah (I'm not above painting brass that doesn't work... I know it could be a sin to some, but I'm not reverential about it... yet ;)
(Some friends of mine have actually managed to make theirs look beautiful with the addition of other brass in the room... I wish I had a pic for you!!) I COVET this lamp below:

And how gorgeous is this pendant?!:

{All chandliers above from Arteriors Home.) I thought I'd share a bunch of House Beautiful homes that have gorgeous brass accents... proving that for some of those design geniuses, brass was never really out. (because I'm sure you'll recognize some of these from a while ago.)

See how this room just needs brass (below) to give it the beautiful warm glow?

This modern brass mirror works perfectly with the sconces:

It works perfectly with guilded pieces too -like the chair s& sofa:

I've always loved this room below. The bed reminds me of the one we found on the side of the road this summer for our bedroom.

We all went crazy for Pheobe Howard's apartment & she uses lots of brass in it:

And, in case you're thinking it only works in more traditional spaces:
It's really unexpected in the room below:
I love how the brass on the light fixture & coffee table plays off of the silk curtains in this room:
And... in kitchens it can be just gorgeous! Check out this one below(found via Urban Grace from Southern Living.) I love the shiny warmth of it in here:

And I just LOVE LOVE LOVE Anne Turner Carroll's kitchen featured in Cottage Living. (images via Urban Grace) I remember seeing that brass hardware & just loving it.
It's beautiful on this chandy:

Just so perfect!!! (below) It mizes so nicely with the pewter:

So, are you sold yet? I'm after this task lamp from Restoration Hardware for our bedroom but will be looking for some cheaper altenatives (anyone??):

ps- thanks for all the really sweet comments this week!!! you guys are the best & really make my day(s)!!! :) have a beautiful weekend!!


Janell @ House of Fifty said...

I am really beginning to love brass! It takes awhile, after all the ugly brass hardware out there a couple decades ago. But when it is done right nothing compares! Love the top two fixtures you pictured, especially the second, how different!

Janell @ House of Fifty said...

Also...thanks for the photo! I've made a decision and ordering the lantern. (thought some of the fixtures you show in this post made me pause for a moment!)

Kelly Robson said...

I agree! Brass is BACK! In a cool, not trying too hard to be fancy type of way. :)

Love your blog by the way! I am your newest fan!


Bethany Christensen said...

My mom will be so happy!

One of my Hobby Blogs said...

ah yes, but for how long!

Sharon@Sharon at Home said...

I am so glad ... I have never been able to get rid of all my Baldwin Brass candlesticks. I have them everywhere!

Chic Coles said...

Yes brass used in the right way can add warmth and depth to a room. Why have contractors and builders gotten the idea that they can decorate.

Mary said...

I always thought antique brass looked best in a room done in warm colors. And silver in a room done in cool colors. But you are making me re-think my ideas.

Jennifer said...

yea! I'm so happy that brass is back. as long its good brass, haha. you really can't beat the warmth that it offers when slightly dingy. not sure I'll ever be on board with the 90's polished-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life brass though.

Tracy Watier said...

I'm ok with brass that looks like it's taken on some age. Then it has an heirloom, classic quality to it... whether or not the piece is traditional or contmporary. Polished and shiny bright was always bad as far as I'm concerned and I'm old enough to have had friends who filled their new, just-married homes with that stuff!! Eek.
The chandelier you spec'd for your client is gorgeous. Love the sconce in the background too.

Carolyn said...

I've noticed it here and there and am really loving it as well. Especially since it's not popular's sorta refreshing after all the satin nickel everywhere. Your home looks beautiful and I'm gonna go check out SRT!

LindsB said...

I never really had a love for brass till I saw Anne Turner Carroll's kitchen, and now I cant get enough of it. I'm almost mad at myself for ever telling my parents to replace their brass kitchen cabinet hardware.

Greet Lefèvre said...

You did a wonderful post! I really love to bring in some brass items!
Certainly in combination with lime paint walls and old oak wooden doors and cabinetry! Brass handles can be so beautiful! Here in Belgium it is used a lot!


Michelle Hughes said...

lovely photos as always! I am warming up to touches of brass and gilded finishes...slowly though!


alison giese Interiors said...

I think the key is staying away from the ultra-polished brass - unlacquered wears well, and takes on that classic patina you speak of. Five years ago, I would've said NO WAY to just about any brass, I'm glad my eyes have been opened to it's innate beauty.

Blogardner said...

The brass that is so universally hated is actually LACQUERED. Brass, either oxidized or polished, has a lovely mellow warmth. The cheapy builder's stuff has a bright, almost cool yellow tone. Cool + yellow = blech! You can remove the lacquer for the beautiful metal underneath unless it isn't solid brass at all, but a brass PLATE that's been lacquered. That's the stuff I'd paint or replace.

Brass is gorgeous, mixes well with other metals, historic (the real deal has never gone out of style), and it cleans itself of bacteria every eight hours (oligodynamic effect). Not so with steel or porcelain (which was ironically once a popular replacement for brass knobs because it was thought to be antiseptic).

So glad to see this post!

MFAMB said...

i love brass too. and i love mixing metals.

Alicia B. Designs said...

Brass never left for me but I'm glad it's back again! I love the way brass ages.

Also, congrats on the mention in Washington Post! It was well deserved. I remember reading it and I bookmarked the post too b/c I found it SO helpful!
Have a great weekend...

Cristin // Simplified Bee said...

I just sold a bass chandelier at a consignment shop - you may want to check around for a brass task lamp. I hate to say it, but the older ones are usually better quality that the new ones at RH.

Very nice post!!!


PS- hop on over for a bedding giveaway!

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

Little miss style maker, you are on my list!

Janean said...

It's not so much the metal color as it is the style too. I've always liked wrought iron, even when it wasn't "in." In our barn home, we'll go with a beaten, grayish wrought iron on espresso colored siding.

Windlost said...

I have to say that I really hate shiny brass! I always have, even before it went out of style. I do, however, like antiqued or burnished brass and think that it is a matter of making the metal suit the decor, entirely. I see a ton of homes in the traditional world using brass and goldish accents and think that they are totally perfect in those environments, especially when the rooms are those warm colours.

I bought an antiqued gold coffee table, which shocked even me, but it worked in the room and added a little warmth. I went with an antiqued silver fixture in the adjacent dining room. I was totally fixated on making my metals matched, but realized it was more about having pieces I love, and the antiqued look made them both totally fine together. I am still replacing all the shiny brass switch plates and register covers in this home. The previous owner went shiny brass crazy! All our door handles are shiny brass, but let's face it - it totally doesn't work in a 35 year old house with no character. The cleaner look of silver suits the modernity better.

So I think it is about not being too religious and choosing what you like and mixing metals even and doing what suits a room's colouring. Those fixtures you picked are so warm and lovely - I think I love any metal item that has an antique quality to it. But I don't care for the modern brass fixtures at all. Isn't taste weird?!?

I have been meaning to blog on this topic a while...also mixing metals and using gold and silver picture frames, etc. even though I don't like gold.

Good for you for calling this trend and what a great post. In 2 years, our eyes will be all accustomed to brass I bet and we will all be using it again!!

Congrats on the Skirted Roundtable mention too!

xo T.

Maria Killam said...

No surprise as yellow and gray are the new hot colours and brass would look good with them! Whenever an old trend comes back it's always with a twist so you can never use the old stuff. It's here but it's duller so and that's what makes it look current!
Great post Lauren!

Katrina said...

When I read that title I thought Nooooo!!! I just don't like brass, but you displayed it in some pictures and ok, I might warm to it...maybe. Haha!! :)

Catherine said...

I'm glad because I love antique brass! I love antique gold frames so the antique brass easily follows. I love its warmth and glow, to me it feels very energizing. Love your post! xoTrina

Danielle said...

love your blog and your design style! i nominated you for an award on my blog!

red ticking said...

if brass is done "right" it can be fantastic... your post is wonderful... have a great weekend... x pam

Velvet and Linen said...

I love brass. I'm actually working on a home right now where we are using a lot of brass light fixtures. After seeing the image of the white kitchen with the brass hardware I'm convinced that we should do the same in my clients' kitchen. I also love the way brass ages over time.


Unknown said...

I recently found a great brass pharmacy style lamp like the one you pictured from Restoration Hardware for $40 at a consignment store! I am loving the warmth and sense of age it brings to my room!

DecRenew Interiors said...

Recently discovered your blog and love it.

I'll be back to visit.

Re:Fresh Design Studio said...

I found this Restoration Hardware look alike at TJ Maxx. It wasn't brass, but still a beauty!

Yansy said...

I'm starting to fall for brass all over again.

Brooke @ Blueprint Bliss said...

Great images. I'm really loving brass right now. Surprising to me.

BonBon Rose Girls Kristin said...

I am salivating over that gorgeous chandelier!

Jennifer Sergent said...

Yummy, yummy rooms, thanks!

Texas Preacher Woman said...

I was so glad to see your post -- I'm one of those women who has a "glowy" room or two in her casa and KNEW it was workin' regardless of whether anybody else thought so!


Anonymous said...

I agree, brass is a very warm and cozy look. I have a site here that specializes in brass, it may be useful.


Where did you find that double shade sconce - I think its the third image down? It is perfect for one of my projects! And I agree...when done right, brass adds an elegance like no other!

Kaththee said...

I never understand when people say that they hate a metal or a color. Things go in and out of style. I have never hated a metal. I have an antique 3/4 brass bed with reeded post, floral swags and a medusa relief medallion center piece that is stunningly beautiful. I have a shiny lacquered polished brass chandelier in my bathroom that is gorgeous. Some of furniture that I bought new in the past 10 years have silver pulls which were inappropriate for the piece. The furniture manufacturer used silver because people were phobic in opposition to brass even when it was an appropriate application. I knew that someday it would date the piece and I would have to replace it with brass. I can feel the day dawning. If it is the best quality and you love it then it will endure style changes, as long as you don't over do it of course or do anything weird- like put silver pulls on an 18th century reproduction etagere. Anything cheap looks bad after the newness wears off. All that satin nickel disappeared from Lowes a few years ago and is showing up all over Craigslist and you can't give it away. Next out the door is going to be the rod iron and Hollywood regency polished chrome. Your best bet is to buy what you love in the best quality you can afford and be prepared to redecorate anyway.