Courtesy Builders Design

Whether chrome, nickel, bronze, or some other material, it used to be that homeowners preferred one type of metal hardware throughout their home. But these days, the homogeneous look is history.

Consumers now aren't afraid to mix metals in different areas of the home such as plumbing, appliances, lighting, cabinet hardware, and furniture to create a sophisticated, layered style. Here, BUILDER talks about this design revolution with Elizabeth Hagie, regional vice president of sales for the North Carolina office of Builders Design. (Click on the slide show at left for recent examples of the firm's mixed-metal approach as seen in Edward Andrews Home's Harlow community in Charleston, S.C.)

What type of metals are trendy this year?
Black steel and burnt-colored metals such as oiled bronze and wrought iron add sophistication that is expanding past the boundaries of the kitchen and into other rooms of the home. Brass is back and its popularity is holding strong and copper provides a sophisticated glow that can be easily be incorporated into interior schemes through a range of applications from lighting to furniture.

So it's OK for builders and homeowners to mix metals?
YES. Luckily builders and homeowners alike no longer have to worry about matching all the fixtures in a home. In fact, embracing this trend can give personality and depth to space allowing the character of a home to shine.

This universal trend can be incorporated into any style from contemporary to traditional depending on the main hue. Using warm gold tones as the main finish lends itself to be more traditional and can be layered with cool accents while the reverse is true for the cool hues which lean more contemporary and have warmer gold and copper tones and depth to room.

Is there a rule for how many different metals to use in one house?
Yes to some extent. You certainly want to take the size of your room into consideration and try to limit yourself to four hues while deciding which you prefer to be main finishes and which can be accents to the space. As you select your metal accents, consider blending warm and cool tones. Warm-toned metals, like brass and bronze, add an eye-catching accent of color and when used in conjunction with cool toned metals like stainless steel and aluminum. This opposition is what makes mixing metals impactful within your space.

What are you favorite metals?
My favorite combination would be copper, bronze, aluminum.

Is metal showing up in new areas of the home?
Yes! Stair railings are now starting to become available in a range of metal finishes complimenting the newer finish offerings in kitchen hardware, plumbing, and lighting and embracing this trend.