Is it OK to Combine Different Finishes?


For this week’s blog post I am answering a frequent question that I get asked which is:

Is it ok to combine different finishes in a space?

If you’ve been following along on my Instagram stories, then you might have seen last week’s story all about this topic but I figured I would reiterate some of the key points on here for those that missed it or wanted to bookmark.

First, let’s talk about the most common types of metal finishes we are seeing used in the home today. Here they are:

  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Stainless Steel
  • Chrome
  • Nickel
  • Oil Rubbed Bronze
  • Matte Black

We see these different finishes used mostly in light fixtures, hardware, appliances, plumbing fixtures and decorative accent pieces. A common misconception is that you need to stick to one particular finish, like brushed nickel, for example, and use throughout a space. If you like the consistency of using the same finish throughout then GREAT, there’s nothing wrong with that and you should stick with it, but if you’re looking to give things more depth, interest and contrast, consider breaking this misconceived “rule” by combining different finishes.

Using my bathroom as an example, you’ll see a few different finishes combined: brass, matte black and polished chrome (the hand in the above photo). Writing it out, this seems like a lot going on for such a small space but if you look at the photos they all somehow work together without making things feel busy or random. You also might notice that brass and matte black are used more than once (I’ll get to that polished chrome hand in a minute). The use of each finish more than once is the trick to making things look consistent and feel intentional. Also, by dispersing those different finishes evenly throughout the space helps to tie everything together and make things feel balanced.


In the case of the polished chrome hand, there isn’t any other polished chrome in this space BUT I felt that the chrome tied in with the gray in the floor tile and the gray striped hand towels so it works in my book!

So in short, YES it is OK to combine different finishes in a space but a rule that I like to stick to is to use them more than once to create consistency and/or make sure they tie in with the color palette. I also like to make sure that each finish is dispersed throughout the space to create a balanced feel. 

I hope this was helpful to some of you who get nervous about mixing together finishes. Let me know if you have any other questions about this topic by commenting below!


Brett Foken