Thoughts On Mixing Finishes

amck2May 5, 2014

I'm planning on creamy white cabinets & island topped with creamy/golden sage granite. My kitchen is open to DR, LR, sunroom areas that have either antique brass or black finishes on the hardware. I plan on a stainless sink and chrome faucet. Appliances will be stainless.

So, my question is what to choose for the finish on the 2 pendant lights over the island and for knobs & pulls.

Chrome or brushed nickel seems too harsh in relation to the other rooms open to the kitchen. If I went with a warmer finish like antique brass, will I have to carry that over to my knobs & pulls? I really am not wanting to do that. It seems they'll be "off" next to the stainless appliances. I would consider black if I were going with soapstone or a dark counter but I would prefer something less jarring with the soft cab/counter combo.

Any thoughts?

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I think this would be fabulous with what you have -

Here is a link that might be useful: Alden Island Pendant Lamp

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 1:40PM
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amck, I'm going through the same thing in my hall bath, which seems worse because it's a smaller space so all the finishes will be close to one another.

I have an L-shaped open space. My kitchen (in the short leg of the L) has white cabs and a dark gray counter. Stainless appliances, sink and faucet. My pulls and knobs are antique pewter, kind of like a darker, more dimensional version of SS.

I was unsure what to do about pendants over my peninsula, which is more visible to the rest of my open space. I chose flat black because someone pointed out that I have an ORB (essentially flat black) dining room chandelier 8 ft. away. Worked for me.

I'm looking at my adjacent living room and noticed that both table lamps have black metal bases. I already knew that, but I don't notice it. It isn't the same as the stainless and pewter finishes, but they cohabit well.

I seem to be able to live with my shiny brass front door set, maybe because I just overlook it. I think it's easier to acquire disparate things over time and live with them than know how to purposefully mix when everything's new and you have so many choices.

Good luck finding the finishes you love together. I have a similar quest.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 2:11PM
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I think you can get away with stainless steel appliances and sinks and faucets for a kitchen, but still go with the other types of hardware and light fixtures. Try to tie them into what you have elsewhere, since it is an open plan. Forward some photos so people can advise you. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 4:24PM
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Linelle, I have a (real) shiny brass knocker & handle set on my front door, too. The door and a wood bench on the porch are slate blue & it's the only brass and blue in our home. But they suit the exterior and are complementary in style to everything else in the home, so I think that while they don't match the rest, they "go." It is more challenging, as you've pointed out, when the finishes are so close.

feisty68, I like the pendant you linked but I'm trying to go more traditional in this kitchen. I wish I could do 2 kitchens - one with lights like those & some counter stools I've seen & liked with a more industrial vibe. But since this is likely going to be the last remodel in this home I'm trying to go with a more classic style.

renov8r, I'm waiting for a quote from the fabricator on the slabs I reserved and should be placing my cabinet order soon. When I am certain of the exact paint color, door style & stone I'll post.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 5:14PM
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Do your shoes match your bag? Do your night tables match your dresser? Do your chairs match your sofa? Does your pocket square match your tie? Do your earrings match your necklace?

If you answered yes to all of these, or want to for the ones that don't apply to you, it'll make you nuts if you mix finishes.

Otherwise, you have a good handle on what looks good. There are times where mixing makes things look odd, so audition stuff in your house. But there's no theoretical reason why mixing shouldn't usually look just fine. Call it "wearing a print." :)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 7:45PM
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pllog, I used to play it very safe with both clothing and decor. But I do less matchy- matching now than I used to. It requires more thought, time and effort to get it right. Some come by it naturally, but it's a skill I'm still trying to cultivate because when I see it done well I love the result.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 8:21PM
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I love the black accents you have in the rest of your home but finding the right pendant light is tough, at least it was for me. I'd find a pendant I loved & see if that choice effects your cabinet hardware choice. I didn't choose my hardware until the cabinets were installed. We have a "Knobbery" store in our area that allows sample knobs & pulls to be borrowed or checked out. I found that things I liked online or in a showroom frequently didn't work out, once brought home. Thought, time & effort. I called it "Hardware Hell."
Sorry, that really doesn't answer your mixing finishes question.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 12:35AM
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" I went with a warmer finish like antique brass, will I have to carry that over to my knobs & pulls? I really am not wanting to do that. It seems they'll be "off" next to the stainless appliances."

See! You've put the time and thought into already. You already know what's going to work.

I haven't seen your space or finishes, but I think, from the description, that you're absolutely right that you need something warm to go with the granite, and, you say, the adjacent areas. The pendants are their own space unless you have something pushing into it. Over an island, they're visually part of a wall that the island defines. If that were an actual wall, would you hesitate to use a warm color on it?

In terms of not matching, I think we can ignore the chrome faucet. Chrome faucets are still standard, as in every builder and apartment, etc., so it's ignorable. To go with the all the stainless, brushed nickel cabinet hardware would be your ticket. What you don't want to do, with the antique brass pendants, is have a whole other vocabulary of metals. One shiny, ignorable faucet, to be the thing that doesn't match (without something that doesn't match, the space would be boring), and the rest fitting in with the sink and appliances. That will work fine.

Picking up the shiny of the chrome isn't a great idea, though, unless the large amounts of stainless are going to be polished. If you're planning that, good luck to you, but I'm glad I won't be there to watch you trying to maintain it. :) That said, the brass will be dull, and the appliances and sink will be dull, so adding in dots of shiny all over, rather than the one shiny faucet which is an accent piece, would be too distracting.

An alternative to the brass, if you really don't think the mixed metals will do it for you, is to go with color. I think the antique brass goes better with the picture in my head from your description, but a complex color, like burgundy, could be beautiful, either in enamel or glass.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 2:13AM
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My home also has an open floor plan, and is not large. We coordinated the peninsula pendants with the dining room chandelier (loosely--they're not from the same line, they just "go"). The kitchen drawer pulls coordinate with the rest of the kitchen appliances--stainless. I don't think the pulls look any more out of place than the fridge. Here's a pic. It's not traditional decor, but there are mixed finishes:

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 3:23AM
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