Mixing styles has become the norm to tone down the monotonous designs we have been sporting so far, and the world of furniture and décor has stepped into it as well. Wooden furniture is a common sight in just about every home, but is often left on its own. It is sometimes coloured and found in different finishes, however that is where it mostly ends. Pure wood has a very natural and neutral tone to it that compliments all spaces and eras of décor, but being so sophisticated itself makes it tricky to style with other materials without looking like you tried too hard. Metals save you from the trouble by complimenting this textured warm surface with its cool smooth outlooks.
Maybe it is because of our never-ending obsession with polished surfaces that we have not yet caught up with the Industrial décor trend, but it has surely been here for a good while. This rough edged trend is an easy way to bring in some masculine touch to any room without doing too much. The key to industrial décor is exposed surfaces and corners, often unpolished amidst other polished furniture, which makes it stand out. Pipes, rods, and slabs of wrought iron are often used here with distressed and unfurnished wood. This is basically using old factories and industries as your inspiration, and gives your home the feel of a rustic warehouse in an extremely furnished space. If you want to bring in some roughness and textures into your home, this is one style to look into.
The organic home
Living in an urban jungle has made a lot of us want to go back to the weathered décor look. This is slightly different from the industrial décor. Here, your wood is not as distressed, and the metal hardware or counterparts have polished paints, normally in black. Pairing them together gives your space the feel of an old country home. For this home, shiny stainless steel is not the way to go. Instead, opt for dark iron, or nickel and brass combinations with warm woods. Add in some weathered wooden accents for a fresh organic look in modern times.
Think super shiny stainless steel chest of drawers on a wooden floor, a metal side table for a wooden sofa set, silver coloured chairs with a white washed, wooden dining table or a sleek metal frame for your sofa sets. The texture of the metal is what you monitor. Heavily polished to the point of reflection, straight cut edges, sleek designs that ooze with modern contemporary vibes and add structure and character to the furniture. When the metal parts are so straight and shiny, you can be a little liberal with wood and opt for either rough or polished, as the metal frames will tie them together either ways.
It is all in the details
Now it is pretty easy to get carried away while throwing in heavy bulk metals, but if mixing in huge chunks of metals are not your thing, go small. Changing small fixtures around the home can easily incorporate some metals amongst your wooden furniture. Look for parts of a furniture you can easily break apart, and replace them with metal counterparts. Changing up the legs of furniture pieces to metals, using metal rods to hang curtains instead of wooden ones, metal bases for a lamp, hardware like the knobs of a wooden dresser, a metal base for a wooden chair, wrought iron chandeliers, or even adding in metal corners to an already finished furniture are easy ways to incorporate this cool element into your home.
Scaling it right
Suppose you decide to stick to your old set of wooden furniture and bring in a metal console table beside the door. It is big, chunky, and heavy and gathers all attention. However, it does not fit with everything else going on. Take sizes and proportions into account, for even the best furniture can look horrid when it is in the wrong space. Smaller spaces require smaller hollow frames, while the bigger your surrounding and its furniture gets, the more solid furniture you can go for.
Play it safe
If you are not into experimenting, or would rather leave it to the pros at some later time, but still want to incorporate a little metal into your woods, the safest option would be to go with polished silver with white wood. Instead of going overboard, choose a focal point you want to enhance and incorporate your favourite desired finish in one place only. This could be your coffee table with a wrought iron frame and wooden top, or a stained wooden chair with brass legs. Either way, when in doubt, stick to one piece and transition slowly.
After finally deciding on colour pallets, finishes, and stains after all that research, do not let it all go to waste by using every design just once. If you want to incorporate a few different ones, it is more than welcome, but make sure to repeat them at least once, because otherwise, the home will end up looking like a store or showroom where nothing matches the other, and every piece is in its own different world.
Remembering the undertones
Wood is considered one of those neutral tones that sort of blend in with all, but sometimes staining them can give them hues and tones. Now, regardless of the finishes, it is crucial to watch the undertones of the metals and woods when you put them together. Warm metal tones like bronzes and coppers would perfectly complement warm wood finishes and stains, but bringing in cool tones like silver can disrupt the flow. To prevent the outcomes from becoming visually uncomfortable, try to get similar tones in the room at least, if not finishes.
Add in a buffer
Buffers help tie everything together in case your outcome is not what you pictured it to be, or your room looks like it is missing something. The easiest way to bring in buffers is with heavily textured items, like a furry woollen rug to glue the iron tables to the floor without looking too harsh, or overflowing curtains to minimise roughness of metal lamps or chandeliers, or a furry throw so your metal and wooden chair does not look too cold. In other words, buffers help to improve the transitions between different styles, and are a must when mixing finishes.
We all love a good old-school textured wood, but keeping it at that can make it look curated. Dressing it up a little with some silvers and golds makes it out to be the main piece itself, a showstopper and a focal point that garners all attention. Décor definitely has no hard and fast rule that needs to be maintained. Every space is different and will welcome styles differently as well. These combinations are just the tip of the iceberg one could explore, but if you have something else in mind, something crazy and funky and out of the norm, try it out for yourself and see how it fits.
Photo: LS Archive/Sazzad Ibne Sayed