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My Thoughts on Brass & Trends {A Reader Design Question}

by | Feb 5, 2014 | Decorating Inspiration, My Kitchen, Reader Questions

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My Thoughts on Brass & Trends {A Reader Design Question}

Reader question:

Hi, Every time I see your kitchen I can’t get over how amazing it is. I found a decorating site that identified top trends for kitchens in the years ahead. You’ve hit on most of them…the tile, the two tone, the open shelving etc. One that I don’t see is BRASS. Now, maybe I’m just showing my age, but I cannot walk down the path of brass… I remember ripping it out of too many places to start putting it back in. No.

What is your opinion of the brass trend?

Thanks for your great design posts. — Nora

Thanks, Nora!

Here are my thoughts:

My Thoughts on Brass & Trends {A Reader Design Question}

What do I think of brass as a trend?

I actually just think of brass as more of a classic accent rather than a trend! At least that’s the way I like to use it. Although I know brass has definitely coming back in vogue over the past few years, I’ve actually always had brass here and there in my home, and I still do (even in my last house when brass wasn’t trendy!).

I never liked the shiny faux brass that every new house seemed to have for awhile, I’ve always preferred the look of real mellow gold or more antiqued brass. So that is what I have! I love how brass and gold brings a feeling of warmth and a sense of history and old world architecture to a room.

My Thoughts on Brass & Trends {A Reader Design Question}

While the gold or brass tones might not jump out at you as really obvious in my kitchen, it’s there! You will see it in small doses and mixed in with other metals like iron, silver and copper. I prefer to mix the metal finishes so it all feels more eclectic and organic. There is a touch of brass on my wall sconces. And you’ll see gold and brass on a few of our kitchen cabinet knobs and the animal pulls on our island. I have brass accessories like picture frames, trays and candlesticks on shelves. You can see the remodel of my kitchen here.

You’ll find gold in other rooms too, such as in my family room on our dresser hardware and accessories (and new lamps which you haven’t seen yet!). In my office I have a brass chandelier, wall sconces and accessories, some of which I had in other houses. My entry chandelier is gold. We have brass wall sconces in our TV room and my son’s room. Brass is everywhere at my house! But it isn’t just because it is trendy, it is in my house because I know I’ll like it for a long time.

My Thoughts on Brass & Trends {A Reader Design Question}

So is my kitchen on trend or classic?

Sometimes classic elements become extra popular with the masses for awhile, but they are still in good taste after everyone else moves on to the next trend.

I just like to incorporate what I already have or love with new things to let my style naturally evolve in time. I think things can go wrong in decorating when one is relying too heavily on the trends of the moment as the foundation for their entire style. Then it can quickly become tacky or outdated. A more gradual evolution of style (through a blend of a few carefully chosen fun trends and grounded by your favorite classics that have stood the test of time) can keep a style feeling fresh and new for a long time.

While elements like open shelves, subway tile or two types of cabinet finishes might seem extra popular now, they’ve always been classic favorites for me. The last kitchen I remodeled (which was maybe eight or nine years ago or so) had open shelves, subway tile, and two types of cabinet finishes too and many of my rooms had brass accessories! It’s just a look I love, trendy or not!

It’s fun to take those classic elements I’ve always loved and bring them into a new house, in a new kitchen and have the end result still feel fresh by just updating a few elements.

I think embracing what you really love, everything in moderation, and mixing things up just might be the simplest combination for a long lasting and budget friendly style that can gracefully evolve with the times.


  1. Jann from Newton Custom Interiors

    I have always loved your kitchen too. Good advice to decorate your home with the things you love, whether they’re trendy or not!

  2. Rhonda

    I totally agree! It’s funny to me that everyone thinks all of these elements are trendy when actually they are so historically classic. Yes polished brass was a trend and one that I thankfully never embraced. Love your style!

    • Charlotte

      I’m an artist by trade, and I believe that any finish (including polished brass) can look lovely. Never follow anyone else’s blanket pronouncements. Marketers and self styled “influencers” make statements designed to influence you into parting with your money. They want you to feel that you must stay “on trend”. Otherwise (clutches pearls) your friends will SHUN you and you will be considered uncool! What else could explain The godawful green walls EVERYWHERE last year. What absolute hogwash. Do what you like. It’s YOUR house.

  3. Heidi

    My husband and I put in two burnished antique pendant lights from Rejuvenation and they have a gorgeous patina already. They’re the old school brass, not the shiny builder grade stuff everyone hates. I’m found of brass is small doses, but I really do think it is a beautiful material.

  4. Faith

    You make some very good points, Melissa. Brass is a classic, whether we are a fan of it or not. Even if it comes back in “style” and use, your advice to use what you love and not what is trending is good. Our homes should be what we love, not what everyone else loves and uses in their decor. If you love it, it fits.

  5. Gail

    This I know….. Tastes change. Brass was “rich” looking in the 80s, “gaudy” by 2000. Mercury glass was shiny and clean looking, but now begining to look a little cold. Brass in some finish is coming back.

    If I were putting in something permanent like kitchen or bath fixtures, I’d forget trends which would change in the 20+ useful life of fixtures. I’d put in what makes me happy. Afterall, its my home.

  6. Emily

    You said it perfectly. I do find that trends seem to circle back around. Just look at the new planked wall craze…could it be the paneling of the 60s? Let us just hope that shiny brass never comes back.

  7. Melissa @ DaisyMaeBelle

    I’m with you on the brass. LOVE a touch of it here and there. I view it as timeless. Your kitchen is just beautiful! Life to the full! Melissa @ DaisyMaeBelle

  8. Ashley@Biggerthanthethreeofus

    Love this question and answer! I thought that I hated gold in the house and then I realized that gaudy bright gold is so different from brass. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  9. sandyc

    Trends can be terrible things because many of those who promote them often play off our secret fear that we don’t have the ability to make choices for ourselves and have to be told by designers or marketers or others what we should choose. Three cheers x1000 for any designer or design blogger or related decorating-hooked person out there who can tell you the latest trends, yes,, comment on them, positive or negative, and then ask you the magic question “Do you love it?” or “Does it make you happy” or “Do you smile every time you walk into the room?” Three cheers x1000 to you, Melissa.


    Your kitchen is beautiful. It is pretty on trend but I agree you should do what you love in your home. Maybe you started the trend with your first kitchen.Then when the trend goes out you are still happy with your home. I think when people think of brass they think polished Cheapo 80s and it scares them. I like brass and love your animal pulls. So unique and fun. Love your style

  11. Anne

    You are so right! Follow your heart, not a trend :-)

  12. Lexie

    I love brass as its so classic and in good taste. If I was lucky enough to have a kitchen to decorate I would steer away from all silver and stainless steel and go with classic taste.

  13. Rose L

    I’m with you, Melissa! I have a great mixture of metals in my house too. The only thing I insist on, from experience, is to stick with chrome water fixtures. I tried the polished brass in those back in the 80’s/90’s and it just didn’t hold up. My kitchen has a mixture of cheap brass (1 light fixture over the washer and dryer), ORB light fixtures, antique brass handles and pulls etc. A decorator said to me once, “brass adds class” just don’t go overboard. And I’ve always just followed that advice and never really given it too much thought otherwise. Buy what you love and it will stand the test of time!

  14. karen on bainbridge island

    I agree with you wholeheartedly that brass is not a trend but a tradition that should be in every home, at least in some places and at some level.

    The golden hue of brass is timeless and warm. Think nautical, industrial, colonial. Those are classic styles and all feature brass. The shiny brass of the 80’s didn’t look good even in the 80’s, but well-worn, well-aged brass with patina is something that will never go out of style.

    All decor needs a touch of metal whether it’s silver, brass, gold, aluminum, bronze, copper. I think you can successfully mix these metal tones as well.

    I think you’ve used it very successfully in your kitchen. Cheers to brass!


    Melissa, very well said and I totally agree, a mix over time with classics and add a trend for fun is a winning combination!

  16. Susan

    At last a post that seems thoughtful. Not to mention that it validates my own point of view. Trends are designed to stimulate sales. Focus on quality, not replacement.
    Thank you for omitting all those annoying exclamation points.

  17. Susan

    Taste trumps trends.

  18. Cynthia

    couldn’t agree more…stick with what you love and it will always be classic. and don’t be afraid to mix metals of course. I adore the warmth of the burnished antique brass doorknobs and hinges on our doors, so I hung matching wall hooks on my new board & batten wall. but there’s also plenty of brushed nickel and some copper around our house too. it ends up looking collected instead of all done in 1 day; to me the collected look really makes a house into a home. thanks for addressing this question Melissa!

  19. Brandi @ Nest of Bliss

    I love the way you’ve incorporated brass into your home – and you have the pretty version of it, too. ;) I think there’s a good and bad side to any finish!

  20. Helene

    I just spent a lot of time and energy replacing all the cheap shiny brass door knobs in our house. I also replaced our chandelier and kitchen hardware. Everything is now oil rubbed bronze……except a few smaller lighting fixtures which are brass. And THANK YOU for saying that’s ok! Because I am tired of this process and feel that the brass fixtures mesh well with the mostly bronze house. They’re staying. I hail from Waterbury, Connecticut which once was the brass capitol of the world. And we have the factories to prove it. Your burnished brass is gorgeous, especially on the rabbits! Long live good, classic taste!

  21. cindy the cottage chick

    We just built a home and moved in before Christmas. We used antique brass hardware thru-out, and my blue kitchen cabinets have antique brass bin pulls. It’s lovely. :) I love warm brass too.

  22. Natalie

    I really love the way you mix the textures in your house. I love all the natural things like wood, stone, metal. You do it so well.

  23. Sarah

    Hi Melissa,
    Love you taste and couldn’t agree more with your thoughts. Admittly, I love the antique and vintage trend. I hope it stays for awhile.
    Enjoy the rest of your week and stay warm.

  24. teresa

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this…it is interesting how trends can come and go- every kitchen I ever owned had open shelves…a touch of black a little bit of copper and silver….I remember my first “married” kitchen I painted the lower cabinets black and took off the top doors on the cabinets. (in 1979} everyone thought I was crazy…but I loved it and now look where we are =) It’s all good if you love being around it….Happy Day

  25. Cindy

    I completely agree with that final paragraph. From where I am sitting I can see four different metal finishes.


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