How To Mix Finishes Like a Pro

Hardware can make a big impact on the overall tone of a room. It’s a great way to add style and dimension to your home and is a fun way to infuse a little personality. When it comes to choosing hardware, people typically select one color and one style. But in recent years, using different color combinations and different styles within the same space has become a more popular trend.

If you want to try mixing finishes but aren’t sure how to go about it, look no further. We asked Scott McGillivray, master renovator and star of HGTV’s hit series Income Property to break down the Do’s and Don’ts of mixing metal hardware finishes. “Mixing finishes is a bit of an art; you need to know how to do it and where to draw the line,” says McGillivray. “Visual interest is good, but visual clutter is not,” he adds.

DO mix shiny with matte and warm finishes with cool. The old saying “opposites attract” is as true with hardware finishes as it is with anything else. Shown here are the Taymor Equinox, Vega, Stockholm, and Bergen levers in a mix of polished chrome and satin nickel with matte black.

DON’T worry if major contrast isn’t for you. Hues that are similar can also work very well together. Mixing finishes like polished chrome and polished nickel can add subtle dimension to a space.

Photo and styling by Marika Jarv (left); Taymor Tenor hand towel bar (right)

DO call attention to an accent piece by contrasting the style as well as the finish. For instance, a room full of modern black hardware can be accented with a single vintage piece in brass or gold.

DON’T mix too many finishes and styles in the same room. If the finishes are different, then the styles should be mostly the same (or at least similar). The exception here is if you want to call out a single accent piece.

Design by Raya Todorova

DO abide by the rule of threes. Things that come in threes are generally more satisfying to look at and this is 100% true in decorating. So use up to three metal finishes per room.

DON’T use more than three finishes in a single room unless you have a particularly large space. In some very large rooms you can get away with four, but in most cases too many finishes will create visual clutter.

DO pick two or three finishes and use them throughout the whole house. Choose one or two as your dominant finishes and then use a third as an accent.

DON’T introduce new finishes in every room. If you have already mixed two or three finishes in one area and then add more; your home will not have a flow to it. Let hardware be the connecting force throughout your space.

Photo by Martina Gemmola


Taymor Barcelona knobs

DO create additional contrast by also mixing complementary shapes.

DON’T overdo it. Mixing circular and square rose kits as pictured here is a great way to enhance the contrast, but any more than this will become too overwhelming. When mixing shapes along with finishes stick with very focused combinations.

Taymor London handleset, kick plate, modern style knocker & house number plaque

DO take it outside! Mixing finishes on a home’s façade can look great and add instant curb appeal. Between the door handle, knocker, mail slot and light fixture you have some great opportunities to make your house stand out from the crowd.

DON’T forget to make sure your exterior hardware complements the rest of the house. Mixing finishes that don’t work with the rest of the house will do more harm than good.

DO buy the best quality you can afford. Hardware is an important feature of a space and it needs to look and feel good. Given that the investment is relatively small, it’s worth it to get the best looking, best quality you can find.

All tips courtesy of Scott McGillivray