Gold Hardware & Lighting Should Replace Silver: Yay or Nay?

Gold Hardware & Lighting is Trendy: Yay or Nay? | Maria Killam

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Gold finishes in hardware, lighting and furniture has taken its sweet time in becoming mainstream. Back in October 2011, when I wrote this post about choosing hardware for your kitchen, I declared that gold was too warm for a white kitchen.

I see now that I was reacting to the lighting in that kitchen which I didn’t particularly like.

Is it trendy?

Sure it is, but just like any trend, if you are choosy about where you place gold finishes and don’t suddenly install them EVERYWHERE, it will be easier to switch them out when the trend changes.

Gold Hardware & Lighting is Trendy: Yay or Nay? | Maria Killam

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Of course hardware and lighting are easier to replace than faucets which are a little more of a commitment. After all, NO ONE wants their 80s brassy swan faucets anymore, do they?

Now that gold finishes are showing up every time we turn around, it’s like any trend. Once we see the new trend everywhere we start loving it and suddenly all the finishes we were perfectly happy with start looking dated. And so last week, for the first time, I specified gold hardware and lighting for a client’s kitchen.

When gray first came in, I heard so many people say, “I would NEVER introduce gray into my home, it’s too depressing.” If you were one of those people, you’ve probably changed your tune by now. Especially because gray is far from depressing if you’ve done it right.

Gold Hardware & Lighting is Trendy: Yay or Nay? | Maria Killam

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What’s the shelf life of this trend? I would say it definitely has a 10-year life span, just like any trend (different from a fad which can be as short as one season).

I live  an hour and 15 minute drive from downtown Vancouver and recently, when I was in a plumbing store with a client, I noticed there was not a single stitch of gold hardware or faucets in sight.

There must be too many people who are still replacing brass door knobs from the 80s out here so they haven’t quite forgotten how much they hate it in their dated house.

So, over to you my lovelies? What say you? Is your chrome or brushed nickel starting to look a little dated to your eye yet? I’m starting to wish my kitchen was a little older, so I could justify switching out the lighting and hardware already!

But it’s not, so I’ll have to wait until I start renovating my bathrooms and then I’ll carefully consider where this trend might fit!

Gold Hardware & Lighting is Trendy: Yay or Nay? | Maria Killam

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If you are considering adding some gold finishes in your kitchen, here’s a tip: if you have stainless appliances and you want to add some gold like they did above, you’re now mixing the look of silver with the look of gold. Repeat it at least once and you’ll be golden.

Related posts:

The Rule of More

Am I Trendy if There’s no Gray in my House? (OH YEAH)

5 Steps to a Kitchen You’ll Love

If you would like to transform the way you see colour, become a True Colour Expert

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  1. Like any finish, that would depend on the color palette for the home. I love the fixtures that combine both silver and gold. It’s just a happy mix and nice for a change.

  2. Too much in third photo…”attack of the new trend”, particularly with the bar stool frames (but I LOVE the faucet). Next kitchen? Bravo with the campaign style pulls and restraint.

  3. I will happily stick to my white and black color scheme. White cabinets with black pulls and knobs, and white cabinet panels over the fridge and dishwasher. Black( not horrible oil rubbed bronze) light fixtures, and chrome faucets. In my opinion, more timeless than the other finishes.

  4. I have really been enjoying the new gold trend in faucets and door hardware. I probably won’t use it, but maybe a little here and there mixed in with other metals.

  5. I guess I still like chrome, that seems pretty timeless to me, but I wouldn’t mind adding in a little gold here and there.

  6. We have brushed nickel doorknobs still in their packages to replace 80’s gold ones. The main floor ones are done, but not upstairs. Ironically, the change to warm metals seemed to happen halfway through the job! However, I’m not too upset, as I like mixed metals and have always used gold in interiors (gold leaf frames, etc.). So we’ll still change the rest of the knobs to brushed nickel, as the 80’s version of shiny brass will look dated no matter what. I find new trends repeat history only up to a certain point – there is always something to make it not quite the same…

    • Cherie,
      I couldn’t agree more. When a style or fad returns, the element might be the same, but there’s always just enough of a change to require a new purchase/re-model/re-do to satisfy the eye.

  7. Love how warm it looks and fresh. I would mix
    Both finishes for sure. It’s nice to see something oher than silver or rubbed bronze

  8. I hate gold. In the 80s we all had brass because there was not other choice. Now, even though one thing or another may be trendy there seems to be more choices. Chic black faucets are also showing up.

    i am no expert, but I think many people like their surroundings to be done in a color that flatters them personally – warm or cool, neutral or bold. Same for one’s vehicle.

    I look horrible in gold. I don’t want it in my house.

  9. I love gold in lighting and hardware, but I’ll keep my plumbing fixtures in the silver/nickel family.

    • Me too! Gold(brass) plumbing fixtures tarnish/corrode
      whereas the good chrome seems to last forever!
      ie.Chicago faucets.

  10. I always feel that silver faucets and door handles are classic and have always used them no matter the trend. And they come in many styles (+brushed/polished), so they can work with both modern and “country styles”. I have a “modern country”/beach style interior, so for pulls and knobs on kitchen cabinets and on furniture I choose antiqued varieties which I feel work best with this style, no matter the current trend. For more modern I would choose black and silver.
    I like a blend of silver and brass, which I think are pretty together and make things a little less streamlined for a home. I have different kinds of accessories like candle-holders and mirrors in both chrome and brass that I will switch around when I feel like it. Polished brass can add a lot of class, but can also quickly look wrong if you don’t have a style of furniture that can “carry it”, IMO.

    • sorry for the typo – Obviously post should read “states that gold is a hot trend that is never going away. My husband must be ahead of trends. He has always insisted on “gold” – brass door handles.

      • I don’t agree that it’s timeless, however in a house like this one I mentioned in my Trends report earlier this January, yes it would be: https://mariakillam.com/trends2015/
        Trends we love OFTEN feel like they will last forever, that’s why they are so dangerous when they are incorporated from top to bottom.
        Thanks for your comment! Maria

      • Thank you Emilia!
        Typos and all— lol. I feel that gold in certain applications has always been here and and always will be. In areas like appliances and hardware that typically are done in other finishes, it might look dated down the line. Or, maybe not. Time will tell. The “new brass” that’s unlacquered is a wonderful look. Best, Laurel

        • Yes, soft gold is lovely. I used unlacquered brass pulls (called champagne perhaps) in my new bedroom built in. Against the cloud white cabinetry (to me at least) they have a quietly classy look.

          So when the gold trend is over – I hope that it does not die because the choice needs to be available. Just as when the grey trend is over, I hope that it too does not die as Maria, your blog has really educated me on the beauty and usefulness of this color. For example, bravely, I pained a small powder room in various Farrow and Ball greys. I found a lovely shiny gold/chrome art deco light fixture and thus I put mixed shiny gold/chrome hardware throughout the room. OMG, my decorating confidence was so boosted by the compliments I received. So maybe gold came because it looks so pretty with grey. If so, thank you to whoever came up with both these trends. It has been a wonderful color education. And, let them remain available so we can all color our environment with beautiful color choices. And thanks to the blogs that teach us so well.

  11. I don’t like the gold accessories. They look a little over-the-top. They seem to scream “notice me, notice me”. A bit here and there – like the picture frame, or your flatware at Christmas o.k.

  12. I love brass — and it was never out of style for me — but strictly for furniture and decorative objects, not for hardware. (I don’t like ORB hardware either but my husband does.) For kitchen and bath, the main options for me are either a shiny or a matte silver finish (chrome, nickel, etc.). I also like glass door knobs (native to my old house) and pulls, and black hardware and lighting (e.g. lanterns) works in many situations too.

  13. I have wrestled this alligator several years ago, and learned that silver/nickel is timeless. If you want or NEED trendy (flipping a house), that is one thing. If your goal is timeless, silver/nickel.

    It depends solely on your appetite for “trendy/swap it all out” vs. “timeless/do it once”.

    I have no patience for SOMEONE-decided-this-is-trendy-i-better-jump-on-the-bandwagon lifestyle. It is honestly a matter of time. I just don’t have the time to bother with it.

    I want Do-it-once-right-and-then-get-on-with-your-life solutions. I will always choose silver/nickel fixtures and white subway tile 🙂 🙂

    Having said that, i DO like the Champagne Gold look that is afoot. THAT is a timeless look, too, though.

  14. How do you feel about jewelry? Both gold and silver go back in the civilizations. Both are timeless. But when it comes to getting dressed, which do you choose to wear? For me, 9 times out of 10, it’s silver…and always has been. When I wear gold, I prefer to mix it with silver. The same is true for my home. Hardware and fixtures are brushed nickel, aged silver, and chrome. I have a few brass and gold-tone frames and decorative items mixed in with the grays and silvers in our living room. Which metal do you prefer to wear as jewelry? Try using that as the cue for your home decor and don’t worry so much about whether or not it’s trendy. That’s my take.

    • I second that. I have been wearing white gold and silver for a number of years and now have a substitute white gold wedding ring (my yellow gold one is sitting in a safety deposit box). That reflects what I’m most comfortable with in my home.

  15. Many mid-century modern accents are in gold. My sculptural 1950’s Majestic floor lamp has gold with black and it is right at home with the silver accents in the room so my preference is to feature gold sparingly or it won’t stand out.

    For those who are soon to replace their door hardware but not there yet, consider a temporary DIY fix. I have had good luck with spraying knobs using the new metallics that are out. Every finish/ colour you see on hardware is available, including hammered finishes. The key is to spray lightly with several thin layers to avoid drips and allow lots of drying time between sprays. I have done metal lamps over this way too. Instant wow factor for pennies and 1980’s brass gone!

  16. We never learn,haha,as soon as we stripped wallpaper for months in our old house,got rid of the brass faucets,knobs etc and now that we have moved to a new place and starting over, I would love to wall paper somewhere and like an old crow, shiny gold once more has caught my eye,but I bought some gold candles for crystal candlesticks, a gold sunburst mirror, a white lantern with gold hardware and you know what, I’m calling it a day.You can’t trick me again you fickle 10 year trend!! Also, I am going to wallpaper just the ugly laundry room door and wall going into a tool room with one of those cool modern wallpapers-it will only take one roll, but I have to wait until my husband is out of town-he has not recovered yet from stripping our old houses 2 story foyer and hallways 40 rolls of wallpaper. he said he is scarred for life-LOL

    • Mom and I are scarred for life from steaming off wall paper from her master bedroom in the late ’70s.

      Brass can look good in the right setting. Not mine, but in a home with nautical or rich wood tones, it can be beautiful. Or it can look over the top Beverly Hills in the ’80s.

      Using the spray paint idea above, I’m going to introduce small wooden trays that I can spray paint whatever is the trendy thing and leave my hardware and light fixtures classic colors and shapes. I was going to do the same thing with a few wooden pieces of furniture in wood stains that are trendy that I can change to look current. Sorta like that bright green side table Maria had done some time back…

  17. It would be nice if we could have a “to each his own” attitude and not worry about what the trend is…that would be the perfect world. What ever finish YOU like with YOUR furnishings and YOUR finishes(that complement, of course).That being said, having just finished building a new house 2.5 years ago…I can’t even look at gold finishes…not ready ! Having lived and built another house during the last brass go round, I don’t want to go back there.

  18. I just replaced my cabinets in kitchen and added antique brass pulls and knobs. I have Ivory painted cabinets now, all stainless appliances, brushed nickel faucets with dark, warm-toned counters and backsplash. I love it. It works in my house. The reason I added the brass hardware is that I was so attracted to all the kitchens on HOUZZ with gold and silver combinations. I am in the design industry and was tired of seeing silver everywhere and bored with oil rubbed bronze. Adding brass adds an aged look that I love when mixed with more modern elements.

  19. My door handles are all brass but I don’t like it in bathrooms, generally. It’s so 80s. Like Kathy said, I don’t want to go back there.

    • I second this question! I just bought oil rubbed bronze for the kitchen yesterday…did I make a big mistake!?

      We’re restoring a log cabin and new shiny chrome wasn’t right at all. I tried brass, but it didn’t feel right either. (Although we have some copper pots and other accents that I love.) I thought the oil rubbed would be sort of “classic” and wouldn’t compete with the logs–they are hand-hewn, so there is a lot of texture and color going on. Help?!

        • Thank you. I think it’s okay. You are so right when you suggest it’s worth it to hire a professional. Our budget is small, so we didn’t consider it, but not that we’re near the end of hte project, it’s hard to tie everything together. I don’t hate anyhting…but there are already things I wish were a little different. Now I know!

  20. This sounds like a “HOUZZ” debate!! Just keep going back to the “architecture” of the home…if it doesn’t “feel right” to you,…it won’t work. I like “warm” and warm usually leans to…warm and that is matte gold, brass, etc. My faucets are chrome…however, if I could, they would be changed out asap. I live in a log cabin…shiny chrome…nooooooooooooooo. 🙂 franki

  21. Hi Maria,
    You would probably think my house is a hot mess. I have every metal finish you listed. I even have some galvanized things.
    But at least I’ve repeated each of them.
    You taught me well, Maria. You taught me well.

  22. Sticking with what makes me happy – trends or fads aside. Polished nickel. Classic. Warm. Perfection.
    Cathy

    • Yes it is gorgeous. Love polished nickel and am using it in my home. Used it in my mom’s house in the bathrooms and satin nickel on the doorknobs and hinges. Love looking at the warm silver of polished nickel.

  23. Not sure why? But the gold fixtures are not speaking to my soul.
    Maybe because it reminds me of did that been there.
    I think for us who have been through the gold. The burgundy ( color of the year ) we just might not want to go there.
    I think and could be wrong but the gold might just be short lived.
    Consumers appear to be pretty savvy now days on what they want.
    It really wasn’t that long ago that all the new cool tones were the go to trend .
    Now we r moving back in to warm tones ?
    It seems as if the trends are getting closer to changing every five years .

  24. I’ve said this before. I’ll always specify the highest quality chrome or brushed nickel faucets my clients can afford rather than brass. The trends always come back to silver-tones in plumbing hardware, and as long as they aren’t a trendy design, they’ll always look appropriate. There’s nothing wrong with mixing metal finishes, so if a client wants brass, I have no problem specifying it in other places.

  25. GOLD GOLD AND MORE GOLD
    there is no such thing as too much gold

    the inside of my front door is gold leafed
    the walls of my living room have a gold paint
    treatment using 5 different tones of gold
    hand rubbed
    drapes are gold silk
    gold fixtures? YES!
    nothing raises the vibration like gold
    stunning in every way

  26. Even though I don’t care a fig about trends and do care more about what makes me happy, and even though this is my forever home (which I hope will be for another 20 years or so), and even though I’ve listened to what my house had to say to me since the moment I walked in the front door (way before I read Irene Hill’s wonderful post about your house being the “boss” of your house and my little house says “I’m Spanish bungalow at heart with my classic dark-framed windows, an arch and a vaulted ceiling”, and though I think oil-rubbed bronze would look great, I’m very, very, very cautious about going that route when I start replacing fixtures. Thinking classic chrome (or possibly brushed nickel) might be the best way to go. In the meantime, my inspiration pix folder is overtaking my computer. I’ll be interested in seeing what you do in your bathrooms, Maria, and I’d love to see what you’d do in your lovely kitchen if you could change it out.

    • I love your house. Love love love that style. Look at magazine photos of Santa Barbara and Montecito and LA homes and you’ll find the right things for your home.

  27. Thanks for your great post, Maria. Lots of strong opinions on this one! My favorite bathroom of all time was at the Sorrento Hotel in Seattle. An old hotel with a somewhat worn (not shiny) white marble slab shower, a sun filled window in it and old, solid brass fixtures with incredible patina. Simple and elegant luxury! I would love to be able to afford to replicate the feeling in that room! I guess, however, the patina of the metal is more important to me than the color. Brushed, quality antiqued….easier to care for too (now that I am getting a (little) bit older 🙂

    • Couldn’t agree more Brenda. The patina of beautiful old fixtures and hardware is the most gorgeous of all !

  28. If you go antiquing (on foot or online) for antique escutcheons for doors, they are always a beautiful aged brass. If you travel through Europe and visit old castles, chateaus, and nicer homes, you wont find any brushed nickle or shiny chrome. My point being that aged brass really is timeless. The new soft gold and aged brass is just as lovely, IMO. The shiny cheap stuff from the 1980s is gone forever, I hope. I think the silver tones of chrome and brushed nickel are both beautiful as well. In the right interior, they all work. A friend of mine redid a Florida condo kitchen in all white. White cabinets with glass doors, off white walls, white quartz counters, and she used the new soft gold hardware and knobs. It is stunning. I think antique brass and some gold is timeless, but also on trend right now. I also agree with Maria, if you do your house from top to bottom in it (unless you live in an old estate with original antiqued brass fixtures) it will look dated in 10 years. I think people shouldn’t worry so much about what is trending, but consider the style of their home and mostly what makes them happy when they look at it 🙂

    • @ Noelle: Well said! If one studied time line periods; gold tones go back to early Egyptian times so they have been around for a long time. With all said, I am personally happy it is back BUT ‘definitely to each their own’. ☺ -Brenda-

  29. I think gold is suitable on old frames on old oil paintings, smaller photo frames, flecks on my grandparents’s 50s lamps… I would not put it on faucets or door handles. In my dining room I have an old, gold framed painting and old silver candle sticks. That is classic.

  30. I hate brass too and agree with KA above that any gold hardware will always say “80s Beverly Hills decor” to me. Especially using it on faucets and doorknobs. That being said my tastes are very modern and I adore sleek stainless steel fixtures so you won’t be finding gold in my house. I expect in a few years you won’t be seeing it much anywhere.

  31. No gold knobs or handles for me. In the kitchen I mixed chrome cup pulls on drawers with glass melon knobs on cupboard doors. My French stove has brass knobs and brass ends on the stainless steel door handles and towel bar, and I ordered additional door handles and a towel bar for hanging pots and pans. Am letting the brass patina. There are other touches of gold, none of them deliberate, so I figure it makes a nice mix that is unlikely to look dated. Brooke and Steve of Velvet and Linen used all real brass in their Patina Farm and are letting it age. I doubt that it will ever look out of date–timeless and classic, seems to me. When I was looking for knobs and pulls at a local shop, they had on display two front door knobs, one well aged brass and the other brass with a finish that prevented patina. Their idea was to show how much better the shiny brass looked, but of course it was the aged brass that was really beautiful.

  32. Maria, I’m not so sure I want to see gold fixtures everywhere. I usually use silver accessories more with contemporary styles and gold, bronze, etc. with traditional. I think some of the gold looks gaudy. If it is toned down then it is o.k.

    I am keeping good thoughts about your Vegas market trip and praying you will win the award! Have fun at market.

  33. Gold looks garish and harsh on me, so, I assume it isn’t appropriate in my home. I agree wholeheartedly with all the ‘patina’ comments before me, especially with antiques. Can’t some manufacturer put out a product that doesn’t look NEW? It would be gobbled up in a heartbeat.

  34. I love the mixed metals right now. If done right, it looks elegant and tasteful. As for committing to expensive fixtures in the current brass trend, probably not, although I think it looks beautiful.

  35. My mother actually asked me a few years back when I was going to replace my yellow gold wedding and engagement rings because they were so out of style. Rude. I still love yellow gold jewelry.

    We are renovating a 100 yr old house and it’s a mess. The only barely usable bathroom has some bad gold fixtures including the clawfoot tub and shower head. Probably something a previous owner found on the clearance aisle in the 80’s. It’s not staying. The new kitchen has chrome fixtures and all the bathrooms will as well. The rest of the house will have black door knobs etc. because it looks good with the stained wood trim in the rest of the house. My husband just loves that stained wood trim.

  36. I remember spray painting all of our floor registers in gold and replacing all of the old outdoor lights with big brass fixtures in 1991.
    I think the only way the design element peddlers make money is for things to change. Where else to go than back back to gold? I was in a Habitat for Humanity Restore yesterday and for the first time I saw silver light fixtures that had been donated. On auction was a BEAUTIFUL gold and crystal chandalier with high bids.
    I’m with a lot of people here: I don’t want it in faucets but I am so doing a happy dance for my existing door knobs and hinges! (Sadly the gold shower surround has GOT TO GO!)

  37. I love an antique gold and brass finishes. I think it’s much warmer and more inviting than nickel or chrome. A white kitchen with stainless appliances and brass fixtures and hardware is gorgeous!

  38. I’m not a gold girl. It hurts my eyes. Seriously I mean that it is so distracting that I start to get a headache. Kind of like orange/red with a baby blue. Rubs me the wrong way.

  39. I still don’t care for the gold hardware in white kitchens, it just feels wrong to me. I like chrome in bathrooms, and dark bronze/black hardware for white cabinets, door knobs etc as long as they relate to other finishes. Black and white seem the most classic and timeless to me.

  40. I hit the jackpot when I found light fixtures that are called “silver gold.” I wish I could post a picture. It looks like aged silver and gold, just the right patina. Now I wish I could find the same finsih for cabinet hardware…..

    • @Connie: I stand to be corrected, but I ‘think’ the term for what you are describing is called ‘winter gold’. It is also my understanding that it was a big favourite of the late First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy. -Brenda-

        • @ Connie: What I described usually has more silver (almost like a pewter finish) with gold highlights, whereas what ‘Geoc’ describes I believe is more of a light brushed gold with a hint of silver.
          For the one I describe; either a brushed silver or brushed gold in hardware (knobs/pulls/hinges) would work for cabinets.
          For a source whom I am ‘not’ affiliated with in any way ….
          do a web search: S.A. Baxter Architectural Hardware
          and click on their heading: FINISHES. Hope this helps you out. ☺ -Brenda-

        • Yes, love this colour too. You can get this shade by mixing equal parts silver and gold metallic paint. The car companies caught onto this shade in the last few years and it is stunning.

        • @Connie: While cleaning up my computer, found a few other sources for hardware that may interest you.
          Web search: Horton Brass / Hardware Hut / Lee Valley Tools and ETSY (i.e: Lynn’s Hardware or just type in cabinet knobs/hardware.) Good luck on your hunt! -Brenda-

  41. I love the look of gold. It lends such warmth and elegance to a space. And I’m really liking the new gold hardware. It looks new and different from the brass of the past. I’ve always liked brass and gold finishes. Feels more traditional which is more my style than the modern, colder feeling of so many of today’s interiors.

  42. This is one of the reasons I love living in an older home with original hardware everywhere (dating to the 19-teens)- glass door and cabinet knobs, brass door plates, crystal chandeliers, chrome & porcelain bathroom fixtures. When the need to replace things comes up, I just repeat the original and am reassured that these things are timeless and classic regardless of the current trend.

  43. One of my clients has a beautiful French country home and decor, with delicate brass fixtures. I would NEVER dream of replacing them. Brass is timeless in certain situations!

  44. WIth our NC Emerald Isle beach cottage reno and addition, I am keeping a few bits of gold from the original owner in the lighting, at least until I see the color samples on the walls And, by the way, LOVE the White is Complicated ebook I ordered over the weekend and starting to devour this delicious book!!! Have the SW Whites, Greiges & Neutrals color boards too from a few months ago-great investment for this homeowner! Thanks

  45. I have always loved white! Since I was a teenager I wanted a white kitchen! It has been popular for awhile now but my love for the timeless look will probably never changed. Also I love gold. I know it may be trendy but I love the contrast it brings to white!

  46. I am redoing my bathroom. My cabinet is pewter gray and my walls are going to be a very light gray, darker mixed with wee bits of light gray marble flooring. I’m thinking of gold/brass hardware on cabinet and chrome vanity lights. Shower/tub hardware is chrome. Thoughts or opinions needed! Also any ideas on door knob?

    • I would repeat the gold twice in your bathroom instead of only the hardware. Your doorknob should match the rest of the house. Hope that helps, Maria