Of course you can!
The secret to mixing and matching kitchen hardware
is that you can do anything you want – it’s just a matter of taste and design preference. On one end of the spectrum we have design chaos where anything goes, and on the other is design conformity where people aspire to a particular predetermined style.
A great way to think about this design issue is to imagine that you are starting with a blank canvas and that anything is possible. So, how do we narrow down the options from there? Let’s start with a few “rules” and see where it leads.
- 1. Avoid the salvage look.
The true key to mixing hardware, plumbing and lighting fixture finishes well is to avoid over-mixing.
Mixing two finishes – any finishes – is a fairly simple maneuver to pull off, but if you’re mixing three or more you need to consider whether you’re creating a mismatched kaleidoscope effect in the overall picture.
This applies to finishes as well as styles, which leads us to the next clue in successfully mixing hardware.
- 2. Conforming styles can make mixing easier.
You’ve got a contemporary faucet and appliances in stainless steel, but you don’t want light-colored cabinet pulls. What to do? Think about contemporary pulls in a darker finish.
Keep in mind, however, that some colors are more commonly associated with particular styles. For example, the muted appearance of black hardware
can give off a more traditional vibe no matter the style, so to achieve a contemporary look you may want to stick to pulls that are simpler and more streamlined.
- 3. Be aware of finish variation, particularly with oil-rubbed bronze.
Oil-rubbed bronze, or ORB, is a beautiful finish option, but many people don’t understand that it’s a “living finish” if not lacquered and can vary greatly regardless of how it will change if not properly sealed.
In addition to changing over time, ORB finishes will sometimes differ
between manufacturers and fixtures. Most other kinds of finishes are usually more uniform, but considering the possibility of variation is good when mixing fixtures, hardware and plumbing of any kind.
- 4. ‘Basic’ can be beautiful.
Sometimes having the 64-color box of crayons is counterproductive, especially when the basic set will do. Just because a verde cabinet pull shaped like a frog exists doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for your bathroom – no matter how much you love frogs.
There will always be a hot new finish coming out, but there are many more that have and will continue to stand the test of time. Bronze, nickel, brass and pewter are just a few that you can count on to give your space a great look that will last.
- 5. Grouping is a good strategy.
Hardware can often be more successfully mixed if it is done in groups. For example, keeping all the cabinet hardware finishes the same while matching the faucet to the lighting in a different color is a great way to mix it up while still keeping things tied together.
This kind of grouping can be done according to space, surrounding color or style.
The most important thing to remember, though, is to bring what you love into the space and avoid being influenced by opinions that won’t matter in the long run. Sure, there are things like resale value and quality to consider, but it’s all about making your life more comfortable and enjoyable, so try and think about those things first.
offers thousands of hardware designs that can be searched by filtering through more than a dozen finishes, and is a great tool to use to find that perfect finish.