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Has Silver Taken Over The #1 Metal Spot? Is Brass Out? Here’s What We Think – Emily Henderson


Now that I’m in my mid-30s I’m finally experiencing the first round of the styles from my childhood being popular again. It feels wild to me that Y2K fashion is in because it wasn’t even good then! But just because velour tracksuits, butterfly clips, and giant oversized t-shirts are back in a big way, it does not mean a classic, well-fitted jeans and a white tee shirt combo is out. This is how I feel about most trends – they are cyclical, and can be extremely fun (for me too), but don’t cancel out the classics just because they are having a moment. You could draw a similar parallel between what’s currently happening with silver and brass. It would be silly to say that brass is “out”. It’s still everywhere. But since silver/chrome and even polished nickel are having a wave of attention, let’s walk through my theories as to why along with some pretty examples and some shoppable options at the end.

Emily Henderson Chrome Trend Pic 1
photo by bethany nauert | from: fdr chic – a dude’s mix of antique, mid-century and bohemian style

I think the first and biggest reason is that gold has reigned supreme for years and people want something fresh. As beautiful as brass is, designers are here to try and breathe new life into spaces and playing with new metals is a fairly easy way to do that. Plus, let’s not kid ourselves, chromes and silvers are classic too! It’s not like hot pink hardware is taking over and is too risky for 99% of us to put in our homes. It’s a fun and fairly safe option to get into:)

Secondly, from what I’ve observed over the years, the rest of the world has a much bigger appreciation for silver. I feel like most of the times I’ve seen silver used in really cool and beautiful ways it’s been from somewhere abroad. Take this incredibly beautiful kitchen in Milan, Italy! So naturally it was bound to move further west. To be fair, the first time we called this silver resurgence was in 2017! Now six years later it’s back baby:)

IMG 2610
i normally where that big ring on my other hand but i wanted to show it off and i need that hand to take the photo:)

Then the last theory was actually brought up by Emily and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it…fashion, DUH. There is so much silver and chrome in fashion right now. I mean Y2K was all about the silver jewelry so it shouldn’t be a big surprise. I think I even remember saying way back then, “I’ll never be a gold jewelry girl.” SYKE. Some years after that I swore to be an only gold jewelry lover FOREVER. But then after Emily said that I looked down at my hands and realized that I now wear exclusively silver rings, though not really on purpose (the diamond one was my grandfather’s, I bought the square one from a vintage shop in Brooklyn, and the ring temporarily placed on my thumb is from & Other Stories). Oh, and the bracelet is from Eden Hand Arts in Cape Cod I got with my mom when I was 14 (IYKYK:)).

So those are the reasons I think chrome and silver are currently HOT, or rather just getting some much-deserved respect.

Emily Henderson Chrome Trend Floor Lamp

As a previous “gold only” gal, this Schoolhouse floor lamp was my gateway into falling for chrome in design back when I was new to EHD. It was sent to Emily back in 2017 and I remember feeling like I was having an identity crisis. I just loved it so much. I actually loved the lamp so much that I asked for the gold version for my last apartment. I wanted the chrome but the gold just worked with the overall design of the room so much better.

And though Emily will always be a brass gal (I mean this blog was originally named “The Brass Petal” after all:)) There have been times she’s chosen silver:

The Portland Project kitchen has just a little sprinkling of silver. She chose a chrome pot filler because she wanted to match the range but then picked polished nickel for the sink faucet since it was a little warmer which she liked with the brass hardware a bit more. This is a great example of mixing metals:)

Then here are a few more examples of chromes and polished nickel hardware from the Portland Project. It’s nice to see it so elevated rather than the builder-grade low-quality stuff that I’ve had in every apartment I’ve ever lived.

Emily Henderson Silver Chrome Trend Pic 8
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: velinda’s tiny Kitchen makeover takeover

Actually, speaking of rentals, Velinda designed her home’s basement unit’s mini kitchen for her renter and it would be the dream kitchen rental! This is how it’s done right. I love the satin nickel in this instance and is stunning with the pale blue. It’s really just about making sure that when you choose silver that you make sure the overall design doesn’t go too cold visually. At least that’s how we feel:)

Now let’s go through some Instagram posts I’ve saved to show you some really awesome examples of how people are using silver right now:

The younger generation is definitely on Team Chrome. Take Marco Zamora. While he has done a whole series about how he’s added color to his apartment rental, his love for cool chrome accents is clear:) But with all of the wonderful colors he’s added, the chrome is a welcomed and fun accent. Gold or brass wouldn’t have felt right.

Ajai Guyot is also very much in love with silver and chrome accents and her new home! Did you see her kitchen in the kitchen trends post from a couple of weeks ago? So while Ajai prefers a far more neutral color palette to Marco, her soft and warm tan walls make the whole space feel cool and dreamy.

Tasmin Johnson is currently one of my favorite designers and I adore her intentional use of silver in this living room. It’s just two very special light fixtures and an accent on the coffee table. Just the perfect amount that unites the space.

I don’t think I’d ever go for a stainless steel kitchen if I were to be able to design my own but I love love this one by DGN Studio so much so that I might consider it. The mix of steel and natural wood is such a beautiful contrast. I also love how the sconces and the backsplash are almost the exact same material. Ugh, it’s cool.

This is another example that pulls me pretty far over to the silver side. I am absolutely in love with this design.

And look how chic and modern that thick towel bar is. Makes me happy and hopeful I made the right decision to go with the silver hardware in my bathroom instead of trying to mix in brass where I could. I think an easy way to not have silver metals look too cold (like in Ajai’s house) is by using organic materials – limewash paint, wood, linen, etc.

But you don’t have to go too “organic” if that’s not your style. Look at how Laura Hodges used silver in this stunning, bathroom suite! With the light-toned wood, everything blends together so beautifully.

Now, while I’ve given a lot of examples of silvers and chromes in neutral-toned rooms, they also very much belong in happy bright spaces too! This lamp is a total star in this bold room. I am obsessed with this design concept store in Mexico City, Originario. If you are ever they you have to go visit, you won’t regret it.

Emily Henderson Chrome Trend Pic 2
via h&m

I am sure all of you are now frantically searching your homes for the perfect spot to add in a little silver. To help assist once you figure that out, here are silver lamps and decor options:)

Emily Henderson Chrome Trend Lighting Roundup

1. TÄLLBYN | 2. Dakota Nickel 3-Light Wall Sconce | 3. Rocco Table Lamp | 4. ACKJA | 5. Damo Table Simple Lamp | 6. Blair Wall Sconce

Emily Henderson Chrome Trend Decor Roundup

1. Desmond Leather Chair | 2. Kalman Polished Stainless Steel Bar Tool Set with Snack Bowl | 3. Sculpture | 4. Ansel Drawer Pull | 5. Athena Polished Stainless Steel Storage Tower | 6. Fishburne Side Table | 7. BAGGBODA | 8. Kuba Metal Candleholder | 9. Mid-Century Design Wall Chrome Mirror

So what do you all think? Do you already have lots of silvers and chromes in your homes? Do you want brass to share the stage for years to come? Are you ready to see Emily’s farmhouse guest bathroom soon where you might remember she chose polished nickel for all of the hardware?? Let’s chat!

Love you, mean it.

Opening Image Credits: Design by Caitlin Higgins | Styled by Emily Bowser | Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: The Reveal We’ve All Been Waiting For! Caitlin’s Mostly Thrifted, Postmodern Regency Deco Living Room





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