Interior design trends: Metallics

The Olympic Games isn’t the only place to find gold, silver and bronze. Just look under your own roof — or, more specifically, at your furniture.

The Olympic Games isn’t the only place to find gold, silver and bronze.

Just look under your own roof — or, more specifically, at your furniture.

If you’re a savvy shopper of home style, check out a new décor trend that’s really an old one: metallic finishes and accents. They’re turning up on everything these days from sofas to sheets, reflecting — literally — what Tina Eichelberger calls “the metropolitan look.”

But metal can also soothe the soul, anchoring a piece with the reassuring strength of iron. Or it can take on the chic of the still-popular industrial look. Any way you look at it, metal is the way to go.

Eichelberger, a design consultant with INTER!ORS Furniture & Design on Columbia Avenue, says that the “30- and 40-somethings are liking the metropolitan look,” even here in tradition-minded Lancaster County. When you think about it, ancient Greeks and Romans fashioned metal into beautiful things, so why not take a hint from the days of empire?

The metallic/metro trend might be seen in a glass dining table with an imaginative chrome base, as can be seen in INTER!ORS. “Metallics and glass are still popular in casual dining,” Eichelberger notes.

A sofa, even one of traditional design, might sport metal nail head trim on the arms. The trend can be seen in home accessories, such as a whimsical but impressive metal accent piece shaped like a tortoise shell, or a cast-iron bear that peeks from beneath a coffee table on the display floor at INTER!ORS.

“As far as metallics, we’re seeing coppers, oil-rubbed bronze, matte and silver (finishes), but not shiny gold,” Eichelberger sums up. If there is gold, it’s more likely to be a subdued, burnished finish, design experts note.

One exception to the not-too-shiny rule is bed linens, Eichelberger points out.

“The shiny bedding is back — a lot,” she says.

That might evoke 1970s memories of satin sheets for swingers, but examples at INTER!ORS have a more subdued look. They do indeed shine, but they don’t scream; one display features a patterned bed set colored in soft gray/silver.

That same feeling applies to other fabrics.

Megan Smoker, interior designer with Buck Home Furniture-Design-Inspiration, notes that “we have fabrics that are like metallic vinyls.” She’s also seen “gold metallic wallpaper” that can provide a touch of the trendy to your wall spaces, but, again, subtle is the word.

Eichelberger says that metal invokes another image: an industrial look. It was a popular trend some time ago but “the industrial is still here,” Eichelberger states. That doesn’t have to mean cold; iron accents, for instance, actually complement warm woods. In some ways, that ties with tradition.

“Country” — as in the country look — “was so big around here for so long,” Eichelberger notes. Today’s metal can indeed sparkle like chrome or give a homey, solid iron feeling to an occasional piece.

“It has a country feel — the reclaimed woods and the irons,” Eichelberger says.

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