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Trend Alert: Black and Brass


This is not your grandmother’s brass. Studio 5 Design Contributor Lauren Oviatt shows us how to decorate chic with black and brass.

Why brass?

The use of brass is re-emerging as the new super chic metal to use. This is not your grandmother’s brass. I repeat. This is not your grandmother’s brass! Ok, it actually might be. Home accessory companies are introducing everything from brass drapery hardware, lamps and vases to accent tables, gilded mirrors and little accessories for bookcases and nightstands. BUT, some of the best looking brass is the vintage stuff circa at least 1980 or earlier! Just like women are wearing more and more gold jewelry, brass accents in the home add a warm, rich detail when used in the right space. How to make it chic? Black is the dominant feature and the brass is the jewelry. An even bigger tip? You have to use a lot of white to freshen up the look. It’s what makes the trend work today.

Why should embrace brass?

It is my job to bring you the trends, but it doesn’t mean every trend is for everyone. Those who love the shabby chic or country French look will not be able to pull this off, and they’re probably thinking I’m crazy for highlighting the trend. Black and brass works best for the funky, modern or art deco loving homeowner. The good news is, many people have a lot of black furniture pieces in their homes. With the right tweaks to walls and a lot of ‘editing’ – you can reuse those black bookshelves, console tables and bathroom vanities. Nate Berkus loves black and especially brass – along with some of the top designers in the world. It looks time-worn, ‘deco’, sophisticated and collected over time and with enough added white, it becomes timeless and fresh.

How to pull off black and brass.

First, pull everything out of the space you’re working on. Clear it all out. Neutralize everything. Either paint your walls white – or use black as an accent wall. The key here is no color – other than black, brass and white. Pattern is definitely allowed though. Embrace it in wallpaper, backsplash tile, drapery, pillows, area rugs, etc. Pattern will keep things alive and showcase your personal style. Then add the brass touches. Gilded detailing on a mirror, a gold faucet or wall hooks, brass drapery hardware and the finish on a chandelier or lamp injects the warmth and shine that makes this look so glam. Be careful to finish the styling with just a bit more white or black… this look is best achieved when carefully edited.

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