Design Forward

Brass is back with a softer, warmer finish

April 18, 2014 

Brass is making a strong comeback in home furnishings. Don’t get excited and think this means your old brass chandelier is back in style.

Several manufacturers at the spring furniture market in High Point introduced a new finish this month that they call vintage brass. It is not shiny. The look is much warmer and has a softer finish. And just as the name implies, it has a lightly tarnished appearance.

The new brass is coated with a tarnish-resistant finish that cleans up with just a soft damp cloth. No polishing, ever.

As designers replace their silver jewelry with gold, the trend has spilled over into home decor. The trend also manifests with young designers in New York City and other metro areas buying all the antique brass beds they can find for their clients’ contemporary spaces.

Vintage brass is easier for some homeowners to embrace than the shiny silver finishes normally associated with contemporary design. But make no mistake about it: While the finish may be vintage, the styles are modern and trendy.

Arteriors Home’s High Point showroom was aglow with vintage brass lighting and accessories during spring market. The Keegan Chandelier, with its “George Jetson” design, dominated the showroom entrance. This theme was carried out in wall mirrors, tables and accessories.

Bernhardt’s new London Calling collection transcends time with a bold vintage brass Kingston four-poster bed with matching side tables. The chinoiserie-inspired Sulton brass cocktail table makes a dramatic statement and offers more visual interest to a home’s décor. If the look is a little too bold, try using some furniture pieces accented with dazzling brass hardware, inspired no doubt by the resurgence of gold jewelry.

Vintage brass is best paired with warmer, darker painted walls. Navy, brown and black provide the perfect backdrop. This is not a trend you can partially embrace. The overall look, while contemporary, is pure luxury at its finest.

Vicki Payne is host and producer of “For Your Home,” available on PBS, Create TV, and in national and international syndication. Email: vpayne@cutterstv.com

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