Interiors: Why brass and stainless steel will take over from copper this season
Time to show your metal - brass and stainless steel are set to play a big part in the new pastel palette for 2019, writes Jo Linehan
Show me an interior's follower who didn't have a home filled with copper accessories last year, and I'll show you my avocado bathroom suite. So popular was the metal, it was near impossible to turn around without bumping into some version of a copper fitting or fixture, and towards the end of last year, gold had a brief shining moment too.
It's easy to see why metals are a decorative feature used in almost every home; they add texture and modernity, can be luxe or low-key and, honestly, who doesn't love something shiny to look at? This season, instead of a copper and gold overload, two new metals are here to take over. Step forward, brass and stainless steel.
Over at one of this autumn's most buzzed openings, Crow Street restaurant in Temple Bar, industrial details have stolen the decor show. Owner and chef Dave Coffey couldn't resist brass and stainless steel's versatility.
"Our creatives worked these metals into our fixtures and fittings as well as in the impressive brass New York-style door. To us, those metals look good no matter what trends come and go, whether they're in fashion or not, aesthetically, they just work."
Helen Coughlan, head buyer at Meadows and Byrne, says the rise in brass and stainless steel's popularity is a response to the new pastels that are set to be popular for 2019: "We're seeing a whole new palette beginning to emerge for the new year - peach orange, avocado, celadon, vanilla and yellow. All very gorgeous and retro, and these reimagined pastels can't sit with the more austere coppers and golds.
"Hence, the metal tones have become a little more subdued. Brass and stainless steels can play a more background role, ensuring pastels avoid looking fragile. Plus, they add a strength and depth to the delicacy and fun of the hues."
Warm shades of brass are already appearing on table legs and lamp bases and are deeply covetable because they are so subtle. Stainless steel is a harder sell - many of us still believe its best suited to a hardworking kitchen countertop. Even so, this functional material is back in a big way as a less 'finished' alternative to silver.
But it is more likely to be seen in the form of smaller accessories such as vases and picture frames.
The allure of stainless steel is its simplicity and the polish it brings. It's a real point of difference in a room, says Helle Moyna of online interiors store Nordic Elements. "Never be afraid to mix various metals. A brass-framed mirror with a stack of chrome steel candle-holders on the mantelpiece will help add a level of interest in your interior's visual texture."
For those less brave about mixing and matching, Helle says: "Lighting is a great way of introducing a new metal into a room. We work with Rubn lighting and all their fixtures always have exquisite brass details. There's something for everyone."
Both metals are a response not only to the colours but also to the textures we're craving this season. Velvets, for example, team perfectly with burnished brass.