The Francis Files
2024 Trend Report: Why Silver & Chrome Are Back
October 31, 2023 - Written by Kevin O'Gara
There's a surprising reason why silver is coming back into the limelight after being outshined by brass for the past five (or more) years. Color palettes in the past two years have swiftly shifted from the stark, cool grays of the 2010's to much warmer, yellow-toned colors. You can even see this shift in the color editing on photography in shelter magazines, which have become much warmer (also, darker and moodier) in color temperature. While brass can still be found in many of these spaces, nickel and chrome metals are starting to be found more frequently in the design world, and I saw a lot of gorgeous chrome accents on furniture during my recent visit to High Point Market with the Design Influencers Tour. Don't miss my previous "Trend Report" post on the Art Deco influence at market.
As color palettes are now shifting towards warmer tones, including deeper shades of beige, brown, and creamy hues, we're witnessing a renaissance of silver in home decor. This resurgence of silver's popularity adds a fresh, cool-toned twist to the contemporary interior design landscape. The key to embracing this shift in metallic trends is to consider the harmonious balance between your chosen color palette and metallic accents. Metallics, like silver, act as a stunning counterpoint to warmer color schemes. Silver and chrome accents can instantly balance a room filled with tan and cream shades, infusing it with a touch of modernity. The cool, sleek nature of silver beautifully complements these earthy tones, creating a dynamic and inviting atmosphere that appeals to the senses.
Nickel detailing on a modern sconce by Hudson Valley
A cozy brown plaid on an armchair by Hancock & Moore
What is the difference between polished nickel and chrome?
Polished nickel and chrome are both popular choices for metallic finishes in interior design, but they possess distinct characteristics that set them apart. Polished nickel has a warmer undertone with a subtly golden or amber reflection, making it an ideal choice for those mixing metals or seeking a softer look. Its finish is also known for its ability to age gracefully, developing a unique patina over time. On the other hand, chrome offers a cooler, more reflective surface with a cooler tint, lending a more modernist look to any space. Chrome is renowned for its durability and resistance to corrosion, making it a practical choice for areas exposed to moisture or high humidity. Ultimately, the choice between polished nickel and chrome hinges on the desired aesthetic and functional requirements of a particular design project.
Is gold out of style?
While metallic trends come and go, my personal belief is that the choice of metal should ultimately depend on the intrinsic qualities of the material. Natural materials like raw brass and polished nickel, while more expensive, are consistently timeless and versatile, capable of seamlessly integrating into any style room. So, whether it's gold leaf, brass, silver, or another natural metal, as long as it has a natural finish, it will always remain in style.
An example of mixed metals, featuring a chrome open base on a modern nightstand from Universal Furniture