Background on modern finishes and the emergence of copper
Enthusiastic home owners remodeling or building a new home are looking for something new yet classic. Interior designers continue to embrace timeless materials such as granite countertops, natural stone flooring, and covered backsplashes. These materials are desired by discriminating home owners from the North America to Europe and Asia. However, copper is definitely gaining more momentum as an acceptable finish for interior décor.
The fear of venturing to something new and exciting for your home begs the question - will look as good in the future as it does today? Often home owners want to incorporate something new and modern but do not want to compromise more timeless finishes. This is why the emergence of copper is so exciting. Copper is a natural material which accents other popular finishes like oil rubbed bronze and wrought iron. Copper looks superb with large varieties of granite, travertine, slate and many popular woods. Because copper is almost a cousin to oil rubbed bronze, the copper trend will continue gaining popularity. Many rubbed bronze finishes, especially cabinet hardware, are highlighted with copper tones. It is only natural for copper to build popularity as an interior accent.
Over the years, designers have seen the utter crash of polished brass and the emergence of finishes like brushed nickel and oil rubbed bronze. Once oil rubbed bronze became the new trend, subtle variations started to become popular like wrought iron and even black. Not to be overlooked, one of the most important finish trends is stainless steel - most prevalent in appliances and sinks.
More and more people are choosing brushed nickel to accent their homes’ plumbing and lighting fixtures and their cabinet and door hardware. This is accompanied by stainless steel or black appliances. Often, people choose brushed nickel because of its neutral finish. Brushed nickel works with everything. This finish scheme makes for a very clean look. The same can be said of oil rubbed bronze; it works with everything. The neutral look of these finishes is why they stay so popular. These two dominating interior schemes are perceived as equally neutral the only major difference -one is light and the other is dark.
Incorporating copper into a non-copper finish scheme
So, how do we incorporate copper, a look that is both new and traditional, into today’s home? A fairly simple answer - don’t use too much and don’t use too little.
Interior finish schemes generally fall within two major categories of interior metal finishes - brushed nickel or oil rubbed bronze and stainless steel or black appliances. Along with the metal finishes, we often see a simple beige color scheme in paint, countertops, backsplash and flooring. Many homeowners want something new and exciting but don’t want to compromise the safe nature of the established finishes.
Because copper has a warm quality and can be finished in many different tones, it goes well with nearly any interior design. It can look bright and shiny; this style often feels contemporary and somehow geometric. Then there are copper finishes that are much darker with hardly any luster. These dark finishes are often fired or artificially darkened. Of course there is the copper patina, which is copper that has been oxidized and starts to turn green in color. And there is finished copper which may lie between the shiny and darker coppers. When you decide to incorporate copper into your décor, it is important to determine what you like and don’t like about copper. The question is not whether to use copper but which finish and design will best compliment your home décor.
Including copper in your décor
So, you are now ready to add copper to your home décor but you would like to know where and how much. The best advice is not to allow the copper to compete with the predominant finishes in your home but allow it to work as an accent. You can add subtle accents and even add bold accents to dramatically enhance the beauty of your home.
Subtle copper accents
Subtle accents of copper can be integrated into the home quite easily and effectively. The simplest solution is to acquire some copper accessories or home furnishings. In the kitchen, you may want to hang a wrought iron or dark metal pot rack and suspend copper pots and pans. In your living quarters you can incorporate copper with table and floor lamps. Another small accent is copper tiles in the border design placed in the floor pattern throughout the house.
A popular copper accent is the kitchen backsplash. Copper and tumbled stone look magnificent together. A 4x4 inch tile can be placed on a 45 degree diagonal which makes it about 6 inches tall. Since most backsplashes are about 18 inches you can use 6x6 tumbled stone or travertine in rows for the backsplash and then every foot or so place a copper tile on a diagonal. It makes a stunning backsplash.
Bold copper accents
Larger accents are just as easy. A copper kitchen sink looks fabulous in a stainless steel or black appliance kitchen. Remember the copper acts as an accent - copper sinks should match the cabinets and countertops. The warm copper tones match most cabinet stains and copper looks great against many of the Italian granite slabs; like Giallos, and Lapidus, San Tropez, and Golden Journey. The brown earth tones in granite, travertine, and most slates look stunning when paired with a copper sink. While home owners’ may question these large copper accents with stainless appliances, once the whole kitchen comes together, they appreciate the stunning results. Adding copper tiles in the backsplash brings the copper theme to the whole kitchen without dominating or overpowering it.
Adding a copper hood to the kitchen makes for a grand copper finished kitchen. A copper hood really makes the kitchen a home. When you incorporate a sink with some tiles you have a gorgeous copper accented kitchen. Finally, a copper hood, sink, prep sink, and tiles make an absolutely stunning kitchen. This can easily be worked into a stainless or black appliance package or custom cabinets.
What is too much copper?
Too much copper is finishing your whole house with copper - unless you have a professional help you develop the theme. One could use all copper in a mission setting and potentially a log setting but it may still be a bit overpowering. Finishing the whole house in copper means you have selected copper lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures, door hinges and knobs, all of your sinks and hoods are copper and you incorporated copper accents into your furnishing. This is how polished brass became unpopular.
Copper is a strong look but should not be used in every application in your home. Copper sinks look best paired with oil rubbed bronze faucets or maybe copper faucets. A copper hood used in conjunction with a copper sink looks great against stainless steel appliances with some copper accents in the backsplash. But you would most likely not want all of your appliances to be copper, along with your sink and hood.
Pulling it together
By adding well placed copper accents you will have guests impressed with your design sense. Pairing copper with the more dominant finishes in your home shows your ability to understand good accenting. If you are looking for something fun and new that will look great for a lifetime, don’t be afraid to accent your home with copper.