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Design trend: copper metallics bring a warm glow into the home

Despite their tough exteriors, polished copper and hammered brass bring an elegance and warmth to the home. Emma Henderson presents her edit of the metallic trend

Emma Henderson
Friday 22 July 2016 12:42 BST
William Holland's baths are handmade and last a lifetime
William Holland's baths are handmade and last a lifetime

We’ve done away with plain, harsh metals and have welcomed back warm, soft, reflective metallics – copper, brass and rose gold – to furnish interiors.

The textures and colours are best used in kitchens and bathrooms, covering large surfaces as statement pieces, but smaller items can perk up coffee tables, studies and bedrooms. Pair the metals with natural materials such as wood and marble for an elegant effect.

“The copper trend arrived when designer Tom Dixon brought his pendants to the public consciousness as the must-have metal in your home," says Kate Butler, design manager for Habitat.

"Whereas chrome could seem cold and clinical and gold signalled ‘a bit of bling’, copper provided a warming, sophisticated glow that could be easily incorporated into interior schemes to add an element of understated, cool lux. The copper 'moment' shows no sign of slowing down – its affordability has led to a huge resurgence on the high street and at Habitat we’re seeing a real demand for copper products and more understated, warming metals such as brass and rose gold across accessories, furniture and, most notably, lighting where the materials warming glow really comes into its own.

Stanford copper baskets, £45 for a set of two, and Nottingham copper floor lamp, £195.00 

"Copper’s versatility has really allowed our design team to experiment with a lot of new looks and in the past few seasons we’ve been moving designs on from just ‘pure’ copper to mixing it with vivid block colour and contrasting materials such as wood and smoked glass to create a variety of feels from mid-century cool to Scandinavian luxury. Copper is still a very desirable material and I don’t see any sign of its appeal fading over the next few years.”

The metal features in Habitat’s spring/summer season, and it is also carried into the latter end of the year too. Choose a large table lamp for a spacious room, such as the Hallie lamp, or for something a little subtler the Nottingham floor lamp adds a hint of the tone.

 Hallie lamp, £80 

As the the king of bronze lighting, British designer Tom Dixon's collection of metallics are used in design restaurants worldwide. The pendant lights create a reflective and warming glow and are created by exploding a thin layer of pure metal on to the internal surface.

Tom Dixon's collection of copper lighting starts from £255

The three main strands of the trend are brushed, often seen on cutlery and lamps, beaten metal, which works for crockery, and lastly wire, which is used on picture frames, mirrors and occasion furniture. It is also used with a highly polished finish, which has a more golden look, as opposed to its natural deep orange tone. Think beaten metal tumblers with a copper outside finish and silver steel on the inside, kitchen trays and wire storage baskets and tables.

Duna copper 24 piece cutlery set, £262.00 (Amara )

But nothing says industrial chic like reclaimed traditional materials used on everyday items such as kitchen taps, where copper pipes can be made into taps and set against a marble kitchen surface. Or if you’d prefer a larger piece, industrial style bar stools sitting around the kitchen island make a big statement.

Copper industrial style stool by The Living Lounge, £120 (Not On The Highstreet)

As a relative newbie to the high street homeware scene, H&M’s range, which is aptly called Copper Glam, features plenty of small accessories, from baskets to wall mirrors. Standing or hanging plant pots, vases and door knobs are also a good way to bring a touch of copper into the home.

Brass mirror, £14.99 (H&M)

Sam Hood, founder and creative director of Amara, the luxury homewares store, said: "Metallics have, over the past few years, become really popular in statement pieces. Interior trends tend to mimic the catwalk and the copper and metallic trend has leapt from the clothes rails straight into people’s home décor inspiration. The warm copper and brass shades are easier to incorporate in the home, and people tend to link them to the warmth it brings."

Shiny hammered copper trays – a set of three costs £42.00 (Amara )

Brass looks best against a black backdrop and softens it. Standing floor lamps provide soft lightening. Hood says copper and gold paired with dark green and navy shades work well for a vibrant look. “When it’s used on the walls, it allows metallic accessories to pop. Concrete is also a great material to style with copper. The hardness compliments the lux shade, which adds a contemporary element to your décor,” says Hood.

Just Slate hand beaten copper condiment set, £26.00

Lucy Ward, managing director of luxury homewares Trouva, says copper homewares have been a popular range with its customers since its launch. “This year we've seen a move into textured copper products, with a handcrafted finish, bringing warmth and radiance to any room.

"Further metallic tones such as brass and rose-gold across tableware and lighting categories are now coming into play. We predict this trend to go from strength-to-strength and copper products to be our biggest sellers in December."

In the bathroom, use copper sparingly, as accessories including taps, towel rails or exposed plumbing, or go the whole hog with brass bathroom taps and bath tubs. Brushed finished baths, such as William Holland’s bath range, add a high and elegant sheen of bright colour to a darker bathroom, while a rustic and weathered look bath – achieved after oxidising – set in the middle of the room, gives a more industrial or farmhouse look.

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