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What Comes After Brass?

Other Finishes That May Rise in 2020

January 17, 2020

What Comes After Brass?

Other Finishes That May Rise in 2020

January 17, 2020

Well, hey, to start with, brass is not going anywhere. Brass is bold, hence the term brassy. Brass looks a lot like gold, and gold is forever golden. Brass is beautiful.

It's a matter of what kind of brass. Cheap brass will always looks cheap, and will evaporate if the brass comeback that's been underway for the past 5+ years turns out to be a trend. But the kind of brass we offer, especially something like the living finish that is our Aged Brass, will only gain character as time goes on and your Hudson Valley piece becomes an heirloom.

If you love it now, chances are you'll love it later, and your home should be about you and the things that you love.

That said, it's January, and not just a new year but a new decade, and we design-obsessed folks love to look ahead, don't we? We're no different; maybe that's why our Creative Director was quoted at length in these two design trends pieces published on Forbes recently: what's going out and what's coming in with the new year.

Homeowner: Jessica Brigham

Speaking of trend forecasts, Elle Décor assembled an epic list of ins/outs a few months back. One of the things that was highlighted was people's increasing interest in biophilia

Angie Lee from FXCollaborative explains:

"There is greater interest in biophilia—emphasizing the relationship between humankind and nature, and the connections between the two. Natural, organic materials—such as wood floors, stone, and daylight and plant life—remind us of the exterior and brings the outside and nature, in. We are [a] machine- and technology-driven society, but nostalgic about past processes and handiwork, so opportunities for custom millwork and crafted materials are very important." 

It could be reasonably expected that there is going to be more of this in lighting, and that visible metal bits will be limited. Polished Brass, Stainless Steel, the usual will be sure to complement this in a way that is at once neutral and modern. If you look at the pieces we've done with rattan, malacca, and buri ting ting, you'll get a sense of what we mean. For our part, we've been making shades and diffusers out of acacia wood and Spanish alabaster, as just two examples, and will continue to explore sustainable natural materials for biophilic interiors.


But dark finishes are not just to play it low key in natural material. About a year and a half ago, we wrote on the slow but sure ascent of dark finishes, and we believe they will continue to trend. 

Dark finishes may refer to anything from bronze to carbide or matte black. But it doesn't need to be alone. In fact, two-tone contrasting finishes containing a dark one against brass, copper, nickel, or chrome are likely to become more desirable.

According to Italian Bark, a great resource for trend forecasting, these dark finishes are especially likely to soar as part of kitchen design. The way they see it, black kitchens are going to increase as a reaction to the dominance of the white kitchen. Additionally, they see two-tone kitchens as definitely at the beginning of a trend cycle that is only going to intensify as time goes on. 

As a final note on dark finishes, brass, nickel, and bronze remain of perennial interest. Bronze is not yet discussed as a trend in itself, but as people begin to look for the next thing as part of the inexorable changing of the tide of taste, we wouldn't be surprised to see a bronze revival. This would be a likely extension of how silvery tones of chrome and nickel dominated the first decade of the 21st century (and are still in constant use), and brass rose to the fore during the 'teens. The dark and durable metal has been singled out as an on-trend warm and feminine tone. Bronze, sturdy, timeless, reliable bronze, is a likely bet for renewed interest. 

Lastly, the new trend may very well be to shy away from trends. Creating and curating spaces that are uniquely yours, made up of things you love is the order of the day.  

What people are increasingly looking for is something that will make their homes stand out, something with unique character, as well as something that puts a smile on their face.