Bye bye brass, is 2024 the year of the cool metals? Interior designers tell us why chrome is back

This year it's out with the gold and in with chrome decor – here's how interior designers are using it in designs

How to decorate with chrome decor
(Image credit: Original BTC/Jonathan Adler/Vani Sayeed Studio)

The chrome decor trend is making a comeback, with interior designers replacing the warm metals that have proved popular in recent years with this cool-toned alternative. But the resurgence of this cool-toned metal doesn't focus on shiny and new, rather pieces that feel more vintage and retro in style are taking center stage.

Chrome decor might be having its moment, but it isn't a new interior design trend. This metal has been used in homes for decades, but the enduring popularity of brass and gold pieces has seen chrome fall off the radar, until now. So, if you've just got your head around styling with warm metals, it's time to hit reset and get to grips with chrome!

From kitchen hardware to light fixtures and decorative items, there are so many ways to introduce this metal into your home. We've asked interior designers for their favorite way to add chrome decor to a scheme – these ideas are sure to inspire a taste for this shiny, reflective material.

How to decorate with chrome decor

The return of chrome's popularity is an exciting prospect for interior designers, who are enjoying designing spaces with this cooler metal once again. 'I love that chrome is having a comeback! In the '90s we would use chrome as a very contemporary material with nostalgic references to the mid-century,' says Christine Gachot, co-founder of GACHOT.

'I’m personally a huge fan of Le Corbusier, Jean Prouvé, and Karl Springer (to name a few!), and to see more contemporary artists like Eric Slayton, Pelle Designs, Mark Grattan, B G Robinson, Volkerhaug, and Objects with Narratives working with chrome as a primary material – it’s so thrilling for me to see it come full circle,' she adds.

This nod back to the nineties has resulted in a number of more retro pieces cropping up in chrome designs alongside more contemporary decor. So whether you're looking for chrome decor with vintage flair or a modern statement piece, there are plenty of ideas here for every space and style.

1. Pair chrome decor with soft, organic textures

A Chrome coffee table paired with an earthy pink sofa

(Image credit: Jonathan Adler)

Chrome is a much cooler-toned metal than gold and brass, so mixing softer, more organic textures into schemes alongside the chrome decor creates a more homely, inviting vibe.

'A great way to balance the intensity of chrome is by pairing it with extra soft upholstery like mohair, wool, and cashmere. Organic forms in accessories and sculptural lighting also provide a good balance,' says Christine.

'Soft textures allow for chrome to be used in larger statement pieces instead of or in conjunction with typical smaller chrome accents such as hardware. From a coffee table to the legs of a sofa, chrome is complemented by lacquer, ceruse wood, and silk area rugs,' she adds.

2. Introduce chrome hardware in a kitchen

White modern kitchen with silver hardware

(Image credit: Vani Sayeed Studio)

Kitchen trends over the past few years have embraced brass kitchen hardware, but the resurgence of chrome decor has triggered a shift in this department. Chrome handles, drawer pulls, and even faucets have been re-finding their place in kitchens – the cooler-toned metal fits in beautifully with plenty of kitchen styles, from more traditional designs to the most modern of schemes.

'We have always loved chrome for plumbing fixtures and hardware. It has been a constant for us. We are finding ourselves veering back to it for more items in our designs,' says Abigail Turin, co-founder at Kallos Turin.

In this kitchen design, chrome has been introduced via the drawer pulls and range hood, paired with white wall tiles and kitchen cabinetry. To ensure the scheme feels balanced and warm, hardwood flooring has been laid in a darker finish, while the kitchen island is quite the contrast with a dark marble counter and black cabinetry.

3. Style chrome decor with complimentary materials

Chrome side table in a glass fronted hallway

(Image credit: 1stDibs)

The key to successfully integrating chrome decor into a scheme is as much about how you style it as it is the decor piece itself. Paired with the right colors, tones and materials, chrome instantly feels warmer and more elevated. 

'Chrome feels particularly appealing when it’s complemented by materials that are warm, textural and have the mark of the maker upon them. Chrome with terracotta is very chic, as is chrome when it’s paired with handwoven textiles,' says Anthony Barzilay Freund, editorial director at 1stDibs.

When you're sourcing chrome decor, look for pieces with a blend of materials that feel like a natural fit. 'Chrome and glass, of course, have always made great bed partners – or, I should say, table partners, as is exemplified by Eileen Gray’s classic e-1027 table from the 1920s,' he adds.

4. Mix contrasting metals with chrome decor

Chrome kitchen with brass decor

(Image credit: Kallos Turin)

Introducing chrome decor doesn't necessarily mean you have to ditch all the warm-toned metals that already exist in your home. In fact, mixing contrasting metals can create a fun, eclectic design that feels balanced and timeless.

'In general, we like mixing metals and are not afraid to use chrome and brass and matte steel together,' says Abigail, but suggests being intentional about where you choose to mix metals, and where you stick to one cohesive scheme.

'We draw the line at door hardware though – we do not like to switch metal color from one side of a door to the other. For us, a door is a complete element and we are OK if that means a handle in a bathroom is black while the rest of the metal in the room is chrome for example,' she explains.

5. Introduce chrome lighting for a subtle chrome accent

Chrome pendant lights above a wooden dining room table

(Image credit: Original BTC)

While some trends feel most effective when a room is filled with the material in question, chrome decor should be handled slightly differently. Instead of drenching a room in chrome, add subtle accents that aren't too in your face, but still have an impact on the space.

Lighting is a simple way to introduce chrome decor into your design, especially in a kitchen or dining room. Whether you swap out wall sconces or statement pendant lights, like in this design, it's a subtle change that can make quite the difference.

In this dining room, two chrome pendant lights have been hung above a wooden table – the contrast between the cold tone of the metal and the warmth of the wood creates an inviting atmosphere. 

6. Add a blend of styles alongside chrome decor

modern space with vintage artwork, wall sconce and a large 3D sculpture hang on the wall

(Image credit: Studio Keeta)

Chrome details on furniture and decor are an easy and subtle way to add the cooler metal, whether you introduce a sofa with chrome legs, a chrome accent table alongside an upholstered armchair, or hang an abstract artwork on a wall.

'A piece of chrome furniture is a great accent in any room, regardless of the overall style. Indeed, the more variety of styles present within a space, the greater likelihood that the chrome object will find its footing among both like-minded and contrasting objects,' says Anthony.

When you're introducing chrome decor into a room, step back and look at the entire scheme – make sure to introduce a variety of textures to retain a sense of warmth. 'A room comprised entirely of chrome and, say, glass is a room no one will want to hang out in for very long without a sweater and dark glasses. But used strategically, chrome will add sparkle and brightness to any space,' Anthony adds.

Chrome decor is trending, and it's never been easier to add this metal decor to your space. From a coffee table to kitchen hardware and lighting, you can introduce chrome in a subtle way or make a daring statement in a room. The beauty of chrome decor is that it's been around for a long time, so there are plenty of vintage pieces to explore if you prefer something with a bit of age. 

Molly Malsom
Content Editor

Molly joined the Homes & Gardens interiors team at the start of 2024 as a content editor. Her undergraduate degree was in Magazine Journalism and Production, which she studied at the University of Gloucestershire. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she worked for two interiors titles across both print and digital channels, writing about a range of topics from room design ideas and decorating trends to the best places to source pre-loved homeware.