Are you shaking your head in disbelief at the title? Or are you like me, with old brass chandeliers and brass fixtures from 1985 in your house, making you unintentionally back in style? If you wait long enough, everything comes back in style, and that statement really rings true with brass these days.

However, this is not the brass of the 1980s, nor is it your grandmother’s brass. It is not as shiny, as overpowering, as … “brassy” as it used to be.

According to designer Lee Robinson, of Lee W. Robinson Company, brass is much more understated and luxurious than it used to be. Instead of appearing common, it is an element of the overall design of a room that shows just a hint of luxury. He does contend that many people have an initial negative reaction to the introduction of brass in their homes. Namely, this reaction stems from the fact that most people just finished extricating from their homes all of the remnant 1980s brass and replacing it with brushed nickel or stainless steel. The thought of putting brass back into their homes gives people visions of an Aaron Spelling show. Adjust your perspective on brass, ladies, and see all of the beauty it has to offer.

Robinson suggests treating brass as an accessory. Just like jewelry trends that have transitioned from sterling silver to now gold, the decor aesthetic has transitioned from stainless steel and nickel to brass. Decorating trends are going more reflective and shiny, with Lucite and brass coming to the forefront.

Robinson particularly recommends two designers of note, who are creating beautiful furniture now in brass or with brass accents. Mary McDonald has created a line for Chaddock Furniture and Celerie Kemble has created her own line for Henredon. Examples of their furniture are shown below.

The thing about brass is that, when done in a tasteful manner, it never goes out of style. Robinson references the late famed designer Albert Hadley, who designed Brooke Astor’s library 30 years ago. Her library is still the top tier of taste, with brass trim lining red-lacquered shelves throughout the library.

Brass is Back!

Brooke Astor’s library, designed by Albert Hadley | Image credit: “New York Times

As with any decorating process, you can do as much or as little as you like. A slower, more gradual introduction might involve just doing some drawer pulls or other fixtures that are smaller, then maybe a pendant light or a coffee table. Here are some different inspirations on how to use brass in your home:


Fixtures are a good way to tiptoe into the brass scene. They’re an easy and relatively inexpensive way to accessorize and update a room.

Brass is Back!

Drawer pulls and knobs, all in brass | Image credit:

brass pulls in kitchen apartmenttherapy com

Brass pulls in the kitchen | Image credit:

brass paper towel rack westelm com

Brass paper towel wire rack … utilitarian AND stylish! Image credit:

Brass is Back!

Brass fixtures and accents in the kitchen | Photo credit: “House Beautiful

Brass is Back!

Brass shines in this kitchen. Design and image credit: Lee W. Robinson

Pendants and other light fixtures

Light fixtures can make a big statement, or they can offer a small, but just-as-impactful, hit of color in a room.

Brass is Back!

Brass light shades | Image credit:

Brass is Back!

Classic brass chandelier in a foyer | Design and image credit: Lee W. Robinson

Brass is Back!

This bold, brass light fixture makes a big statement in this minimalistic kitchen. Image credit:

Brass is Back!

Brass triple-tiered pendant light from Urban Outfitters | Image credit:

SBFinds_Nash_kitchen Makeover_4-14

Oversized brass pendants featured in the StyleBlueprint Kitchen Makeover in April 2014


From bar stools to couches and club chairs, brass is appearing on all types of seating.

Brass is Back!

Brass pendants and bar stools | Image credit:

Brass is Back!

Brass-lined stools, pendants and faucet | Image credit:

Brass is Back!

Intriguing brass stools | Image credit: “Architectural Digest

Brass is Back!

The Didier Arm Chair by Celerie Kemble for Henredon. Brass ferrules and accents in soft brass finish | Image credit: Henredon 

Brass is Back!

Brigitte sofa with solid brass legs by Mary McDonald for Chaddock | Image credit: Chaddock


Dining tables, everyday tables, side tables and coffee tables have all become favorite brass accent targets for furniture designers.

Brass is back!

Sequoia slab and brass coffee table | Image credit:

Brass is Back!

Celerie Kemble for Henredon table is glass with brass accents. Image credit: Henredon

Brass is Back!

Celerie Kemble for Henredon’s Yves Dining Table | Image credit: Henredon


Brass beds likely conjure up memories of a stay at grandmother’s house, or even your childhood bedroom. Now, they are minimal, sleek and more modern.

bed alchemy brass bed 594 cb2 com

A modern take on a brass bed | Image credit:

Brass is Back!

Brass button-tufted headboard from Urban Outfitters | Image credit: Urban Outfitters

Brass is Back!

Brass canopy bed | Image credit:

Range hoods

If you want a great focal point in your kitchen, think about a brass range hood. What was previously made from the popular stainless steel can be done in brass as well, or it can simply feature a brass lining, as shown below.

Brass is Back!

Big, brass range hood and a brass faucet in this kitchen | Image credit:

Brass is Back!

Brass-lined range hood and fixtures | Image credit:

Cabinets and other large surfaces

Shelving, countertops and cabinets can be done in all brass. Lee Robinson mentions the hand-hammered brass cabinets shown below as something all the designers in New York are coveting.

Modern Kitchen: Fresh and White

All-brass shelves and pulls in this sleek, white kitchen makeover featured in StyleBlueprint last April.

Brass is Back!

Hand-hammered brass cabinets that designer Lee Robinson loves | Image credit:

Brass is Back!

Industrial kitchen with brass throughout | Image credit:


Robinson contends that bathrooms are the most difficult place to use brass, because constant water and humidity are hard on it. When you see it, though, it’s usually just in fixtures or faucets … smaller places that are easier to maintain. Stainless steel is still the preferred metal of choice in a bathroom.

Brass is Back!

Brass mirrors, fixtures and faucets in the bathroom | Image credit:

Brass is Back!

Solid brass base, faucets and plumbing fittings | Image credit: Gerardo Jaconelli, via All The Best Blog

Brass is Back!

Brass fixtures in a turquoise-tiled shower | Image credit:

Is brass going to become the new stainless steel? Likely not, simply because a little goes a long way. Brass dishwashers and refrigerators don’t seem to be on the forefront of new design. So while people may not be as interested in covering their rooms in wall-to-wall brass, it is well-suited to accent pieces, fixtures, lights and other smaller decor items.

So yes, brass is back. But did it ever really leave in the first place?


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Happy January! Keep reading SB every day to learn about new fitness options, good local food or some great treasures at local businesses. Here’s to 2015!