As a centuries-old alloy that was often used in fine art, tools, and weapons, bronze has a long history of being both useful and beautiful. Compared to alternatives like brass and copper, it's more durable and resistant to corrosion — important qualities to consider when choosing pieces that will be exposed to moisture, in spaces like the bathroom and kitchen.
The term "bronze" can be confusing because it's used for both a metal and a color — a metallic yellowish brown. But bronze, the material, comes in many shades and finishes: aged (or antique), brushed, oil-rubbed, satin, Venetian, and even matte black. It's also used for fixtures in a wide range of decor styles, from antique to modern, and art deco to industrial. Meanwhile, copper has a bright reddish brown appearance and brass is a brighter yellow-gold. (Fun fact: Both bronze and brass contain copper.)
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Two of the most common finishes are oil-rubbed bronze, which generally looks dark brown, and satin bronze, which is lighter, with undertones warmer than silver and cooler than gold. "We gravitate toward oil-rubbed bronze when specifying hardware for draperies and cabinetry," says New York–based interior designer Rozit Arditi of Arditi Design. "It is also a finish we use very often for light fixtures." She calls it her "go-to finish" because she loves that it has "a rich patina to it and the color tends to change over time."
Couple bronze's durability with its varieties of finishes, and you have a metal that allows for a wide range of placement and color options. This means you can highlight it or play it down, pair it with neutrals or add it to rooms with more vibrant color palettes. Turn to bronze for bathroom fixtures, kitchen hardware, drawer pulls and lamps in your home office, and more. The possibilities are endless.
Here are some of our favorite colors that go with bronze fixtures.
15 Colors to Pair With Bronze Fixtures
A gray color scheme is a great canvas not only for bronze finishes but also for other metals. "We love mixing brass and bronze tones in the same room," Arditi says, so no need to limit your choices to just one. In this gray bathroom by Tali Roth, the oil-rubbed bronze faucet and towel bar beautifully complement a pair of brass sconces, which include a touch of black to tie everything together.
When you want your bronze fixtures to stand out, give them a neutral backdrop. A light color like white can set off both dark oil-rubbed bronze — like this antique-style swing-arm lamp — and the lighter satin-brushed version. In this white bedroom by Studio McGee, the bronze light fixture pairs nicely with the black nightstand below it.
3. Coral Pink
How's this for a cheery color pairing? The playful coral wallpaper and antique-inspired oil-rubbed bronze vanity light make an unexpected union. The silver mirror frame below demonstrates one more way to mix metals successfully .
Beige, of course, is a neutral that can pair well with basically anything, including bronze fixtures — but that doesn't mean it needs to look conservative. A mirror with a decorative bronze frame is one easy way to add interest to a beige wall. A matching faucet and accessories carry on the theme.
To play up the warmth of bronze, go for equally warm tones, like terra cotta, rust, ochre — or mustard yellow, as seen here. This combination is especially well suited to Tuscan, Mediterranean, and country settings. In this laundry room by Cameron Design Group, we love how the bronze knobs punctuate the cabinetry, while the pendants give the room an industrial touch.
Natural wood and bronze of all shades beautifully complement each other. For contrast, try oiled bronze fixtures with white oak or other tan-colored wood — as seen in this airy kitchen designed by Lindye Galloway. Go with satin bronze instead if you'd like a lower contrast with higher shine.
To elevate black cabinetry, consider bronze hardware. Depending on the finish, bronze handles and knobs can either be subdued or really pop. For a chic, monochromatic look, take inspiration from this kitchen by Rose & Funk and match the finish of your fixtures to your paint. An off-white countertop adds striking contrast. Be as daring as you wish.
For temperature contrast, pair warm bronze with a cool color like blue. Navy and warm satin bronze, as seen in this bathroom, complement each other and create an air of moody sophistication. Meanwhile, a lighter blue can create a more uplifting, Hollywood Regency-style look.
9. Pale Olive Green
Looking for a cheerful color to pair with bronze fixtures? Try a pale olive green for a pleasing contrast that works equally well with traditional and more contemporary decor styles. In this home office designed by Marea Clark, bronze knobs and drawer pulls provide a stylish contrast above and below.
Turquoise and bronze jewelry is a classic for a reason — and you can apply this time-tested color combination to your home as well. How imaginative is the pairing of a bronze faucet and farmhouse sink with turquoise cabinets in this kitchen by Chairma Design Group? Perhaps you're not ready for such a bold statement (or the cost of an entire new sink), but you can start smaller. Try painting just your upper or lower cabinets turquoise and adding bronze knobs.
Cream, like white, is a dependable neutral to pair with bronze. Whatever finish you're working with, cream will let it stand out, as shown in this stunning bathroom designed by Urban Grace. And when the bronze fixtures are placed near a window, the natural light reflecting off of them will add a brilliant touch.
12. Lime Green
Keep things upbeat with lime green as a backdrop for oil-rubbed or Venetian bronze. The bright color in this bathroom by McCann Design Group gives aged fixtures a more modern appearance. It also provides welcome contrast, in terms of both color and personality. This look is simultaneously fun and refined.
From the ceiling to the sink, this teal bathroom designed by Lisa & Leroy incorporates bronze features in a cool way. The white sink and inner lamp shade provide an additional layer of contrast for the patterned teal wallpaper and fixtures. The thin bronze mirror is a fun, modern touch.
A truly complementary combination is greige and darker bronze finishes — as this kitchen by Lauren Collander Interiors demonstrates. These cabinets, with their sleek handles, demonstrate that sometimes it's not about standing out but about working in harmony. We are charmed.
Colors That Go With Bronze
Thanks to the variety of bronze finishes that exist today, there's much creativity to be had with creating your color scheme. If you're attached to a particular bronze feature, give your inner designer a thumbs-up to brush paint samples on the wall to see how they pair, and notice the different moods created from day to night.
Likewise, test different bronze hardware finishes on a piece of furniture or cabinetry. You never know what new life either addition could bring! What you can count on is that whatever bronze element you introduce, it will have staying power. (Especially if you take good care to maintain it.) Here's a recap of colors that go well bronze:
- Coral pink
- Navy blue
- Pale olive green
- Lime green
- Light blue