Brass and other metallics are versatile and give you a lot of choices in color selection. You'll want to look at the items and materials around your fixtures as well and think about how other aspects of the room (such as floors or carpet, drapes, and furniture) will fit in before you make a final decision.
Selecting the Color
Seek to harmonize your paint colors first with surrounding colors, unless the brass elements are large or you wish to highlight them. Match the brass fixture with a metallic paint for an exotic look. Many easy-to-use metallics are now available at high-quality paint stores and home improvement centers. Stick with a yellow-gold to match the brass color rather than a silver metallic—the yellow-gold will work better in most cases.
Deep reds and crimsons are classic colors that will go well with the warmth of brass. Intense oranges and yellows can be too close to the brass color and may clash, so they're best avoided (except in small doses).
Offsetting brass with a complement in the mauve or purple range can create a dynamic effect, but ensure that colors like these don't adversely impact the color of the rest of the room before taking this route. Use warm wood colors and neutrals, which provide a harmonious base for brass, and bring attention to the fixtures to make them stand out.
Using more-neutral colors will also make it easier to harmonize with the other colors in the area. Darker browns will go with the brass to lend a feeling of warmth. Be careful not to go too dark, or the room could become cavelike. Always remember that a color will be more intense on the wall than it looks in the store or on a swatch.
Select a lighter color to make it easier to match existing elements; however, in this case the brass fixtures may be less prominent, so find a balance if you want to highlight the brass. White goes with everything, but it doesn't have a lot of decorative punch, and it won't show the brass to its best advantage. Blues and greens are also available options, but are often cooler colors that may combat the brass. Select with care and lean toward colors in this range of the spectrum that have a mixture of gray.
Bill Brown has been a freelance writer for more than 14 years. Focusing on trade journals covering construction and home topics, his work appears in online and print publications. Brown holds a Master of Arts in liberal arts from St. John's University and is currently based in Houston.