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How to Add Contrast With an Oil-Rubbed Bronze Finish

Want your home to radiate warmth and classic timelessness? If you're updating a kitchen or bath, consider using oil rubbed bronze fixtures to add contrast or an out-of-the-box snap to your room. Oil rubbed bronze finishes are chemically darkened to simulate aged bronze. The finish can range from a chocolate brown to gray/green and often includes copper tones with a light and dark appearance. Rather than polished nickel, satin chrome or stainless steel, using oil rubbed bronze fixtures either alone or mixed with other metal finishes allows you to create a layered, polished contrast to your rooms.
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Using oil rubbed bronze finishes

Oil rubbed bronze is both current and classic. It's usually found in traditional and transitional decor. But occasionally, you'll see oil rubbed bronze fixtures in very sleek, contemporary spaces as well. “The dark, rich color of the finish works best by adding bold contrast to light background hues such as whites, grays and taupes," says Michelle Nelson, host and founder of BYHYU-- Build Your House Yourself University Podcast and Blog.

The warm metal combines beautifully with light marbles and variations in quartz. Oil rubbed bronze lends a soft, almost time-worn appearance to rooms since it's supposed to replicate an earlier era hardware that is well worn yet timeless.

As a point of contrast, oil rubbed bronze fixtures can be used as statement pieces to add interest to an otherwise mild color palette. “In addition to pairing well with neutrals, the rich color of oil rubbed bronze adds depth to a more colorful decor palette that grounds the space," says Nelson. It also offers a warm contrast in rooms that have cool tones, such as blues or greens.

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Types of oil rubbed bronze

Oil rubbed bronze is frequently offered in a "living" finish, one that patinas over time—or one that is sealed so that the finish stays consistent and doesn't change with use. Regardless, oil rubbed bronze is a finish that works well in a busy environment as it doesn't show every little smudge and finger print (as polished nickel or brass often do). Code word: great for children.

Since there are many variations in color to oil rubbed bronze fixtures, the rubbed bronze appearance may vary in shade, darkness, depth of green, gray or brown tones and even how much bronze hue is visible. This however, is the charm of using oil rubbed bronze fixtures throughout your home.

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Oil rubbed bronze makes a statement

Oil rubbed bronze is visually appealing, especially when you have stainless hardware in other rooms. For example, if you have brushed nickel door handles throughout your home, adding an oil rubbed bronze fixture or faucet really makes an impact. Room to room, color schemes, style and metals no longer have to be matchy-matchy. In fact, rooms rich with oil rubbed bronze pair well with warm tones like deep grays, sage greens, reds and orange-red undertones.

Think of warm wood furniture, a deep red and black plush Persian rug, gray fabrics or upholstery and oil rubbed bronze hardware. The dark finish also pops against white and adds visual interest and depth to a space. What's more, oil rubbed bronze can be used to increase or decrease the "temperature" of the room, it's warm or cool vibe.

If you love oil rubbed bronze, select one or two statement pieces to make your room come to life. It is prized for its old but timeless effect, its fresh feel and offers contrast and a bold statement especially relevant alongside marble and quartz in the kitchen and near neutral, warm or cool hues in the bath.

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