The Simple List of Metallic Finishes

It is possible we rarely consider the finish of the metal on the furniture we choose to buy, but we should!

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The finish on metal can be just as important as the upholstery and the type of wood we choose when purchasing home furniture, decor, accents and especially when designing the overall style our home.

Chrome and Silver

Silver or chrome finish is one of the most common metallic finishes found in homes, offices, restaurants and businesses. It pairs nicely with many of our appliances and fixtures, especially in the case of dining tables, kitchen dining chairs or kitchen counter stools. Many silver metallic finishes are made of stainless steel which is a strong, sturdy and long-lasting metal.


Another common finish, but less common than a silver metallic finish. Brass finishes (sometimes referred to as bronze) bear a rustic charm and industrial edge on our furnishings. Many brass finishes have an orange glow with touches of shimmer and shine. Brass is a truly unique metallic finish with versatile style. Meaning, it looks good in nearly any design motif. Brass can come in various shades and hues from dark brown to light orange-gold.


Gold finishes are unfortunately not real gold, although we wish they were! This eye-catching metallic finish can sometimes be confused with brass or bronze but has more refracted qualities. It is excellent for Hollywood glam, rustic chic and even some farmhouse country interior designs.


Copper finishes, just like a U.S. penny, can come in a light brown / orange color. However, they can also appear in a much darker, vintage copper style, similar to brass or bronze. They glow beautifully in a variety of settings including farmhouse chic, rustic contemporary, retro and modern design themes.


Mirror finishes are still popular for those who prefer Hollywood regency, Hollywood glam, ultra-contemporary and even some coastal and provincial interior styles. Completely reflective, but similar to staring into a fun-house mirror, this metallic finish doesn’t always appear like staring into an actual mirror. Nevertheless, mirror finishes attract light and brighten a room instantaneously.


Definitely another metallic finish that can be mistaken for brass and bronze, it has a yellowish-gold appearance but with hints of pink that cannot be mistaken as anything else, only rose-gold, in certain lighting. The rose colored, pinkish hue is undoubtedly, one of those most underutilized of the metallic finishes.

Painted Metal

Although it is made of metal, it may not appear to be. Painted metal is a finish of any possible color (even wood finish) painted directly onto the metal. Painted metal finishes come in a variety of colors from red, blue, green, yellow to black and white-coated. Although it may not be considered a “metallic” finish, it is a well-known base design for its versatility and popularity.


Gunmetal finish can be anywhere from significantly darker to slightly darker yet similar to a silver or chrome metallic finish. Essentially, it has an industrial look, resembling the oftentimes blackened and worn finish of a gun, with varying levels of sheen. However, unmistakably metallic.

Polished, Satin and Matte

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These types of style finishes can come in any of the metallic colors listed above. However, there are slight differences between them. A polished finish will have the shiniest appearance, whereas, a matte finish will have a more muted sheen and a satin finish will be somewhere in between both polished and matte.

Image result for interior design with multiple metallic finishes

Many of the metallic finishes we love are not necessarily made from the material they are referred to as. Any material can be finished in several colors or it could be featured in any metallic finish mimicking the metal we desire or color of our choice. It can be easy to distinguish between the various finishes with the right eye and the examples provided. Never hesitate to inquire about the finish on a particular item, especially if it is questionable, solely based on appearance.