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How to Mix Gold and Silver in Interiors

Lets hear it for that clubber still trapped in 1984.  For him the mullet never dies and Z Cavaricci’s can’t have enough pleats and acid wash.  And the 1990’s gym rat still carrying his protein powder in a fanny pack and so pumped up he looks like a balloon animal.  You have to somewhat respect a guy for diving into the Culture Club head first and committing for the long run.   But none of us is swiping right on that one.   And what does that have to do with learning how to mix gold and silver in interiors?

Trends are awesome but when you get too “fadtastic” you get mired in a time warp soup – even in your home. Unless you have the money to invest big dollars into changing up your interior design every couple of years, you’ll need to learn to balance the fad and the timeless.  In 2007 I was remodeling my own bath and I searched like crazy to find something other than brushed nickel and chrome.   We’d been using it in the design industry for years and I was burnt out.  so I wrote a blog post about the process and the upward trend toward gold-toned finishes that was just around the corner.   They were hard to find back then but they gradually started showing up at the furniture markets and gift shows in lamps, accessories and faucets.

Fast forward to 2016 and suddenly Z Gallerie has limited their silver finishes and introduced a barrage of golds.  Same with West Elm, CB2, Crate and Barrel.   The trends always trickle down from the interior designers and furniture manufacturers to the masses but it takes time.  And then it becomes the new Chic for everyone and it gets overdone and it becomes a trend that will date your home in just a few short years.

So I have just a few  suggestions for enjoying the new gold without binge decorating.  First, introduce them in smaller ticket items such as pillows, accessories or even lamps.  If in 3 years you’ve grown to hate gold, then you’re not breaking the bank to replace them.  And for goodness sake, store anything that’s still in great shape because gold tones will come back over and over and one day you’ll be kicking yourself for tossing out that gorgeous papier mache tray with gold leaf accents.  And finally, don’t be that guy who commits 100% for the long term.   Why do you think gold finishes went out of style in the first place?   Because we over did it and we got sick of it.  Then when the brushed nickel train came chuggin by we jumped on…….and again we were in it heart and soul.

So learn how to mix gold and silver in interiors by doing it delicately.  In fact, don’t write off black metals either.   Silver, gold and black  are not mutually exclusive.  In their contrast they actually compliment each other, adding layers of depth to an interior space.  If you’re a little hesitant about your ability to do so tastefully, I find the easiest way to set the stage is to start with one piece that has all of the patinas you’d like to use.   Take a look at the chandelier below (#1) or table (#2).   Both pieces contain silver, black and gold finishes.   This is your jumping off point.  It’s now easy to choose your favorite finish as the dominant patina and then break up the monotony by introducing hints of your contrasting lusters in a mirror, a lamp, or a pair of accessories.

Contact Jamie Kern at for pricing and lead times on products below.


how to mix gold and silver in interiors by Design Theory Interiors of California, INc

  1. Chandelier by CB2
  2. Table by Caracole
  3. Dining Chair from Worlds Away
  4. Surya pillows
  5. Accessories by West Elm
  6. Mirror by Robert James Collection
  7. Cyan Design accessories
  8. Floor Lamp by CB2
  9. Bernhardt Chair
  10. Buffet by Robert James Collection
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Heated Outdoor Furniture

Not even kidding.   Heated outdoor furniture.  When I first saw this product come across my desk I couldn’t help but go where I always go . . . . what wannabe princess stomped her feet and held her breath until someone found a heated chair to cuddle her delicate royal ass?!?!

So, yeah, sitting on your deck in cold metal chairs is a rich person problem, but heated furniture really is a genius idea for hotels and restaurants that want guests to enjoy and spend their rich people money at outdoor bars and cafes.  And if you’ve ever lived in the south or close to a body of water, you know that people love dining, drinking and visiting outside.   We spend way too many hours in our day locked up in offices so an open air space is almost a must for attracting patrons.

But frankly I think this is a great splurge for homeowners as well.  We live in Northern California so the mornings and evenings get chilly year round.  The wind on both the mountain and by the ocean can take the fun out of spending time on an outdoor deck or grabbing dinner waterside. Even when we were in Atlanta we loved our outdoor living areas and heated furniture would have extended our outdoor season.

So take a look at this line by Galanter and Jones and prepare to be wowed.  The line is still relatively small but the pieces are really sharp.  The body is available in 5 colors and the base comes in 4 finishes that really have a modern edge.   The heating element is under the seat and all wiring is run through the legs and out the bottom.  Just plug in and turn it on with the push of a button.   You can actually set your heat level……..and the chair will remember it for next time!!!


heated outdoor furniture for 2016 design theory interiors of california

Evia Chair


heated outdoor furniture for 2016 design theory interiors of california 2

Evia Lounge


heated outdoor furniture for 2016 design theory interiors of california 4

Helios Love Chair


heated outdoor furniture for 2016 design theory interiors of california 3

Helios Lounge


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5 Best Black Paint Colors for Interiors

The best black paint colors for interiors range in shade and tone from the crisp black of Sherwin Williams’ Tricorn black to Benjamin Moore’s Blue Notes with undertones of blue.   There is a shade of black paint to suit every interior color palette, transforming your space into a dramatic setting.

best black paint colors tricorn black by design theory interiors of california

Sherwin Williams – SW 6258 – Tricorn Black


best black paint colors from design theory interiors of california

Sherwin Williams – SW6992 Inkwell


best black paint colors caviar by design theory interiors of california

Sherwin Williams – SW6990 Caviar

A hint of red in Sherwin Williams’ Caviar results in a slightly warmer shade of black.

best black paint colors almost black by design theory interiors of california

Benjamin Moore – 2130-30 Almost Black

Benjamin Moore’s Almost Black is softer with a slight green undertone. While it may look more gray on a paint chip, it will still read as a black on your walls.



best black paint colors blue note design theory interiors of california

Benjamin Moore – 2129-30 Blue Note


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Interior Designer Do’s and Don’ts

Interior Designer Dos and Donts

DON’T double dip your fabrics.   By double dipping I mean don’t use the same fabric twice.  If you’ve already used that        cool geometric for your master window treatments, don’t repeat it as a throw pillow or a bedskirt.  Is it going to look horrible if   you do that?  No, of course not.   But it’s those tiny details that set the designer and the decorator apart.

DO use coordinating fabrics.   Instead of re-using that cool geometric in your window treatments, find fabrics that compliment and coordinate for pillows, bedskirts, etc. A large geometric can pair with a solid, a smaller scale print, or a great textured fabric. Those layers of fabrics add depth to a space and they show just how much thought you put into the fine point

DON’T be afraid to mix gold and silver.  Isolating one specific metal finish went out the window with banning white after labor day.  I like the depth      and the visual interest that occurs when you can blend the two metallics.

DON’T short yourself on accessories.  I can’t say this enough.  The biggest mistake I see clients make is cutting the accessory budget short.  A room full of wonderful furniture will look bare-boned, incomplete and mucho unfriendly.  Interior design is in the details.

DO trust your interior designer to accessorize.  The other big mistake I see clients make is in thinking they can save money by accessorizing on their own.  In the end, the accessories are often too small and too few and have no connection to the design intent of the space.  Yes accessorizing can be expensive.  But not as expensive as trying to do it yourself only to have to pay someone to re-do it for you later.   I’m a fan of spending my money once and getting it right the first time.

DON”T over analyze individual accessory items.  While I’m on a roll with accessories, let me also point out that you will only make yourself crazy if you over analyze each individual accessory item.   A designer spends a considerable amount of time assessing the overall space and how each accessory, it’s placement, size, finish, and shape will enhance the design.  In one instance I placed a lovely silver metal vase with a textured finish in an area of a client’s home where it would receive light from a directional fixture.  The light would enhance the texture, creating something visually quite interesting.  In the end the client was insistent that the texture just wasn’t “them” and I had to replace the vase with something similar in a smooth finish.  The end result was not only lackluster, but the smooth finish shows every fingerprint.  Sometimes it’s nice to introduce something outside your comfort zone to add some interest and conversation.

DO embrace the animal in you.  A taste of an animal print, a pair of shed or faux antlers, an oversized ceramic dog, or better yet, a modern chair or table with an animal leg.   Even if you’re working in a highly contemporary space, the introduction of the animal form will add intrigue.   Let’s not over do it.   A hint or even a subtle theme is nice but please don’t cover all of your upholstery in leopard print AND every table surface with a ceramic pig.

DO think organic.  Introducing something of nature is like warm cocoa on a cold rainy day.   I love using a modern side table with a petrified wood top or a tree trunk table in almost any style interior.

DO visit the dark side.   Black is a must in every space to create depth and perspective.  And it can be  achieved with something as simple as a throw pillow, black frames on artwork, or ebony legs on your dining chairs.

DO use oversized accessories.   Large accessories in focal areas will have a much greater impact than a collection of small items.   For instance,  a 42″ diameter mirror above and a 40″ sculpture or vase atop a buffet or sideboard on a blank wall will attract attention and will appear clean and elegant.   The same buffet covered with small items can look messy, disproportionate or even get lost if not done extremely well.




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