The mixed materials trend is making waves, we see it in furniture pieces both big and small, in home accessories and serveware, to lighting and elevated office supplies. If you’re wondering what mixed materials are, it’s utilizing two or more different materials into the aesthetic design of an object.
Mixed material furniture is pretty common, at the most basic levels, take an upholstered sofa with wood or metal legs… That’s mixed materials. But today, we’re exploring much more intentional mixed material design, where material is not merely chosen for just structural integrity or design, but for aesthetic purpose and enjoyment. And we’ll also share some exciting Hickory Hardware collections that fall into the mixed materials category including pieces that feature acrylic and leather.
Umanoff Side Table by MENU
Take a look at this stunning mid century modern side table originally designed by Arthur Umanoff in the 1950s and reissued by MENU. It melds the classic combination of rich walnut and brass to great effect.
A design like this would be difficult to engineer with just wood, the legs would be weak and brittle. The same design in all metal would look overly harsh and sterile. It's the material combination of both brass and walnut that makes the final piece design magic.
Androgyne Dining Table by MENU
MENU designers are also renowned for their contemporary designs like the Androgyne tables designed by Danielle Siggerud featuring combinations of wood or powdered coated steel legs with various marble and wood tops. Subdued finishes for the legs allow bold marble types like Kunis Breccia, Emperador and Calacatta Viola to shine.
Androgyne Side Table Top by MENU
Sling Dining Chair (Currently Unavailable?) by CB2
CB2 is my go-to place to feast your eyes on a lot of mixed material designs like these stunning dining chairs above. The design inspiration no doubt takes after Marcel Breuer’s original Cesca chair. Both old and new versions of this chair utilize a strong gravity-defying metal base with a mixed material for the seat and back.
Dorset Linen Credenza by CB2
Linen curtains and bedding have been extremely popular and here CB2 has transformed linen into a lacquered version onto a credenza with brass legs and pulls. It’s a dramatic evolution and combination of materials.
As if there weren’t enough good things to say about CB2 and their collaborators, here’s another stunner furniture piece in Italian Mappa burl wood with brass accents. Not too long ago it was pretty rare to find burl wood anything unless it was a vintage piece, and now Studio Anansi has updated it with a deco silhouette.
Remi Natural Linen Table Lamp by Crate & Barrel
CB2’s sister brand, Crate & Barrel, hasn’t missed an opportunity to hop on the mixed material train with some pretty creative lighting fixtures. Conical empire lampshades are all the rage right now and the mix of linen and brass is so chic. Then there’s this incredible brass and marble table lamp combining timeless materials into contemporary forms:
Formosa Stone Table Lamp by Crate & Barrel
Mixed Marble & Wood Preston Cheeseboards by West Elm
We’re seeing the mixed materials trend in serveware as well. Imagine if everything here was all but one material instead of the different combinations. A cutting board in all wood, all marble? Seen it before. But combining the two different materials and in different mixed proportions? That’s different, that’s cool, that’s refreshing.
Around a year ago now, my cousin was desperately trying to update the decor in her kitchen and I remember her specifically asking for help in finding a mixed material cutting or charcuterie board that was marble and wood. I couldn’t find any wherever I went and now they’re popping up everywhere from Target to West Elm.
Marble & Brass Dip Bowls by West Elm
In a sea of white and gray marble options I’ve noticed more and more offerings of different colored marbles. While white and gray marbles like Calacatta will always be a classic choice, I think a lot of people are starting to get a bit weary of the look.
It’s safest to play with bold new colors in smaller accessories that are generally less expensive. With large statement pieces or investment pieces, I strongly believe the safer color and material options that appeal to a wider audience like white marble are still valid.
Marble & Brass Cheese Boards by West Elm
Markus Acrylic Lounge Chair by CB2
We’ve seen acrylic used in furniture before, but seeing this luxe material applied to office supplies upgrades once boring and basic objects into something that can be coveted. As an added bonus, they’ll look beautiful sprawled out on a desk. Even if it’s a mess, it’ll be a beautiful mess.
Golden Acrylic Scissors by Anthropologie
Hickory Hardware’s Midway collection features stunning material synergy with a combination of strong clear acrylic and metal. Its barely-there appearance adds a touch of glam without being too over the top. The Midway collection is available in Crysacrylic with either Chrome, Satin Nickel, Brushed Golden Brass or our newly released Matte Black.
Crystal Palace Collection
The Hickory Hardware Crystal Palace collection features a more traditional style with a much wider variety of knob shapes from simple globes to faceted geometric shapes and rosettes. To see more of the collection, including some on clearance, check this page out!
For a little mixed materials Scandinavian flair, take a peek at Hickory Hardware’s Bradford leather pulls. Bradford is available in a medium-tone brown leather with both Chrome and Antique Brass grommets included.
Over time the leather will patina and age and develop unique character and wear patterns depending on how you use it. Bradford can be mounted as a tab or like a regular strap pull as seen similar to some of the inspiration photos above. To save some extra money, Bradford is also available in multipacks!
I hope this post helped spurn some creative ideas. For more design trends, check out the last post on 2021 Top 5 Interior Design Color Trends for some amazing inspiration.