Living Space: Heavy metal decorating: Add style and shine with metallic finishes

Add sparkle in your bath with shiny metal sink.

It's been a long time since refrigerators and appliances were avocado green and harvest gold.

Increasingly, appliances are available in only three finishes: black, white and stainless steel. And stainless is definitely No. 1. Metallic finishes look new, fresh and sleek - but they're not just for refrigerators anymore. Metallic touches can give your home a contemporary zing and make it shine.



Try metallic finishes in the bath

The kitchen has taken center stage in the use of metal, primarily because of the number of appliances there. Yet metal is terrific in the bathroom, too. Do your old cabinets need a lift? Consider adhesive papers, available in an array of metallic finishes, from nickel to copper, to cover dated cabinets.

Check out metallic finished tiles. As an accent, the tiles can bring a beautiful sparkle to the room. Best of all, they can withstand scrubbing and cleaning (www.cooltiles.com/dt-stainless-steel.html). Add a coat of stainless paint on the walls to give your bath a metallic shine that can stand up to high humidity.



Floor to ceiling

Don't be afraid to make a big statement with metal. Pressed tin is always an option for ceilings or a backsplash, but you also can use it on the wall. If pressed tin is beyond your budget, anaglypta wallpaper (wallpaperstogo.com) mimics the look of pressed tin. You could also roll on a coat of bronze or pewter paint to create a distinctive look quickly and inexpensively. Metal looks great on floors, too. A band of decorative metallic tile can look like expensive inset stainless steel or brass.



Matchmaking

Most of the time, different metals, especially on appliances, look fine together, so don't be overly concerned about slight variations in color. Mix things up on purpose. Add a bronze or pewter pressed-tin backsplash or metallic tiles in your stainless kitchen. Use a sleek, shiny stainless bowl as an accent piece.

Metal objects, from railings to tables and lamps, can add extra interest. If your house is traditional, a matte bronze or brass vase will look at home. Use metallic fabrics to add a little shine in your bedding or upholstery.

Not everything has to be shiny, though. Black wrought iron and rusted iron can bring an earthy metal touch to your decor. Zinc, found on furniture and accessories, has earthiness of wrought iron with the shimmer of stainless.

A soft, pliable metal, zinc is available in sheets (rotometals.com) and can be used to cover countertops, furniture, or tabletops. It's softer, more mellow patina makes it work well in contemporary or traditional environments.

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website, redlotusletter.com.