I’m so thrilled with the reception for this new series, The ABC’s of Gathering! You guys are awesome and I’m so glad you’re as excited about the idea as I am!
Gathering encompasses so many ways to find unique treasures – thrift stores, garage and estate sales, vintage shops, Etsy, eBay, Craigslist, antique stores and malls, flea markets… Any source that requires a little digging, a little soul searching, and a little bit of serendipity!
It’s very different from walking into a big-box store and picking out six coordinating pieces; not that there’s anything wrong with that, but gathering relies a whole lot more on gut instinct, the luck of the draw, perseverance, and a dose of bravery.
And sometimes you’ve found something that just calls out to you, that’s perhaps a little oddball yet deeply appealing, but you’re not quite sure how you could/should/would incorporate it into your home… So my new series, The ABC’s of Gathering, was born.
We kicked off the series two weeks ago with A is for Art. I plan to stick with a bi-weekly schedule – I’m finding that it does take quite a bit of time to pull together these roundups and I enjoy the topics so much, they always spark ideas for a related post or two!
When brainstorming ideas for the letter B, I came up with a few potentials, but “brass” won out by a landslide, which I’m sure is not surprising at all to you, if you’ve spent more than a few minutes on my blog.
B is for Brass
So how do you feel about the whole “brass” thing? Pro? Against? Still scarred by builder-grade fixtures and home hardware of the 80’s and 90’s?
I fall firmly in the “pro brass” camp. Very firmly. Like, I’m throwing my hat in the ring for presidency of the “I Love Brass” fan club, and actively on a mission to gather every last little brass animal I find at the thrift store into an ark I’m currently working on (you think I’m kidding, but then again, you’re not quite sure)…
I’ve always been more of a gold than a silver person myself, though for a while that extended only to jewelry. Like many decor lovers, I jumped on board the whole oil-rubbed-bronze/nickel/I-hate-brass train in reaction to the ubiquitous shiny, plasticy-brass door knobs and light fixtures I grew up with.
When I began my life of gathering (you can catch up on my first thrift store trip ever here) and finding true, high-quality vintage brass, I learned to appreciate the depth and warmth of this gold-toned metal and its potential for adding just the right amount (or in my case, oodles) of glitz and glam to a room.
I think just about every space could use a spritz of brass (she writes while making a mental checklist of her home and realizing just how firmly she subscribes to that piece of advice). Whether you’re already a brass lover, or still a little brass-shy, I hope this post will leave you inspired with new ways to bring some shine into your decor, mix metals, and maybe even start a little brass menagerie of your own…
How to Decorate with Brass (without suffering 80’s & 90’s flashbacks):
I’ve decided to divide up today’s post into three sections of brass home accessories: Littles, Middles, and Bigs. We’ll start with ways to add small doses of brassy goodness to your home decor diet, and then, once you’re hooked, we’ll move on to medium-sized and progressively larger ideas.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it: find one idea that inspires you and search out a brass piece to recreate it in your home!
All photos not my own are used by the permission of my wonderful blogging friends. You can visit their posts to read more by clicking on each picture or the link in the caption below – please pin from the original source!
Alright! Let’s go ahead and start with one of my favorites classes of brass, the “littles”! Knickknacks, small accent pieces, decorative objects – these types of brass pieces are usually easy to find and incorporate into your decor. They don’t require a huge level of commitment and they’re perfect for moving around the house and trying out various vignette and shelfie ideas!
Stephanie’s brass roadrunner (beep beep!) is demonstrating one of my favorite ways to use a brass animal figure – on top of a stack of books! It’s almost a rule in my house that stacks of books must be topped with an item of interest, and nine times out of ten, my brass animal collection gets put to good use.
When packing away my brass menagerie from the group shot at the beginning of this post, I plopped this little brass gazelle down in the tray on top of our bar and decided that this is where he lives now. I just love him there, especially with my DIY sunburst mirror!
Vintage brass trays like Alice’s are just perfect for corralling and displaying those jewelry pieces that are too pretty to store out of sight!
These brass duck hooks came with the house, but Sarah completely re-imagined them, contrasting them with a rustic wood backdrop in her DIY coat rack!
Julia found her brass longhorn skull on Craigslist (without realizing just what a score it really was) and it’s such an incredible statement piece over her bed. Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to mix metals and warm and cool tones!
There’s a lot to feast your eyes on in Kimberly’s gorgeous dining room, but I’d like to draw your attention to the family of brass elephants parading on the mantel. Just one would be lonely and two might be too symmetrical. Takeaway: Groups of three are pleasing to the eye. Also, why not start a collection?
I love Gretchen’s classic and collected bedroom dresser vignette (heart eyes for that little brass bird cage)! It’s such a wonderful blend of textures and metals.
A few small petite brass accessories echo the hardware on Angie’s vintage oak secretary desk.
Alice’s Bohemian fall mantel pairs brass with neutral natural elements. Try this: repurpose a brass + glass light fixture cover as a terrarium – such a simple but stylish way to salvage outdated lighting! If you have a Habitat for Humanity Restore nearby, you’ll probably find a very similar light fixture or two on its shelves.
I love the way Cate paired rustic with glam with these salvaged dresser drawer shelves + glittering brass accessories, and how cute are the brass stag’s whimsical twig antlers?! Takeaway: mix completely opposite styles for a warm eclectic approach.
Britt sprinkled brass accessories throughout this gorgeous shelfie. Try picturing this vignette without the shots of gold… While it would still be lovely, the brass pieces add warmth, up the dazzle factor, and bounce light around!
Amanda mixed classic brass pieces with serveware and barware in her hutch – it’s a very neutral display in terms of colors used, but there’s so much visual interest with the mix of different metals, ceramics, and light and airy glassware.
I changed up my classic mantel ever so slightly for spring, adding in my thrifted brass reindeer bookends (now paint-free, post upcoming on that). I love how they balance out the thrifted brass candleholders on the other side. Note: my use of the winning brass-object-on-book-stack formula! 😉
I just adore Amber’s use of brass pieces in her daughter’s bedroom makeover! If you take away the seagulls and lamp, it’s still a fun and colorful space, but the brass really brings the bling to this stylish little girl’s room!
As your love for brass grows, your collection of brass pieces tends to grow too. You might find yourself gravitating towards larger brass animal figurines, or branching into the world of brass light fixtures.
All the same tips from the earlier “littles” section apply to these slightly-larger instances of brass: feel free to mix metals and decorating styles and use brass to brighten, embellish and warm. Medium-sized brass elements can create focal points in the room, but don’t necessarily attract all the attention – they are great team players for creating boho, eclectic, glam spaces.
I just had to share both sides of Cassie’s living room, because she definitely rivals my love for brass animals! The larger deer on her fireplace hearth and on the console table behind her sofa are points of interest in the room without stealing the show, believe it or not. (That honor goes to her blue velvet sofa!)
Claire paired these shiny brass sconces with an antiqued brass mirror and they are beautiful together! Takeaway: if you have multiple brass pieces, try mixing up your patinas!
More sweet and lovely (and enormous) brass deer, just made for holiday decorating! I absolutely love the way Jennifer decks them out for different seasons – see them at Christmas here.
You’ll spot some vintage brass pieces scattered throughout Claire’s bookcases, but it’s her Mid-Century five-arm brass floor lamp that’s stolen my heart! It feels so bright and weightless in the room, even though it’s packing tons of style.
I was thrilled that Cassie shared this recent update to her guest bedroom just in time for this post! I’m loving the addition of the leaping brass gazelle plaque over the bed – it’s especially striking on that black wall. Takeaway: brass + black is always a good idea.
Let’s talk brass furnishings! Brass coffee tables, chairs, shelving units, beds, etc., make big, bold, statements, it’s true. They bring the glam and serve it up with a punch.
But if you love brass, going big doesn’t have to be scary! These rooms feature brass furnishings in all sorts of different styles, from calm and polished to some more daring applications… I’ll bet you find at least one space to get the wheels turning in your head!
If I ever visit Chicago (on the bucket list for sure), I’m making a beeline for the South Loop Loft, a place of magical vintage treasures curated and masterfully styled by my Instagram-friend Beth!
This brass crane-arm lamp swooping over the sofa is definitely a large and interesting decorative element, but it blends so well with the rest of the boho decor that it doesn’t scream too loudly for attention. Takeaway: Not all big brass objects scream “Liberace” – they can actually act as neutrals sometimes!
Britt’s brass garden stool adds the perfect finishing touch to her eclectic living room space. Of course, the whole shot is full of beautiful and interesting pieces, but in my opinion, the addition of the brass element really completes the global Bohemian vibe!
My living room has changed quite a bit since I shared this shot, but this brass coffee table by designer Karl Springer is still one of my favorite vintage pieces I’ve found (on Craigslist of course). It related so well with my brass mid-century floor lamp – I’ll always remember it fondly!
Brass can also bring the glam to lighter spaces – look how airy and chic this pair of brass and glass coffee tables are in Arielle’s living room!
I’m not sure I could love everything in Jennifer’s living room more… (Maybe if there was a sign on the wall that said “Brynne’s Place”?) Her brass trunk as a coffee table is the perfect statement piece in her colorful, preppy-meets-glam living room. Takeaway: brass + malachite… Soul mates.
In Julia’s living room, mixed metals become neutrals with her soothing black-and-white-based color palette. She recovered this vintage brass dining chair in a striped fabric to use as a desk chair.
In my living room (an ever-changing work in progress, although this photo represents its most current iteration), I added this vintage brass chair to the right side of the TV cabinet as a counterpoint to the brass floor lamp on the other side. Can you spy Abby crashing the shot in her sun-spot? At 15 years old, I think she’s earned the right to not be chased off a photo shoot.
If you’ve never seen this one before, I’m sure you’re not alone – it’s a super old picture! This is actually the same wall in the living room as the shot above, from when we first bought this house. I found this pair of vintage brass étagères on Craigslist and had a little fun styling them up as a swanky bar for their listing photos when I resold them.
Bobbette’s brass bed frame was a thrift store find. The clear, bright colors of the bedding and the artwork pair beautifully with the mirror-like brass and keep the brass feeling fresh and current.
My vintage brass canopy bed is one of my favorite finds of all time. It’s enormous and very in-your-face, and people either love it or hate it.
With something this big and shiny, I think it all comes down to how you style it. In the Craigslist posting picture, there were black sheer curtains hanging from top rails and, if I remember correctly, mauve was involved in the bedding. I was seriously second-guessing myself on the purchase the whole time!
Over the last several years, I’ve tried out various bedding combinations and wall colors and I’m really happy with this look I’ve settled on – keeping the bedding fairly simple lets the bed frame be the star, and I absolutely love the way the blush pink and brass play together!
I really didn’t think it was possible to put together an even longer and more involved post than the first in the series, A is for Art, but by George I think we did it!
I hope you enjoyed perusing all the eye candy from these insanely talented people I’m lucky enough to call friends! A huge thank you to everyone involved for allowing me to share your gorgeous work!
Which were your favorite instances of brass in decor, or can you even choose? I know I can’t!
Stay tuned for the next letter of our ABC’s of Gathering in two weeks!
While you’re waiting for round three, “C is for…”, would you consider pinning this post and sharing with your friends?