Glamorous, warm and bang on trend, gold is the ideal accent shade for a living space, whether trad or contemporary
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Redesigning, redecorating or just adding a touch of glamour to your living room? Gold – in accessories, wallpaper, flooring and even lighting – is the must-have metallic. Here’s how – and where – to use it to create a finish that’s subtly stylish.
It makes walls gleam
Why use gold – or any metallic – on a wall? It reflects and catches the light, which makes it perfect for a light-starved space. It can even make a small room feel larger. You needn’t commit to putting it on an entire wall – finding a painting flecked with gold or simply framing a length of gold wallpaper or wrapping paper can create a massive impact.
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It’s perfect for boho rooms
Gold really lends itself to an eclectic vintage look. How to keep it on the right side of tasteful in an otherwise busy scheme? The answer is to use just a few pieces, such as a small, ornate frame or a lamp stand, perhaps a statuette or a candlestick or two. These details will lift the scheme instantly, without overpowering it.
Browse black and gold accessories in the Houzz shop
It can be subtle and modern
Gold chandeliers needn’t be ornate – although these work brilliantly in traditional or vintage-style spaces. Contemporary or midcentury modern chandeliers like this one are perfect for a more minimalist scheme – and the touch of gold on the fitting adds just a hint of glamour, highlighted by the gold cushions and vase below.
It works in small doses
Unless you’re going for full-on, Trumpian opulence, gold usually works best in small, subtle doses. So, if you’ve hung pictures with gold in them, add just a couple more dashes of gold to give the scheme unity – but stop there. Gold is a good choice for the interior of a lamp, like this one, too. It’s a nice surprise unlit, but at night will help make this otherwise white room glow.
It’s not as showy as you think
However, there are some situations in which a larger dose can look fabulous, for example the sofas here. For an on-trend look, search for an aged, antiqued or warm yellow gold that’s dull or matt in finish. Anything too bright, shiny or brassy will be hard to comfortably match with jewel tones, seen here. What about mixing and matching gold with other metallics, such as silver, copper, bronze or brass? Avoid it – but if you do, make one metal the dominant one and the others mere accents.
It contrasts with dark colours
Gold-coloured fabrics or accessories are also the perfect partner for warming up on-trend, deep and dramatic colour schemes, which are predominantly black, dark blue, chocolate brown and deep aubergine. If you want your gold-tinged scheme to look its best, keep the colour scheming around it simple, with the dark background shade complemented by just one other accent – green and turquoise both work beautifully.
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It enlivens a plain room
Contemporary black-and-white schemes are so easy to live with and update, but they can lack warmth and depth. So why not solve that issue by making a piece of furniture in a striking gold tone a focal point? Yes, it’s another exception to the ‘small doses’ rule, but covering a sofa or armchair with a gold upholstery fabric will instantly lift a pared-back scheme – pick velvet or chenille, which will glint and glow, adding to the feeling of luxury.
It works like artificial light
Just as you might put concealed lighting into a shelving unit to show off your favourite finds, using gold paint will have a similar effect – during the day. Aim for a yellow-gold for a contemporary scheme or a gold-leaf style wallpaper for a more trad appeal. Just ensure the gold-leaf doesn’t look brown against your wall, which it might if there’s little natural daylight.
It makes a great focal point
Hanging a gold-framed mirror over a mantelpiece is a classic way to add opulence to a room – but you need to allow it to be the focus of the scheme rather than have it fight for attention, or its effect will be lost. That means adding a scattering of gold here and there in the room, and keeping everything else understated.
It can be an easy instant fix
If you went for an all-grey living room but have a creeping feeling that the resulting scheme is a little cold and impersonal for a living space, simply adding a splash of gold can be a wonderful rescue remedy. The quickest fix? To add gold to one large surface – which means the walls or, even easier, the floor, as this gold-tinged rug shows.
How have you used gold – or other metallics – in your home? Share photos and tips in the Comments section.