All About Metals In The Home – Finishes

All About Metals In The Home – Finishes

Part two: Metal finishes

In part one we looked at the different groupings of metals and their uses; for a refresher, click here. In part two, we’re going to take a look at the different finishes that can be applied to metals, the effect the have, and the ways in which they are produced. As an added extra, we will be looking at a few of these effects on our favourite metal-based furniture.

Satin and Brushed

A satin finish can be confused quite easily with a brushed finish. One way to distinguish the two is to look for a shine: satin is often polished and produces a pleasant, shiny effect. In contrast, brushed metal often appears dull and has a matte appearance. To achieve a satin effect, the metal is brushed against an abrasive material which creates the satin effect. This differs from brushed metal, which is brushed using a metal brush. Catellani & Smith’s Sweet Light Chandelier, which features up to 10 suspension lights, has a base in satin metal and it really complements the contemporary design of this chandelier. Amura’s Fripp Sofa features a brushed metal frame. The dullness of the metal suggests that the Fripp sofa is structurally sound and does so without detracting from the beauty of the upholstery.


Polished metal is a finish designed to create a mirror-like surface. It can be considered one of the more elegant metal finishes. To create a polished finish, the metal is buffered to remove all scratches and abrasions from the metal’s surface. The more buffering that occurs, the more polished the metal becomes. Therefore, it is possible to control the brightness level of the metal and can be buffered until the desired result is achieved.  The polished metal finish is commonly used for modern and minimalistic furnishings. Driade’s ED Chair, which features dress-like leathered upholstery, is supported by a single polished metal leg. The stark contrast between the upholstery and support adds to the powerful, provocative design of the ED chair. No other metal finish would be able to effectively reproduce the effect that Driade were aiming to create.


One of the more unique finishes is the hammered finish, which appears to have been pummelled with a small hammer. A hammer is punched into the metal multiple times and can create any design. Patterns or images can be hammered into the metal to create unique pieces for the home. This effect is typically found on accessories and other decorative furnishings. Baobab’s Electrum Mykerinos Dark Scented Candle features a holder with an embossed metal pattern. The tactile nature of the holder, as well as the style, contribute towards the desirable industrial chic aesthetic that Baobab were aiming to create with Electrum.


In contrast to the spotless and modern finish of polished metal, antiqued metal is designed to look weathered and well-worn. This finish evokes a sense of timeless luxury as a result of its tonally dark appearance. Each piece of antiqued metal appears to tell a story; the blemishes that cover its surface are supposed to be contextually rich. The antiqued effect can be achieved in two ways: naturally or purposefully. Those who intentionally create an antiqued metal do so via the careful application of oxidising chemicals. Reflex’s Neolitico 72 Dining table features a 15 mm glass top supported by an antiqued iron base. Further, a choice between Corten and graphite is available, thus further diversifying your choices.

That wraps up part two! In the third and final part, we will take a look at how different metals can be used within the home.

Products listed:

Catellani & Smith’s Sweet Light Chandelier:

Amura’s Fripp Sofa:

Driade’s ED Chair:

Baobab’s Electrum Mykerinos Dark Scented Candle:

Reflex’s Neolitico 72 Dining table:


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