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Are we ready to welcome chrome back to interior design?

Chrome has come and gone in the world of interiors. But is it about to make another comeback?

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By Edwain Steenkamp | April 25, 2023 | Design

For the last couple of years, we’ve enjoyed the revival of pale palettes and earthy tones. While there is little doubt that the trend of paired back neutrals will unlikely disappear any time soon, one thing is for sure: something shiny approaches. And with chrome being as bold and audacious as it is, that might not be a bad thing at all.

But exactly what is chrome?

Chrome refers to plating and is typically rather shiny, lustrous, and hard. But there are also brushed variations, meaning that it can be matte or even textured. As a hardworking finish it has arguably been put to rather humble tasks in the past (it’s most often seen on taps, handles and other kitchen and bathroom hardware), but it has enjoyed influence in interior design in the past, particularly in the 50s and later with Post-modern design. As such, in one way or another, it’s already a staple in just about every home.

Even as a highly polished and reflective surface, chrome works well with any textile or colour. Image: by Fleur Kaan

Chrome in design

But over the last year or so, there’s been frequent whisperings of chrome’s marvellous return to interior design. Many major design houses have already shown bold chromes and various metals (&Tradition, Gubi, Carl Hansen & Søn, and Gucci Home, to name a few). Many more experts pointing at these appearances as the sign that we’re likely to see chrome become increasingly popular.

While this metal finish might be humble, don’t be fooled, it makes for a fantastic material in design. Polished, it catches light and the colours of its surroundings, while brushed it makes for a quiet instrument of design harmony. As such, this affords it a unique and curious ability: it’s at once striking and muted. Impressed? We certainly are.

As the focal point in a room, chrome can bring life to the space, lifting the atmosphere with its eye-catching finish. Image: by Cielo

How to decorate with chrome

Rather than abandon the creamy neutrals we’ve all come to love, enhance them with the introduction of chrome pieces. Start with something small: a table lamp, door handles, or glass table with chrome legs. For the cautious decorator, opt for a chrome vessel or bowl. These are easy to move around, so you can play around until it feels just right. And there, right before your eyes, you’ve brought chrome into your home.

Worried that chrome might be too much for your interior? Think again! Its highly versatile and blends almost seamlessly in any space. Image: by Muuto