From its warm, inviting hues to its antimicrobial properties, copper is one of the most sophisticated metals used in homes today. Its long been a popular choice for sinks, tubs, accents and a number of other bathroom elements.
To learn how today’s homeowners and designers are making the most of copper, here are 10 ideas of how to use the brilliant metal in any bathroom.
Brighten Up Vintage Copper
If a bathroom already has copper elements, a little elbow grease may help homeowners preserve and maintain them. For copper that needs an update, Porch.com Editor in Chief Anne Reagan suggests polishing it with salt and lemon. The lemon will brighten while the salt gently scrubs away buildup to reveal shine and sparkle. A copper colored spray paint can also be used to spruce up dull copper surfaces.
If mineral deposits are keeping the copper dull, digital marketer Thomas Mulrooney suggests waxing the surface of a copper bath or sink after cleaning it. This will protect the surface of the bath from being exposed to the minerals in your water, which will prevent scratches and help it maintain its color.
Add a Touch of Grey
Copper works well with most colors, but which ones make it truly pop? Online homewares boutique Mia Fleur suggests pairing copper with blush pink and soft greys. Balancing a gentle pink with a neutral grey creates a relaxing atmosphere that compliments copper without overpowering it.
Aside from painting walls and cabinetry in soft grey, marble elements can also be used to compliment copper with a fresh, sophisticated feel. Anna Lysik of Don’t Cramp My Style suggests pairing a copper sink or tub with marble tiles. While it can be pricey to outfit an entire bathroom in marble, adding it to small areas for a tub or sink backsplash can be more affordable while still making a dramatic effect. The white, elegant appeal of marble helps copper stand out, especially when tiles are arranged in a hexagonal pattern.
Balance with Jewel Tones
Cool colors also work well for complementing copper. Interior and textile designer Elle Gibson of Splendid Habitat explains that copper balances the brilliance and shine of jewel tones like silver, blue and emerald. This works especially well for homeowners seeking an exotic or spa-like look, or for those updating a vacation rental home.
To use jewel tones in a bathroom, editor Leslie Clagett suggests adding decorative tiles and rugs. She explains how color, light and materials all play a role in creating a bathroom’s overall mood, and decor elements can add the perfect contrast.
Layer with Black Elements
Black isn’t the first choice for bathroom designs, but pairing black and white can make a statement. New England Living suggests putting black and white into bold patterns like heavy stripes and color blocks. These designs can be combined with copper and other metallic elements to achieve a warm and inviting space.
DIY Copper Elements
The popularity of copper coincides with another popular trend: DIY bathroom accessories. The result? Tons of DIY tutorials on how to make functional, fashionable copper bathroom decor. Blogger Hey Lila Hey offers a step-by-step tutorial on how to make a copper pipe shelf for over a toilet or tub. The project uses copper plumbing pipes, wood, glue, paint and a handful of other basic materials to assemble.
Mountain Modern Life offers another DIY project which can help spruce up a basic dresser. The nature-inspired lifestyle blogger adds copper pipe drawer pulls to a thrifted dresser, which can be used as a bathroom vanity or towel storage. Painting the dresser navy blue helps the copper pop while providing a nautical feel perfect for many bathrooms.
Let the Light Shine
Another popular way to incorporate copper into the bathroom is to add it to a light fixture. Turkish Towel Company Loombrand says that copper light fixtures can imbue a bathroom with a warm, pinkish light that shines with classic elegance. Light fixtures can be hung from the ceiling for a dramatic effect, or they can be added on top of vanities in groups of two or three.
Jazz up Grout
Those in search of an edgier, more innovative way to incorporate copper into the bathroom can look to design blogger Sarah Akwisombe. She explains that copper leaf can be used to fill in cracks and chips in old tile. It can also be added to brand new grout in a fresh tile project on the floors or wall of a bathroom.
Another growing grout trend is glitter grout. Country Living editor Jessica Mattern says that glitter grout comes in a variety of colors and is best used in small amounts. Adding glitter to existing grout can pair well with smaller copper elements and further attract the eye towards classy, shiny elements.
Cover Your Walls
If adding copper, sparkle and shine to grout can add a touch of class to any bathroom, take it a step further with copper tiles on the walls. OakFurnitureUS says that there are many different textures of copper tiles to choose from, including mosaic copper, perfect for those seeking an eclectic look.
Make it the Centerpiece
A popular, yet timeless way to incorporate copper into a bathroom is to make it the centerpiece of the room. Real estate writer Tara Mastroeni suggests making copper the focal point of the space by acquiring a large copper soaking tub. Since light has a tendency to reflect off of copper and catch one’s eye, a large tub comprised of copper will surely stand out in a bathroom.
Create Your Own Vanity
When it’s not possible to get a copper tub, a copper sink or vanity might be the perfect metallic touch. Firenza Stone says that copper’s orange and pink tones compliment almost any color scheme, creating a wealth of opportunities for decorating. Copper sinks come in all styles and types, including drop-in sinks, basin sinks and pedestals. Drop-in copper sinks are especially versatile and can be installed in a vintage dresser or other platform for a customized piece.
Images by: DWilliams, Constance Hoppe, Dean Moriarty