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  • Writer's pictureNathan

How the Navy and Brass Trend Took Over

Kitchen in San Francisco, photographed for Domino. Nicole Franzen/Domino

You may have noticed the trend of navy and brass that has been sweeping the industry, but what is it all about? As an interior designer in London, we’ve created a small guide to explain it to you, so you can be in the loop on the latest trends.

This trend Is the combination of rich blue hues with warm brass accents. Although the blue variable, it is often navy, but turquoise jewel tones are being popular.

You can see this intriguing combination everywhere in the interior design world, from kitchens to livings rooms and public places like restaurants and hotel lobbies. It can be anything from just a single item like a bed from Anthropolgie that is upholstered in a deep marine velvet with brass feet. Or even moody blue cabinets with gleaming brass handles or even in the form of a navy wall with brass lettering.

Then, it could also be just about proximity. For example, the lobby of the Line Hotel in Washington DC, a converted church with spectacularly high ceilings where inky velvet blue couches sit beneath a brass chandelier sculpted from the church’s organ pipes. The NoMad LA, is owned by the same group that owns the Line Hotel and they have dressed the hotel rooms in navy paint and brass fixtures and fittings. Additionally, on West Elm’s website they have a navy sectional couch styled next to a low coffee table that bares an attractively uneven brass plate.

The attractive combination of brass and navy is a convergence of two separate design trends that are very similar in origin. The crash of the housing market in 2008 resulted in lots of all-white interiors, especially when it came to kitchen and bathroom styling. This is because a house that is a blank canvas is much easier for an estate agent to sell than one that is heavily stylised and allows for the new homeowners to decorate however they want.

During this economic crisis, minimalism boomed throughout the interior design world. There was a whole generation of post-recession startups that built their brands around sans serif logos, clean lines and stripped-down colour palettes, which were all intended to calm shaken customers. As the economy began to recover, so did the appetite of homeowners for bold colour choices and pizzazz.

Pale pink rose from its minimalist roots and quickly spread across products and services targeted at millennials, including Glossier, an incredibly popular beauty brand. Then, jewel tones began to offer a much more sophisticated alternative to pink and some visual respite from the insistent youthfulness of the colour.

Navy and brass takes front and center at the Front Room, a Chicago bar. Kyle Flubacker/The Front Room

Similarly to pale pink, navy is an essential neutral colour and a natural choice for any visual language that is steeped in minimalism. It manages to make a statement without causing a massive stir, in a sense it is unassailable.

From around 2014, brass has dominated the interior design industry just when we were reaching saturation point for stainless steel and chrome. However, it represents a rebellion against minimalism as it is reminiscent of Hollywood Regency era décor and styling from the ‘70s and ‘80s. While brass accents used to be buffed so much that you could see yourself in it, today, we see a quieter matte treatment for brass.

We believe the navy and brass combination could become saturated and give way to whatever the next aesthetic trend to hit interior design will be, but for those who have already invested in it probably don’t have too much to worry about. It’s too early to tell if it will have any staying power but it is a very classic combination, so it won’t ever feel dated,

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