It's not the flashy brass of the 1980s. The current brass is softer, duller, and warmer. Here are 5 ways to use it in your home.

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Southern Living Idea House 2017 Powder Room
Credit: Laurey W. Glenn

Select the Right Finish

Glossy, brassy finishes can be blinding. You don't want your doorknobs to look like something from Liberace's jewelry box. To avoid the gaudy look, shop for antiqued-brass, or unlacquered brass finishes. "Unlacquered" translates to raw brass, which is brass that has not been sealed with a shiny sealant. (Note: When you are shopping for new brass hardware, unlacquered and polished brass look similar because the unlacquered brass has not had time to patina.) There is a lot of debate about how to clean unlacquered brass. Some say to skip cleaning all together and let it tarnish gracefully. Others say that a good dose of Brasso does the trick. Brass is a soft metal so use a soft cloth or brush to prevent scratches.

Start Small

If you're leery of the brass trend, shop for a small brass object to place on a side table or coffee table. Shop for vintage or consigned brass objects that don't cost much but will have a warm patina to them. A little brass décor piece on a side table or a brass finial on a lamp adds charm to a room.

Pair It with Anything

One of the upsides to brass, is that it goes with all color tones. It complements the serious tones of a deep navy or eggplant and adds gravitas to lighthearted corals and greens. If you want to give your pastel toned living room an update, try a handsome brass floor lamp in the corner.

Mix Metals

Just as brass goes with all colors, it's also a team player with other metal finishes. You can definitely install brass cabinet hardware in a kitchen with stainless steel appliances and nickel sink fixtures. If you're hesitant, take a cue from one of our favorite brass light fixtures, the Hicks pendant that combines bronze and brass timelessly and stylishly.

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Swap Out Your Hardware

The quickest and easiest way to work brass into your home is to swap out your door or cabinet hardware for brass handles. Our favorite (and affordable) brass hardware comes from Fusion Hardware (available for purchase through Brandino Brass). Each piece is solid brass and looks much more expensive than it really is. A front handle set costs about $200. For brass cabinet hardware, you cannot go wrong with anything from House of Antique Hardware.