Is Copper the New Black?

Just like everything else in home design, metal finish trends come and go, from 1970s chrome to bright brass in the ‘80s and '90s, then a complete switch up with oil rubbed bronze in the early 2000s.

Thanks to a plethora of gold leaf, rose gold, and even unlacquered brass at last spring’s High Point Market, ‘warm metals’ have clearly worked their way back to the forefront for trendsetters.

Being more of a classicist, I’m delighted to ground this trend with timeless design style using one of my favorites – copper.

One of the things I love most about copper is that, when polished to perfection, it hardly even needs a light source in order to give off a warm, pleasing glow. I also love that depending on the form it takes, it can come across as either the height of glamour, or an almost folksy, comforting element.

And of course, copper’s visual warmth makes it the perfect addition to cozy up any home this autumn and winter.

Copper is widely believed to be one of the earliest metals used by humans.

Some of the earliest examples we have of man’s use of copper are in the form of cooking pots (the oldest as of yet was found in the Middle East and dates back to 9,000 B.C) revealing that copper likely made its debut in the home by way of the kitchen.

Roman Cooking Pot via  BBC

Roman Cooking Pot via BBC

Even in small amounts, verdigris (the bluish-green patina that develops on unpolished copper) is extremely toxic; and although we do need small amounts of copper in our diets (which most of us get from foods such as lentils, shellfish, and even chocolate – as if we need another reason to indulge!) ingesting too much is also toxic, making copper’s direct contact with food inadvisable.

For that reason, people eventually began having their copper cookware coated inside with other metals, primarily tin. We actually get the word ‘tinker’ from the name given to tradesmen who went door-to-door re-tinning pots and pans for household cooks!

Of course, copper is still a hugely popular choice for cookware today. Its ability to conduct heat evenly and precisely make it hard for a novice cook to burn their creations and easy for the most lauded of professional chefs to whip up delicate concoctions. 

In my kitchen, I prefer vintage copper.  There's just something about the patina that an old copper pot has that speaks to me.  Check out some of these beauties.

No doubt copper's staying power as a kitchen staple is due to how beautiful it looks hanging from the walls or ceiling. 

And there is absolutely no way I could talk about copper cookware without featuring Julia Child's kitchen!

But copper isn’t just for cookware. I can’t get enough of gorgeous copper range hoods.

Copper stoves, sinks and plumbing fixtures are popping up everywhere, as well!  Don't be afraid to mix copper with other metals. I actually find it much more appealing that way.

Fortunately, copper’s many merits have allowed it to take on just about every form imaginable as it’s migrated from the kitchen into every room of the house, even outdoors.

Lots of fun lighting options using copper.

Wallpaper, throw pillows, bedding, and accessories with a little copper flair are stunning too.

I’m saying, “Yes, please!” to all of the above! How will you add the warmth of copper to your home this fall?

Liza JonesComment