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What is Antique Brass?

By J. Beam
Updated May 16, 2024
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Antique brass is a term used to describe a finish that may appear on any metal item, most often a decorative household item. Brass is actually an alloy, or combination, of metals. Solid brass is 67% copper and 33% zinc. The natural finish of polished brass is shiny. When this metal has an antique finish, however, it appears worn with time, is darker than natural brass, and absorbs more light than it reflects.

New products can have an antique brass finish applied to them to make them appear aged. It is a popular finish for door hardware, lamps, and light fixtures, because many homeowners prefer it to polished brass in their decor, especially if they are trying to avoid a modern look.

An item does not have to be made of solid brass for it to have the antique look. In fact, many newly manufactured items with these finishes are not made of solid brass. Similarly, there are many specialty paints on the market that can be used to achieve a faux antique brass finish on nearly any metal item. A homeowner can easily give a light fixture or door hardware the look of brass with a spray-on specialty paint. It is not recommended that faux-finish paint be used on an item that is handled frequently or exposed to water.

One of the best things about antique brass from a decorating prospective is that is much easier to mix and match items with other finishes and styles. Carefully chosen pieces will blend in with a room of almost any style or color scheme. Consumers can purchase new items such as kitchen and bathroom faucets, cabinet hinges and door hardware, light fixtures, lamp bases, candle holders, picture frames, and more in this finish. This makes it easy to coordinate a room or match an heirloom that truly is made of the antique metal.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By picture — On Oct 02, 2013

Antique brass lamps are not really antiques. They can be state of the art, modern lamps housed in brass finished with a finishing process that produces a certain patina known as antique brass.

By mafiawar — On May 12, 2009

What color kitchen appliances would work best with antique brass hardware? I know that stainless steel is in right now. Suggestions?

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