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We all appreciate well-built kitchen cabinets and sleek appliances — especially as we spend more time at home and cooking our own meals. But these days, fun kitchen designs aren’t about those two ingredients. If a classic white kitchen is comparable to the “little black dress” in fashion, then bring on the accessories, because that’s what elevates an otherwise plain ensemble.

Atlanta kitchen and bath designer Matthew Quinn opened the Matthew Quinn Collection in 2008 because he couldn’t find cabinetry hardware that fit his design visions. Today the company has hundreds of cabinet handles, drawer pulls, towel holders and more, in materials ranging from leather, acrylic, hammered metals and many other mediums — little pieces of art for the home.

What trends are big right now? Brass is on-trend, says Margaret Demetree, showroom manager for Matthew Quinn Collection, including unlacquered brass (with a finish that ages over time), satin brass, antique brass and two-tone brass combinations. “Mixing those warm, gorgeous hardware tones in with any appliance, faucet and light fixture finish brings new life to each space where it’s used,” says Margaret.

Matthew Quinn Collection’s Atlanta showroom is a jewel box, showing the beauty and variety of hardware for kitchens, bathrooms and more. Image: Matthew Quinn Collection

Kitchen hardware examples

Glamorous hardware at the Matthew Quinn Collection showroom is not only used in kitchens but other areas of the house, too. “We’re able to help our clients dive out of their comfort zone once they see the variety of hardware we have to offer in our showroom, and they’re able to touch, feel and hold our product up to their cabinets,” says showroom manager Margaret Demetree. Image: Matthew Quinn Collection

Metal hardware pulls

Close-ups of these metal hardware pulls show the creativity within the hardware field these days. Image: Matthew Quinn Collection

“We’re also seeing a desire for textures in hardware (coined detail, beading, hammering and other treatments) to add dimension and depth to each piece,” Margaret adds. “And there’s a trend for long, sleek hardware in darker finishes such as matte black, oil-rubbed bronze and other bronze material finishes for clients who want a more modern look.”

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For her clients in Louisiana and beyond, Baton Rouge designer Rachel Cannon has a variety of tactics for jazzing up a neutral project. “With our clients who like an all-white kitchen but want to personalize it, we love to include color on window treatments, counter stools, artwork and accessories,” she says. For homeowners who are a little braver, we love to use wallpaper — a grass-cloth adds not only color but texture as well.”

Kitchen sink with blue cabinets

Brass hardware pairs beautifully with this light-blue cabinetry featured in a former Southeastern Designer Showhouse designed by Design Galleria and Lauren Deloach. Image: Matthew Quinn Collection

Blue cabinets with gold accents as kitchen accessories

“A beautiful accessory easily integrated into a kitchen is the use of decorative grilles on select cabinets,” says Margaret. “Having this gorgeous mesh on a few or several of your cabinets is a stunning statement to your kitchen without being too overpowering.” Image: Rustic White Photography

Kitchen accessories designed by Rachel Cannon

This kitchen design by Rachel Cannon began with white cabinetry, but accessories make it memorable. Barstools from Charles Stewart covered in a Kelly Wearstler fabric play on the homeowner’s love of blue — further accented with the sapphire blue hexagon backsplash tiles and oriental rug runner. Image: Jessie Preza

For a recent loft project, Atlanta designer Kit Castaldo selected a black-and-white theme, choosing few — but striking — accessories to give the space a sophisticated look. She chose the “Alice Sconce” by Visual Comfort as a minimalist light fixture that brings in a circular motif to complement the straight surfaces. For hardware, she went with satin-nickel pulls rather than knobs. “We wanted to keep the sleek-modern feel and only use long pulls to reinforce the linear lines of the overall design,” she says.

With most design subjects, rules are made to be broken — as long as they’re done thoughtfully. The days of an all-chrome or all-bronze kitchen where hardware, faucets and even light fixtures are all in the same tone are gone. “I’m all for mixing metals,” says Rachel Cannon. “There’s no rule that says everything must all be the same finish or color. If clients want it to feel cohesive, I don’t like it all to be matchy-matchy, but I might do a faucet in aged brass, cabinet hardware in un-lacquered brass and light fixtures in gilt or gold leaf.”

Marble kitchen countertops with black cabinets

By going with a black-and-white kitchen, designer Kit Castaldo kept the focus on a sculptural sconce and custom range hood, as well as the honed marble countertops. “We wanted to use black and white to be modern and strong, yet clean and classic,” says the designer, who used Benjamin-Moore black for the cabinets. Image: Heidi Harris

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All-white bathroom with tub and gold details

Although this isn’t a kitchen space, mixing metals is a versatile trend. This stunning bathroom from Design Galleria stands out because it combines metals used on hardware, faucets, light fixtures and mirrors, creating an artistic use of sheen against the white-and-gray background. Image: Rustic White Photography

Bathroom room with brass details

Brass accents in the bathroom mirror pick up brass tones in the adjacent sconces. Image: Rustic White Photography

Whatever your design taste, there are undoubtedly the perfect accessories to complete the space. Here’s to a stylish, well-accessorized kitchen!