How to use metallic looks without salt corrosion or rusting Monday, April 20 2015

Decorating with Metals at the Beach

As we are a very bling-friendly design firm, our move to Manhattan Beach from Brentwood (both in Los Angeles) has afforded us the opportunity (mandatory) crash course in the deleterious effects of the wonderful salt air in proximity to the ocean.   

We love to make spaces like this:


And we’re finding it challenging with our new clients “on the sand”.

 Fortunately…we adore a challenge!

We shall share with you what we’ve learned so far:

A.  Your metal chandeliers and lamps will corrode due to the salty moisture in the air.  Most people in the world can buy a chrome cocktail table and corresponding lamp without thinking twice.  This is what happens to yours.




Yeah....super sadface.

B)  All those adorable nailhead trims we’re seeing will corrode.  They will discolor your sofa fabric and you’ll be needing to buy a new sofa or dining chairs within a couple of years.

Totally gorgeous, but not smart if you're on the sand.  These are true luxury problems friends.

So….if you are lucky enough to live within a half mile of the ocean, take note.  This blog’s for you.


  1. No chrome, but polished stainless steel is A-OK!  Stainless steel is extremely durable against water and salt and pollution.  That’s why it’s used in sinks and appliances.  Duh,  right?


So , before you buy any furniture, ensure it’s not chromed metal (which will rust and discolor).  Another solid option for the brightness of silver, is aluminum.  Aluminum is a light weight, outdoor and indoor appropriate, way to bring in some bling.  It’s not as bright as polished stainless steel (which can take on a brilliant almost mirror finish).  It’s more matte.  And being able to take it outside for entertaining or patio brightening gives it huge points.  

I’ve had this gem of a stool on my patio for 2 years now.  Still looks brand new.  4 blocks from beach.  Bam!

    2.  Keep the bling purchases to the trendier pieces.  When keeping decor fresh, it’s fun to mix in one or two very “right now” pieces.  I recommend to keep those pieces in the lower budget range (not heirloom pricing, i.e.).  That way, when the trend is over, a new lamp, mirror, or pillows is easy to update.  That being said…..coastal home owners can make their lower budget trendy pieces gold, silver, copper, rose gold (!) etc. plated that they can bet won’t keep it’s luster longer than a couple of years.  That’s not feasible for a whole home for most people, so choose a couple of metal pieces you LOVE right now but might not in a couple of years that won’t break the bank.  

This gorge light fixture is less than $300 for example.

3)  I’ve just discovered a new product called ProtectaClear from Everbrite.  It claims to protect metals from rusting at the beach.  I might buy stock in this company if it works.  I’ve bought a tester kit and will update you on it’s efficacy.    Apparently, you just brush it over the exposed metal parts that would normally be victim to rusting, tarnishing, turning in color in any way.  The liquid doesn’t change the brilliance of the metal as it exists.  But seals it to prevent any further damage.  Again…reportedly.  By online reviews.  This could be a major game changer to my beach bunny clients!  Fingers crossed.

4)  Consider bling alternatives.  Antique mirror or beveled mirror are great options to bring brightness usually achieved with metals.  I’m presently experimenting with some great alternative finishes on mirror….like antique mirror, but with silver paint in the glass to bring a metallic look.   

No rust!  No fuss!

Also, I’ve covered wood tables in silver leaf to bring the bling beachside..with great success.  

 Crystals of varying shapes (consider rectangular, not pear for more masculine tastes) can also bring the brightness without tarnishing.

So you don’t have to sacrifice modern metal glamour just because you’re fabulous enough to live at the beach.  

We’ve got you covered.


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