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How to Decorate with Patina

A patina is a finish over a surface that develops over a period of time due to weather, stress and/or age. It is often used to refer to objects made of metal that develop a green film as a result of chemical reactions, as well as rust. However, the term can encompass any type of material, from metal to wood to leather.

What Is Patina?

While patina is defined as anything of a ‘weathered’ look and feel (rust, scratches, corrosion, etc.), it is most often used to refer to furniture and decor.

Because patina creates a worn effect, it has come to be synonymous with rusticity (which, unlike modernism, emphasizes a soft, lived-in ambiance.)

Tips for Decorating with Patina

Whether on a wood armchair, metal accent table or leather sofa, patina is the mark of history, age and character. It seeks to break down the barriers that can come from the unfamiliar, and instead gives you and your guests permission to feel at ease and right at home.
When incorporating a little bit of the magic that is patina into your home, remember: patina can be mixed-and-matched, and in fact, is one of the more fun ways to mix and match in interior design. Don’t be afraid to pair a wood patina coffee table with glossy glass or metal decor; the resulting contrast will only draw attention to the soft, cozy vibe that drew you to patina in the first place!

What Is the Difference Between Patina and Tarnish?

While the two are often confused for each other, the difference is simple. Patina is an umbrella term referring to types of surface aging; tarnish is one of the types that patina refers to.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.