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Home decor: Why silver never goes out of style


If you search any design and decor trends, one recommendation that always crops up is the need for some bling: shiny accents that balance with wood or contemporary furniture but give a touch of elegance.

Silver is always the go-to bling. Mirrored accents come and go, as does brass or any metallic finishing, but silver pieces remain a classic. And they are easy to find. Hunt for these treasures in any thrift store or antique market and you’ll find so much silver, you’ll wonder why people part with it. It has a classic patina that improves with age, it can look good highly polished to a gleaming finish, or left to tarnish for a burnt-type finish that is matte, dark and gorgeous.

Lori Caldwell has collected silver for decades and she still can’t resist a good find.

“I love the elegance of silver as well as the unique pieces you can find,” says the Vancouver resident. Caldwell has found numerous gems from tiny salt and pepper shakers, to pepper pots with little silver spoons, accented bowls with blue-glass inserts, candlesticks, tea services, and too many trays to count.

“For entertaining , silver looks good with everything, particularly white linen napkins,” she says. Caldwell frequently entertains up to a dozen guests and it took her years to find silver plates to use as chargers, the display plate placed underneath a series of different sizes of china.

But silver is not just for entering or setting a spectacular dining table. Silver ice buckets — which can be found for less than $30 each — can hold flowers, or rolled up towels and facecloths in the bathroom , or filled with tiny lights and branches or greenery. Silver trays and containers are so versatile, there is no end to how you can use them: Small silver dishes are terrific for jewelry and necklaces; silver trays can be stacked, or laid out on a table in odd-number groupings; or hung on walls for a mirrored effect unlike any other.

The only downside to this style is the upkeep. Silver needs to be polished frequently, but those who swear by its beauty regularly will set aside a day to do the deed. If not, silver will continue to blacken, making polishing a chore to remove all the tarnish. If you keep up the polishing regimen, you can often remove some of the discolouration with just a cloth alone.

This type of silver on items is a thin coating of silver over a base metal such as brass or copper. On the back of items it will usually state “ silver plated .” Finding true silver can be more challenging as the bulk of what you’ll find in thrift stores is silver plated. Not that there’s anything wrong with it — this still gives the classic look of silver. For real silver, the marking on the back will say 925 or sometimes 950 — then you know it’s not merely silver plated.

So if you’re not hung up on whether it’s silver or silver plate, you can have fun with decor accents that are relatively inexpensive, and have a terrific wow factor.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

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