Copper: A Natural Element In Decor

There are many beautiful natural elements, but copper with its rich reddish-orange color strikes me as a perfect element for fall.  It mixes well with the reds, yellows, golds and oranges of the fall season.

Copper is a pure metal found in nature.  It was the first metal used by humans circa 8,000 B.C.   It has been used in the making of weaponry and jewelry and vessels.  In relative recent times, copper is found in such common products as plumbing, roofing, electrical conductors, computers, and currency in the form of our humble penny.

In design, copper has many uses and is selected for its rich “coppery” color.  When paired with cool colors on the color wheel, copper is a beautiful accent.  It is often used in jewelry and paired with turquoise, a color to which copper naturally turns when exposed to the weather.   Some of the most beautiful architectural icons are marked with the rich patina of copper, including cathedrals and our own Statue of Liberty.

Copper as a design element, is more common than you may think.  I took a turn through my house and gathered all things copper, just to see what I had.  I knew I had a copper bowl that had belonged to my mother-in-law, a small cup like vessel that belonged to my dad, but I was surprised to find lots more items than I originally remembered. There were small things like earrings, a bit of copper wire wrapped around some beach glass, a beautiful vase my husband brought back from Turkey decades ago.  I also have several copper kettles.  Copper is such a good conductor of heat that it has been manufactured into cooking vessels.  My first set of pots and pans were copper bottomed and I loved keeping them gleaming—that is until toddlers came into my life.  I also found that I have copper vessels for plants.

It is no wonder that we have such a love of copper.  Besides its beauty and usefulness, it is actually an element in our bodies, and is essential to our overall good health.

There many uses of this beautiful metal.  In the engraving art, copper was used in print making.  Copperplate is the name of a specific handwriting style: Copperplate..  As a calligrapher, in my early days, I used this script with a split pen nib, in order to get the thick and thin stokes of the ancient style.  However, I always think of the beautiful color and how it fits into our everyday life. 

Accessories as Necessities

A Copper Classic

A Copper Classic

In decorating, form should always follow function, and it is a happy circumstance when form follows function and form is made beautiful. We achieved this goal with the addition of the new copper mail box that arrived Christmas morning. The house had an inefficient mail slot in the wall of the entry, and the slot probably served its purpose well enough in the 1930s, but with all the unwanted mail, catalogs and magazine subscriptions, not to mention the bills and cards still making it to our household, the slot in the wall was insufficient to say the least.

Sometime in the past, the slot in the wall was covered, and a flip-top mail box hung it its place, but it played havoc on the hands as the flip-top inevitably dropped on the hand of the person trying to retrieve the mail. Bruised and frustrated, we removed the offending mailbox, leaving, once again the slot in the wall—not very attractive and hardly serviceable since larger pieces of mail were dropped on the door step.

Once the house had been painted a a soft gray green, an old fashioned, copper rural box to be the prettiest solution. The next concern was whether the mail carrier would notice and use the new box; the answer came on its first day on the job—yes, indeed. The placement of the box saves the mail carrier, several steps up to the house and back again; the carrier had delivered the mail and was gone as quickly as Santa had delivered presents, like a wisp of smoke, he was gone.

I always like to embellish the exterior of a home as well as the interior; after all, its presentation should make a good first impression. Little by little, we are bringing the little house up to a higher standard. Now, I’m thinking that perhaps a bit of lettering above the arch might be in order to add to the charm of the little side yard, maybe to off set the ferocious barking of the big red dog who resides there.

Whatever style your home, there are attractive embellishments to add to its charm. Consider your first impression walking up to your front door. A freshly painted door, attractive bell or knocker, handsome door hardware, lighting and of course a mailbox if you have home delivery. If you have the space, a bench is always nice. Add some potted plants that will thrive in the kind of light your front door affords, and you will have an inviting entrance to welcome your family and guests.