Jenna Lyons's simple trick for giving your bathroom fixtures a "vintage" patina is a masterful take on quiet luxury

The Real Housewives of New York star loves an aged brass look. Here's how she created the effect with a simple trick

Jenna Lyons attends the amfAR New York Gala 2019 at Cipriani Wall Street on February 6, 2019 in New York City
(Image credit: Jared Siskin/amfAR / Contributor)

We can always rely on Jenna Lyons for some serious style inspiration, and any tour of her home she offers is no exception. From her ultra-organized walk-in closet to the elegant heron-shaped lamp in her home office, we were totally smitten with the sophisticated SoHo apartment. What really caught our eye, however, was a genius trick for aging bathroom hardware, and we figured it was too good not to share.

We wouldn't expect anything less than beautiful interior design from the Real Housewives of New York star, but her Manhattan loft really exceeds expectations. It's the unlacquered brass vanity legs that stole the show in her marble-clad bathroom. However, their gorgeous patina was all down to a special little trick that Jenna shared, and it's one we can all try ourselves. 

Keen to know more? Here's how it works. 

Jenna Lyons might be best known for her appearance on The Real Housewives of New York, or before that, for her role as president of J. Crew fashion brand, but in the design world, she's something of a trendsetter when it comes to decorating with brass, especially the unlacquered kind. 

It came as no surprise, then, when she showed viewers a glimpse of her beautiful brass-accented bathroom during a recent home tour with Vogue, with the 'object of affection' in focus being the elegant brass stand of her marble vanity. The antique-looking legs have a beautiful blue-green patina, but as Jenna reveals, this vintage effect was made post-purchase and is all down to a nifty little trick. The key? Saltwater. 

'Legs on a sink are really under exposed,' she says in the video. 'If you look at what's available on the market, everything looks the same. I do think it's an area that hasn't really been vetted in terms of design and has more "legs" - no pun intended,' she joked.  

And so, in her true fashion, Jenna decided to make her own mark on the furniture by spraying a salt solution on the metal. 'After [the base] was installed I took a spray bottle with salt water - literal salt water from the ocean - and sprayed it so it got this soft patina,' Jenna explains. The result is a wonderful aged effect which is all down to a natural corrosive process when the salt water interacts with the brass.

According to the style guru, this trick works with most metals, but is especially effective on unlacquered brass accents and unlacquered surfaces in general (since it allows the salt to penetrate the metal more easily). Simply spray on the solution and wait 24 hours for effects to show on the surface. It's worth noting, however, that it only works with sea salt due to the other trace minerals it contains. Epsom or table salt won't produce the same effects. 

We absolutely love the antique feel it brings to Jenna's luxurious bathroom, capturing some of the quiet luxury trend that Jenna does so well. Now you can replicate the look yourself with an infinitesimal cost! Before you do though (and as a little disclaimer), we'd highly suggest testing out the method before you commit to spritzing saltwater across all your bathroom fixtures. Jenna carried out a test run on an off-cut before she applied the solution all-over and we'd suggest doing the same, or at least trialing the trick on a small area out of plain sight. As long as it's successful, you'll have an easy way to make a bathroom look more expensive at next to no cost at all!

Get Jenna's aged brass look in your home

Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.