Cologne - One of the latest trends in home decoration - touches of gold - is subtle but very effective.

Whether in the form of a vase on a table, the foot of a lamp or a gold-coloured shelf, golden accessories need to be used sparingly.

The colour gold, of course, is very brash and that's the reason why it can only appear in small doses, in Ursula Geismann's opinion. Geismann is a trend scout at the Association of German Furniture Industries.

“Otherwise it can make things look over-done.”

Axel Venn, professor for colour coordination and trend scouting at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hildesheim, has similar advice. “Only use it in combination with other colour tones and never just gold on its own. It has a very powerful effect.”

Venn says gold with a dark wood and in combination with white is a good mixture.

At the International Furniture Fair, the IMM, in Cologne a few weeks ago, gold was practically omnipresent along with other precious metals.

At the “Interiors on Stage” stand, a small 72-centimetre-high gold sculpture called the Hopebird from artist Jaim Hayon was on display. The figure gazes into the future with its hand above its eyes shading them from the sun for good measure.

The designer says it symbolises an optimistic view on life.

Designer David Derksen, on the other hand, prefers copper and forms the metal into lampshades with multiple sides that reflect the light in different hues.

Furniture manufacturer Schoenbuch has brought out a shelf system by designer Ulf Moritz that comes in gold, silver and copper colours.

Legendary company Vitra is also turning golden and has brought out a re-edition of the 1950s Tripod Clock from designer George Nelson. The table clock is very popular with collectors and the new model has remained true to the design and form of the original.

Although gold should be kept to a minimum in a room, it should still say something about the person who lives there.

“It expresses a desire to avoid placing cheap plastic in the home. It's about showing something of value,” says Ursula Geismann.

But that stands in contrast to how gold, silver and copper were treated up until recently in European furnishing. They were frowned upon and associated with an unappealing baroque opulence.

But baroque has also made a comeback, according to Germany's Wallpaper Institute. Wall coverings in baroque style often have ornamental decoration incorporating metallic elements.

“These types of wallpaper can look heavy and over the top,” says Karsten Brandi from the Wallpaper Institute. “Copper is also becoming a trend along with gold.”

The good thing about gold is that it suits every room in the house and every style, says Geismann. “It can fit in anywhere in small doses.”

Gold is a great colour for matching to other tones in Axel Venn's opinion. “Silver shines an awful lot, gold is matt and beautiful.” Other shades of gold such as rose gold and copper tones were also in evidence at the IMM. - Sapa-dpa