There’s no escaping copper. Go into any trendy bar or hotel and you’re bound to spot it, whether it’s a statement freestanding tub, vintage lamp or kitchen splashback.
But few know about the medical benefits of the metal which has, in fact, been used for millennia. The Egyptians used copper to sterilise their wounds and keep drinking water fresh, while Ancient Aztecs gargled water mixed with copper to fight sore throats.
And now it has a new relevance: it can kill coronavirus. Research by Southampton University has found that while the virus can last for 72 hours on plastic or stainless steel, it is destroyed within hours — sometimes minutes — on copper surfaces.
Hot property: A copper worktop in a Treyone kitchen makes the area stand out
So, whether you’re after new fixtures and fittings or a showstopping bath tub, here’s how to incorporate copper in your home.
Beaten, distressed, mirrored or polished — copper can be finished in a variety of ways.
Charlie Smallbone, founder of Ledbury Studio, which creates bespoke kitchens, regularly uses copper in his designs.
‘I have found that incorporating metals like copper, and researching the different finish possibilities that each has, really does bring a unique star quality to a kitchen.’
Copper is surprisingly practical for a kitchen splashback as it withstands heat and oil.
The smooth, reflective qualities of a polished copper finish, such as Etsy’s Copper Kitchen Satin Splashback (£329, 60cm x 75cm, etsy. com)’, will introdude warmth to an all-white, contemporary kitchen.
For a more traditional country kitchen, go for a dull, hammered or burnished finish which will add to the rustic look. Worktop Express’ Rouille Zenith Splashback has a mottled, worn effect with varying copper tones (£140 for 3000mm x 600mm, worktop-express.co.uk).
Considering worktops are one of the most bacteria-prone surfaces in the home, opting for a copper surface is a wise move.
Inzinctive Interiors was set up by copper roofer Alex Bell after discovering that, as well as being a superior roofing material, copper is fantastic for crafting into beautiful but practical worktops.For quotes go to inzinctive.com. When it comes to pots and pans, copper is hugely popular with chefs because it heats quickly and evenly.
At the top end, Harrods stocks Italy’s Ruffoni range of copper pans, including lidded stockpots from £345 (harrods. com). More affordably, Debenhams has a sale on Jasper Conran’s copper collection from £27.50 (debenhams.com).
Kitchen and bathroom sinks are among the most frequently used items in the home, so a copper sink can play a role in maintaining a sanitary environment.
Copperfield Baths have a range of chic freestanding sinks from £350 (copperfieldbaths.co.uk). A more affordable option is The Super Bath’s Rose Gold Stainless Steel MOGRO countertop basin which has been reduced from £487.76 to £157 (superbath.co.uk).
Splashing out: The ultimate in copper interiors is the free-standing bath tub – pictured is Victorian Plumbing’s Trafalgar Copper Bath Tub
But the ultimate in copper interiors is the free-standing bath tub.
Though expensive (most start from about £2,000), copper tubs can totally transform a space, and act as the perfect centrepiece.
Even the Duke and Duchess of Sussex splashed out on one, opting for a top-of-the-range £5,000 William Holland freestanding copper tub last year for their bathroom at Frogmore Cottage.
For a more reasonably priced option, you could try Victorian Plumbing’s Trafalgar Copper Bath Tub (£1,999.95, victorianplumbing.co.uk).
Copper comes into its own when used with lighting. In the early 2000s, British designer Tom Dixon became one of the first to produce copper statement light with his Void and Copper Shade lamps (available at nest.co.uk, from £215).
Appliance makers have followed suit. Smeg has a copper two-slice copper toaster (£180, smeg.com), while Dualit has a chic stainless steel kettle with a copper strip (£145) and copper hotpot soup kettle (£288, dualit.com).
For those looking for an immediate and affordable germ fix, it’s easy to install copper hardware on touchpoints such as handles, light switches and drawer pulls. Etsy has a huge range of affordable copper, brass and bronze door handles, to help keep those high-traffic areas germ free (etsy.com).