We treat fundamental resonance effects in hybridized metal–dielectric elements that may find applications in absorption, sensing, and displays. The hybrid structures support guided-mode resonance (GMR) and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) operating independently or in unison. Numerical simulations of periodic resonant films coated in gold that effectively combine principles of both resonance effects show viability of absorbers with equalized spectra and hybrid waveguides. The experimentally measured spectra show qualitative agreement with theoretical models. We introduce a hybrid GMR/SPR refractive-index sensor consisting of a thin aluminum film integrated with a subwavelength silicon-dioxide grating. The sensor operates between the Rayleigh wavelengths of the cover and the substrate. A GMR is excited by TE-polarized light and is subsequently attenuated by the Rayleigh anomaly as the cover index increases. In transverse-magnetic-polarized light, it operates as a Rayleigh sensor with sharp spectral features that would be easily monitored with a spectrum analyzer. As a final device example, we present simulation results pertaining to a one-dimensional color filter utilizing SPR, GMR, and the Rayleigh anomaly and convert it into a polarization insensitive two-dimensional device. With dual periods along orthogonal directions, two resonant peaks are induced within the visible spectrum for unpolarized input light rendering a color-mixing effect. The output color of the dual pixel is tunable with the input polarization state.