One of the things that interests me, and I believe will interest all of you, is that rooms that are unmatched have so much more personality.
They also look like they have evolved and didn’t come in a box. And what does unmatched mean. You’ll see below.
I realize this may not appeal to a lot of people, but it does to me and I just want to share some ideas with you.
In reality, furniture retailers discovered many years ago that most shoppers didn’t have a clear idea of how to lay out a room, or exactly what pieces would look good together. So, they began putting together little vignettes, simulating a living, dining or bedroom scenario complete with rugs, lamps, florals and other accessories. The hope was that the shopper would be wowed by what they saw and just buy the whole thing. And they did. Consequently, a lot of rooms are perfectly matched, i.e., matching end tables or night stands, matching lamps, side chairs or pieces all in the same wood finish or design.
Often furniture buyers, including me, are not inspired by their actual desires and will follow what used to happen — but not a typical layout — prestaged.
The most attractive and interesting rooms to me are not filled with matched sets. Even if you are more comfortable with matching finishes, i.e., woods and metals, you can still get a good mix in your room if you use different end tables or night stands, or even different chairs for your dining room table.
There are so many options for rooms. I can honestly say I’ve never been shopping for complete layout furniture. I like to stage my space, and have loved doing it for clients.
Take a bedroom, for instance. You don’t have to have matching pairs everywhere. I try a round table for one side of the bed and a small chest for the other. If you use wooden pieces for your night tables, throw in a painted bureau or an armoire to mix it up.
Small mirrored chests make wonderful night stands and would look great with a wooden dresser or chest.
And I have to say that when I watch staging or design shows on TV, I don’t usually like how it is set up. My option would be totally different.
Dining rooms offer great opportunity to mix and match, as well. The easiest route is to mix up your chairs. The most delightful and nicest thing I do is to place a pair of different chairs on each end of the table and smaller matching chairs on each side. By the way, none of the chairs have to match the table, either.
And then there’s the living room. Living rooms just cry out for mixing and matching. It’s a great place to try mixing up upholstery and case goods. After purchasing your anchor piece, which is usually a sofa, there are tons of options to give your room personality.
Now I appreciate and like matched side chairs next to a sofa. If you are buying a three-seat sofa and a two-seat sofa that matches, it’s sometimes a great idea to have a really cool chair to pull them together. If you are buying a sectional sofa, it might be neat to have a different shape or colored chair to go with the set.
Another favorite for me is an ottoman or an upholstered bench for a coffee table. That is what I use. To add to the mix, it’s always fun to add in the unexpected — an antique desk, a painted or ethnic chest, or a garden seat to hold stacked books that can be pulled up for extra seating.
Using any of these ideas will give your spaces more interest and, quite frankly, much more personality. Look-alike rooms can be boring, and even if you picked out the matched set, chances are you will tire of it much more quickly than if the room had more diversity.
Buying the basics and then adding pieces along the way will keep your interest and make you appreciate your things more.
So, just think about them the next time you shop for furniture. Don’t let the stores make your decisions — make them yourself and use your personality to arrange your space. Your rooms will look like you, which is what you want them to do.