It is time once again to think outside the box. It is time to explore how much more visually appealing your décor could be if all of your furniture did not match.
There is a difference between matching and coordinating. Matching pertains to items that are identical in style, color, and basic shape while coordinating refers to items that do not match but look good when paired together.
Do you remember the line of children’s clothing sold by Sears called “Garanimals”? This was a brilliant marketing tool developed to ensure that kids could pick out their own clothes to wear and they would always match so long as they paired the same animals on the tags. No longer were there morning arguments about why you should not wear a plaid pattern with stripes!
Manufacturers of mass produced furniture in a similar manner do the same thing for adults when they put together sets, collections and ensembles of furnishings. They take the worry and stress out of trying to determine what will go together in a room. Showrooms make the process of buying furniture easy for those who simply want to purchase something that will be functional and serve its purpose. They display their goods in very large warehouse environments and use special lighting to create an ambiance that you imagine will be replicated when the furniture is delivered to your home.
You might absolutely love your new pieces when they are delivered and then again you might look around and wonder why something looks missing. What is missing is that your furniture is no longer surrounded by all of those other eye catching pieces that coordinated with your “set” but were not a part of it; you are missing all of the other items they were displayed next to your furniture in the showroom.
So instead of anticipating remorse when selecting furniture I’m presenting you with a challenge; resist the urge to buy everything that matches! Resist the urge to purchase the prescribed “set”. Admittedly, this is easier for me to do since I've had training as a professional interior designer, however, there are certain pointers and tips that you can follow as you begin to venture away from the matchy – matchy and start creating a décor with interest.
Pointers on Creating a Décor with Interest (aka Coordinated Interior)
...in the LIving Room:
Start off by selecting the largest pieces of furniture for the room; these will be your “anchor” items . Use the colors, fabric and style of these items to decorate the remainder of the room around. If you want your sofas to match, select 2 identical sofas or a sectional. Try to stay away from the matching Sofa and Loveseat set and absolutely do not purchase the matching Sofa, Loveseat and Chair set as you will have defeated the purpose of this exercise.
Suggestions on how to coordinate the seating items:
- Sofa in one color/fabric with 2 Chairs in a another coordinating fabric
- A pair of Sofas in one color/fabric with an accent Chair in another finish
- Sectional in one fabric with 2 Chairs or a single Chair in another fabric
- A pair of Loveseats [for smaller rooms] with an accent Chair
The amount of seating you can fit/use will depend upon the size of your room – do not overcrowd your room or overstuff it with furniture.
Next you need to select the occasional pieces such as tables, book cases, TV stands, etc.. This is another area where the tendency is to select all items from the same collection. Think outside the box; mix things up. Not all of your wood finishes need to match. Not all of the shapes need to be the same. You can pair a round coffee table with rectangular side tables. One item can be stained wood while the others can be metal, stone, glass or painted wood.
I personally like to use different size and shapes for the side tables as well; one table might be a set of stacking tables and the other could be a large round table; both of different heights.
Next think about your lighting. Table lamps add interest to any room and while it is okay to have a pair that matches do not have all of the table lamps/floor lamps or small accent lamps from the same collection. In addition your ceiling fan does not have to match your table lamps or any other hanging fixture in the room but it must be attractive and up to date. Vary the finishes on the fixtures by incorporating a floor lamp made out of iron with a pair of ceramic [painted] table lamps.
For the finishes touches remember to dress your windows with some form of treatment. If you do not want to block those amazing views then you can always do stationary drapes on the sides of the windows to create the illusion that they are operable. Accent pillows can also bring another color as well as texture to the room as do table top accent pieces and accessories.
For inspiration I always tell my clients to look at design magazines; find photos that appeal to you and then identify what you like about the room in the photo whether it is the style of furniture or the different mix of color and materials. The key as with anything is to create a mixture by not selecting all items in the same finish or purchasing all items with the same fabric/upholstery.
Matching is okay; however mixing your furniture styles and coordinating properly will be WOW!