Rookie Mistake: Matching Furniture

Rookie Mistakes: a series of common decor mistakes made by a design rookie…me! And no, I’m not judging because I have made (and continue to make) these mistakes too!

Here are the top five Rookie Mistake posts from the series (you can catch the rest of them at the bottom of this post).

Remember, the Rookie Mistakes series is a NO JUDGEMENT ZONE. I’ve made ALL of these decorating mistakes in my home and  I simply want you to learn from me so you can make your home look amazing.

Rookie Mistake – Matching Furniture Sets

Back before we were ever interested in home decor, we purchased furniture a bit differently. For example, if we were in need of furniture for a bedroom you might find us heading to a big box store to pick up a matching bedroom set for a bargain. The bed, dresser, nightstands, side tables….all of them matching and ready to fill up the room! I mean who doesn’t love one-stop shopping, right?!

Rookie mistake- matching furniture

Now we realize why those rooms always felt a bit flat to us. The lack of variety in woods, colors, and textures made the entire space one-note. (Psssst. This is a guest room in my mom’s house. She agrees that it would look better without all of the matching pieces, so she graciously allowed me to use this photo for the post… thanks Mom!!)

We understand that those bedroom sets are a deal and that can be hard to pass up! Especially when you have a room to furnish and you just want to be d-o-n-e. We totally get it. Having some matching furniture is not a bad thing. But you probably don’t want your loveseat, couch, coffee table, and side table to all match. Some of them can match to keep a cohesive look, but if everything is the exact same…you’re going to end up with a cookie-cutter look that lacks personality.

But even just swapping out one of the matching pieces could make a big difference in the space. Here’s the proof…

Bridget’s Matching Furniture – Rookie Mistake

When Bridget first furnished her dining room (left), she made this rookie mistake by buying all matchy-matchy decor. A dark table, paired with dark chairs, next to a dark mirror then accented with a dark light fixture. This matchy-matchy look lacked depth and made the space look & feel… well, ugly.

The dining room feels more modern and light with these new chairs

After realizing the rookie mistake she had made, we approached this space in a very different/much LESS MATCHY way (right) and are SO much happier with the new look.

She sold the set of chairs that came with the table (which she loves!) on Craigslist and used that money to buy these new ones that added a lot more contrast. Immediately the space felt a whole lot less matchy and far more light/bright! Since learning that lesson the hard way, we have approached buying furniture and decor in a whole new way.

Create a Layered Look!

Mix your materials! Textiles, wood, warm and cool colors, it all pulls together to create a peaceful and welcoming space.
A neutral palate is still perfect for layering textures and pattern.

Take a look at Casey’s bedroom. It’s a mix of a gray upholstered headboard, shiny white campaign style nightstands, and a wood dresser. If every piece in the room was the exact same it wouldn’t look as layered and interesting. 

Even when the color doesn't vary too much, the change in texture adds depth

Or take a look at the bedroom we designed for the Lowe’s Home Makeover. We loved the large upholstered bed, and knew that adding in some wood elements would add some warmth. So the matching wood nightstands worked out perfectly! But we didn’t feel compelled to choose a matching wood dresser for the room. Instead, we built a wood & white floating credenza to combine elements of both the white duvet and the wood nightstands.

You can use the same approach in your family room. A extra cozy couch paired with a sleek coffee table is a fantastic option.

If you do have matching furniture all over your house, we’re certainly not telling you to get rid of everything. No way! Instead, think about moving things around a bit. Bring a dresser from one room into another. Or swap your nightstands for ones in a different room. We promise that you just might love all of your gorgeous furniture a bit more when it doesn’t get lost in a sea of it all being matchy-matchy. avoid matching furniture in your home

Or think about selling a few pieces that you don’t absolutely love, and use that money to find items that you do love (like we did in the office above)! The search for a new piece of furniture that is just perfect will be a lot more satisfying than it felt to buy a bunch of furniture in one swoop!

A pop of color amidst the layers of texture adds another level to the room.

So learn from our rookie mistake and avoid buying all matching furniture sets. You’re not a cookie cutter person, and your home shouldn’t be either! Search for pieces that you adore so you can create a home that is so YOU!



The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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