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Styling with matching pieces of furniture

Well folks, when we asked for reader questions we got them – over 400 to be exact. We received questions that ranged from how should i arrange my flowers, to should i paint my bathtub, to how can i incorporate my old dorm room furniture into my existing space without it feeling like a dorm. So to say that it took a little while for us to sort through them is a bit of an understatement. I have tried to gather a few of the most common questions that I feel could help anyone improve their space.

A question that came up a few times is:

How do I Incorporate my matching furniture set into my living room so that it does not look like a showroom? Its ironic because I also get the question “how do I make disparate styles work together in a room to make it look cohesive?” which has a different answer obviously, but I know that so many people are in the same boat – they bought a set on sale, and now it doesn’t really represent their personality and are struggling to make the room look as interesting, fun and full of personality as they are.

matching living room furniture

These photos are from readers’ homes (Molly, Jessica and Tiff) struggling with matching furniture. Let me first say that having some matching furniture is not a bad thing. Do you want your sofa, loveseat, side chairs, tables and coffee table to all match? Nay, but some of them could and it can help make a space feel cohesive.

living room matching

I mean, I don’t necessarily feel that bad for this house below, clearly they have some awesome stuff (sofa/coffee table, etc).

living room with sofa

Unfortunately we do not all have unlimited budgets (myself included) to go out and buy all different pieces that juxtapose but work together to form the perfect little family of eclectic furniture in our living rooms. A lot of you wrote in and said that you bought a matching chair, couch and ottoman set, while your local furniture store was having its semi-annual sale or have had the same set for years that matches and now don’t know how to make it look fun and eclectic. Thanks to Molly, Jessica, and Tiff for sending in your questions as well as some pictures.

There are a few things to mix it up and make it feel fresh that can easily be done on any budget.

Step 1: Coordinate pillows so that they look good together (on both pieces), but contrast off the sofa.

Most furniture sets come with pillows these days but for the most part they aren’t awesome so chuck those loose pillows and grab a few solids, coordinating patterns and smatter them around the room evenly. My rule is usually 3-4 pillows per couch (1 or 2 in each corner) I also try to get a couple of solids mixed in with a stripe or a pattern to add depth/texture and interest to the space.

mismatch pillows 1

for more pictures of our makeover with Cup of Joe click HERE

mismatch pillows

 for more pictures of this living room makeover click HERE

Step 2: Add throws to break up the monotony of the sofas.

Its such a good trick. You can really transform a couch by adding a throw, blanket or tapestry fabric to the back of the couch. You can drape it over one side, you can fold it up and lay it nicely, or you can even open it up and spread it across the entire back of the couch so that it covers the majority of the cushions.

couch blanket

 for more images of this living room click HERE

You don’t want to necessarily try to fool people, or hide the sofa by throwing the blanket over the whole sofa, but it can really break up the solid back or cushion of the sofa. Just make sure to bring the color of the throw onto the other matching piece.

couch tapestry

 for more images of our makeover with Oh Joy! click HERE

At Joy’s house (above) I put one on the bottom (mainly to be kid friendly) but something like that could totally work to break up a set. And the throw that I used below was a vintage camping blanket which added a lot of interest to the long simple sectional.

Living_Room_5_001

for more images of this living room click HERE

Step 3: Add something weird/vintage.

So you have your matching larger pieces of furniture and now its time to bring in some vintage/eclectic/weird pieces to help shake it up. Add in a vintage side table, a crazy piece of art, some weird lighting, etc.  Your side tables can match each other, but they shouldn’t also match your coffee table. Make sure the scale works – if you have a large set of leather sofas like the middle reader pic then get larger scale tables, too so your big matching pieces are dwarfing everything else and making them even more glaring.

Below you can see how I added some ‘weird’ pieces which always throw off furniture, in a good way. Its like, ‘oh so you thought I was all predictable?’ Well, boom, that vintage painting of the worst president ever definitely shakes things up.

Emily-shoot-Graciosa-Dr-1471

for more images of this living room click HERE

Living_Room_6_001

for more images of this living room click HERE

A gallery of eclectic/vintage art definitely draws attention away from any boring furniture and makes the room look instantly interesting. Also I realize that these rooms have awesome furniture as well, but you get my point.

Living_Room_3_011

for more images of this living room makeover click HERE

Now its tricky  because you don’t want a piece to be jarringly different to where it looks like an accident or worse, really ‘try-hard’, but keep the color palette consistent, keep the pieces in scale and follow those tips and your matching set will just look cohesive and meanwhile all your pretty pillows, throws and accessories will make the space look interesting.

I think next reader question i’ll try to address one particular readers problems with pictures attached and pretty much redesign the space, so send your questions with as many pics as possible to brady@emilyhendersondesign.com

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  1. Cup of Joe should say Cup of Jo (from a loyal fan of both your blog and hers)

  2. Beautiful matching styles and pictures! I am totally inspired with your work. I enjoyed over reading your blog post. Your blog have nice information and I got good ideas. Thanks for sharing this.