Ideas for Breaking Up Matching Furniture

Pushing the limits and ditching the “rules” of decorating can sometimes be tough.  And even as a designer, I’ve fallen victim to “not following the rules”.

But honestly, what rules?

There are no real decorating rules that must be followed to a T.   Instead I have tried to train myself and in turn share suggestions + ideas with you, my readers,  rules of thumb, helpful tips + tricks, and inspiration, but definitely no must-follow-these-rules-or-you’re-wrong.


Because no house is the same.

Because no 2 people have the same feeling of what’s most important to them.

Because every situation / taste level is different.

I start with this because I receive so many emails from timid readers saying something like, “you wrote this… BUT I can’t do it because…”.  That’s okay.  Take what I write as inspiration and apply it to your scenario the best way possible and that works for you.  Again there is no right or wrong.  I never want to come off as preachy-preachy.  That being said, rule-breaking or not, I have a little decorating confession for you…

Lots of ideas for breaking away from matching furniture sets; budget-friendly tips + tricks for creating a unique space

When the Mister and I originally purchased our bedroom furniture, we bought a 4 piece matching set (2 nightstands + dresser + mirror).  YES.  Again, something that I always say not to do and I did it – rulebreaker – but at the time I was fine with it.  Let me take a step back, why do I feel a 4 piece matching set isn’t good?  Well, it doesn’t show your individual style or personality.  It’s not collected-looking and is predictable.  My thought is to go above that by purchasing a piece here, a piece there, to reflect on your journey.  Choose pieces that are meaningful and that you’re drawn to.  But if you like the matchy-matchy sets, that is okay.  Remember no rules!Breaking the Rules: Ideas for Breaking Up Matching FurnitureSo back to my matching bedroom furniture…  We have (not the ones pictured above) 4 matching pieces.  They are very nice and I actually like the style + wood finish, but I felt it needed to be broken up.  The Mister was pretty stuck on keeping what we had – O, men – plus I wanted to spend little money (we do have a baby arriving in a few months).

So what did I do? 

How did I break up the monotony of  a 4 piece matching furniture set, yet still stay on track with a small budget?

I left 2 of the 4 elements – the large dresser and one nightstand. With the one nightstand that remains, I have a little DIY idea for it that won’t actually ruin the integrity of the piece since it is still in great condition.

Room before >>>

Bedroom Before with Matching Furnitureyou might be wondering why the photos in the pic above are upside down & sideways, kinds weird.  It was the start of a small gallery wall at the time. I was laying out the frames before replacing the photos.

1st Item To Go > The Mirror

I removed the mirror since the dresser + mirror read MATCHING and not unique.  The dresser itself is in great condition + it’s purposeful (the storage is a must), so that was staying.  The result once the mirror was removed…

Freeing the dresser of the matchingmirror

Freeing the dresser of the matchingmirror

Wow, that is freeing!  We also relocated the TV, so it now sits on the dresser (and may eventually be mounted on the wall above the dresser) and added one of my favorite lamps.  The dresser now appears like it’s own element.  A piece that I love + is functional!

What’s to come? A photo / artwork gallery wall so the TV will essentially disappear, like these inspirational ideas.

2nd Item To Go > The nightstand

So one nightstand stayed and even though it matches the dresser, I have a neat DIY project planned to jazz it up and make it totally unique. For the other nightstand, I relocated / repurposed it to my office.  Honestly, it’s been such a blessing.  With the drawers, I have lots more storage for fabric, paint, and wood samples.

Repurposing matching furniture

In the nightstands place, I purchased an adorable light gray (it was actually supposed to be white, but arrived gray – which in the end I like better) from Joss and Main.  The previous nightstand with drawers overlapped the window a lot, so it looked awkward.  With this smaller, round, more open style side table, this area of the room feels bigger, brighter, and more open.  Plus the lighter-colored table adds a lightness (color and weight) to the room.

A unique idea for a nightstand

Other ways to ditch the matching furniture set >

1. Paint It.  Incorporate other furniture or elements with varying color(s).  All of the furniture pieces in the room before were dark colors.  It made the space feel heavy + dark.  To lighten it up, I painted an existing desk, that was headed towards the curb, a unique brighter color.  It changed the whole feel of the space.

Chalk Paint Desk

 2. Sell It.  I wanted to sell a few of the bedroom pieces or even the whole set as one, but we have so much going on right now that it wasn’t currently possible.  Maybe one day though.  That is why I did not paint or permanently change any of the furniture.  That being said, if you have a 5 or 7 piece matching set, but instead desire something more unique, sometimes it’s better to start from scratch or work  with a few items and incorporate other collected pieces from different places.  Try a garage sale, thrift store, or Craigslist to sell your current furniture.  These are also great places to look for NEW (to you) items at a less expensive pricepoint.

3. Swap It. Like I did, swap out / repurpose items throughout your home.  There is no reason or rule that says a nightstand can’t go into the living room or foyer.  Furniture doesn’t have to be for a specific room (unless it’s  bed – that would look kinda funny in the living room), so think outside the box as to how and where furniture can be repurposed. Another swap it idea is to swap furniture with a friend or family member.  If you like / need something they have and / or vice versus, ask them.  You never know, maybe they don’t like / need what they have and they’re willing to part with it so you can freshen up a space.

M Bedroom Update >>> You may think my bedroom will never get done, but with my kids, my design business, and just every day life, it’s a little slow going.  BUT it’s my reality and a real timetable of how long projects / room makeovers take (for me).  I promise though, the reveal will be soon.  I first want to show you the gallery wall around the dresser (which I love) and THEN THE FINAL REVEAL!

I hope with my ‘confession’, even as a designer, you realize that things happen, but there is no right or wrong with decorating.  All of us grow and our likes change.  10 years ago, mismatched furniture was fine for me, today it’s not.  And today,  if you like a 7 piece matching furniture set, go buy it.  I would never tell you not to.  BUT, if you desire a collected, unique, personalized look, and have a matching set (like me), then I encourage you to break away and change it.  As always, I hope I’ve inspired you through my experiences to think outside the box to find and express YOU!

Have a great weekend!!

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