Bedroom Pieces: When to Match and When to Mix It Up

Is a matching bedroom set a yea or nay? Get the lowdown on bedroom furniture and what to do if your pieces match too much (or not enough).

By Kate De Palma

 

Decorating a bedroom can be tricky. It’s hard enough trying to decide on the perfect wall paint that manages to say both “soothing” and “warm,” but, as you may know, that’s only the beginning. Whether you’re putting together your bedroom for the first time or attempting to redecorate, at one point or another, sooner rather than later, you’re going to need to decide on what kind of furniture you want for your bedroom. At the heart of that decision is this question: Will you go for a bedroom furniture set or will you opt for a more eclectic approach to your bedroom pieces?

 

To answer that burning question, let’s consider what bedroom pieces should match. Is it essential (or even a good idea) for the bed to match the dressers to match the nightstands to match the mirrors? While there’s no one answer (that would be too easy), here are some guidelines to consider when it comes to veering towards or away from a matching bedroom set.

 

First Things First

Yes, there’s such a thing as too matchy-matchy, especially when it comes to bedroom furniture. In fact, many interior designers are strictly against bedroom sets, preferring instead for the room to look like you put it together piece by carefully chosen piece. The problem with matching pieces doesn’t inherently lie in the bedroom set itself, however. Instead, it lies in a decorating approach that’s trying too hard by being too symmetric or too formal. A bedroom should be cozy and inviting, and a matching set can often end up looking stiff and formal, without any real character.

 

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So, in a nutshell, at the heart of all your bedroom decorating should be a sense of warmth, welcome, and comfort conveyed both to yourself and to your guests, whether your pieces match or not.

 

Ideas for an Eclectic Approach

If you opt to forego a bedroom set in favor of an eclectic collection of your favorite pieces, here are some tips to take into consideration:

 

  • Start with the bed frame. Not only is it the largest piece in a bedroom (and the place you’ll be spending a lot of time), it’s also the focal point for your bedroom design. Pick this piece out first, paying attention to both its style (Sleigh? Four-poster? Headboard-only?) and material (Solid Wood? Metal? Cushioned Headboard?) because it’s setting the stage for the rest of your design.

 

  • Consider your space and what kind of pieces you’d like to have in the bedroom. If you have a walk-in closet, you may not need a large dresser taking up space. If you don’t have the luxury of a large closet, you need to consider what kind of storage will best work for your room.

 

  • Think outside of the box. There’s no set formula for what kind of furniture can be in your bedroom, so bring in pieces that work for you. For instance, I’ve always wanted a window seat (which my bedroom definitely doesn’t have), so I brought in the bench that came with my dining room set and created my own little window seat, complete with pillows and my favorite book. Or, if you need extra storage, consider a trunk that can double as a table or seat, a bench or ottoman with built-in storage, or a bed frame with built-in drawers. Who said your bedroom needs a dresser anyway?

 

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  • Tie it all together. Just because your pieces don’t go together naturally doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) have something tying them all together. Whether you opt for a unified color scheme, an assortment of vintage pieces, or even a large area rug connecting everything, aim for at least a little sense of unity.

 

  • Don’t forget lighting. Part of a cozy bedroom is warm lighting that invites you in. An overhead light or sconce can often be harsh and uninviting while lamps offer a much more welcoming light. Plus, they definitely don’t have to match.

 

Ideas for a Matching Approach

But let’s say that you don’t have the time or patience to put your bedroom set together piece by piece. You want somewhere comfortable to sleep, and you want it now. If this sounds like you, here are some ideas for making a matching set work for you:

 

  • Perform your due diligence. Buying a bedroom set is an investment whether you end up with the four-piece, five-piece, seven-piece, whatever. So, taking your budget into consideration look around for a set you can see yourself with for the next several years. If you can swing it, Ethan Allen bedroom furniture and other brands of solid wood furniture are especially popular for their durable, long-lasting pieces, while other options like Macy’s bedroom furniture sets are more affordable but still generally good quality.

 

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  • Asymmetry is key. There’s nothing wrong with having matching nightstands if you don’t try too hard to make them match exactly, which can be overly formal and artificial-looking. Get mismatched lamps or a statement piece like an oversized alarm clock for one of them, just to shake things up a little.

 

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  • Break up the monotony. Your furniture may end up looking bland if it’s all one color and texture, like a white bedroom furniture set. Inject some variety with different colored and sized pillows, throws, and curtains. An area rug or two can also add texture and interest to an otherwise matching bedroom.

 

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What do you think? Are you ready to buy the perfect bedroom set or are you in favor of mixing things up?

 

Images used with permission, courtesy of Kate De Palma

Next: Useful Tips to Help You Find a Fantastic Mattress