When Two Wrongs Make a Very Right
I like to joke that I married my husband for his kind heart, great sense of humor — and the stockpile of furniture given to him by his impossibly chic grandmother. Though the furnishings are nearly 60 years old, most of the pieces have slid seamlessly into our 21st-century home. The lone standout? A telephone table with built-in chair, which has bounced around the house as an end table, plant holder and now, my husband’s nightstand.
I like the table — I really do. The problem is, I’m a big fan of symmetry, and finding a matching antique has proven to be next to impossible. After a six-month search, I finally settled on a nightstand that looks absolutely nothing like the one we have.
But here’s the thing — they go great together.
What I learned about a successful furniture mashup boils down to this: Just make sure the two items have at least one thing in common. With that in mind, here are some simple ways to a non-matching furniture set work.
Unify with color
Don’t underestimate the power of a shared color. It glosses over any differences between two pieces and makes them look like they were made for each other. And don’t forget about hardware–it doesn’t have to be the same (although bonus points if it is and that’s an easy DIY), but color and finish should be similar.
Unify with lines
Just because your stuff doesn’t match doesn’t mean you should toss out that whole “like goes with like” rule. Bypass the little details, and instead focus on the overall outline and shape. If one has a curved top, for example, aim for a rounded edge on the other. A long-legged table should be paired with a similarly leggy counterpart. And so on.
Unify with size
Put the measuring tape away–we’re still in big-picture mode here. Step back and look at both tables. Does one dwarf the other or constantly pull your eye away? If that’s the case, go back to the drawing board until you find a pair that’s about the same height or takes up roughly the same visual weight.
Unify with finish
A nifty twist on shared color is a shared finish. For example, A distressed, whitewashed table goes great when paired with an equally shabby chic piece. By the same token, a brushed steel table would look great coupled with another matte metallic piece.
Unify with accent pieces
This is a no-fail way to make two disparate pieces play nice together. For the biggest impact, place matching lamps on top of two tables. Presto — instant cohesion.
Do you have an heirloom piece of furniture you’re having trouble matching? Tell us about it in the comments below!