Why You Shouldn’t Buy The Furniture Set
03/09 Design Tips

Why You Shouldn’t Buy The Furniture Set

Unpacking the idea of the furniture set

Choosing furniture can be overwhelming. Even if you’re an interior designer, it’s no easy feat.

There is so much out there to pick from, so many factors to consider, and as soon as you find one thing you like, you have to think about how it works with everything else.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy The Furniture Set

From our Rye NY Project

Enter: the furniture set, a one-way ticket out of the chaos, a shoulder to cry on. We get it; it’s tempting to walk into your nearest furniture store, pick a set you’re okay with, and buy five of everything in the same color. We’re not here to tell you what to do, but we are here to give you our advice and honest opinion, and that is: don’t buy the furniture set!

Interior designer Jaimee Rose said it best when she said, “Design is about layering texture and materials, and it should also tell your story. You are more interesting than a brown microfiber sofa set.”

We sat down with our lead designer, Kelsie Lindley, to unpack the idea of the furniture set and discuss why we avoid it. Here are some of our conversation highlights:

Why You Shouldn’t Buy The Furniture Set

From our Beckham Project

Mixed furniture is thoughtful furniture

Our team agrees that the number one reason people buy furniture sets is probably that it’s easier. And it’s true, it is a lot easier, but it also looks a lot easier.

“There’s something about furniture sets that don’t bring that thoughtful feeling that mixed furniture does.”

- Kelsie Lindley, lead designer

Mixing and layering styles of furniture elevates your space by creating the look of an intentionally designed space that took effort and consideration.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy The Furniture Set

From our Cove Remodel

Why You Shouldn’t Buy The Furniture Set

From the McGee Home 

Updating your space

Not only is mixing styles of furniture more thoughtful in the form of aesthetic, but also in the investment. If you buy an entire set of the same style of furniture, and then you want to do something different a few years down the road, it’s more difficult to update your space.

Plus, mixing furniture allows you to get away with mixing high and low priced pieces to make your investment pieces stand out while elevating your more affordable pieces.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy The Furniture Set

From our Beckham Project

Your home is your gallery

If you were filling an art gallery with things that represented you or things that you love, would the pieces lining the walls all look the same? Probably not, and neither should the furniture pieces in your home!

We are firm believers that interiors should be a place for self-expression, and even if you’re not an interior designer, you can still collect and curate what lives in your home so that it resonates with you. The truth is, regardless of design rules, meaningful homes are always more beautiful than cookie-cutter ones.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy The Furniture Set

From our Rye NY Project

Why You Shouldn’t Buy The Furniture Set

From our Pine Brook Home

Some exceptions…

There are some exceptions to matching furniture styles and collections; our design team typically applies the rule of two to balance out a room with twin pieces mirroring each other. For example, using two twin nightstands, or even two mirroring couches can be an exception to the mix and match rule. Outdoor furniture is another exception to the rule, as we use all-matching sets most often to create a more laid-back feeling in the space.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy The Furniture Set

From our SM Ranch House

Why You Shouldn’t Buy The Furniture Set

From The McGee Home

What are your thoughts about mixing and matching furniture styles?

Show Comments
Studio McGee
  1. I completely agree with not buying matched sets! However, I do have 2 matching sofas in my own home which are layed out in an L configuration. I would love to mirror them, but my living room layout doesn’t allow for that. I do have 2 different side chairs in the room to give the space some personality, and each sofa has different, but coordinating pillows. What are your thoughts on this situatuon?

    1. Hi Heidi, thank you! We have done two matching sofas in an L configuration before, each space is different and sometimes you have to bend the rules, it sounds beautiful! 🙂

  2. Hi Shea,
    I know your McGee Home reveal is coming soon, but…please can you share the paint colors in your bedroom?? It’s so similar to the one I just renovated and the colors look perfect with the contrast of ceiling and walls!

  3. What are your thoughts on dressers for a bedroom? We have 1 dresser, and two night stands that are a very close match (cherry toned wood, with natural steel hardware/base) but not an exact match. We want to purchase a second dresser (different size/shape, but from the same line as the others- cherry/natural steel). Bed is natural steel but not part of the ‘set’. Would you say buy the 2nd dresser from the same line? or go completely differently (which I think might be very challenging given the combo that already exists). Appreciate your thoughts!

  4. I love mix and match! Except we currently have a 3 seater in grey, 2 dark brown leather chairs and we’re looking to add more seating that’s actually comfortable. Any leads?

  5. With miss-matched sofas, what do you think about one leather(warm cognac) and one fabric(ivory)? Ideally, I would love a fabric sofa with 2 leather accent chairs but I’m trying to make do with what I have….

  6. I love decorating but am learning the process late in life through Instagram decorators like Studio-McGee. They have been so helpful. That being said, what if it is too late? How can I make the best of my living room furniture set? I didn’t buy it because it was easy but because one, the store I bought it at wouldn’t break it up (I really didn’t want the loveseat), two I really wanted leather because I like how it wears, and three it was the nicest looking leather couch for the price. So, I guess I’ll be living with it for awhile but feel a little like a near-do-well decorator (which I am…haha). Any suggestions? I thought of putting the loveseat in a bedroom.

    1. Breaking up matching pieces is a great way to deal with a set you already have. Moving the loveseat to another room – or even selling it if you don’t need it – is a great idea if you have space for it there. 🙂

  7. When "mismatching" sofa, accent chairs and coffee table – is it better to have a mix of some furniture off ground w/ legs and other more grounded options? Like the Walker sectional (low to ground) with the Beckett chairs? Or if you are already mixing up the color / material then keep the leg / grounded the same? Trying to put together my family room 🙂

  8. I’m glad you consider outdoor furniture an exception to the rule…considering I just spent a lot of money on one! ?

  9. What’s your take on sectionals—a big, comfy, nice-quality, leather sectional (for a functional great room)? Can thoughtful design and intentional placement of throw pillows help create a “curated,” classic look, or are sectionals a complete no-go for you?

  10. Love this post and would like a follow up post on how to mix & match upholstery in large furniture pieces.
    And, could an existing dark brown chocolate leather sofa go with another lighter sofa? Or would that be too much contrast? Thank you!

  11. I’d love for you to share some tips on mixing upholstered furniture with leather. And with fabrics is it better to go with high contrast or low contrast with white walls? I’m afraid one will look busy/clunky but the other can be rather boring. Thanks!

  12. It does look great mixing furniture pieces. I think you then need one thing that then ties it all together, a rug, with cushions or a colour palette. It cant be just any old random mixture of furniture, it is much more considered I think?

    Would be great if you could do a piece on just how you work that out, tied all together McGee style.

  13. I love the look of mixed furniture it’s so stunning and srealky elevates a room. However, personally I am having the hardest time getting it together on a smaller budget.

    Love following @studiomcgee

  14. I know I want my nightstands to be matching but to not match the dresser…. but what is your opinion on having both a wide dresser and a chest of drawers? Is it out of style to have both pieces (his and her) and if not should they be from the same collection?

  15. All of the pieces in my room match and I can’t stand it…I also cannot replace them right now. What are some suggestions to give the room a feel that everything isn’t so matchy matchy? Thanks

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