Matching furniture sets.  Those three words make me cringe every. single. time.  OK - they aren’t always bad, and sometimes they work.  However, a lot of the time they can make a room feel dark, crowded, boring, not reflective of your personality… and so on.  But seriously – the purpose of this post is not to be offensive, it’s just to show that there are other options.  You can have the look of a beautifully thought out room without the major price tag.  In fact, sometimes buying pieces separate will end up saving you money!  So if you buy furniture sets because you think they save money – forget that.  And if you buy them because you think you can’t plan a room on your own, then scroll down for some tips!  This particular post focuses on living rooms, but future posts will highlight master bedrooms, kid’s rooms, nurseries, etc.

Walking into big furniture stores is overwhelming.  There are soooo many furniture sets all over the place and sales people following you around like hawks... it’s intimidating.  That is why I always scope out the selection online first and narrow down to a few that I like.  I found this gray couch on Raymour & Flanigan’s website.  I love the clean lines and modern feel to it.  (Side note: I saw Vern Yip speak at the Philly Home Show in 2016 and he gave a great tip on sofas- unless it is truly a two person love seat, avoid two cushion sofas. Always go for three cushions or one big cushion. That way no one has to sit on the crack!) OK – back to the furniture store – so I found this sofa online that I really like and let’s say I go into the store to see it in person.  I might walk in and find it in a set similar to the picture I posted.  With the matching chairs and ottoman, a coffee table with matching side tables, and two lamps.  All set up – nice and easy for you to press purchase right there!  Don’t do it, you can do so much better!

For my design, I began with the sofa because it's easier if you start with the most important piece of the room and then work around that.  I went with a lighter fabric for the chairs since the sofa is darker.  The tapered legs on the chairs coordinate with the clean lines of the base on the sofa.  For the coffee table, I went with wood to tie in with the sofa's wood base.  The tapered legs also match the legs on the chairs.  I knew I wanted a clean, simple end table.  I thought more tapered legs would be too much.  I chose a modern floor lamp that brings in the metal of the chair legs and also the metal caps on the coffee table legs.  For a little bit of color, I chose a blue ottoman and table lamp.  I was still under budget so I decided to add in a neutral area rug to tie it all together.

To me, the difference between the two designs is that the first one feels a little cold, like a showroom.  The second one feels more homey and welcoming.  Hopefully my tips can help you pull together a room you love!