The Outdated Bedroom Trend Experts Hope to Never See Again

published Apr 10, 2019
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(Image credit: Minette Hand)

Once upon a time, most people purchased their bedroom furniture in complete “sets.” If you were sprucing up your space, you were likely to purchase an entire matching set that included your bed, dressers, and nightstands for a perfectly polished look.

But these days, that super matchy-matchy look is considered outdated. In fact, getting a matching set can make the room feel downright impersonal and sterile. Think: more boring hotel room and less interesting and stylish home.

“Go to any estate sale, and you’re likely to find an entire matching bedroom set from the era your parents became ‘grown ups,'” says Justin Riordan, founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency. “The furniture is likely veneered, really heavy and made of oak.”

Another advantage of buying furniture piece by piece rather than in a set? Not having to come up with a bunch of cash for all of it at once.

“It’s no wonder why people who invested in bedroom sets still have them when they die, and their children have to clean out their homes,” says Riordan.

Without the simplicity of a matching set, you may be wondering how to pick out pieces that actually complement each other in a more subtle way. The key is to aim for a coordinated, rather than exactly matched, aesthetic.

(Image credit: Diana Paulson)

“When choosing bedroom furniture, I like to create interest and play with contrasts and balance by mixing up colors, textures, finishes and materials so that the space feels collected and soulful, yet polished,” says Caitlin Murray, founder and CEO of Black Lacquer Design.

Fiona Leonard, a Connecticut-based interior designer, agrees that breaking up a room that looks too put together is an easy way to instantly modernize it. When a client shows her a bedroom with a matching set, she gets to work introducing other materials.

“So the first thing I do is break up the set by introducing an upholstered bed or a different finish like grasscloth or lucite for the side tables,” Leonard explains. “That’s actually the fastest route, in the end, to a design that feels evolved rather than prescribed.”

A more eclectic look can also be an advantage when it’s time to sell your home.

“Whether it’s busy prints everywhere, or complete homogeneity in decor, matchy-matchy is out,” says Elizabeth O’Neill of Warburg Realty. “Reactions can range from horror, when furniture is indistinguishable from walls, to ‘ho-hum’ when everything is so ‘perfect’ and coordinated.”

Instead, O’Neill says that your home should reflect a more varied and nuanced style.

“Think Michelle Obama marrying J. Crew with Prada,” she suggests.