31 Days of Autumn Bliss {Day 14}: Unifying

Living room: Inexpensive drop cloths unite my mismatched furniture.
{Sofa was hunter green. Ottoman was blue and pink plaid.}

Do you wish your home was more “put together?” Do you want a warm welcoming room but you are living with hand me downs or old furniture that makes your home feel a little disjointed and less than coordinated? Do you want to work with what you have but it doesn’t work together very well?

Here is how I see things.

In order to be happy with how your home looks:

Your house doesn’t have to be perfect

Your style doesn’t have to be the most current.

Your furniture doesn’t have to be new, expensive or ridiculously adorable.

You can have a mixture of furniture styles.

Your coffee tables don’t have to be professionally styled with appropriate accessories.

You don’t have to have board & batten walls and wood floors.

{pause to let that sink in}

Those things are NICE but we don’t always have everything we want, right?


Unifying random accessories with paint eliminates
chaotic feeling of “nothing goes together”

 

If you feel like nothing “goes” together or things are just chaotic in your room, you are not going to feel content with what you have. You are going to start feeling like you need all new furniture or accessories or SOMETHING to eliminate your mismatched decor!

Sometimes it takes me awhile to figure out why I do not like my room! I convince myself I need ALL NEW FURNITURE because everything seems WRONG.

Once I dive in and start editing out random colors I don’t want and too many different wood tones to find a more cohesive color palette, things start to come together with what I already have!

My home is not perfect, and not how I want it yet, but I always work with what I have. This is a process. I don’t have the option of buying new things!

When perfection is not the goal, you have to find solutions along the way to work with what you have.

My furniture was everything from hunter green to pink to red toile and the wood pieces were oak, dark and pine…I definitely needed to unify to have all those pieces happily exist in one house.

My dining room:

  • Mismatched woods and furniture were unified in space by white or green paint or drop cloth slipcovers.
  • {The table and one chair was pine, chair was dark wood, ottoman was pink.}
  • White plates and pitchers are used to create unity in accessories.
  • Eventually, these walls will be painted too to rid my house of more of that awful SWINE color.

This cabinet was oak.

My family room:

  • Beat up mismatched rattan chairs were unified with simple white paint and black and white slipcovers.
  • White and green shutters and white frames unify accessories.
  • Soft greenish walls wrap green all the way around the room.


Shades of green, white and black even in the bathroom.

Unifying doesn’t mean MATCHING everything. You don’t have to have an all white house. It is simple to repeat white over and over and have a unified space. But white alone is not energizing enough for me (remember, we live in Seattle and it is rainy and gray outside all winter, I need more warmth and COLOR inside!). I repeat white, green and black but there are still pops of other colors in various rooms. I like to have a more lively house!


More white, black and a touch of green.
COME ON! You don’t coordinate dogs at your house?
{sorry, we aren’t even half way through the 31 days and I’m already losing my mind)

Having white furniture is working well for me because I can add really any color to it. Color choice is a matter of personal preference, but the principle of repetition really works no matter what colors you prefer.

Warm or cool colors (whatever your preference), repeated, unite a space and make it feel warmer, cozier and more put together!

PS. Professionally made slipcovers are gorgeous but expensive. I didn’t have that option! Most of my slipcovers are very basic and made out of inexpensive drop cloths or other affordable fabrics. One sofa is a PB sofa and has a Pottery Barn slipcover that was made for it, the other sofa (top photo, which you can barely see) is a Pottery Barn loose fit slipcover that my mom modified to have separate cushions. There are lots of slipcover tutorials on the internet so even if you think you can’t sew, you could learn some basic tips!

Do you ever feel like your room feels disjointed?
Have you tried unifying your furniture with more repetition?

For the entire series links, click the 31 Days Button below!


Find the rest of the 31 Day girls here.

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Comments

  1. I agree 100% about slipcovers! I buy my fabric on clearance or even damaged (I purchased white duck cloth for my sofa and the entire bolt had little black smudges all the way through- $1.99 a yard and it washed right out!) Having a small or non existent budget has forced me to do so much more than I ever could have with loads of cash.
    Sure, I imagine how easy it would be to go to a furniture store and just point at something, and POOF! it appears in my living room…where’s the fun in that? Well, on one hand spending a bajillion dollars on furniture could be pretty fun, but I would probably be a little sick afterward.
    I’m forced to create and reinvent things along the way, makes for better conversation, and I truly love my furniture when I have poured my heart into it. Everything has a story. And there’s no buyer’s remorse when it is a cast-off!
    I enjoy being able to stretch my possibilities and my pocketbook at the same time. And if I want to change things up, it is a non-issue. I’m not still paying for furniture that I don’t like anymore. There’s a lot more freedom in being frugal, in my opinion!

  2. Looks like your dog and my dog share a common love: toilet paper!
    Lynn from For Love or Funny recently posted..Don’t howl unless you mean itMy Profile

  3. I’m learning to be content with my very imperfect home, especially the living room. A year ago, we decided to budget for redecorating in there. But we weren’t able to replace our hand-me-down blue checkered couch and chair (and the rest of the room has warm browns, creams, and pops of orange). So many things came up! And now we are expecting our second child, so I guess we’ll keep the blue furniture a bit longer!

    • I hear you on that! We had three girls very close together, and any of our nesting money sort of got absorbed into the chicks. :-)

  4. Melissa,
    I Love your blog. You give me great ideas and get my juices flowing! But, unlike watching HGTV, you encourage me towards contentment and creativity. I tend to get depressed about the lack of order and beauty in my all-hand-me-down home (with three wee mess-makers, too!). But the attitude you bring to homemaking helps me to focus on what is really important, and the WHY of a beautiful home. After all, it’s about the PEOPLE. Yes! Amen! Thank You! I want to glorify God in my home atmosphere, and that doesn’t *poof* come from a “magazine perfect” house. Thank you for reminding me and putting things into perspective.

  5. I think that I do that – think I need all new furniture when really I just need to stop and pinpoint what it is that I don’t like about the room. I do try to keep all of my big pieces neutral and then layer in color in accessories after that – that way I can change my mind easily!
    Jess recently posted..Quick Ballard Inspired Burlap ProjectMy Profile

  6. I learned this from Sarah Richardson: to unite a room with different finishes, try to use each finish three times in order for it to look intentional.
    Sarah recently posted..Running- Eating- and Shopping…Well- 2 out of 3 Ain’t BadMy Profile

  7. I Loved reading your post and your great ideas! thankyou. I’ll be stopping by again. Iris

  8. Great post, this really does work wonders! And what is it with dog and tp? I have to be careful to close the bathroom doors or Roscoe is soon enjoying a tp treat. UGH! Janell
    Janell Beals recently posted..Adding Nail Head Trim to Upholstered FurnitureMy Profile

  9. Your always teaching me something new! Thank you so much:)

  10. I love all the white. I saw a design show recently where they repurposed a ton of chatchki’s (sp?) by spray painting them white and that’s been nagging at me for the past couple of months…thanks for sharing your great ideas, I love the series.
    Jeanna recently posted..Biscuits!My Profile

  11. My cats are color coordinated with my decor. The cats came first, so I suppose I must have been inspired by them on some level. :)
    Rebekah recently posted..Color SpeaksMy Profile

  12. You have a beautiful home, warm and inviting. Great ideas here. Have the spray paint in hand. And I know! What is it with the doggies and tp!
    I don’t decorate for Halloween, so he decided he would. Came home with tp strung threw out the house! Love that green chair
    LaurieatTurnerFarm recently posted..Hidden GemsMy Profile

  13. My puppy loves to unroll the toilet paper too! His absolute favorite is dryer sheets though.

  14. Every time you post a pic of your seagrass rug, I start looking for one. Where did you get yours? I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it.
    Leah Peck recently posted..Helpful How-To-Christmas ShoppingMy Profile

  15. Nice post, Melissa! This is great advice for both those starting out in their first homes and those of us down-sizing our homes. I love the slipcover idea and using the dropcloths. I think that is something that may work to help my daughter out. Right now her and her hubby have mismatched hand-me-downs and nothing seems to go. I may suggest the dropcloth slipcover or some kind of loose slipcover idea in white to her. Meanwhile, it has to be washable because they have 2 1/2 month old and, well, you know. : )
    Kathy recently posted..Too Cute &amp FreeMy Profile

  16. My biggest problem is that I like too much and seem to find it at yard sales at great prices but can’t figure out how to display it without it looking like a store or warehouse. I have old baskets, Longaberger ones, pottery, crocks, pretty glass in different colors, candle sticks in brass, glass, pewter, wood, etc. I hate to get rid of stuff I love but not knowing how to display it well keeps me from enjoying it. What do you do in a case like that?

    • Terri, you may want to wander on over to the Nester’s website (she’s also doing the 31 days so her website should be listed somewhere on this site). She just did a post yesterday on having too many things and how it can be freeing to let some of it go.

  17. What a great post, this is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately since we just moved into our new home and have lots of hand-me-downs.

    I’m getting better at being satisfied with what we have but can’t help dream of getting a new couch to replace the very old one. I’ve been unifying things with white lately, spray paint, frames, curtains, fabric.

    Thanks for the tips and inspiration!
    Jessica recently posted..Picture Frame ProjectsMy Profile

  18. I kinda feel like that..not sure things really go together. I’m working on it, but very slowly (C;

  19. Oh, I’ve so missed coming here over the last few days!

    Love this post. I could do with taking it to heart. My problem is not so much hand me down or mismatched furniture, I think I handle them pretty well, it’s the things the previous owners did decoration-wise that we just can’t budget in right away that really gets me down cos I don’t want to spend time, money or energy unifying a look I really dislike. Does that make sense? It does get me down though and I do need to something about it! May just need to take a look around some of the rooms with a fresh eye.
    Carin recently posted..Art journal- Soul purposeMy Profile

  20. I love the idea to slipcover an ottoman. I have a big one that matches the furniture, but it’s really too much of the same color. So I’m going to root through my fabric stash and see what I can come up with. I can’t even begin to spend the time creating a slipcover for my loveseat, so I’m going to focus on the ottoman and some throw pillows, because those are things I can definitely handle. Thanks for the inspiration!

  21. Oh, I always like reading your posts. Especially when they make me feel like I can do with what I have (with a little tweaking of course) . How freeing (:
    erin recently posted..Helpful Bloggers Kate at Oh WriteMy Profile

  22. Nicole W. says:

    Thank you for the inspiration and gentle encouragement!

  23. this is a great post. I’ve definitely been struggling with discontentment, especially with my larger pieces of furniture, lately. I think I need to stop whining about it and spend a little money just to make things easier to live with. I think slipcovers and paint work wonders and they may just be the missing link for me and my contentment with my couch and other furniture!
    Courtney recently posted..and the winner isMy Profile

  24. Great post. Things don’t have to go together to go together! You can have a cohesive look with a mix of different thing. And I think a room is more interesting that way. You had some great tips.
    Anita recently posted..Recessed Magazine RackMy Profile

  25. Oh Melissa, you speak to me today! I am working on finding ways to unify our stuff as its mostly mismatched as we combined two households when we got married. It will take time…but I am determined to start painting furniture soon…as soon as I figure out whether I want to go with white, black or chocolate brown. Decisions, decisions!!!

    Thanks again for more inspiration! You are doing great on your 31 days! You can do it! :) I love your sense of humor thrown in…you are dealing with the challenge very well. You are a better woman than I! I write three days a week.
    Mary Joy recently posted..Discovering the JewelsMy Profile

  26. Barbara (WA) says:

    One time I added up the costs of everything in a bedroom that I loved from a furniture/decor retailer whose style I adore. The cost for that bedroom ? $20,000 – egads, for one room of furniture and accessories. SO, your blog presents a much more sane and realistic picture of how most of us live !! That said, I have done well unifying my living area but the master bedroom needs help. I will take your advice of “editing out” things that contribute to mess in there.

  27. Your ideas are always spot on and something that is so true and practical…I love my white slipcovers….and adding a pop of color makes they work with any season.
    I’ve never had “go together furniture” it’s always been what I pick up here and there.
    Love this post …
    cute doggies.
    teresa recently posted..John &amp Libbys Fall party-My Profile

  28. M,
    I notice frequent references to your SWINE paint. I have a very similar color in my living room that I interpret as Blush; I love it. It is cozy in the winter and refreshing in the summer, reflects lots of light year round and is so neutral it goes with just about everything.

    It appears that this is a fantastic opportunity to reframe your thinking about SWINE, and it just might become less offensive to you…in keeping with your overall premise that no real home is perfect.
    Happy Fall!

    • Great thoughts Laura, I actually have a post that addresses this scheduled for tomorrow! Hope it will help clarify this topic of contentment verses desire to improve something. :-) Thanks so much for your words of wisdom!

  29. You have such great taste. I love how you have pulled everything together and how artistically you have arranged the pictures on your walls. I’m good at copying but not quite as good at coming up with things on my own. Your rooms inspire me. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.

    I see you have a naughty doggie who likes to play with the toilet paper! I have a naughty pussycat you loves to drag rolls out of the cabinet and roll them around on the floor while mauling them.

    I love your dogs.

    Have a great one!
    Elizabeth
    Elizabeth recently posted..A Simple Womans Daybook- October 12thMy Profile

  30. When I was a newly wed people would ask me how I was decorating and I would say “Early Attic”. Not much has changed….. but Iam going to see what I can do with some king size sheets!
    Fiona’s Mosaic recently posted..Last Fall Things………My Profile

  31. I agree with you, sometimes when things seem out of sync in a room I just sit back and analyze what it is that’s bothering me. Sometimes it’s a simple re-arrangement of furniture, but the slipcover idea is so great for those of us with furniture that needs to be re-upholstered or replaced.
    As always, great advice.

  32. Wow! You are reading my mind! I’ve been reading your 31 Days series and I’ve been surprised by how many of your posts reflect things I have just done in my house. This is a perfect example. Recently, I painted all of my mismatched wood tones black. I accented with a few pieces that I made black with dark stained tops. (I tried to be very Pottery Barn.) Bringing the space together with paint brought so much calm to the space. It is cohesive and if the kids scratch it up, I just go get the paint from the garage.

    I have really been enjoying your posts! I feel like you and I are on the same page, except you know what you are doing and you are purposeful about what, how, and why you make changes. I’m just making changes on a whim and hoping they look good. Thank for making me feel like I’m doing the right thing in my home!

    Here’s my blog, if you want to stop by and see some of the rooms and furniture I’ve done.
    becca-homeiswheremystorybegins.blogspot.com

    Becca
    Becca recently posted..A Working Moms Best FriendMy Profile

  33. My living room would qualify – old gray couch, newish maroon couch, two rust colored chairs, one new glider in oak and brown BUT I don’t hardly notice all that because the forest green roses wallpaper totally keeps your eyes off the furniture and dark, dark, gorgeous wood trim.

    SO. In the long run (hopefully not longer than another year) I’ll be removing the wallpaper and painting, then I’ll add pillows and throws in colors that go with the paint (already bought fabric when it was being clearanced) to use with the furniture. Probably even slipcovers I make myself is a long, long time in the future, but it’s reassuring to have a plan and know it can be implemented one slow, affordable step at a time!
    Abbie recently posted..A big questionMy Profile

  34. Great post, it helps us to realize that we can with a bit of effort and also a bit of money, unify what ever we have and be happy with it. Thanks for all of your great ideas.
    Hugs, cindy
    Cindy recently posted..My Favorite PhotoMy Profile

  35. Melissa,
    I just cannot begin to thank you enough for your inspiring posts! I have learned so much from you, and continue to do so too!:)

    Our DR is basically one large window in a wall, so I am taking down the ceiling-mounted curtains (sheers too – all ‘inherited’ with the house). After painting the wall a warm salmon, I will put up a fruitwood blind, then hang ‘curtains’ of canvas painter’s cloth. Our DR set used to be maple, but I had a local woodworker stain it cherry to fit in with our other furniture better. The seats were reupholstered in a woven, no pattern, fabric that has lots of colors in it. After getting a small sample of paint I ‘test-painted’ foamboard and held it up to the furniture. The wood and fabric just ‘warm’ when placed near the salmon ‘wall’!

    I recognize that lower-toothed-grin…our Lhasa Apso has been unrolling the TP too but only in the last year of his 15 years – weird. Speaking of TP, remember the colored stuff?! I was young but you could have green, pink, blue, peach, white, or even patterns of different styles!

  36. For the longest time, our living room drove me crazy. I loved our big red sectional couch (a statement piece by itself), but I thought red was my accent color and made the place look like a Cincinnati Reds game room. Not really, but it felt overwhelming. Then I realized that the only place I needed red was in my couch, and I de-redded the rest of the room. All of the accessories are now natural colors and textures, and the room feels sooooo much warmer and comforting than before. And the couch doesn’t have to have an identity crisis seeing red all over the place. Basically I tried to over-unify and get too matchy matchy. Now it’s coordinated, comfortable, and I love it. Great great tips.
    Kendra recently posted..31 Days to an Inspired Table Day 13- Hit the Farmers MarketsMy Profile

  37. Melissa -
    You touched a place in my heart that needed to be touched. It seems my house is never ‘right’! I have so much that is lovely and just need to finish projects and painting – one at a time. Someone – was it you? – used the dropcloths for window coverings. I need to head for the home improvement store and check them out!
    ~Adrienne~
    Adrienne recently posted..Gratitude and Early Signs Of FallMy Profile

  38. You say your house isn’t perfect. Probably people who live in larger homes, with huge decorating bucks, still think their house isn’t perfect either. I looked at your pics and I saw beautiful, comfortable, relaxing spaces. A house I’d love to visit. A house so lovingly cared for with a loving family (photo wall) and a family who knows how to laugh and not sweat the small stuff (pic of puppy chewing toilet paper — I can relate!). Because of your post, I am going to view my furnishings with a less critical eye and to make small changes to unify my spaces.

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