Mixing not matching

Morning thought I might talk about mixing not matching this morning. Matching is easy it’s why everybody is doing it;  mixing is far harder. WHY well because when nothing  matches  its quite a challenge to somehow get a room to feel like it makes perfect sense and that it feels balanced and harmonised when everything in the room is from a different era, or maybe a different material, texture or colour. I love mixing but then I cheat a little bit and mix in pairs. For instance I have two loungy chairs upholstered in the same hue in the TV nook. I have two ostrich tables with two poodles sitting atop each alcove in my studio and my dining chairs are pairs of odd chairs rather than everything being different. The reason for the occasional doubling up is I want all my rooms to feel balanced, harmonious and not crazy, so it’s a good tip. Also you don’t want to overdo it on the pairing up trick otherwise the room will feel boring so no matching furniture sets please or bedside tables and lamps as that is a design crime! You never know when one of my task force will be banging on your door issuing you a ticket for such an offence (gosh I wish I had a design task force, my idea of heaven)!

The other trick when mixing styles as I say probably a trillion times a day is to reign in the colour palette.  Do that and you can mix far more easily if you only have a few hues fighting for attention rather than every single piece because what it does is cancel it out big time. I stick to 3 maybe 4 dominant hues and it works for me.

Big thank you to the Times for putting my blog in the 50 top websites you cannot live without. Thank you guys, very flattered

An image below of the mismatched dining chair look, although some of the chairs are the same, for me at least it feels a little too unbalanced but hey its a personal thing.


And my dining area where some of the chairs are in pairs.

mypad 17

Happy Thursday

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19 thoughts on “Mixing not matching

  1. Hi Abigail,
    I absolutely love your blog and would give my back teeth to hear you speak in Sydney!! Sadly I am not in the trade… So can’t come.
    Any chance of being able to buy one of your books??
    Am thinking idly of planning a stealth operation to gain entry anyway and steal one if I have to!! Just kidding – last thing I want is to cause any trouble!!
    Enjoy this city, it’s flippin hot at present so bring some air con!
    Claire x

    • Hi Claire I am sure we will be able to get you into the book signing leave it with me and one of our guys will be in contact. I know also some stores in Sydney are taking the books will try and find out who.

      • Abi,
        I would love also to know where in Sydney is going to stock your book… so disappointed your talk is trade only. Wishing you a great time in Sydney.

      • Hi Hannah, we are trying to sort something out to do a book signing in a store one of the days we are there, so I’ll post it on the blog and fb and hope to see you next week.

  2. shall await the task force’s knock at my door! offence, matching bedsides (oak blocks) with matching lamps… but they’re staying! haha… my compromise for the bf’s love of symmetry and on the matchy matchy scale of design crimes i figure things could be worse… but if i ever start matching my bedspreads to my curtains to my lampshades i’ll personally give your design police my front door key! ;)

  3. Hi Abigail, Your blog is brilliant. I constantly check it for inspiration and ideas, and it’s so great that you’re willing to spend your time sharing all your knowledge with us. I’m currently in the middle of a very tiny bathroom refurb. Unfortunately there’s no space for a freestanding bath and separate shower. Do you have any tips for making bath panels look a bit more interesting! They just seem so ugly, even when tiled!

    • Its a tough one. You can do something like wallpaper then and than apply yaughting varnish over the top to keep out the water or if I were you I would tile them out the same colour as the bath so they go away and then apply some magic to the rest of the space whether you have an amazing colour on the walls, some cool art on the walls, flowers, candles that sort of thing. Its personal obvioulsy but if it were me I wouldn’t draw attention to the panels I would want them to go away x

  4. Hi Abi! Enjoyed the masterclass in Nov and have FINALLY moved into my blank-canvas flat, awaiting my AA-inspired makeover! Can I ask you about fireplaces? I have a chimney but nothing else at the mo…any tips? I would like an open fire of some sort, the flat is Victorian with decent ceiling height. Should I make it a big fat feature? What sort of fireplace? Surround? I like the simple brick chimney breast in your dining room. Decisions, decisions! Any advice gratefully received! Thanx.x

    • I would make it a big feature if you can. I am pretty obsessed with the plaster surrounds you saw all over my house in each and every room for a number of reasons. Firstly having a surround means you can layer up the mantle which always looks beautiful and secondly it really anchors the whole room. Have a look on our website as we stock and sell the plaster surrounds in the store. x

      • Abigail, I love your plaster fire surrounds. However, my house was built in 1960 and so lacks period features (although it was very stylish and avante garden at the time). Would the ornate plaster look out of place in a large, boxy room or do the opposite and look fantastically unexpected? Would be nice to soften the straight lines of the room….

      • Not at all. If you check out on 4od Get Your House in Order, last year on the programme I put a plaster fireplace in the episode featuring Stuart and Anna. Their Manchester flat was super small and boxy with low ceilings and it looked fab. It was a slightly different one to the one on our website skinnier in feel but if you’re room is large the standard ones would be fab. Any kind of fire surround adds intrigue and for me the more embellished the better particularly if you paint it (and you will need to paint it and its only white plaster) out the same colour as your walls

  5. Hello… I’ve been skulking about your website and HAVE to say, I am TOTALLY blown away. I love how fresh, inspiring and brilliant your perspective is and your direct and elegant way of writing. Stunning work!

  6. Mixing does create a much more interesting look than matching but I’m always worried it will look too busy. I’m currently trying to better balance and define the look of my flat and I’m definitely seeking out a more eclectic look. At the moment though eccentric might be a better word for it ;)

  7. I always play it safe and everything matches and is quite neutral, it’s nice to read your advice and know if I suddenly see a unique piece of furniture that isn’t part of my original scheme, I could still cleverly incorporate it. Also, that especially as I never over use colour, I could introduce a feature piece in a vibrant hue.

  8. Pingback: Verschillende stoelen aan tafel - Liefs, M

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