The Hens are children of the '50s and '60s. Watch any movie or commercial depicting that era and you will see the decor of our childhoods! Matchy, matchy, matchy! The long sofa had matching end tables, both holding identical lamps. The coffee table was usually part of a matched set to the end tables. The occasional chairs that rounded out the living room always matched in style and fabric and often duplicated the pattern on the drapes, nary a throw pillow in sight!
Then there were matching bedroom suites and dining sets; a sea of wood finish, identical in design. Kathy’s mother was thrilled to have ALL of the furniture in their house made of Hard Rock Maple. Kathy said it was like growing up in a caramel-hued womb!
Hen Carrie painted us a familiar picture with her description of the patio room in her childhood home. A tiki bar made of bamboo with skirting of fringed palm leaves, matching rattan sofa and chairs in corresponding Hawaiian bark cloth. A ceramic tiki mug collection complete with multicolored swizzle sticks and umbrellas along with tiki torches and anything and everything carved from coconuts (bar accessories, candle holders, wall art) were the touches that said “very hip party!”
Hen Susi also described her childhood home as the perfect advertisement for 1960’s style. Every wood piece from the living room, to the dining room, to the bedrooms came from the same manufacturer.
Like all questionable choices (leg warmers, big hair and bell-bottoms), styles and trends eventually come to an end. No longer do home designers showcase perfectly matched pieces. Maybe a few corresponding throw pillows with a complementing pattern on drapes, but gone are the days of purchasing furniture sets of the same style and finish.
We have now entered the generation of juxtaposition, focusing our style efforts on contrast and visual interest. The wow factor now comes from an eclectic combination of pieces whose color and style may blend but with enough contrast to make each piece stand out on its own. Susi’s living room is a case in point. She has a vintage red leather sofa, a grey sofa and a green sofa. Each has its own individual style and is displayed amongst cowhide occasional chairs, painted furniture, pine antiques and an authentic Native American totem pole! Nothing matches, but it all blends to create a beautiful cohesive look.
So mix it up and buy what makes you happy, be it a set of ghost chairs with a farmhouse table or a deer head hung above a modern sofa. If it makes you happy you have found your style. Embrace it!
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