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Scott McGillivray 'liked' my comment!

Yes, Scott and I are 'friends' on Facebook. Yesterday he posed the question: "what are your personal dos and don'ts when it comes to bedroom décor?" I replied: "NO matching bedroom 'sets'!"

Remember the days when soon-to-be-wed couples went off to the furniture store to buy their dining set, bedroom set and living room suite? Just add overbearing puffy valences and the 'instant home' was created!

Here is are a couple of excerpts on this very topic from my book Nest Building: A Guide To Finding Your Inner Interior Designer:

Does It Match?

My immediate response to that overly used question is: “Gosh, I hope not!” Unless your name is ‘Noah’, there’s no need to buy everything in pairs.

When items in a room match (i.e. all look the same), they provide structure and symmetry to an arrangement with little thought or effort. For many people, this type of order and predictability is necessary for them to feel at ease in a space. For others, including me, matching chairs, matching end tables and uniformity of colour represent design by default ... a safe and simple formulaic way to dress a room.

The red couch matches the red drapes; a black coffee table matches its black end tables; the artwork is all the same size, in identical frames and painted by the same artist; the fresh flowers and tissue-box cover on the windowsill match the cushions on the recliner … are you nodding off yet? It’s a bit like the game, Snap, using furnishings instead of playing cards.

In today’s design vernacular matching has been replaced with terms like ‘coordinating’, ‘complementary’ and ‘goes well with’. These terms are less rigid and restricting. In practice, this means that a room full of seemingly dissimilar dining chairs will appear well coordinated if they share at least one common trait—the same wood stain or upholstery fabric, for example.

Houses Are Built; Homes Are Grown

Wouldn’t it be great to buy a new home and, before you move in, have everything brand spanking new and ready to go? Nooooooooo!

The instant just-add-people approach to creating a home may be appropriate if you lead a nomadic life and are continually moving from one place to another. It’s also appropriate if your sense of belonging is not contingent upon a physical structure. But, for the rest of us, whose sense of home begins at home, moving into a house is not the same as finding a home. You have to move into the building and then begin to grow your home.

"A good home must be made, not bought."

Joyce Maynard – a contemporary American author and syndicated columnist.

If you try to furnish and decorate a new living environment in one fell swoop, you run the risk of creating a shallow, one-dimensional stage set where everything comes from the same style and era and reflects your mood and preferences during a very narrow and finite period of time; i.e. the few stressful weeks before you moved in! The choices you make at that moment are likely to be more about expedience and convenience than conscious, creative nesting. It is the equivalent of summing up your entire life in a snapshot versus a feature film.

Picture in your mind a typical instant living room circa 2008 complete with flawless hardwood flooring, a leather sofa and matching club chairs, a couple of pieces of mass produced art, taupe walls and a pot of curly green bamboo shoots. Even worse than that, in your haste to have a move-in-ready house, you might be tempted to install a bedroom ‘suite’—an all-inclusive package of cloned end tables, matching dresser and bed with a pair of identical table lamps flanking either side.

On the other hand, when you cultivate a home from the inside instead, you give it roots one precious tendril at a time. What seems cold and empty to start with, soon develops its own personality and begins to write its own story.

Read more about my Nest Building book at

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