Posted Dec 5, 2014

Create a Cohesive Design with Mismatched Apartment Furniture

When you’re first starting out, you probably have to decorate your apartment on a budget, which means not purchasing an entire matching set of living room or bedroom furniture (one can dream though, right?).

This may leave you with a motley crew of apartment furniture composed of your parents’ hand-me-down sofa, your college fold-up chair, the bed from your childhood room and the end table you found at a thrift store.

Create a Cohesive Design with Mismatched Apartment Furniture

While all these pieces certainly do function, they may not look like they belong together. Fortunately, your mismatched ensemble of less-than-perfect furnishings can be transformed into a cohesive design (Nate Berkus, celebrity interior designer, would be so proud)!

Check out Lovely’s tips for turning your uncoordinated decor into a perfectly unified space:

Know What You Want

Right now your apartment may be a bit discombobulated (as far as furniture goes), but you probably have an idea of what your personal decor heaven looks like. Latch onto those ideas! Use them as inspiration.

Consider compiling an inspiration board that features your favorite designs on Pinterest. See a modern sofa online you wish you owned? Pin it. Found the perfect color palette? Pin it. Notice yourself drooling over a room on a decor website? Pin it! These images can become your guide when repurposing the furniture you already own.

Reimagine Your Belongings

Once you have a good idea of what you wish your apartment furniture looked like, you can work toward achieving your decor dreams. Take a look at the items you already have and see how you can morph them into the items you want.

Would a new paint job elevate that dresser? Could a fabric update liven your chair? The process of reimagining your living space may require some staring at furniture and visiting do-it-yourself blogs, but you’ll come up with some nifty upcycle ideas eventually.

Makeover Your Furniture

Your furniture may come a certain way, but you don’t have to leave it. Use your ideas to revamp your belongings. Here are a few DIY projects to alter your furniture:

Paint: Dressers, end tables, desks, etc., can all be painted a new color. If they’re made of wood, you can even re-stain them! Of course, it’s not as easy as slapping on a single coat—you’ve got to work for it! These steps will guide you through the repainting process so your furniture update will last:

Mismatched Apartment Furniture - Staining

  1. Remove hardware such as knobs.
  2. Wash the piece using a damp sponge and gentle soap.
  3. Sand the furniture when it’s dry wherever you’ll apply paint (but not if you’re restaining).
  4. Paint on a primer and let it dry.
  5. Sand again (but not if you’re restaining).
  6. Paint the piece using a color or stain of your choice, and let it dry.
  7. Apply a sealant, such as wax or poly made for furniture.
  8. Replace the hardware.

Update Hardware: If you don’t want to repaint your furniture, you can simply replace the knobs or handles. This easy upgrade requires a screwdriver and new hardware—seems simple enough, right?

Apply Wallpaper: Instead of painting, you can add pattern and color to your furniture using wallpaper. It’s easiest to apply the paper to a flat surface, so consider picking furniture without molding. Of course, you can apply wallpaper just to the inside or outside of the molding (just not on top of it). Follow the instructions to lay out sheets on your belongings:

Mismatched Apartment Furniture - Wallpaper Makeover

  1. Remove hardware.
  2. Trace your furniture face on the wallpaper (so you’ll have the exact size down).
  3. Cut the piece out.
  4. Follow the instruction with the wallpaper for adhering it. It usually just takes some water.
  5. Place the sticky side to your furniture, then use a brayer to smooth out any bubbles.
  6. Replace the hardware.

Reupholster: Any furniture that has fabric on it (aka chairs and sofas) can be reupholstered. This means stripping the existing fabric and replacing it with new fabric.

Replace Legs: Some tables are built with just a flat surface standing on legs. If your table is like this, you can update it by replacing the legs. Stores like Ikea allow you to purchase legs separately from table tops at a pretty reasonable price.

Coordinate Updates

Upgrading your furniture won’t do much good for coordination if you don’t plan first. Everything you do should be to make the items match. Now we don’t mean you have to create a room that’s overly matchy matchy—we just mean all the design elements should be in harmony.

You might paint your dresser a color that’s in the pattern on your upholstery fabric. Consider selecting a color and pattern scheme before you do any DIY projects. This will help you figure out what pieces will get what upgrades.

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Create a Cohesive Design with Mismatched Apartment Furniture

Photo Credit: Stacie, decor8 holly

Niccole Schreck


Niccole is the Senior Brand Manager at Lovely. She has a passion for drinking wine, making things (often with wine corks), and helping renters find a perfect place to live.

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One response to “Create a Cohesive Design with Mismatched Apartment Furniture”

  1. Miriam says:

    Don’t forget flea markets! It is possible to acquire fantastic statement items at a small fraction of
    the price. Some need a bit of TLC but some are simply
    items that folks would like to get rid of!

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