More about rules & matchy-matchy

marti8aOctober 18, 2010

You've all seen the discussions on the HD forum. I've said before that I like things that match. I think I finally figured out why, and wondered if the same thing might be the reason some people love the layered & cluttered look, and some like the decluttered & matching look.

I spent some time with a neighbor & her son this weekend. The son is ADHD. Being around him reminded me how much I was like him at that age, and in a lot of ways, still am. I have always been hyper & disorganized. I've worked on coping skills since I was in grade school (because ADHD wasn't diagnosed then & I was just called a problem student) and I taught myself how to concentrate on one thing at a time. I don't multi-task well and because I'm naturally disorganized, I fight clutter constantly.

I grew up in a cluttered house and always thought I liked matching stuff because the mismatched stuff makes me think of being poor. And it does. But also, matching things are ordered and calming. Rooms without real clutter, but with lots of decoration make me irritable. Even though I think they are pretty, I could never live there. After a weekend at my mother's house, I am snapping at everyone and have to get out of there.

Anyway, I was just curious now if other people like certain ways of decorating because their personality is either calm or hyper, or something else.

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I have never thought about this in this light.....interesting!

I am afraid I am also a "matchy-mathcy" person...and yes, clutter and disorganized rooms just drive me crazy. DH is always leaving things out and never putting them away and I spend so much of my time just picking up after him and putting things back where "they belong".

I hope more will respond....and do those who like mis-matched things mind cluttered rooms? You have started an interesting thread.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 11:40AM
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yes, interesting. I don't like things real matchy-martchy. I also don't like huge contrast either.

I don't need chairs to be in same color/fabric as sofa - JA a co-coordinating fabric and a slight pattern would be fine. I don't care for stripes or plaids in furniture tho - or curtains. or just about anything except maybe a plaid flannel shirt. I like those.

I prefer old furniture usually to new or modern stuff and I like earth colors.

I live in a bunch of clutter and disorganization now - and I do think it contributes to my stress level - and even more disorganization. I'll be so happy to move and have a place for everything to 'live'.

I like things organized and clean but I'm not one to go nuts cleaning or demanding NOTHING be out of place.

I guess I just don't like the extreme in either direction.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 12:38PM
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I live in clutter & disorganization right now too Steph, and really, I have lived this way since we moved into this house. If I ever decide to remodel another house while living in it, I hope one of you will reach through the computer and slap me!

I always say I can have more stuff than places to put it, therefore, one room is always a junk room. Right now, that room is the den, and it's worse than usual since we moved all our regular junk in there, along with clearing out the living room so we could do the floors. I put my foot down and said the junk wasn't going back in there, since it's the first room people see when they walk in the house. But now I'm piling my garage sale/get-rid-of stuff there so it's not a clear room either.

Sometimes I go into the bathroom, because they are the only rooms without clutter, just to calm my nerves and get a grip on my resolve to get rid of stuff.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 1:19PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

WOW! I just read the above posts, and find elements of myself in all of them!

I decorate mostly with second-hand, hand-me-down, and thrift store items, so I don't need matchy-matchy, except for colors. I've always been calmed by earth-tones--I thought it was because when our kids were small, there was so much activity IN the house, that I wanted the house itself to be neutral. I'm happy with my colors, but when I look at photos, I realize that the decor might seem boring to others.

I would like to be organized and have everything 'in it's place', but I have come to realize that it's the place I choose, not the place my hubby chooses, so if he leaves it out, it's not intentional--maybe just doesn't make sense to him.

I'm middle-of-the-road on clutter--I like wide open space, but like a certain number of 'treasures' where I can see them. Also strive for 'unbalanced symmetry', with an odd number of items, usually three. I raised three kids--don't ask me if they're 'unbalanced'. ;)

I keep the main rooms of the house organized and clean--everything else waits its turn--sometimes for a looooong time. ALWAYS have a junk room, and also a junk drawer in the kitchen (or close proximity).

Since starting a remodel two and a half years ago, my house is less organized, and I am more stressed as a result. I'm afraid I am permanently affected--it's getting harder to remember the organized, pre-remodel idyll.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 2:02PM
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LOL, I'm afraid I am permanently affected too. I used to be puzzled because I was so organized at work and so disorganized here. But work was so simple. My desk, my to-do file, file cabinets, and work done taken to the boss. No stacks of clutter to step over, work around, or figure out where they might go.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 3:17PM
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Very interesting thread! I do not like "heavily cluttered" rooms, but I also don't like minimalistic rooms, where there's one item on the coffee table and everything is gray, black and white, except maybe one accent piece. Too contrived for me, but I'm sure others love it :)

For me, it's more about balance and spatial relations. I'm a bit of a math geek sometimes, so I like my house to be very much like my garden design (I plant a lot in mirror reverse and have a very formal design in my kitchen garden, but I plant cottage style plants, all growing together) so I guess I'm going for a kind of ordered chaos. Is that even possible? LOL

If the layout and the furniture placement is good...and there's plenty of storage, then a little clutter is okay. However, if it gets to the point where I can't find things, or the bookcases are getting top heavy, then that's too much. Usually two to five things on a counter or table is okay...then it's time to clean!

The biggest problem I have is probably color. While I can appreciate many rooms in a magazine, I could NEVER live in a red room, or orange for that matter and even yellow drives me a little crazy. I'm best in blue, lavender, green and neutrals. Maybe a little pastel yellow or pink just to warm things up a bit, but that's it. I mostly stick with green in living areas and blue in bedrooms and kitchens. Right now I'm surrounded by wood and beige, but with enough green, it feels like the outdoors, so that's okay :)

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 5:43PM
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Growing up (I'm 26), the house was never super organized or un cluttered. It wasn't a pig sty but it certainly wasn't super clean and organized.

Now, as an adult who owns his own home, I HATE clutter. It drives me crazy. It does not drive my partner crazy. Thus, I occasionally get irritable.

My Mom could be a hoarder if she wanted to and she knows it - she stops herself from getting more stuff, but she has too much. I'm the opposite. I don't always have *enough* and I throw too much out sometimes.

I am naturally rather disorganized/somewhat lazy so some level of clutter/messiness doesn't bother me but I go crazy when things are left in an undone state...which they have been lately and it makes me goofy.

I have no problem with colours...I know exactly what colours I like and want and that's that. The problem arises in trying to convince my partner that I'm right ;). He likes pastels and soft/light colors and I like deep, rich colors. I usually get my way but I had to give in and let him paint the parlor yellow...YUCK! I've learned to ignore it, though.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 12:23AM
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Yellow walls sound like a good background for deep, rich colors though.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 12:43PM
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I find this thread very interesting also. It makes sense to me. I like a balanced room, but that does not always have to be totally symmetrical. It can have Asymmetrical balance, just so you don't feel the room is going to tip over and everything slide to one side. That would be quite unsettling.

And I truly do not like the huge recliners. They are beginning to make some that fit better into smaller houses. It is very important to me that there is space around each piece of furniture to allow it to breathe, and to let me enjoy looking at it too. Giving something SPACE says it is important.

One way I give my living room space is by placing the bookshelves behind the sofa. I've done that for about the last three houses I've lived in. When you have a wall or floor vent that cannot be covered up, placing a bookcase without a back on it, you can leave the shelf empty near it, and then float a sofa or love seat in front of that. In our current little Alabama cottage, the room is not big enough to give MUCH space between the sofa and the book cases behind it, but I do manage with about 5 inches. I began doing this at the river house we rented, which had a huge return air vent in one wall of the living room, and the empty shelf in the bookcase worked perfectly. I did set a tall statue on the shelf, which did not block the air flow. And with the HVAC vents being in the floor, I instead pulled the bed into the center of the room beneath the ceiling fan, and backed the tall double chest against the headboard....thus creating a private dressing area and leaving the floor vents totally exposed. I painted the back of the tall chest a soft lavender, and it looked really good.

And about colors. Some houses demand more color than others. I love WARM TERRA COTTA, which is an earthy flower pot color. It gives a barn red look in lamplight, and is very satisfying with light or dark woods. I love white slip covers and white moldings/trim and lots of green plants. So I suppose I am fond of a burnt orange and deep green with white pallette.

Then again, I also like faint tints of white, like a soft ORANGE CONFECTION or LILTING LAUGHTER...all Behr paint colors. I am beginning to get the itch to try some of the Benjamin Moore colors. Now that has to be because of the Home Decorating forum, and also because I am a sucker for a paint with a GOOD NAME.

Anyyone else choose a paint because of its name? That is why I chose MELTED CHOCOLATE and FRESH PRALINE and ONLY NATURAL, and SMOKED OYSTER. I'm probably going to try the SMOKED OYSTER in our master bedroom in Alabama, because it is a soft grayish lavender, and might fit with ORANGE CONFECTION in the bathroom....all with semigloss white trim and woodwork, however. I haven't decided on the color for the walkin closet though. It will show when you enter the door of the bedroom. But it will come to me.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 2:38PM
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marti8a --

I also grew up in a highly cluttered home and I associated mis-matched furniture w/being poor. Now I've learned enough to realized there is mis-matched and there is eclectic :-)

Although I'm not a fan of matchy-matchy, I can't stand too much hodge-podge either. I defnitely don't like extreme layering or too many knick-knacks.

It makes total sense that your personality (or ADHD etc) will direct which style of decorating you prefer :-)

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 3:38PM
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marti8a, because I hate yellow, and so do my eyes, no color matches or goes well with yellow to me! I'm trying to figure out a color for the upstairs bathroom (The hallway is yellow) and I just can't get something to match the yellow.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 5:04PM
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Mismatched furniture is our whole house. YIKES NOTHING matches except the two recliners. And they are the smaller versions. Very comfortable. I also have two captains chairs that match. Well and the hoosier and enamel top table kind of match as in olden days they would have been a set and I painted them to match. I am feeling a big up heavel coming in our house. I bought new living room curtains today and DH did not have a fit about them. We are still trying to decide on pellet stove verses ventless heater for back up heat. Everything hinges on what we decide. Also do we leave the living room carpet or change it for the matching vinyl of the kitchen dinning room??

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 1:53AM
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I sort of match, but not to an extreme. Like comfort and knowing people can come into my house and feel at home. I don't like a lot of trinkets and have gotten rid of a bunch. Dusting furniture is enough. I'd call my house rustic, warm. Things do not match furniture wise, I love finding something interesting, especially something I can make even more interesting.

Chris, when I first moved into my house I was not sure all wood floors would work for me. It felt cold, but have gotten used to them. They do take more care in the bath and kitchen, but have throw rugs where the most use/wear is.

We are both in cold country, I'd go for keeping the carpet. My living room has an "almost" full size wool rug over the wood with an insulation pad underneath. The house doesn't feel cold in the mid of winter. You could try a full size rug over the existing rug...even more insulation and warmth. I'd guess the cost would be about the same too. Oh, forgot you already have the flooring. Carpet still sounds cozey to me in cold country.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 7:50AM
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We're not matchy-matchy either. We have an eclectic mix from antique to modern. We are working on clutter. Our walls for the most part are white, we have colors in artwork, needlework and glass. We have books galore. We have oak looking laminate on the floors except for the bath and the scullery which are both linoleum. We have antique Oriental rugs. We love dark woods. We've curbside shopped for years. We're thankful for our many blessings.

We've never been any certain style, or had matching pieces, except when we made a beautiful teak coffee table and matching end tables while living in Spain. They were really too big for our little cottage, so we sold them many years ago.

I did some Google searching and came up with the following.

Eclectic ~ selecting or choosing from various sources.

A Style for Those Who Want it All

The selection below is taken from:

Hectic Electic


Technically, eclectic is a style that borrows from two past styles; these styles separated by an intervening era. But it has taken on new meaning in the 21st century and now includes the blending of personal collections with the kitschy, the quirky, the unconventional.


We are all different individuals, living lives that work for us.

May our lives be full whether pieces in our homes are matchy-matchy or not.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 11:53AM
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I have to add something here. I do have to admit that I almost drool over kitchens with lots of matching cupboards. When I look at homes for sale the kitchen is the room I want to check out. If we ever moved, I'd enjoy more cupboard/storage space, and I have to have a window over the kitchen sink.

The first place DH and I lived in was an apt. in Spain while he served his 4 years in the US Navy. We lived there a little over 3 years. Our kitchen cupboards were metal, with marble counter tops. The kitchen table was aqua formica with matching chairs. We moved here into our 50's cottage fresh out of the Navy in 1973, and it had metal cabinets, the kitchen sink was porcelain and part of the floor cabinet, the top being all one piece, including drainboard on one side. We had a matching metal cabinet over the sink, that was it. So we've brought in different pieces over the years, as we are still living here, and have remodeled as time marches on. I love the kitchen/scullery space now. It really makes me happy, especially with the sun shining in, in the mornings.

We've always liked different elements and have blended them together, that's why we're eclectic.

I don't have anything against matching furniture, etc. it's just not who we are.

Ok, that's it from Plum Cottage, which is around 750 sq ft. of living space.

I'm going to go wash dishes enjoying the view out into our secret garden, while apple crisp is baking in the oven.

Hope you all have a nice evening wherever you live. Home is truly where are hearts are. Home is what we make it with what we have at any given time.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 4:22PM
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FlowerLady, you are definitely appealing to more than the eye with your design ethic. Telling us about the APPLE CRISP in the oven, sunlight bringing the secret garden inside, feeling the warm soapy water as you dip your hands in the sink, hear the clink of rinsed dishes, and the soothing knowledge that your 750 square feet cradles you safely inside, it is wonderful.

Not many people can say they spent their married life in two places. You are blessed. My DH, who is now 78, lived in one home growing up, then in one rental apartment while in college, and then the last 49 years in this one cape less than 10 miles from where he was born. It will be a big change for him to move to Alabama permanently. He does not change his home easily, and I've had to coax him along.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 10:08PM
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ML ~ Change is hard, especially if you've stayed in one place so long. I do feel for your DH.

I moved around a lot as a kid, went to 14 schools in 12 years. Not cool at all. Maybe that's why I am such a homebody.

Thank you for your kind words about our little cottage. They made me smile and feel blessed with what we have here in our haven.

Hope your day is a good one whatever you do.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 8:20AM
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FlowerLady, change is very hard for my DH. I know it, and so I have done all I can to make his very personalized cape in MA as pleasing and comfortable as I can. The choice to make the move to south Alabama will be his, but I realize that at our age it is difficult to keep up two homes. Especially when HE does not want anyone else to touch HIS HOUSE. At the late stage of life where we connected, I can only imagine that his habit of doing everything himself is not going to change. He just about freaked out when he discovered me stripping wallpaper and moving furniture and throwing out artificial flowers (my pet peeve), and packing up 1000 pieces of stemware and china. He since has come to appreciate that more empty space is a good thing. And so have I. But while he keeps saying, "We'll sell next spring," he keeps postponing it again and again. But maybe, just maybe, before next summer is over, we will come to the sad moment where this lovely charming house can go forward with another family.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 3:22PM
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Marti- Thanks for the laugh! I feel like telling someone to slap me next time, too! Remodels are a MESS! I am counting down the days...

As for the matching or not--

I'm the kind of person who refuses to buy the furniture "suite." I want shapes and styles that compliment each other, but I don't want a "matching set." I like to vary lines and textures a bit. I always thought it was because it feels cozier and more approachable, but the ADD is a thought! ;)

Our home has been a collection of what I could find cheap and fast at Goodwill and thrift stores when we moved in (with nothing), so it's not really a reflection of us. It's more unmatched than intentionally "collected" right now, and it bothers me a lot. We are looking forward to a fesh start at the new house....if we ever get that far!

Nicknacks make me crazy, perhaps because I'm naturally distractable. When we packed up most of the house recently, my sister commented that it looked empty. I found it much more calming. I like enough out and on the walls to look finished, but not full by any means. I have a need for some "blank space."

As for hiding out in the bathroom to escape the remodeling clutter....I've done that, too!!

Great thread, ya'll!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 7:28AM
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I hope I don't step on anyone's toes here, but I've always stayed away from perfectly matching furniture, bedding, drapes, etc. I don't want my spaces to look like page 23 from Rooms To Go. However, if you came in and looked at my current home, you would think my decorating style fit somewhere between college dorm and my first place. But as a divorced guy with a 16 year old son living with him, I'm fine with that. No one from a home magazine is going to show up and take photos but we are comfortable. Maybe someday I can have something more of a showpiece but I doubt it. I can't seem to get my enthusiasm and creativity to sync up with available funds. Those two events haven't bumped into each other in a long time.

As for associations with poverty, I think that way about yards cluttered with junk. I grew up poor and the men in my neighborhood never threw anything away. Lawnmowers, bicycles, boats, whatever. They were always going to fix it up or use it for parts but that day never came. We also grew some of our own food and to this day I will not eat collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens or anything like that. I always associate that with poverty and regardless of the chef, I just can't go there.


    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 9:41PM
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I like structure in my job. I like doing something different everyday but I like knowing what's going to happen. But a surprise meeting once a week wont kill me. My home decor is like that too. Symmetry is all over my house but there is a spot in each room with a punch of something unexpected. My home is small and my furniture is small. I hate crowded spaces. Because of need for organization, I have a spot for clutter.

All rooms are in earthtone colors so my eye doesn't have to make changes when I go from room to room.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 7:38AM
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As a tool maker, my job is all about perfection, order, symmetry, etc. Maybe as a reaction to that, I like a comfy, eclectic, somewhat cluttered house. I like my floors a little time-worn, like people actually live there. I find myself uncomfortable in houses that are all matchy-matchy and too clean/organized. When I see a whisp of dog hair in a corner, I feel like I'm at home LOL!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 9:37AM
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This thread is leading to unexpected places. We've noticed the relationship between our childhood experiences and our life style or homelife now. And, Flgargoyle is so right to note that you have to balance the elements of a very organized exacting profession with a home style that gives you some breathing room.

In my case, working as a librarian for years and years, and being called upon for very proper and perfect language use, I would revert at home to using AIN'T etc. In my home, especially after I began work as a boat captain, I needed to have something alive around me. I began to indulge my passion for container plants. Never have liked fake plants. Over the years, I killed a lot of plants by leaving them outside during the months I was away at work on the oil field boats. These days, I have some favorite container plants that I drag with me, just like the parrots and the dogs, when I travel from Alabama to Massachusetts. I love to use live plants inside the house as part of my decorating. Better something alive around me than another piece of furniture. Right now, I am up north and the plants I could not bring with me for the stay, they are in good hands with a "babysitter."

Ever since the show HOARDERS came on TV, I've been questioning myself about clutter. At what point does it become too much. My efforts to keep the house safe to walk around in, find stored items easily, and enjoy the things we have.....that is important to me. I'm not a neat freak.
Things don't have to be high dollar, because I enjoy things which are rather primitive or old and abused. I like to have space around things so they will stand out. I also like to have enough storage that I can cycle accessories in and out of the rooms, and they will each have a time to star.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 1:49PM
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flgargoyle ~ I agree with your statement.

"I find myself uncomfortable in houses that are all matchy-matchy and too clean/organized. When I see a whisp of dog hair in a corner, I feel like I'm at home LOL!"


    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 7:54PM
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ML said "In my case, working as a librarian for years and years, and being called upon for very proper and perfect language use, I would revert at home to using AIN'T etc."

I had to laugh at that because I do the same thing at home. As an English teacher, not only did I have to correct grammar daily, but I had to model it. Now I get the biggest kick out of talking & writing "Texas Hillbilly".

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 8:58PM
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This is so interesting, I guess I've never linked someone's personality too much to their decor but it totally makes sense :) I'm a multi-tasker, like stuff on all the time, things going on and I am a determined non-matcher :) My mom is a more analytical thinker and definitely prefers her furnishings to match, not coordinate, match. I love how different people are :)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 10:23PM
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This is a bit OT since it has nothing to do with decor, but my dd#2 was home this weekend and we spent the afternoon playing card games with my in-laws. At one point, I looked at her and saw her head bopping up and down because she was bouncing her foot up & down while she played. And then I noticed I was doing the same thing. I like games, but sitting for long is a killer for both of us.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 10:46PM
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