mixing painted pieces in a room

Marian ParsonsDecorating, Tips and Tricks15 Comments

I received an e-mail from one of my readers asking a question I get pretty frequently, so I thought I would write the answer in a post.  Here is the question…

“How do you decide what color to paint various pieces of furniture in a room. Do you paint each piece a different color or all of them the same. I have several I’d like to paint but can’t decide the colors. I don’t want to end up with a mismatch of colors.

Thanks, Virgil”

Well, there really isn’t a right or wrong way to mix or match painted pieces, but since I’m being asked, I’ll throw in my two cents in.

I am in the eclectic camp when it comes to putting a room together.  I think if you paint every single piece of furniture in a room the same color, it can make the room look a little flat, monotone.  Not always.  In the hands of the right creative, all white furniture or all black or blue or whatever can look amazing.  More often than not, though, it looks like you started using one color of paint and didn’t know when stop.

My favorite way to mix painted pieces is the use variations of the same color.

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At a first glance, it might look like the stool, trunk and side table are all painted the same color, but they actually aren’t. They are all painted in variations of a blue/green mix.  The colors all work together, but they don’t look exactly the same.  They look like collected pieces, which they are.  I painted the bed frame white, though, to set it apart from the other painted pieces.

I’m also a big fan of mixing painted pieces with wood finishes.  The mix makes a space more interesting. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

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And I do like mixing painted pieces that are different colors, but there does need to be something that connects them together in the space.  Fabric and art are a great way to unify different colors used throughout the space, so the mix looks intentional.  In the case of my dining room, the painting of Eulalie and the blue and white checked fabric help to unify the painted pieces.  None of the pieces “match”, but they all make sense together.

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If you’re not sure what you want to do in your space, I would suggest just painting one piece and live with it for a while.  See how it plays with the other pieces in the room.  If it feels like another piece needs to be painted, then paint another one.  It’s not something you need to rush into.  I have found that rushing often ends badly!  Take your time and live with a change for a while before you plow into even more change.

Trust me on that one!

mixing painted pieces in a room

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15 Comments on “mixing painted pieces in a room”

  1. I am a big fan of using pieces all in the same color family but in different shades. I love to do this with white especially. I think adding different textures and shades of white are so interesting. Love your style so much.

  2. Thank you for this post! I have been thinking about painting my current coffee table and to matching end tables. The are a golden oak and very heavy. They all have matching legs and “skirts”. Because they are a matching set, should they all be exactly the same color when painted? Thank you for your input.

  3. I’ve gotten carried away with Farrow and Ball No30 Hague Blue….walls ceiling windows it looks amazing we love it ? but I need a statement colour of a big old mirror ….. bed side cabinets I’ve done in a charcoal colour with new knobs. But the mirror need to be different

  4. Thank you for this post! Very relevant to me right now, as I have been painting furniture for my daughter’s new apt in NYC all summer. I think I followed your guidelines. Based on the fabrics, I decided on a kind of quiet coastal palette for the large pieces – gray, navy, off-white with brushed nickel hardware and the small accents are in in robin’s egg blue. It looks fantastic and cohesive.

  5. I’m a fan of mixing painted pieces with regular wood finishes. I find it adds dimension to a room and warms it up.

  6. Something I’ve found to help in the color choice dilemma is to paint a small wood accent piece or frame (bowl, tray or anything wood), in this case multiple pieces. Then seeing the look/feel of how the colors work together. It can encourage you to move forward. I’ve never been disappointed and have always found a place for the small painted piece(s) because they are colors I like & use.

  7. Always love your posts. I’m, inspired and and motivated everyday by reading them. I loved seeing your son paint his little table, so precious. There are a lot of blogs out there, but you are my favorite; please stay true to yourself. So grateful.

  8. This was a great question and I have struggled with t myself. I like the idea of using a variation of the same color to give just a bit of difference but still having it fit in

  9. Thank you for this post. Your idea to slightly vary the color of painted pieces is subtle, but effective. I have old oak woodwork in my family room. I have a mantel, french doors, a bookcase and a window with shutters. I want to paint these, but have been paralyzed thinking about what color(s) to use. Perhaps your idea of using a variation of one color might work somehow.

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