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Remodeling "Matching" Misconceptions



"I can't find a floor that matches the kitchen cabinets!"


"I'm having trouble choosing a shower tile that matches the bathroom floor"


"I have an open-plan space and need to find a color that works for the whole area"


"I've found the sofa I like, but the matching chairs are too large for my space"



Sound familiar?  Notice a common theme?


Matching things up when remodeling may seem like the "safe" thing to do, but often you end up with a rigid (and lets face it, somewhat boring) space.  At its worst, you could end up with an overwhelmingly unbalanced and monotone area.


I say...


"Why the desperate need to match?"

"Shake/mix things up a little! Be creative!"

"Use variation to create interest"

"Colors and textures are powerful tools - lets use them!"


With my clients, and in my projects, I ban the word "match" unless there really is a need for it.  "Tying-in" and "echoing" are words that give you more design flexibility and more accurately reflect what I believe is a far better mental approach to a remodel design. 


Of course, I'm not saying never match things up - it really depends on the look you're aiming for - just don't feel like that's your only option.



So what else could you do?

"I can't find a floor that matches the kitchen cabinets!"


Go in the other direction - select a floor that contrasts with your cabinetry. Not only will this make your cabinets "pop", it can also open up the area and make it feel larger than it is.



Here, the color of the flooring has been selected to echo the colors of the countertop and/or the wall finish between countertop and wall cabinets. This "sandwiching" effect helps to balance out the room nicely.



Go tonal select a floor that is/has elements of your cabinetry color, but in a different shade.You can make a variety of flooring - light, dark, wood, tile/tile effect floor  - work, using tonal colors.



Go colorful painting your cabinets not only brightens the room, but also opens you up to a lot more options when it comes to flooring. 



With colored cabinets, you can choose a flooring which boldly contrasts, complements, or supports the scheme. Choosing the right color can also emphasize your intended style - rustic, traditional, contemporary, or modern...or indeed a mix of styles.  Don't be afraid to take a walk on the colorful side!



"I'm having trouble choosing a shower tile that matches the bathroom floor"



Gone are the days of boring bathrooms! Bathrooms, like kitchens, are one of the most functional rooms in the house. With a myriad of tiling and texture options available, this is a room where self-expression and personal taste should be encouraged...


...and quite rightly so - with our busy lives, taking a shower or having a soak in the tub is often the only time we get to be truly on our own and decompress. Creating a space that you love to be in, can only be a good thing!



Now, this is the point at which I may appear to contradict myself ever so slightly by saying that in the bathroom, running the same tile that you have on the floor on to the walls creates a clean contemporary look, and is also quite common now with the popularity of wet rooms/areas. 


But,this depends on what look you're trying to achieve and even when doing that, aim to use color, texture and directional accents to break up expanses of tile, create focal points, and add interest & balance to the room.


And then of course there's lighting! Look out for a separate blog post on this, but for now I will say that Lighting is one element that is often overlooked and underestimated.  Getting the right lighting plan for your room can transform it completely! This applies whole-heartedly to the bathroom too.








"I have an open-plan space and need to find a color that works for the whole area"


It is absolutely possible to find a single color that works for the whole area, and for every picture with multiple colors/finishes that I post on this blog, there'll be a dozen others with a single color.  There is no absolute right or wrong here...I'm just saying, if you can make it more interesting, and the space allows, go for it!


Where different areas/rooms that can be viewed at the same time exist, using tonal or harmonious colors will give the areas their own identity, whilst working together in the same larger space. Having varying flooring levels (and where appropriate, flooring finishes) can also help to demarcate areas of functionality and add interest to the space.




Use color and contrast to create focal points and highlight architectural features such as fireplaces:


"I've found the sofa I like, but the matching chairs are too large for my space"


Don't be afraid to mix things up when it comes to seating in your living area.  The sofa is usually the largest single item of furniture in the room, and should be your starting point when furnishing.  For additional seating you can try a number of different things if you decide not to "match".


If using the same neutral shade for chairs and sofa, add splashes of color with accessories and cushions.


Alternatively, use chairs in a different color and tie back in to the sofa by using cushions in the same or similar material or color as the chairs.




And if of course you fancy a bit more color and/or a more laid back feel, throw in a couple of textured ottomans









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