I was a teenager in the 90s, and while this may be true of other eras as well, I remember there being a LOT of matching sets, particularly when it came to home decor.
Like…you’d have curtains, sheets, and a comforter all made from the same flowered fabric.
Also, in the 90s, kitchen would have themes, such as an Italian wine theme, and all the decor, including the wallpaper border, had wine bottles on it.
I suppose matching sets are rather common, though; I mean, you buy sets of dishes and sets of silverware.
You buy 12 of the same placemats, and 6 of the same bath towels.
You get drinking glasses in sets of 6.
But if you can let go of the need to match things, a lot of frugal possibilities open up, especially in the free/second-hand markets.
If things don’t need to match, you are more able to take whatever comes along that’s in your budget.
Let’s run through some examples!
I have a rather random collection of drinking glasses here, mostly from the abandoned house. Since I didn’t care if my stuff matched, I was happy to take whatever.
My silverware collection is similarly mixed-up, because I have some from the Buy Nothing Group and some from the abandoned house.
I know some people’s entire silverware collection is just random Goodwill-acquired pieces.
If you find one you like that’s good quality, you buy it and add it to the collection, and over time, you have an eclectic collection of silverware that you love.
My dishes are a Buy Nothing/Abandoned House combo.
My bedroom furniture is a mishmash of hand-me-downs and freebies that are all sort of a similar shade of wood, but nothing actually matches except the bed and the dresser.
My free kitchen chairs don’t match each other, and they are definitely not the type of chairs that would have come with my table when it was new.
In my living room, I have two floor lamps from my other house, and then I’ve got this free lamp from Facebook Marketplace:
And I’ve also got this one that came in a set of lamps I bought on Facebook Marketplace.
Do the lamps match? Nope. Do I care? Also nope.
One last non-matching example: when I get a sock that sprouts a hole, I generally set the good sock aside and just use it with another sock of the same cut.
I’m not a next-level sock-darner like my friend Katy of The Nonconsumer Advocate so this is the next best thing.
If you’re patient, you can find cheap things that coordinate
If you are a stickler for matching, it’s going to be nigh onto impossible to use thrift stores and Buy Nothing groups to find things that were meant to go together.
But if you are willing to be patient, it definitely is possible to find cheap/free things that coordinate.
For instance, I have a fair number of white serving dishes that I’ve gotten at thrift stores. They don’t match per se, but they are similar enough that they coordinate, and they look nice on my open shelving.
My bedroom is another good example of this.
I didn’t snag just any old furniture that came my way, but when I saw something that would work with the wood tones of my free bed and dresser, I picked those up.
So, things don’t match, but they sort of coordinate in there.
If you DO want random things to match, paint them!
Lisey’s room (now my spare bedroom) is full of pink and white furniture that does not officially match.
But since it’s all painted with the same two paint colors, it kinda looks like it goes together.
Sonia’s room has a bunch of furniture that doesn’t go together, but it’s all painted in Cloud White, so it works together nicely.
I’ve painted picture frames all with the same paint so that they match, and I’ve done the same with plant pots.
Paint is amazing for making random stuff into a cohesive collection!
You can save money by:
- letting go of the need to match
- settling for coordination in place of matching
- painting things to make them coordinate/match
What are some other ways that not-matching can save money?
I’d love to hear examples you can think of!
P.S. Just in case I need to clarify: I don’t think it’s a good idea to snag everything that’s cheap/free. That leads to clutter! I’m saying that when you DO need an item, a “not everything needs to match” attitude can help you save money.