Are Bedroom Sets Outdated? (Essential Reading)

To be honest, before I met my wife I thought everything should match when it came to home decor, but she’s the opposite. Now we’re refurbishing our bedroom, I’m coming round to her way of thinking.

Matching bedroom furniture sets are no longer seen as stylish, and most homeowners now choose mismatching beds, dressers, and wardrobes. At the time of writing, sleek and modern bedroom furniture is not in vogue, with the ‘new traditional’ look now considered fashionable.

Let’s dive down into the topic of matching bedroom furniture in greater detail, and discover what’s now fashionable, and what you can do to upgrade old dressers and beds that have seen better days…

Are Bedroom Sets Outdated?

Are Bedroom Furniture Sets Outdated?

We’re sorry to break it to you if you’re a fan of matching furniture: bedroom sets are no longer in vogue. So why has the matchy-matchy look gone out of date?

A few years ago, there was a fashion for sleek bedroom furniture sets, some of which were so minimalist that they looked more like modern kitchens. In lots of ways, this created a pleasant and uncluttered environment for the bedroom.

However, since then, we’ve seen more of a trend towards warm and cozy, and a matching set doesn’t always fit this bill. Sure, they’re smart, but can lean more towards impersonal hotel room than stylish domestic bedroom.

In our quest for coziness, we’ve embraced different trends. Shabby chic and vintage styles lead to more mix-and-match looks, with an emphasis on personal taste and details rather than following a set style. Throw the latest taste for “maximalism” into the mix, and we’re a long way from hotel-room sleek.

Are Dressers Outdated?

Is a dresser a thing of the past? Well, we reckon it depends on the dresser itself. As we’ve already mentioned, matching sets are definitely a style no-no at the moment; so if your dresser is part of a suite, it’s not on-trend.

However, the typical drawers-and-mirror style of dresser can be a real statement piece in your bedroom, especially if it’s antique or vintage. Art Deco style dressers are extremely desirable, as are rustic, Quaker style pieces. You can even style your own by fixing a mirror (not matching) to a chest.

Besides, we all love a dresser. Go for an old Hollywood feel with rows of perfume bottles and silver-backed brushes on display. On a more practical note, they’re the perfect place for hairstyling.

Do Bedroom Sets Have To Match?

These days, bedroom sets don’t need to match. You may like to keep the classic symmetry of matching nightstands, but you don’t have to. 

For today’s cozy bedroom trend, your bed, nightstands, dresser, and wardrobe can all look completely different. You may want to stick to a color scheme (mismatched doesn’t mean clashing), but if your bed’s oak, it doesn’t mean your wardrobe has to be, too.

The key mantra to remember is: each piece complements the others, but doesn’t match.

How Do You Update An Old Bedroom Set?

The style everyone is talking about at the moment is “new traditional”. This sees a move away from the previous sleek-and-matching trend, but also, doesn’t see a return to the traditional slabs of heavy wood that everyone loved in the eighties.

If you want to update your bedroom to have a new traditional vibe, there are three main ways to tackle it, depending on budget and time. You can:

  • Replace everything. This is the expensive option; however, if you’re due a new bed and the wardrobe’s no longer fit for purpose, this may not be such a bad idea.
  • Upcycle your existing furniture. Naturally, at Castle Of Mine, we love this idea. You can really make the room your own by upcycling. But, it’s a project not a quick fix.
  • Style the room. You can use area rugs, throws, pictures, cushions, even plants to give your room a whole new vibe. This can be both cheap and quick.

We’ll take a closer look at options 2 and 3: how can you change your old bedroom set without replacing it?

Bedroom furniture set

How Do You Make An Old Bed Look Modern?

There are several tricks to make an old bed look on trend again. If you like the frame but not the headboard, you can swap it out for a new one, or paint, reupholster or decorate the old one. Bed footers are definitely out, so simply removing this will make your bed look more modern. 

Staining or painting the bed frame and headboard will create the most impact, and we’ll take a look at how to achieve this shortly. If you don’t want to commit to painting the bed but want a new look, there are several easy tricks you can try:

  • Add individual little details to the frame and headboard, such as stencils or tiles
  • For a really quick and easy change, loop battery-powered string lights around the headboard
  • Add something to the foot of the bed, like a chest. This classic rustic look is popular at the moment (and it’s great for storage)
  • Go for mismatching bedding, cushions and throws
  • Think about the nightstands: how can these complement but not match the bed? Do you need new lamps? These can make a huge difference to the overall appearance of the bed area.
  • Area rugs. Again, this changes the sleeping area, and can make it feel super-cozy. Remember: different rugs for each side of the bed.

How Do You Make Wooden Bedroom Furniture Look Modern?

If your current bedroom suite is wooden, that’s great news. This means that you can paint, stain, wax, distress, stencil, or easily add embellishments to your furniture. (If you went for the glossy, kitchen-unit-style matching suite, it’s going to be a lot harder to change…)

Start by popping onto Pinterest. What do you like the look of? In most cases, the most effective update is to sand back the existing wood and paint it in a color of your choice.

Paler colors like cream, lilac and sky-blue give a soft and vintage feel, or choose white or gray for a rustic look. Want something more dramatic? Go maximalist with a metallic copper finish or a rich charcoal.

How Do You Update An Old Wooden Bed?

As we mentioned earlier, the most effective way to update a wooden bed is to paint it. There’s a great choice of wooden paints and stains in places like Home Depot and Lowe’s, as well as primers that prepare the wood for a lasting paint finish.

The trickiest thing is that a bed can be heavy and unwieldy to move. If your frame can come apart, the best solution is to dismantle it, and do the messy sanding and painting in the yard or garage. If you have to work in situ, make sure the windows are open, you have plenty of old sheets down, and there’s a vacuum cleaner to hand.

However, one of the most eye-catching ways to change the look of an old wooden bed is simply to update the headboard. As you can imagine, there are lots of YouTube videos that show you how to do this. We really liked the effect Donna’s DIY achieved using chalk paints. Here’s Donna’s film about how to give your old headboard a makeover.

If it’s a removable headboard, it’s much easier to work on, and you’ll even still be able to sleep in your bed while the project’s going on!

How Do I Update My Traditional Dresser?

As with the bed, the most effective way to change the look of a dresser is to strip it back and paint it. Naturally, this is easier than moving a bed around, as you can take the drawers out. The key thing here is that the finish should complement but not match the bed.

However, don’t feel you have to use paint to change the look of the dresser. Upcycle an old dresser using wallpaper for a really original look. The Holderness Family have made a short film showing how to update your dresser with wallpaper. The result? A real statement piece that’s truly unique to you.

You can also change the look of your dresser without paint or wallpaper. Changing the handles can help to create a new look, as can adding or swapping out the mirror. Think about what you display on the surface. Can you add a houseplant, a vintage lamp, or some different framed photographs? 

Final Words

When it comes to restyling our bedroom, it looks like my wife has won the design argument.

She’s got a far better eye for design than me anyway – but her assertion that matching bedroom sets are no longer seen as fashionable is good enough for me.

So while we’re not going to replace everything so it doesn’t match, it does look like we’ll refresh some older pieces and buy some complementary but non-matching new ones to go with them. 🙂