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How to Mismatch Nightstands

If you’ve ever wondered about having mismatch nightstands – let me help put your mind at ease about it!

Mismatched nightstands are not – or at least they don’t have to be – a design faux pas!

I have a private Behind the Scenes Design Group that meets weekly (via zoom) and one of the things we’ve discussed is how to mix furniture pieces while still having cohesion!

It can actually really bring character and charm to a room when you mix and match in an intentional way!

My biggest two pieces of advice for mismatching nightstands are:

Number One | Keep them the Same Height

That doesn’t mean the pieces themselves need to be exactly the same, but when you step back and look at them, you do not want a visual disparity between your two items.

Take my two nightstands as an example.

How to Match Different Nightstands by sheholdsdearly.com

The table on the left is actually slightly shorter than my husband’s new nightstand on the right, so I added books under the lamp on my table to make sure that the top of the lamp shades were even when I stepped back to the other side of the room.

It’s so much more pleasing to the eye than if you were to look and notice the lamps at different heights!

Number Two | Keep them the Same Color.

This is a simple trick to easily bring cohesion between two different pieces!

I already loved the color of the table, and knew that my favorite milk paint would look wonderful on the other side to match!

More about that in just a little bit…

The Mismatch Nightstands:

If you don’t remember, The table on the left was an antique mall find from the beginning of the year!

Antique Buying Guide by sheholdsdearly.com

I just loved that it was green and the chippy patina it came with!

How to Arrange Flowers Like a Pro by sheholdsdearly.com

I’d previously used my Faux Card Catalog as the nightstand on this side of the bed, but it felt too heavy and a little claustrophobic in the space.

Bi-Fold Closet Door Makeover by sheholdsdearly.com

The interesting thing is that the dimensions of the top of the card catalog and the chippy green table are actually the same!

But because the table is open underneath it gives a much more open and free feeling than the solid card catalog did.

Once I got the chippy table, the card catalog was temporarily used on my Husband’s side of the bed, but I knew I eventually wanted to use that elsewhere.

Faux Card Catalog Cabinet by sheholdsdearly.com

Enter, the newest nightstand!

This was another antique store find, and I knew with a new coat of paint it would fit right in!

How to Mix and Match Nightstands by sheholdsdearly.com

*This post contains affiliate links to products I know &/or love.

Making Perfect Mismatch Nightstands:

I quickly decided to milk paint the shelf, but had a few different different ideas for the drawer and the hardware, and knew I wanted a little something for inside the open areas to help keep things looking a bit more organized.


Painting the Nightstand:

First things first, I decided to mix up some of my absolute favorite paint: Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk paint, in my absolute favorite color: Boxwood.

If you’re thinking, “Isn’t her card catalog that same color?” And “Isn’t that cute stool on her porch also painted with boxwood green?”… well you’d be right on both counts.

It’s just the perfect shade of green, and I honestly get asked about it all the time!

In addition to my love for the color itself, I’m also a big fan of milk paint for applications such as this one where I’m going for a chippy distressed look!

Milk paint is true to it’s name. It’s created with powdered milk, minerals & color pigments. It’s actually one of the oldest types of paint!

When you buy it, it’s in powder form and you mix it with water using a 1:1 ratio!

2 Basic Rules for Decorating with Bedside Tables by sheholdsdearly.com

For this nightstand I used 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup milk paint powder.

I mix milk paint up pretty often, so in my paint supplies trunk I keep a glass mason jar, a dedicated set of cheap plastic measuring spoons, and a tiny little metal whisk.

Measure out your water and powder and mix with your whisk for 1 minute in your glass jar.

Then I always let it rest for about 10 minutes, (great time to finish any prep work needed on your item!) and then mix it for about 1 more minute again before I begin painting.

The resting time helps thicken up the mixture, but it also starts to settle a little bit, so the second mixing is important! I also mix regularly while I’m painting to keep everything nice and even.

Depending on what you have in mind for your finished product, you may need 1-3 coats. I was OK with some of the original dark wood showing through when I distressed my nightstand, so I only did 1 coat!

My sweet friend, Andrea over at Pine and Prospect Home raves about the Wooster paint brush – so this time I gave it a try! It’s got a shorter ergonomic handle that made it much easier getting inside the smaller open sections of the dresser! I’m now a big fan!

How to Mix and Match End Tables by sheholdsdearly.com

Distressing & Applying Wax:

Once the paint had dried, I began distressing it with my favorite 220 grit sand paper.

I’ve found that if I cut the letter size sand paper sheets into thirds, and then fold those strips into thirds, I’m left with an easy to work with size of sand paper. Then I simply refold each strip twice as I go to get a fresh piece of sand paper when needed.

| A bonus is that when I cut the sand paper – it sharpens my scissors! |

I tried to rough up all of the areas on the nightstands that stick out. I’ve found it helps highlight them well, and it gives the most genuine “wear and tear” look.

Cottage Style End Tables by sheholdsdearly.com

After I was happy with the distressing, I began the process to add the protective wax coat.

I knew I wanted the look of the dark wax, but was given a tip recently to always do a clear wax coat first so that the dark wax is more controlled when it’s going on!

I tried it that way for the first time on this piece and was pleasantly surprised! I really appreciate learning new things from the design community!

Farmhouse Nightstands by sheholdsdearly.com

Decisions about the Drawer & Hardware:

Like I mentioned before, I had to make a few decisions about the drawer!

My original plan was to strip off the white paint and leave the drawer raw wood – so I brushed on some Citristrip paint remover and let it do it’s work while I painted.

| I’ve shared more about the process of Stripping Painted Furniture in a separate blog post! |

Then I put my gloves on and used my paint scraper tool to remove the paint.

After about 4 applications of the citristrip I still wasn’t too happy with the way the raw wood was going to turn out, so I ended up painting the drawer instead!

Milk Paint Nightstands by sheholdsdearly.com

Then there was the issue of the hardware! I had three different options to choose from, but ultimately decided to keep the original hardware – with just a bit of a refresh.

I used the Rub-n-Nuff product that I did a tutorial on recently (How to Antique Brass with Rub-N-Buff) to make the hardware a muted gold.

Farmhouse Style End Tables by sheholdsdearly.com

And last but not least, for the open spaces below, I found that the IKEA BYHOLMA baskets worked perfectly – and looked spectacular too, especially with the new gold pull!

How to Mix and Match Bedside Tables by sheholdsdearly.com

Similar Nightstands | Shop This Look

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How to Pull off Mismatched Nightstands by sheholdsdearly.com

I hope this gives you some inspiration as you plan out or work on your own nightstands or other furniture pieces to find the perfect mismatch for your space!

If you use any of these tips or ideas, will you consider sharing them with me on Instagram by adding the tag: #sheholdsdearlyinspired ?

I love getting to see what you’ve done, which can’t be done through blog comments, (though I love hearing from you that way as well!) and I also really enjoy getting to share it with the rest of our design community so they can be inspired, too.

Pin these mismatch nightstand tips for Later:

How to Mismatch Nightstands by sheholdsdearly.com

Until next time,

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