I have had several clients recently who tend to buy sets of the showroom floor because it is easy, or because they are not sure what they love or how to mix it. My response? I've never bought a set in my life.
While this is technically true, I do have some partial sets, and the truth is, put to the right use, they can be a great thing. The key? Separate them. Counter-intuitive, I know, but breaking up a set to different corners of the house not only means that you cut down on a single room looking too much like a showroom, you also create continuity throughout your space.
My parents bought this bedroom set before I was born. It moved in to my bedroom as a teenager, and I inherited the armoire when I bought my first apartment and the headboard when I bought my first house. I love the visual relationship between the two now--in separate rooms, but sometimes visible together.
This works with bedding, too. And china! Anything that typically comes in a group, but two different sets and mix 'em together.
What do you think: are you a "set" person? Or do you like more of a mix?