Everybody loves a good vintage piece of furniture; it has a history and a personality all its own. In fact, so many people love the look that vintage furniture has become one of the top 10 trends of the 21st Century, according to About.com. Finding the pieces are easy — with so many antique stores and flea markets popping up across the country, you simply need to have a good eye for high-quality furniture. Making sure your pieces actually work with each other is another story altogether.

Here are a few tips to help you create the well-used, well-loved aesthetic that vintage wooden pieces are known for.

Complementary is better than close: Wood and table finishes vary immensely in color and intensity. If you can’t find an exact match (which you most likely won’t be able to since you’re getting your goods from all different times and places), it is always better to choose finishes that complement each other; an almost-match says “I tried and failed”, while complementing colors look planned and intentional. To do this, focus on the undertones of the wood: warm undertones appear yellow, red, and orange, cool undertones are more grayish, and neutral undertones appear beige. Beige can match both warm and cool wood finishes, so it is usually a safe option if you’re unsure.

Keep a common element: They won’t be matching in color, but there should be a common theme in the furniture pieces you’ve collected. Consider formality, period, style, or shape. Shape doesn’t mean they all need to be identical, just that you should focus on whether they’re curvy vs clean-lined, as an example.

Scatter close finishes: If you already have furniture that is close rather than complementary, you can trick the eye into thinking they’re the same by spreading them out. Table finishes won’t be seen as nearly-but-not-quite-the-same if they’re spaced apart from one another, which is a handy tip if you’ve already gone on a purchasing spree.

Mix grain patterns and sizes: A piece’s grain pattern, a.k.a. the shape and style of its rings as they flow through the wood, can set it apart as much as its color. Avoid the matchy-matchy issue by mixing all kinds of grains in a room, drawing the eye from one piece to another.

Wood and table finishes can make a house beautiful and really give it that rustic, homey feel. Make sure you’re picking the right vintage pieces and your friends will be shocked at your newfound interior design skills!