Abstract Background SWI/SNF is a large heterogeneous multi-subunit chromatin remodeling complex. It consists of multiple sets of mutually exclusive components. Understanding how loss of one sibling of a mutually exclusive pair affects the occupancy and function of the remaining complex is needed to understand how mutations in a particular subunit might affect tumor formation. Recently, we showed that the members of the ARID family of SWI/SNF subunits (ARID1A, ARID1B and ARID2) had complex transcriptional relationships including both antagonism and cooperativity. However, it remains unknown how loss of the catalytic subunit(s) affects the binding and genome-wide occupancy of the remainder complex and how changes in occupancy affect transcriptional output. Results We addressed this gap by depleting BRG1 and BRM, the two ATPase subunits in SWI/SNF, and characterizing the changes to chromatin occupancy of the remaining subunit and related this to transcription changes induced by loss of the ATPase subunits. We show that depletion of one subunit frequently leads to loss of the remaining subunit. This could cause either positive or negative changes in gene expression. At a subset of sites, the sibling subunit is either retained or gained. Additionally, we show genome-wide that BRG1 and BRM have both cooperative and antagonistic interactions with respect to transcription. Importantly, at genes where BRG1 and BRM antagonize one another we observe a nearly complete rescue of gene expression changes in the combined BRG/BRM double knockdown. Conclusion This series of experiments demonstrate that mutually exclusive SWI/SNF complexes have heterogeneous functional relationships and highlight the importance of considering the role of the remaining SWI/SNF complexes following loss or depletion of a single subunit.