Mix-and-Match Dining Room Chairs

Take a look at these dining rooms. What do they have in common, besides being fabulous? There isn’t a single matched chair “set” within them. This mix-and-match look is right on trend. See how to get the look in your dining room.

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Mixed and matched dining room seating plays up the fabulous menagerie of accent chairs on the market right now. It also taps into the fine art of eclecticism, which is the name of the design game lately. That yummy curated style you see on Pinterest? Those rooms that pair retail finds with antique scores and magically just work? That’s eclecticism.

Make It Obvious

Chairs that are too similar can come off as near misses. Make it apparent that you’re creating a collection by varying the shape, scale, and material. There’s a fine line between mixed and mismatched, though. Try it by mixing chairs with and without arms, chairs with rattan and metal, or chairs with high and low backs. You can do it: Trust your instinct.

Contrast Level

Contrast is good and well, but the secret is to find chairs that have something in common, such as a similar style. If you’re going for cottage, pair wicker chairs with farmhouse benches. For traditional, post the heads of your table with plush upholstered chairs. Then line the sides with Chippendale-style side chairs that have fabric-covered seats to coordinate with the upholstered chairs.

Shop Elsewhere

Scope out different departments for dining chairs. A fab upholstered accent chair made for the living room can be right at home in the dining room. Pay close attention to the seat height. Often, arm chair heights are lower than standard dining chairs. You don’t want your chin in your dinner plate, so take along a tape measure when shopping and read the dimensions carefully when buying online.

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Take More Measurements

You’re not done with that tape measure yet! You might find a chair you love, but if six (eight, 10, etc.) won’t fit comfortably around your table and provide enough elbowroom for diners, your great chair might become a great pain. Measure your dining room table length to ensure your pieces will fit around it. Note the placement of any legs and how they affect chair placement — or the comfort of dinner guests’ knees when seated. Also take the dimensions of your room. You’ll want to make sure your new chairs leave enough walkway space around the perimeter not only when chairs are tucked in but also when guests are seated.

Do the Scoot Test

Is the chair easy to move and lightweight? Raise your hand if this is familiar: During the course of a meal, you have to scoot back your chair no less than three times to fetch the salt, retrieve a dropped fork, or run for a towel to take command of a spill. Living room chairs are typically stationary, and made to be so, but dining chairs see their share of movement, so make sure the chairs in your mix are easy to move.