Our Guide to Mixing & Matching Dining Room Chairs Like a Pro!
The dining room is a place where amazing gatherings and meals happen. Thanksgiving dinners, fun dinner parties, and even family game nights can all happen in this beautiful room, so you want to make sure that it’s well-designed to fit all the purposes that you might use it for.
Dining room chairs are one of the tougher things to select when it comes to dining room decor. It might seem like a simple task, but it’s a very important one that can be easier to get wrong than you might think.
So today, let’s talk about how to mix and match dining room chairs to design your dining room decor like a professional. After reading this short article, you’ll be a bona fide interior designer, so let’s jump right in.
The Purpose and Function
Before you even look at any new dining room chairs, you first need to think about the purpose that these chairs and the dining room have in your home. If you have a clear image of what your goal is, you can make the right choice for your dining room, so here are some questions that need answering.
What Do You Use Your Dining Room For?
First things first, you need to establish what the dining room (and your dining chairs, by proxy) is going to be used for. This can inform your decision-making more than anything else.
Traditionally, people only use their dining room for special occasions. This is where family gatherings, house parties, and other significant events are held. These events likely have a large spread of food, so the room will need to hold a large number of people for a good portion of the event.
If you use your dining room this way, you may want to get more decorative chairs. Durability might not be your focus since they won’t be used that often, but you’ll want a relatively comfortable chair that looks amazing and helps create an atmosphere in the room.
Or maybe you use your dining room table often. In this case, you'll want something a little more durable, and you’ll probably want to go for something a bit more comfortable that you can lounge around in on a daily basis.
Or maybe you work from home, and your dining room doubles as a home office during the day. In this case, you’ll want to prioritize comfort since you’ll be sitting in these chairs for hours on end.
Establish what your needs are, and then go for the chair that best fits all of those unique needs. Starting there will help you make a great decision.
How Many Chairs Do You Want?
Of course, you’re also going to need to find out how many chairs you want. Do you want to integrate the new chairs with the chairs you already have in the room? Or do you want all new chairs?
How many people live in your house? How many people do you want to be able to seat when you have dinner events? These sorts of questions need to be answered.
This will largely depend on the table size. For example, a table that seats four people is typically 48 inches long. For gatherings of four to six people, your table will need to be at least 60 inches long to fit the right number of chairs. For six to eight chairs, consider a table that’s a minimum of 78 inches long. Basically, guests need about 24 inches (two rulers) of space to feel comfortable at a table.
What Style Is Your Dining Room?
One of the most important things you need to establish when mixing and matching chairs is what style your dining room is. You need to buy chairs that fit the style of the room and the house in general to create a cohesive, intentional space that will serve you and your guests well.
There are loads of interior design styles that you can choose from:
- Mid-century modern
The list goes on and on. One of the main functions of your dining room chairs is looking good. Of course, they’re meant for sitting, but they also are key pieces of furniture that help to serve as the focal point for the room.
Dining chairs draw attention, and they’re the piece of furniture that your guests and yourselves will be interacting with the most. Because of this, they need to not only fit the vibe of the room but help create it.
Mixing and Matching Dining Room Chairs
For centuries, we’ve seen variances in the types of chairs that are used at the dining room table. For instance, some people choose to make all the chairs the same, and some decide to change things up.
When it comes to dining room chairs, there are three mixing strategies you can choose between: all matching chairs, matching side chairs and different head chairs, or an eclectic collection of all different chairs. All of these are fantastic options with their own strengths and weaknesses. Let’s take a look at each specifically.
All Matching Chairs
It’s very common to see a dining room where all of the chairs are the same around the whole table. This is especially popular in modern-style dining rooms where minimalism is held in high regard.
Having one set of chairs for your dining room creates a really clean, organized look. It’s not overly ornate and doesn’t offer an excessive amount of contrast, just a polished look that is beautifully simple.
Really, this layout can work well for any chair. For example, it works well in a minimalistic room with simple, geometric chairs. But it also works flawlessly for a more traditional-style room with more decorative, intricately-designed dining chairs.
You can match the chairs with the table for an extra-sophisticated, clean look, or choose chairs that complement and contrast the table to add a bit of visual interest to the centerpiece of the room.
There are lots of ways you can use this selection and layout to your advantage.
Matching Side Chairs and Different Head Chairs
Perhaps the most common strategy when selecting dining room chairs is to use one type of chair for the side chairs and another type of chair for the heads of the table. This is the cleanest and most intentional way to mix and match chairs.
The variation can be simple. Many manufacturers sell dining chair sets that have the same chair all the way around. The only difference is that the head chairs have armrests while the others do not.
But the variations can also be more distinct. Perhaps you would like some comfortable, upholstered accent chairs for your head settings but select a more minimal wooden chair for your side chairs.
This is a wise strategy: It allows for some comfort in the room at the heads of the table. Yet, it also gives some breathing room by choosing more low-profile chairs for the side of the table.
You can also mix and match chairs of similar styles and sizes but with unique colors. Color contrast is a powerful tool in interior design that helps to bring visual interest to a design element with ease.
And, of course, you can also utilize a combination of these contrasts. At the end of the day, you should pick the chair or set of chairs that fit the room the best. Contrast is a healthy part of any interior design, and a variety in chair selection is a fantastic, controlled way to add it.
An Eclectic Selection
Finally, one of the most fun and vibrant ways to add contrast to a dining room is by using all sorts of different chairs to surround your dining room table. With no one chair like another, your dining room is going to be full of personality and fun. Everybody gets their own unique chair and dining experience, and it makes for a very unique dining room.
This choice works very well for styles like Bohemian that thrive off vibrant colors, contrasts, and collections. At the end of the day, if you can’t pick just one, get them all.
But you don’t have to have a vibrant style to go the eclectic route. Surprisingly, this can also work well in more contemporary styles. Imagine a minimalistic black-and-white room where the chairs are all the same style and color but have all distinct shapes.
This also works great in modern farmhouse-style homes. Put chairs on one side of the table and a nice wooden bench on the other to give a bit of variety and the ability to pack a bunch of people at your table. The sky's the limit when choosing function and fun over all else.
At the end of the day, you should choose the chairs that make you the happiest. Your home and your dining room should be reflections of you, so choose the chairs that do that best, do it intentionally, and you’ll have a fantastic, cohesive dining room that’s perfect for meals and gatherings.
For more information on interior design and an amazing selection of dining chairs, accent chairs, and other furniture, check out eLuxury.