You can take your dining room from predictable to personal with one straightforward trick: mix and match your dining chairs. While there’s nothing wrong with a perfectly matched dining table and chair set, some might consider it a bit too formal. Mixing up your dining chairs can make your space feel more intimate, intentional, and fun.
The best part about mixing dining chairs? You’re limited only by your imagination. It’s all a matter of choosing dining chairs you love and playing with placement. You might alternate armless solid wood chairs with wicker armchairs or use long bistro benches with a pair of leather dining chairs at the ends of your table. With so many possibilities, it’s time to say goodbye to predictable matching sets and hello to variety.
Mixing and matching your dining chairs is one of the easiest ways to revive your dining room home decor. You’ll be creating your own looks in no time with our simple tips and recommendations. Keep reading for some decoration inspiration.
Why mix and match dining chairs?
When you mix up your dining chairs in the dining room, it adds an eclectic appeal to the space, even if you’re rocking a mid-century modern vibe or farmhouse style.
As you purchase new dining chairs, you’ll make your home decor more versatile. You can trade in chairs based on your mood, add more if you have guests coming over, or use a couple of spares in the living room for movie night. When you want a formal appeal, you can keep four or six of the same chair around the dining table to create the look you want.
Of course, if you want to keep it affordable, no rule says you need to buy sets. You can always piece together your look chair-by-chair, buying used chairs from flea markets and yard sales as well as adding new chairs from retailers. Rather than a complete one-note set (which your bank account might not like), this lets you vary the styles around your table.
Choose your approach
The key to a successful mix-and-match look is to find an element of consistency. That’s the “match” part of this equation, and without it, you might not like the results.
Imagine a grid of qualities, like width, height, color, arms, armless, material, hard seats, upholstered seats, and so on. Pick a few categories to play with to create the element of consistency while allowing yourself plenty of room.
Below, we’ve highlighted some of the many strategies you can use to create a chic mix-and-match dining room look.
Consistent shapes, varied colors
You’ll often see this approach in restaurants, creating an intentionally whimsical appeal. Opt for one shape or style of chair, such as bar stools or open-back dining chairs, and play with the color.
For example, you could choose comfy faux leather dining room chairs in black or white to add visual contrast. Or perhaps you’d like a set of armless bentwood dining chairs in a mix of walnut and beechwood.
If you already have a favorite dining chair style, this might be the perfect option for you. Pick different (yet coordinating) shades based on your dining room’s color palette and stick to your preferred shape throughout.
Consistent color, varied shapes
You can get away with very different dining chairs if you keep the color consistent. For instance, you might use bar stools, a bistro bench, and two high-back end chairs, all with blue upholstery. You get the idea.
If you have a favorite color and don’t want to experiment too much with hues, this might be the best option for you. For more inspiration on different shapes and styles, check out our guide on updating your space with accent chairs.
Alternate the end chairs
The two end chairs at a dining table are traditionally armchairs while the rest are armless. This makes the two end chairs the perfect candidates to bring something unexpected into the dining room.
You could use ladder back solid wood side chairs with upholstered high-back end chairs. Or you might consider stackable, modern dining chairs on the sides with faux leather nailhead end chairs. Playing with end chairs is the perfect chance to combine two sets of chairs you’ve been eyeing.
Add a bench
We’ve mentioned benches a few times, but this option is so easy that it deserves further attention. Whether it’s built into a corner or free-floating, adding a bench is one of the simplest ways to create a mix-and-match feel without going crazy.
Try keeping the chairs that came with your dining table along one side and positioning a bench on the opposite side. You can use matching end chairs or mix it up even more by adding variety there, too.
Pick a theme
If you have a favorite design era or geographical style (think Moroccan or French country), you can use it to create consistency. The same is true for general interior design styles like transitional, minimalist, industrial, or mid-century modern. For example, if all of your chairs are mid-century modern themed, the consistency gives you more freedom to mix in different shapes and colors.
Just look for a theme that’ll add true consistency to your dining room. Vintage, antique, rustic, modern, industrial, lodge, and contemporary are just a few examples.
Another way to interpret the theme is in the style of chair you’re using. For example, you might use all Parsons chairs, Windsor chairs, bar stools, x-back chairs, or bentwood chairs. Once you have a theme, mix away.
Choose a material
Another approach to combining dining chairs is sticking to one material and varying the shapes and sizes. This approach works particularly well with rattan, wicker, or upholstered chairs.
If you prefer fabric, consider picking upholstered chairs with patterns and colors that go well together but aren’t matchy-matchy. Or maybe you can incorporate matching rattan chairs with unexpected shapes at the end chair positions. Chairs with metal legs are another way to create consistency with materials. The possibilities are endless.
Keeping the seat height of your chairs and benches within an inch or two of each other adds enough consistency for a pulled-together look. Whether you have a bohemian or contemporary style, pick chairs in any style you want as long as the seat height matches. Doing so ensures everyone is at the same level during meals and prevents awkward height differences.
For those who want a mix-and-match dining chair look without a high price tag, try playing with slipcovers. Use your existing set of dining chairs, which will provide consistent backrest and leg styles. Then, experiment with different colors, patterns, and materials for your chair covers.
This option also lets you switch things up for the holidays and special occasions. And you can cover up old or unattractive chairs without taking a hit to your bank account.
Time to mix and match
By now, we hope you’re starting to see the endless possibilities of mixed dining chairs. There are no wrong answers here, it all comes down to personal style. Maybe you like the idea of contrasting colors, focusing on one material, or switching between chair styles. Whatever the case, if you put your “mismatched” set together intentionally, you can make it work. Below are some fun combinations to get you started.
The Anges High Back Dining Chairs pair nicely with these Armless Dining Chairs, creating a sleek and contemporary appeal. Both chair styles offer comfort and ergonomics along with dazzling chrome accents.
Combining two simple and modern chair designs can make mixing and matching a snap. You could pair mid-century and industrial looks to change things up more or stick to one theme, like modern or contemporary.
The combination of these Woven Back Side Chairs with the Townsend Dining Bench creates a bold contrast. With black and wood tones in each piece, they come together to create a fun and funky look that’s sure to upgrade your dining area.
If you love quirky and unusual choices that scream “I’m comfortable with taking risks,” look for unlikely combinations. For example, try pairing a few end chairs in floor-length slipcovers with simple, leggy side chairs. Opposites attract, indeed.
Capture a casual yet luxurious look with this combination of Tufted Back Side Chairs in ink blue with Arcade Upholstered Dining Chairs in grey. With sunny gold legs and velvet upholstery, the combo could work well in a modern luxe or chic dining area.
Velvet upholstered chairs — or those with glamorous gold legs — can add instant sophistication to your dining room or any space. It’s a great opportunity to play with matching textures and materials.
This combination of the Breckenridge Upholstered Side Chairs in tan and grey exudes a style that’s livable and comfy. The classic neutral look is a comfort zone for most mix-and-match dining rooms, especially since it uses the same style of chair.
If you want to switch up the style, look for chairs that look like they’re meant to go together or ones that are part of a set. You can capture the aesthetic with neutral shades, heather greys, and varied wood tones.
Get ready to love your dining room
Now that you’ve made it this far, you’re probably eager to put together your dining room. Picking the perfect dining chairs is exciting, especially if you love updating your home decor.
For more inspiration, don’t miss our post on upgrading your dining experience. And if you haven’t already, browse our full selection of dining chairs and benches for more ideas to update your home in style.
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