Years ago, formal dining rooms were a must in most homes—it was the main place for entertaining family and friends. Today, thanks to the often desired open-concept layouts, which usually combine dining, living, and kitchen areas, that view has drastically changed.
If you do have a dining room—or even just a dining room table—and want to give it a less formal, more youthful vibe, mixing chairs is a great way to achieve that. Below, we're sharing six simple ways to get started.
1) Same Chairs, Different Colors
A quick way to infuse a casual vibe while also maintaining style is to use the same chair but in different, complementary colors. This can be quite easy to do if you’re purchasing a new set of chairs, particularly if they’re contemporary in style and are painted wood, powder-coated steel, or have a plastic or fabric seat.
2) Same Color, Different Chairs
Alternately, another option that creates the same relaxed-but-curated vibe is to find different chairs all in the same color. This can even be a fun, easy DIY project, as you can collect wooden chairs from garage sales—or your own basement—and then paint them all a single bright color.
3) Highlight the Host
If you’re not keen on having each piece be a different color or style, another way to integrate mismatched chairs is to place emphasis on the seats at the opposite ends of the table—i.e. where the hosts usually sit—by making them distinct from the others.
This is an easy option if you already have a set of chairs, but don’t have enough for a larger table or when extra guests come. Using two types of chairs gives just enough variation to keep a cohesive feel at the table, while adding visual interest through a contrast of color, texture, shape, or size.
4) Mix Retro and Contemporary
Mixing the styles of chairs you place around the table is yet another way to add easy personality to your dining area. This can create a dramatic sense of visual interest, especially if the shapes are contrasting. For instance, consider curvy midcentury, modern chairs with others that are a bit more rigid with straight lines, like a traditional spindle-back wooden chair.
5) Add in a Bench
When in doubt, you can always lose the chairs and use benches. Not only will this option offer a stylish, informal feel, but it will also provide great flexibility with less space.
While you'll probably end up with chairs for the shorter ends of the table, if you want to unite the benches and chairs—and make them a bit more comfortable—consider adding cushions or a throw blanket that use the same fabric.
6) Find Unity in Materials
Sometimes, the best way to bring together various styles and shapes is not through contrast or the use of the same colors, but by a unified textural sensibility. For example, polished concrete, rough-hewn wood, and blackened steel might seem like they wouldn’t work together, yet their subtle tones and matte finishes act as a complement to each other.
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