Dining Sets: Time to Break Up!

A design “rule” that was meant to be broken is the one that dictates your dining room table and chairs have to perfectly match.  On the contrary, deliberately pairing your table with chairs in a different style or finish is a look that’s become increasingly popular in interior design.  Here are eight ideas to inspire you to consider breaking up your matching dining room set to give your dining space a fresh modern look. 

Paint The Chairs.   Change up your matching set with a simple coat of primer and paint on the chairs for an instant makeover in a weekend. 


white painted chairs dark table bhg

   painted chairs dining room bhg



Add a Slipcover. Recovering your chairs in basic cotton or twill slipcovers is another solution to cure the “matchy matchy” look.  Slipcovers include the bonus of an easy to wash fabric, beneficial especially with kids or pets in the home.


slipcovered parsons with table bhg


urban plank table with slipcovered chairs



Mix Don’t Match.   Move your matching chairs to another room and bring in entirely new chairs,  from a completely different period or in a contrasting color for an unexpected medley.       


wire chairs modern wood table bhg


modern black and white table and chairs bhg



Modernize!  Unmistakable designs like the Saarinen tulip table or Eames dining chairs always inject a modern vibe – be bold and pair them with anything from colorful farmhouse rush seat chairs to contemporary lacquer tables. 


tulip table green chairs bhg


modern eames chairs dining space



Geometry 101.   Fretwork chairs with geometric shapes partner well with anything from a classic wood pedestal to a chrome and glass piece, and provide a crisp contemporary appeal.  


pedestal plus geometric chairs


geometric chairs glass top table



Texturize.   Wicker and woven rattan chairs import an outdoor or tropical vibe – mix them with wood or glass for a colorful or coastal inspired setting.   


woven chairs plus glass top table



wicker chairs wood pedestal


woven rattan seats saarinen tulip table



Get Benched.  Pull up a pedestal to a built in banquette or bring in upholstered benches for a cozy and comfortable alternative to standard chairs.   


pedestal plus banqette


upholstered benches x table



Make Unexpected Choices.   Consider two settees reminiscent of a restaurant booth and upholstered in a modern fabric instead of standard chairs, or simply mix your seating as you see fit, there really are no rules!


settee with modern metal leg table


gray walls mixed seating bhg

Just about anything goes these days as long as you tie in the colors or finishes with other elements in the room.  Whether it’s country or cottage, modern or eclectic, be inspired to kick up the style notch in your dining space by mixing up the seating and table with a look that reflects your tastes!



21 Responses to “ Dining Sets: Time to Break Up! ”

  1. Love these ideas… I always adore long couches at a dining room table, it makes eating dinner feel for festive and swanky like a pish posh restaurant.

  2. Love these ideas and chairs. My chairs don’t match my table anymore either the two the end march as captains chairs and the four side


  3. I absolutely believe in mixing up your dining space and love the examples you found! Thanks for all your inspirational ideas, Centsational Kate. We must be on the same wavelength, because I just wrote about how to mix up a dining set a couple of days ago at http://jewelsathome.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/perfectly-mixed-not-matched-modern-dining-spaces/

  4. Excellent post. Loooovvveeeeee the brilliant ideas and the variety!! I don’t know why I always thought I must buy a matching set. The examples in these pictures look great!

  5. Where oh where did those fretwork chairs come from?? They are wonderful? Do you have a source???

  6. I have a very old country dn rm table and china hutch. I went to a target sale and got 4 leather dn rm. chairs . You do not notice the old style table now, chairs gives it such a fresh update. Thanks for the photos and many ways we can make a change.

  7. LOVE everything beachy! I use a ton of texture in our home and it really makes a house feel like a home. Thanks for sharing these great inspirations!

  8. That’s so great Linda, thanks for sharing!

  9. Hello Astor, those were a square back chair that West Elm used to sell, sadly they’re no longer available! :(

  10. I would LOVE to know the source of the yellow settees! Amazing!

  11. I loveeee those square back chairs for my dining room!!! I saw them on houzz and finally found the maker but they don’t have them anymore. I’m sooo bummed. Wah! :(

  12. Hi,

    Would you be able to tell me where the woven rattan chairs are from (the ones with the white Saarinen Style table)?


  13. Very well executable and i like your arrangement of rattan table and chairs. Especially i love the sofa set and sofa color.

  14. well optimized information for a reader and it is really soundfull for me to read this blog.

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