Tuesday, June 12, 2012

How To Mix Chairs Around a Table....

Remember the old Sesame Street Song.. "One of these things is not like the other" ? Well, if you are talking about shoes, that not good a good thing, but when you are talking about chairs around a table I think it can be really charming and add interest to your setting.  Sometimes chairs alike feels too formal or staid.   One of the first times I remember seeing a dining room with a table surrounded by a hodgepodge of chairs that worked for me was Sarah Jessica Paker's home in the Hamptons designed by Eric Hughes and featured in Elle Decor.  Eric took thrift shop chairs, sprayed them matt black and elevated them to a great design idea.  So how do you use a grouping of various chairs yet keep it from looking like your grad school apartment?  There are several tricks to making this idea work.  First, find the chairs you want to use.  Next, you have to decide how to unify the chairs with either with fabric, paint or finish.  Let's talk about how this works.  I have some examples below. 

In Sarah's dining room, the black paint unifies the chairs and creates a collective grouping, allowing the chandelier to steal the show.  The chairs become the supporting cast, but add interest to the room because of their various shapes.  

The next two examples show dining areas where paint and fabric work
 together to unify the collection of chairs.  

This is an example of how well using similar 
wood framed chairs with neutral fabrics can work.  

I love the way these grey painted chairs work in this dining room.  The room
 looks collected rather than staged.  It is all about the shapes in the room
 which is magnified by being all the same color.

Example of painting the frames white and upholstering 
in this bold green houndstooth really makes an 
interesting foursome here.

If you like the idea of color, but want to keep the room a little more formal
 consider this option.  These chairs are the same wood finish. but upholstered
 in different color blocked colors to add wow in this dining area.

A combination of painted side chairs mixed with two fabric hostess chairs
 is another way to mix up the dining space yet keep things co-ordinated.

A more formal option with the side chairs being the same,
 but the host and hostess chair being different 
through the use of fabrics.

Totally different fabrics can be used on the chairs as
 long as you balance out the patterns and
 colors around the table.

This dining room designed by Ruthie Sommers reminds me of an 
ice cream parlor.  It's a fun and playful look for this young family
 also done in durable vinyls.

The colorful mix of these tolix chairs adds some color
 to this otherwise white kitchen.

This collection of multi colored painted chairs adds so much charm
 to this outdoor table.  I want to go to a party there!
No need for flowers or decorations, the chairs add just the right amount of punch!

This otherwise serious and traditional dining room
 is made youthful and more relaxed with the arrangement
 of the multicolored Harmony chairs. 

 The chairs don't have to be high end, a thrift chair will
 do as long as it is painted the right color.

This grouping is interesting since they decided to 
leave one chair unpainted to compliment the mix.

Another example of a way to interject color and
 add whimsy with painted and unpainted various chairs.

Even the most formal room can benefit from
 varying the chairs.

You can get use totally random chairs made of various materials
 as long as the similar scale and color.

This picture is lovely to me.  Fabric and color 
unify this seating arrangement.  


Again, you can use the same chair, but in a variety
 of colors and it will look unified.  Here the chairs are similar
 in color but varied just enough to add rhythm around the table.

This look can work for even the most important occasions. Love the coziness
 of this wedding reception.  It look like everybody brought their own chair!

What do you think?  Does your dining room need a little variety?  If so, start by adding a couple of chairs on either end or painting couple of chairs.  I always suggest to my clients to use chairs in the dining and breakfast that can work together.  This creates more places to sit and creates interest at the same time.  What do you think?  Do you like the look?   

P.S.  Did You Know...
Is opening up her warehouse full of rare pieces she has found throughout the years for a special sale with One Kings Lane on Monday, June 18. Stay tuned all week on her blog for a sneak peek at some of the amazing items she is pulling out of her archives for this sale.
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  1. Some really pretty examples! I somehow have come to possess more than my share of chairs. Maybe from my early house owning days when there were never enough chairs for the number of guests!? I can't decide if I like different chairs painted and upholstered to match or the same chairs painted differntly more...;)

    1. I know what you mean Sherry! I think it comes down to what is going on in the rest of the space! I am so happy to find your blog! I am your newest follower! Thanks for commenting. Have a great day!!!

  2. Great examples Lisa. I really love the collected look. My favorite example is the Black kitchen with the upholstered chairs in different fabrics (is that a Windsor Smith design? I can't remember). I think it is a flawless way to incorporate different chairs around the table.

    1. Hey Elizabeth, thanks for commenting. I don't know if that is Windsor Smith or not since I failed to give credit! Oops! I will go back tomorrow and credit these!!!

  3. Makes me want to throw my DR chairs out the window and get funky!!! Hell yeah.

    1. you always make me laugh! haha! i gave your name to a friend who wanted me to come to atlanta to help her with her house. I told her you were great and local, so that was a better fit! Hope she calls you!

  4. Mismatched chairs to me are the only way to go...I love the different unifying things in the samples you chose...color, shape, pattern...my fave is the one with the striped walls...


    1. I totally agree with you Lesli on all point! Love that striped room too!

  5. I'm getting ready to have a bridesmaid's luncheon and will be seating 14 around my dining table. You've inspired me now with the mix of chairs. Adore the green houndstooth with the white chairs!!

    1. Yay! I have found that painter's drop cloth from Lowes adorned with paint, or ribbon,etc can create a few fun chairs for events like this. you could make a special chair for the bride, her bridesmaids, mom, etc....just a thought!

  6. wow. what a collection of variety of chairs dear. I need one of them. Tell me how i purchase it heavy duty casters wheels & caster wheel manufacturer

  7. Before purchasing a table or chairs, decide on a style (modern, contemporary, or traditional) that best fits the rest of your décor. This will help you narrow down your furniture selection from the get-go.
    Dining Room Sets


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