Do you want to infuse your dining room with a little personality? Then check out this trend we’re loving: Mismatched dining chairs! Chairs are a dining room essential. And when you mix and match your dining chairs—where all are different, or you have two or three different styles—you bring added character and charm to your dining room.
The mismatched dining chairs trend flies in the face of the all-in-one, perfectly matched dining set. Rather, it’s one of those dining room design ideas that infuses your dining room with extra visual interest and flair! It gives your dining room a less formal, more eclectic style. This is a perfect trend for those who can never pass up a solo chair at a flea market or antique store, giving you the chance to show off the different chairs you’ve collected over the years.
But this look doesn’t have to be overly eclectic. There are more subtle ways to mix and match dining chairs as well—in ways that lean both casual and formal. It all depends on the dining chair styles you use.
Want to get the scoop on how to pull off the mismatched chair trend? Keep reading for our designers’ best tips on how to style a dining room with mismatched chairs.
1. Consider the Size and Scale
When playing with a mismatched dining chair look, it’s important to consider size and scale. Look for chairs that are roughly the same size but with enough visual variances that they feel like different chairs. This will give the set-up a complementary look while still achieving that eclectic vibe of mismatched chairs.
Stylist Tip: This is especially worth keeping in mind if you’re an antique collector or flea market fiend and are buying chairs one at a time!
2. Use Mismatched Materials
For a mismatched dining chair look that is less eclectic but still impactful, Try to bookend the length of your dining table with end chairs (also called captains chairs) that add a subtle textural contrast to your space. We used slipcovered chairs in the image above, which adds visual weight and contrast to the slender wooden chairs thanks to the covers’ full silhouette in a soft jute-cotton blend. Other great materials to combine? Wood and cane chairs.
3. Mix and Match Shapes
For added visual interest around the table, mix and match different chair shapes. You might not realize how much the shape of a chair’s back influences the vibe for a dining room—but they really do have a lot of impact! So, mixing different shapes not only adds nuance to the style of your dining room, but it adds a lot of visual interest as well. The shapes we chose in the design above, with the round and rectangular shapes, veers more formal, while a wishbone chair paired with a rectangular chair would be much more casual—proof that mismatched chairs can suit a variety of looks!
4. Mind Your Heights
When it comes to mismatched chairs, it’s not an “anything goes” situation. To pull off this look well, you want to make sure all the seat heights are approximately the same. This creates a “level” look and a sense of consistency, even when the styles of dining chairs are quite different. Plus, you want all your dinner guests sitting at the same height, don’t you??
5. Keep it in the Family
If you’re more of a traditionalist and like the ease of a full dining set, but want the slightly more casual approach that mismatched chairs offers, try mixing chairs from the same family! For example, in the image above, the captain’s chairs are more of a wingback style—but, being from the same brand, they have the same color of legs and upholstery, and both have the nailheads, all of which helps tie this look together into a cohesive whole. This is a great way to play it safe with the mismatched chair trend.
Stylist Tip: Make sure the fabrics are the same, or are different enough that they’re complimentary. If they’re similar but only slightly off it will look like you tried to go for a perfect match and didn’t quite hit the mark. This goes for both the upholstery and the chair legs.
6. Same Color, Different Style
When trying out mismatched dining chairs, color can be a great unifier. Whether you’re taking the flea market approach and every single chair is different, you have two sets of two chairs, or even two chairs and a pew, like we have above, having them all painted the same gives a common thread to the look. This lets you venture into a wider mix of dining chair styles and shapes, but in a way that will appear complementary!
7. Sub in a Bench
An alternate take on mismatched chairs? Using a bench on one side of a rectangular table, rather than two chairs. It will give that mis-matched feeling but with a grounding element that benches bring to the table. To get this look, use matching chairs around the rest of the table, and place the bench opposite two matching chairs on the length of the table. Of course, you aren’t limited to a bench. You could also incorporate stools, a pew, or a settee as alternatives to traditional dining chairs, any of which would add extra flair and personality to your dining room.
Stylist Tip: If you don’t want to clutter your dining room with chairs day-to-day, you could always tuck one or two chairs elsewhere in your home, then pull them out when you have company. Check out our guide on where to put spare dining room chairs for some ideas. Just remove the chairs at the ends of the table and add them back in when you need them!
8. Don’t Forget the Table
When it comes to pulling off the look of mismatched chairs, dining tables are just as much part of the conversation in this trend. With an eclectic mix of chairs, you’ll want to make sure your dining room table is stylistically neutral so it doesn’t compete with the overall look. And, while you can use this trend around any table, round dining tables give you a lot more flexibility to lean into the look. Since you don’t have the formality of the “head” of the table and there’s no natural symmetry, you can get away with more varied chair styles. Without that built-in symmetry, your eye won’t be offended by differences.
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