When sprucing up a dining area, more often than not the focus tends to lie on the dining table. With so many options, finding one that suits your space and provides enough dinner party room can be a feat. It’s no wonder, then, that the actual seating where your family and guests place their precious tushes on can become a bit of an oversight.
Don’t just rush off to buy the first dining chairs that come with a “buy one get one free” promotion. Always take the time to consider the table, room and needs of your own family and lifestyle.
Mix and match
With even more dining chair options than there are tables, the easy solution would be to pick up a matching dining table and chair set and be done with it. But do you really want your dining room mimicking a stale, generic showroom? Like any other space in the house, your dining area should be a reflection of your personality. A matching dining set simply isn’t going to cut it! You don’t buy shoes and handbags (sorry gents) in a pre-wrapped bundle, so why should your dining room be any different?
These days it’s all about mixing and matching. Not only do you have the freedom to choose a stylish dining table, you also get to be creative with your seating. Who said you had to stick to one style? Dining chairs don’t have to match the table, let alone each other. Sure, mixing chairs can be a little challenging to pull off, but getting it right will make for a serious case of “va-va voom!” as Neal Whitaker would say. As long as each chair is of a similar height, the opportunities are almost endless.
Avoiding matching dining table and chairs does not mean heading in the opposite direction with polarising choices. It may be on-trend to pair contemporary seating with a traditional table, but too much of a contrast can leave the entire space feeling disjointed. Ensure a seamless flow in your dining room by picking furniture items with a common design feature.
There is no need to limit chair choices to a particular style, either. The aim is to make your dining room feel complete by creating harmony through colour, style, shape or material. That being said, too many similar elements will leave your dining room exuding that matching showroom feel. Take cue from the current elements of your dining table – it can be something as simple as the shape of the legs. Pair the Elizabeth dining table’s mid-century elegance with the sweeping curves of the Espen scoop back dining chair.
Shape and size
A chair is a chair is a chair, right? Considering they are designed to seat one person, you can be forgiven for assuming that all dining chairs are created equal. You may have found the perfect style chairs, but will they fit comfortably under your dining table?
When selecting chairs it is crucial to consider the size of your current dining table and overall room. An especially large dining table may dwarf a set of slimline Mia dining chairs and leave awkward gaps. On the other end of the scale, a petite round table surrounded by oversized numbers will leave your room feeling cramped. Imagine your future dinner parties. Will guests have enough room to move around the table? If choosing dining chairs with arms, be sure to account for the space needed for those arms – or you may end up with scraped chairs and guests who aren’t able to sit close enough to the table to enjoy your delicious cooking.
Function and maintenance
With open plan living becoming the new norm for modern families, dining tables are no longer reserved exclusively for dining. Before splurging on trendy seats, think about the day to day requirements: do your kids use the dining table to finish their homework on? A set of plastic Eames replicas may look super stylish – and boy do they look good on your Pinterest feed – but a couple of hours spent on paperwork may leave you longing for a soft, upholstered replacement.
Likewise, the material of your dining chairs should be one that reflects your lifestyle. Different materials can bring interesting elements to your dining room. For example, wood introduces warmth and leather carries formality and class. But each material comes with its own maintenance requirements. A regal set of Juliette dining chairs may look wonderful – and receive a myriad of compliments from your posh aunt. However, the upholstered fabric may not fare so well against the abstract spaghetti drawings of your children. If you are big on entertainment, opt for seating options that are light enough to move around without becoming awkward or cumbersome.
Choosing dining chairs that both stylish and low maintenance is the key to ensuring your dining room looks tasteful for years to come.