Matching Dining Tables with Chairs

Matching Dining Tables with Chairs

Recently, I heard a wonderful expression “The dining table and chairs should be sisters, not twins” and I have to say I couldn’t have put it any better myself! I hope you’ll agree after reading these tips on how to avoid the package-deal “matchy-matchy” look.

I know it’s all too easy to go to a furniture store and see exactly what you like – the whole setting – all styled so you can immediately visualise it in your own home. But over time it can feel like it’s almost time/date-stamped from a particular store or catalogue.  A more curated look will show off more of your personal style, is far more original and can be changed up over the years as your budget allows and your tastes or style evolves.

My Style Counsel approach is, well, shall we say slightly more eclectic. I like to take a little of one style, add a pinch of something from another vibe, add a dash of another theme and mix it all together. What do you get? An individual, curated, original style that reflects your personality and gives your home a unique feel. It really does work if you keep a few basic design elements in mind.

Pick the Dining Table First

I always like to start with the dining table and then select the chairs because it’s easier to find chairs to fit, than the other way around.  If you lock in the basic table style, size and material, all you have to do next is select chairs – always based on functionality, comfort and of course, style!  Of course, you also have to factor in colour, material, height, width, and… Oh OK. I admit it now sounds a bit overwhelming and slightly too complicated, but it really can be done. Stay with me…

Select Different Materials

Try to avoid a table and chairs in the exact same material. Like a teak dining table with teak chairs, or metal dining table with metal chairs. It can make your dining room can feel texturally overwhelming. I like to aim for some interesting visual highs and lows. “Let one be the star and the other be the supporting player”.  When they’re all in the same material, neither looks as special as it could.

Exception to the Rule: if you have a timber table with timber chairs but with upholstery on them, the coloured fabric can really break up all the timber. If there was no fabric on the chairs it would be a dealbreaker. 

Table & Chairs Should be Different Colours

Colour is always important. You may have mixed up the materials, but the other thing to ensure is that you also mix up the colour.

There are some examples where a table and chairs are the same colour and it can work (think a minimal Scandi-vibe), but if you want a more layered feel, changing up the colour is key. Like pairing a black table with walnut dining chairs, or a light oak table with black chairs. It doesn’t have to be a big, bold, statement colour difference – you just don’t want things to be too matchy-matchy. Remember: “sisters, not twins”!

Exception to the Rule: Your table and chairs can be a similar colour but only if there is a very different material thrown into the mix. Both can be in quite warm tones for example, but it works better if the chairs have a woven material on the seat or backs. It gives enough textural variation to allow the similar colour to not overwhelm. It also helps if the flooring is a different colour to the table and chairs – but more on that below.

Check Chair Height & Width

Of course one of the things we all love about package-deal dining suites is knowing that the chair height will be right. You could literally see them in-store, sit at the table and know that it all worked.

So, when matching unmatched dining tables and chairs it’s imperative that you measure the sizes. Keep in mind the following keys:

  • Chairs need to be a minimum 10cm higher than your table top. The backs of the chairs shouldn’t be so low that they will slide under the dining table, so make sure you check the height.
  • Make sure the chair width is appropriate for the size of your table. If you divide the total length of your table by the width of the chair you’re looking at, it’ll tell you how many chairs will fit on one side.
  • Allow 10-20cm between the chairs. Also, keep in mind that some table tops might be 180cm wide, for example, but the distance between the table legs underneath could be less if the legs are inset on the table. Some math is involved in getting the chairs to match the table. If you’re like me, this is the bit that is never fun but trust me, it’s important!  

Consider Floor Colour vs Dining Table

Your flooring colour needs to be factored in when working out how to match the dining table and chairs so that your flooring, table and chairs aren’t all too similar in colour. 

Of course, sometimes this is unintentional and unavoidable. Let’s face it – we don’t all get to move house and change our furniture to suit. So when that’s the case, never fear. The simple addition of a rug can break things up. And adding some softness beneath your table is also a great way to counteract all the hard textures in a dining setting.

Variation is Important

Remember, vary the colour, material, shape etc. On hard-flooring like polished timber, try to avoid a table top of the same colour. Either choose a different material (glass, concrete or marble table), or a timber top that’s considerably lighter or darker than the floors.

If you already have a dining table a similar colour to your floors, another way around it is to introduce chairs in a different colour with a softer texture.

Please remember this is just a guide and by no means set in stone. Hopefully it will just give you a general guideline and some inspiration to explain some of my Style Counsel Interiors styling “rules” – and exceptions to those rules 🙂

All Image Credits: Pinterest

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