How to mix a dining table & chairs

Written by valerie david
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Whether you have an heirloom dining table, four Louis XIV chairs you found at a flea market or just want to create a conversation piece from your ecclectic dining room, there are ways to group mismatched pieces to create an attractive dining set. With a few guidelines and a little creativity, you can put together a dining table and chairs that will be the highlight of your home.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Tape Measure
  • Furniture stain or paint (optional)
  • Upholstery fabric (optional)

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  1. 1

    Measure the table and chairs. The chairs must comfortably slide under the table and have enough clearance for a seated guest's legs. Check the width as well as the height, particularly for tables with corner legs that the chairs must fit between.

  2. 2

    Match one element to your decor If you have a modern home and an ornate Georgian dining table, choose cloth or leather covered contemporary chairs to tie the designs together. Dress up a shaker table with solid wood Queen Anne chairs to suit your formal decor

  3. 3

    Unify the set by colour. Buy a variety of chairs or a different style table, all in cherry wood. Try a sleek black lacquer modern table with mismatched wooden chairs that have all been painted white or bright red for a fun modern look. Pair a formal table with cherry and oak inlays with a mix of cherry and oak chairs.

  4. 4

    Choose the same or similar eras. Wood tones are hard to match, particularly if you have an old table and are buying new chairs. Pair a walnut Victorian table with mahogany Victorian chairs, and the matching styles will unify the set. Eras that overlap, like Georgian and Queen Anne, will also produce compatible pieces.

  5. 5

    Balance the mismatched elements. Place the two leather armchairs at the head and foot of the table and the wood chairs along the sides. If you have two low-backed chairs and six high-backed, place the low chairs across from each other at the centre of the table. Not balancing mismatched items can give the room a feeling of chaos.

  6. 6

    Buy pieces of the same scale. A heavy wood table requires heavy wood chairs. A large, ornate heirloom table will look silly with thin modern metal chairs but can work with tall, straight arts and crafts chairs for a more contemporary feel.

  7. 7

    Match the upholstery. Choose chairs of varying styles, but cover the seats in matching fabric to unify the set. Select complementary drapery to further unify the space.

Tips and warnings

  • If you're buying all the pieces at the same store, place the chairs and table together to check how the styles work together. Sit at the table to be sure the heights match.
  • Pick up stain swatches from a home improvement store, and match it to your existing table or chairs, and take the matching swatch to the store to help pick complementary pieces.

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