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Dining Tables with Matching Chairs; Yay or Nay

By 08/13/2010January 23rd, 201741 Comments

I think the most interesting dining rooms are ones where the chairs don’t match the table. So I was very excited to find these french chairs for my dining room when I decorated it a few years ago.

So, keeping in mind my sunshine yellow sofa, I now have to decide which colour to paint the frames and what fabric to cover them in. Love the look of this room but I don’t plan on a white dining table so I’m thinking, too much yellow.

Or I could paint them yellow and cover them in black or white, but that idea is not giving me an ‘aha moment’ either.

Then I thought I could also do them in a narrow stripe like this with a black frame. The problem with that is there’s too much white and it would get dirty too fast.

House Beautiful

There’s always the option of raspberry (this is a bit too hot pink but you get the picture) but I think it’s way too much for me.

I could always do them in a gray/linen shade to go with the walls but this idea does not excite me either. Although I think this dining room is fabulous!

Dining room by Tobi Fairley
I also like the idea of maybe a solid bottom and a patterned back but I have yet to find a pattern that I think I wouldn’t get sick of looking at. There is not that many options in the yellow that I’m looking for at the moment. The fabric showrooms are not quite on top of the ‘fresh and bright’ trend that is coming on strong right now.
What is your opinion on dining room chairs, should they match the table?
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  • Shelley says:

    I don't like things too matched. I prefer things to look pulled together over time. I recently recovered my dining room chairs (handed down from my grandfather's house). I did the seat in a solid and the backs in a pattern, and I love them. I did, however, go "safer" with the pattern than my initial instinct for fear of getting tired of it long before I could afford to change it.

  • Teresa Hatfield says:

    Do not like for the chairs to match the table. As a matter of fact, I like 2 styles of chairs if there will be 8 or more.
    Can't wait to see what you do with them.
    Teresa (Splendid Sass)

  • Dale at Hospitality Design Inspirations says:

    Hmm I'm torn on this. I think that chairs by nature are such different objects than tables, so how can they really match? The wood stain? Maybe…but I think once you layer the plates, the lighting, the flowers, everything else, it isn't always necessary to have the chairs stand out so much. Then again, bright chairs with wild fabrics on them really tickle my fancy. So good luck with this one! I think you'll know it and feel it when you see it.

  • Melissa @ Veranda Interiors says:

    I tend to at least match the color of the wood and play with the style a bit, but that tends to work with the style that my clients have. One thing I am huge on is mixing the fabrics like you mentioned. We have a crushed fabric on our chairs and a subtle stripe on the backs of them. We have had them like that for 5 years now and I still love the way they look…it is just the color that I am starting to pull away from. Time to go find a great upholster in Calgary!

  • The-Countrypolitan says:

    Hmmm…. how about a charcoal grey with a yellow piping?… ~Terri

  • Anonymous says:

    Is the dining room part of the living area seen earlier?

    I'd worry about it starting to look too busy. I'd keep the fabric simple for fear of clashing with the other strong elements in the room.

  • Windlost says:

    Yellow sounds so fresh and wonderful. I like the idea of a solid seat and a patterned back, perhaps a yellow seat and a white ground for the back with a pattern with a small amount of yellow? That way when the chairs are tucked in, it is not an overpowering amount of yellow. But yes, you have to find a pattern you love. What about something classic like a ticking stripe? Or a toile? Or a simple floral? You could always use a colour in the fabric to work with your table if it will be uncovered. I love the white table and yellow chairs myself.

    My dining room furniture is all mahogany Queen Anne. I usually have a tablecloth (white or light) so the chairs aren't all matchy with it. I am trying to settle on a seat fabric. I would love to do slipcovers but much too expensive for 10 chairs.

    Good luck.

    I am going to blog about a Vancouver store I found in the next few days…check back…!

    xo Terri

  • Ideezine says:


    I like the chairs to match and become invisible in the room. The people in them are the center of attention when filled so I often suggest/use slipcovers for clients until we find the right fabrics or solution for dining chairs. It works magically especially if fabric is a flax color.


  • Julie says:

    Personally I like the juxtaposition of different table & chairs, especially if they are very different to each other (v. modern vs antique) – I don't like it too matchy-matchy – however agree this can be tricky to pull off.

    Love the idea of yellow chairs – a bit different, and so cheerful.

    (P.S. – just wanted to say I'm new to your blog and wanted to say I really enjoyed it)

  • Anonymous says:

    I don't like dining chairs to match a table, unless both are wood. I have a slight addiction to chairs…I just bought some awesome mid-century looking chairs for $5 each and am in the process of re-finishing them. I picked out a med green-grey (I think it's called Seafoam Storm from Valspar) and a Robert Allen plaid fabric with the seafoam color, white, light blue and a touch of orange-brown. I had wanted something a little more graphic, but I think they will look great when I'm done. Good luck choosing your finishes!

  • Elecat says:

    I still haven't decided what style chairs I'm having let alone what to cover them in. lol! My husband likes matching wood or leather but I like it mixed up a little. I hate chair covers and the idea of having them blend in: they're too nice to 'hide'. I like the above idea of grey with yellow piping. Can't wait to see what you go with. 🙂

  • heather jenkinson says:

    This is a very good question. Generally, I prefer to have the functional pieces in quiet neutral tones (and either matching or layered, tonally). In one recent project, the client bought 8 chairs which we reupholstered in two different colours (deep aubergine and a rich burgundy) and piped them with the same dark red/pink tape so they worked together. Here's an image if you'd like to see it…

    Looking forward to seeing how you resolve this one; you have such a great eye, Maria.

  • pve design says:

    I love an eclectic mix of chairs and always a place set for an unexpected guest. Love chairs that match or pop, I do not judge. One thing I love are those pretty demure gold leaf chairs at balls and those clear ghost chairs when the clock strikes midnight.
    I think your chairs will be the belle of the ball, make them fun, happy and you!
    I would love navy or black patent leather? I love things that one can wipe or spray with windex! 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Black or dark frames, I would not be afraid of a print and love the print backs with solid seats. Although, your rug is a print design and might be enough print for the room, unless the chair print is not too bold.

  • Laura@Developing Designs says:

    Absolutely positively do NOT match the chairs to the table 🙂 You are hip, stylish and eclectic….the idea of contrast chairs sounds perfect for you.

    I love a bold wide stripe on the back of a round chair, or a pattern. The table and fabric will help determine what color you should go with on the chairs. Speaking of fabrics, if you like the idea of white and durability look into outdoor fabrics (you can't really tell and they are washable (most even with bleach). They have come such a long way. Try Perennials, Robert Allen, Schumacher and Kravet for fabulous options. Good luck. Can't wait to see how they turn out. The place is looking great. xo

  • Anonymous says:

    Put your color in a fabulous big multi-colored stripe with the stripe matching on the seatback and seat bottom.

  • Mona Thompson says:

    I like to mix it up. As in any other aspect of interior design, you just have to have an eye for doing it well. I like Terri's idea of charcoal piped in yellow.

  • Lyn says:

    Hi Maria,
    just found a fabulous image over at The Lenoxx. Post is titled 'twist of lemon'. I felt it was you all over!

    xxLyn (LINI)

  • Sarah says:

    I like my tables and chairs to be very well matched or wildly different. Your room is begging for wildly different. And I love the idea of charcoal upholstery, especially a pinstripe.

  • diane@onlinefabricstore says:

    I prefer a table with mismatched chairs, in fact I like the look of 4 0r 6 totally different chairs but that may be too much in a small space.

    I like the idea of black and white stripes in your space. Use Sunbrella fabric if you are worried about stains.

    Cant wait to see the finished room.

  • Shay says:

    I love to mix it up,I think balance is the key.
    Really there should be one "star" in a room and that has to be your sofa.
    Think "supporting role " for the dining set.
    Love what you have done,it's fresh and fun.
    Shay~designer junk finder

  • Anonymous says:

    I too dislike matchy-matchy. Problem is teak parquet floor…a LOT of wood….stripping granny's old 40's wayterfall table and going to use the "raw wood" look…I guess I am ahead on this one as just saw this in restoration harware….the bulbous legs are not oak (whew) but not sure what color to paint chairs/do upholstery. I want the walls light and airy and will need to incorporate the orangey hue in the room (ina print) but also want bold pops of turquoise, magenta, even yellow…………………oh dear

  • A House and Home says:

    I really love them just the way they are. Is the yellow sofa in the same room?

  • Tricia says:

    Love this discussion as I am contemplating the very same thing. I found some great oval backed chairs and am seriously thinking of mixing a toile and and possibly a small check that shows on the back of the chairs. I also want to paint the chairs which is still "to be decided." I don't even have the table yet and I only have four matching chairs so this will definately be a blend of furniture. I'm a little quirky with my decorating so this suits my personality. Looking forward to seeing the direction you go.

  • Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    Years ago, I would have said yes to the match {let me rephrase that ~ my younger self would}. Over the years I've come to like a lot of different looks with tables whether kitchen or dining. I do prefer it mixed up and I love many of the examples you've shown here.

  • says:

    Definitely do NOT match chairs & table. Love the Raspberry, why not black frames & two hot pink fabrics, one a pattern or stripe the other solid? I am sooo tired of NEUTRALS!!!
    This is for YOU not a client.

  • Peggy and Fritz says:

    I personally love when tables and chairs don't match. I am not really a set person. I do however, love the ecclectic mix of different styles but know which styles blend is also important. I typically like neutral colors because I entertain a lot and love doing different table settings and I don't want my table to compete or class with my chairs. However, if if your personality is a bright color or mixing fabrics – I think it would look beautiful. Can't wait to see what you do! Ann

  • Lisa says:

    It's much more interesting to have the chairs different from the table. I have a 1940's maghogany dining table that needs different chairs – but where to store the six ones that came with? I can't bear to sell them….

  • Ava says:

    I like the wood finish on the table and chairs to match. It gives it a more pulled together look. I love seeing two different fabrics on the chair, however.

    Are you going with a round or rectangular table? I prefer round 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I prefer unmatched for a more youthful, less stuffy look. I like the wood finish on the chairs and think they'd be happy around a table of mid brown timber. I like the idea of a different back panel. Perhaps bold yellow and off white stripes with edging or passimeterie in rasperry? Or mixed barcode style stripes in raspberry, white and yellow. Again with edging/passimeterie in baspberry? Rasperry and white toile? Definitely go light on the back panel and darker on the seat as they get so grubby. Or slipcover them. (Now I'll go read all the other comments and see what everyone else has suggested)

    cherill w
    adelaide, south australia

  • Joseph says:

    Personally, I like everything to match, but that's just the cabinetmaker in me. If I made that dining room set, I would obviously make everything at the same time, same wood, same style, etc. No stain. I think it is an absolute sin to stain wood. But it would all match, which to my limited pea brain, is as it should be.

  • Rebecca says:

    Paint the chairs a soft white, use raspberry fabric and a medium color wood table. Take a look at the current House Beautiful Magazine cover.
    Have fun!

  • Belinda says:

    I saw a beautiful table and chairs online and don't remember the name but anyway. It was designed for someone's home. Had a black rectangular table with 6 chairs. Four of the chairs were white with pretty but not really bright fabric and the two end chairs were different altogether. They were like a black and white mix of fabric on them, very pretty. Wish I could remember the sight. But I would mix and have at least 2 of them be different.

  • Design Wanna-be says:

    I like unmatched too!

  • Tracy F. says:

    Much more interesting if they don't match!

  • Anonymous says:

    Raspberry!! Love those bright pink chairs & raspberry would look even better. Two complementing fabrics with the same raspberry as the dominant color and another color in a small geometric or dots would give you different chairs and the bright raspberry.

  • Dovecote Decor says:

    I really didn't think there was a bad one in the bunch. I'm not always namby pamby..but they are all lovely.

  • traci zeller designs says:

    I like it better when they don't match – but in my own dining room, I admit they match. I just loved the table and the matching chairs! We have a lot of matching in the South — because there are so many antique / inherited dining sets.

  • Mel Pergo says:

    Definitely not matching. I have a pine farmer’s table with black painted ladder back chairs with rush seats. Casual, but I think classic.

  • Cherie says:

    Well, it’s been over a year since the last comment, but I find this interesting, so I’ll comment. : ) When I was growing up my parents were putting their house together following WWII, and times were hard. Our dining table was a picnic set that my mother artfully painted. She made cushions for the detached benches and covered them in a cheerful fabric. Oh, what a knack she had! Later when times were better, our family moved to a brand new home and eventually we bought our first dining table and chairs, a beautiful well made set. My mother was so proud of her matching table and chairs. I’ve never forgotten that happiness. Many years have passed and I, too, have a matching table and chairs, which I adore. My Windsor chairs are a favorite style and I’ve never tired of their contour and character. There is so much going on in a well-used dining room (table decorations, dishes, food, the family and guests), so I do like the cohesiveness of matching furniture that doesn’t compete with all those other elements. I see the other viewpoint and “get” it, but I wanted to share my viewpoint. There is no one right way, but many right ways when it comes to choosing furniture.

  • Karen Aamodt says:

    I like the chairs to match but I do have a gorgeous fabric with a wide multi-color stripe down the middle. A wide swath of color in the middle with varying widths of “pinstripes” of other colors on both sides. I bought this as several pieces of remnants and the funny thing is they are perfect for the wall paper. You never know what you;ll find so always look in the remnant bin!

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