A survey! Mismatched Dining Chairs? Would You? Could You?

teacatsJanuary 16, 2009

A Friday Night Fun survey:

As a VERY matchy-match person -- and way symmetrical too ...... the fresh new issue of Traditional Home March 2009 -- the cover (and the story of a lovely home) features a dining room with a round table and six chairs -- three upholstered -- and three seat-only-fabric chairs .....

So --- do YOU like mis-matched chairs around a dining (or kitchen) table?????? Are you a rebel?

OR -- (Me! Me! Me!) do you look for a SET of chairs?

OR -- do you think that the chairs MUST match the table???

C'mon! Confess -- would you like to give up your matched set -- for a wildy diverse one??? :) LOL!


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Oh heck yeah! But then, I'm a high-contrast, high-detail eclectic kind of person. This is a direct opposite to Hubby, who is so matchy-matchy that the wood on the family room set is the same as the wood of the dining room set. *sigh*

To me, eclectic = home, history, comfort, family. Things that match too much look too staged, fake and impersonal.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 8:04PM
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Not much matching here, Jan.

The white chairs will go with the dining room table and you can see that the breakfast area has different chairs, too.

Sorry for the double pics, having PC problems and am too lazy to go back and fix.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 8:14PM
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As eclectic as my tastes are, I tend to like all my chairs to match one another or at lest coordinate very well. By that I mean, I can see the two end chairs being the same and and the rest coordinating, in the same wood with matching upholstery. I've seen ~ and admired~ every chair being similar in design and visual weight, but painted different colors . . . but I don't think I'd do it myself. The bottom line for me is that, while I can enjoy other people's choices, it's not something I'd choose for my own house.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 8:27PM
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Ok do I use mismatched chairs in the dining room, yes, but only because I can't find any that match well enough in style to work into the set of six we already have. I'd LOVE to find something of the right scale in a chippendale esq style, but just haven't been lucky in three years of looking.

My chairs are 1840's and the table is 1940's so I'd say I don't specifically match it all. The chairs are chippendale and the table duncan pfyfe phyfe (one of those). They're all mahogany. I do like a bit of formality in the dining room, so that's not a room I'd use...well the chairs I have to use now to fill in LOL (Oak victorian's).

No one seems to notice by the time we get around to serving dinner though :) I think it's because we like to get 'em drunk by appetizer time....

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 8:44PM
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My kitchen chairs match each other but didn't come with the table. My dining chairs all came with the table. BUT, if it's done right I like the mismatched look. It's safer and easier to match, though and I'm a chicken :p

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 8:50PM
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My dining chairs do match but I never liked them. They are reproduction windsor chairs that go with my old heart pine farm table. I am considering buying some chairs from my cousin that are black with gold stenciling from the 19th century.

As a rule, I hate matchy matchy I always have even as a younger woman.

But I do think dining chairs should be the same type or from the same era. With one exception, I like big upholstered chairs at each end of a large fancy dining table. I think it's good looking.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 8:55PM
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Ve-r-ry interesting ----- some wild gals here at GWHD!


Just for the fun ---- IF you could -- would you do ALL mis-matched table and chairs?????

For the record -- I just don't think I'd be comfortable with that ..... hmmmmmmm .......

Jan .......

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 9:07PM
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I'm with Lynne on this one. I prefer my chairs to match and was very lucky to find an antique dining seat with 8 chairs. That was very important to me. I do like the look though, of doing upholstered host arm chairs, though there just is not enough room in my Dr for the added bulk, plus a part of me would feel weird about having more comfy chairs for the hosts than what are offered to the guests. I would be OK with having a different style table, though, as long as the wood matched.

As for the one on the cover of Traditional Home, while it would not be my first choice, what makes it work is that it is symmetrical where the chairs alternate--three chairs of one style and three of another. Also, I notice that while the style is different the chair height and curved backs are similar. I find it interesting in a mag. like Traditional Home they have to put a new spin on traditional furniture to make it look fresh. Me, I am more of a traditionalist.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 9:09PM
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Fun question!
I do like matching chairs, though I think it looks very elegant to have upholstered chairs at the head and foot of the table.

I have a hard-working, casual dining room with a trestle table - we have two benches for it, but have found it more comfortable to use chairs on one side, bench on the other. It works in this narrow room that is used for all our eating - as well as artwork, science experiments, sewing, etc.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 9:17PM
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It IS a fun question!

I bought a table & chair set (CL), all matching, not because I actually wanted a set, but because the table was what I needed (small round, expandable to seat 10 or so) & the price was right. I've painted the table top, & considered painting the chairs in color sets of 2, but really, I don't care for the chairs that much & would rather get something else that goes with, but doesn't match the table. I have SO many unmatched pieces of furniture that I think I would breathe easiest if I had no more than 2 different chair styles, & probably all one style. When I have more than 10 for dinner, we need to use 4 types of chairs, but with that many people, we're VERY crowded in my eat-in kitchen, so who cares lol?!

My dishes I LOVE - Lindt Stymeist Colorways - each piece has 2 or 3 different colors, & there are a a number of different color combinations. Matchy matchy? oh no.....definitely NOT me!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 10:22PM
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While I think it looks nice in other peoples homes with mismatched chairs I couldn't do it in my own. It would bug me. I'd wonder if guests thought it was odd and thought maybe I just couldn't find original chairs or afford a new DR table set? ha

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 10:29PM
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I have 6 matching chairs for the DR table, but 3 different types of chair around my kitchen table. In the kitchen, there are 2 very dark blue, distressed, rush seat, Mexican chairs, 2 antique oak, woven seat chairs, and two light blue, spindle back chairs. They somehow work together, and provide some much needed color in my log house.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 11:06PM
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I'm matchey. But that's the Victorian way, everything symmetrical.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 11:10PM
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Match. But like others have said before me, i can also appreciate the mismatched look if it's done well (see Parma's post).

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 11:42PM
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I like to see mismatched chairs in a country casual setting. I think it's neat. If the table is dressy or formal, I think mismatched chairs would loook cheesy.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 12:11AM
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I have six shield back Baker chairs from the 1940s with seats upholstered in a silk check. I have two modern chairs with an upholstered back that looks just like the shield shape of the original chairs. They are upholstered in a cut velvet embroidered with dragonfiles; the back of the chair is upholstered in the same check as the other chairs. And then I have two very old smaller chairs that are late Victorian and they have an open shield-type back of wood and upholstered seats, which are in the same check.

I think it is fine to have mismatched chairs as long as there is some common element---the upholstery, the type of wood, the shape, etc. In my case the backs of each of the three chair types is a shield and the same fabric is used somewhere on each chair.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 12:25AM
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I'm in the same situation as Igloochic, in that I have a 1940's mahogany double pedestal table with six 1840's chippendale mahogany chairs. At least the woods match, but the centuries don't! I'd love to have two upholstered arm chairs for each end, and have been looking for something suitable. Because of the other mahogany pieces in this area, (a buffet and large sideboard/china cabinet), I don't think anything too mismatched would work for us. Yet, I have seen it done with great flair and imagination in other homes, and appreciate that as well.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 12:28AM
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For me, I like consistency but not necessarily matching ... but I enjoy comfort above all!

We've three sets of chairs in our dining room:

Two are these acrylic Louis Ghost armchairs (little girls who visit love to sit in these because they think the chairs are akin to Cinderella's glass slippers), purchased through eBay:

they flank our mizuya (a Japanese kitchen tansu we use as our buffet) against a mirrored wall, hence the blurry photo

Four are these Ethan Allen wood chairs:

And the two which sit at the heads of the table are these wrought iron armchairs (they're from San Miguel de Allende):

I love how the eight chairs aren't a set and don't perfectly match one another -- that would k-i-l-l me (so I'm into hyperbole). However, I think all eight chairs really do form a cohesive whole: they're all similar in style.

I really had fun finding my three different chairs, and I think they work beautifully with our bookmatched raw edge table.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 12:53AM
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My chairs in the DR blend with the table well but didn't come together as a set. The side buffet was picked up too at a Warehouse Sale of one of the best furniture dealers in the Delta & is a little darker than the table & chairs are a little lighter but they all blend so well it is hard to see any difference. I like things to look collected as along as seem to make some sense. I posted a pic of the DR if you wanna take a peek. Bonnie

Here is a link that might be useful: DR

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 1:02AM
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OMG rmkitchen I love love LOVE your table!!! AND your chairs!! That is exactly the sort of not-matchy look I adore!

If my kitchen (i.e., non-existent dining room) had the space, your dining table would my dream table - seriously!

And I agree that comfort, in a chair, is of utmost importance.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 1:10AM
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That table.

Oh ...

My ...


It's magnificent.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 1:28AM
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Either way.. mixed or the same. But if they are mixed I prefer that they match in their varied-ness. What I mean is that a group of mismatched chairs doesn't mean it will look good, they have to have a common thread.
(I am new to the forums and do not know how to add photos, otherwise I would.)

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 1:55AM
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Design is all about context, so my answer is, "yes & no, depending on the circumstances." :-)

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 7:21AM
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frenchdressing - Most of us have a free account on photobucket. You just upload your pictures there and then copy the html code (below the picture) and paste it here.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 8:41AM
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I love mismatched chairs sets like RM's. Very interesting and fun. Hmmm, have to check Ebay for ghost chairs.

Mine will match because they came with my BF and I have to use them but my tables will always be a different style. I'm not real symmetric by nature though I like symmetric when I see it.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 9:24AM
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Ah! So far many of you might like different elements (chairs, table or even both) but many still need a common element too for a sense (visually?) of "decorative community" ......

I often wonder how I would feel about a table and chairs like the Weasleys --- in the Harry Potter series -- where EACH and EVERY chair is SO different around their long, long pine kitchen table ....... hmmmmmmm .......

Thanks for including photos -- wow! Those Ghost chairs are really cool --- and yes! I have often wondered if they are comfy too! LOL! :)

Has anyone been to dinner at someone's house ---- and the chairs were UNCOMFORTABLE??? I have -- and I thought it was just me and my backside (which has way too much padding as it is! LOL) ----- but even my DH commented on them later .....


    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 9:52AM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

I could mix and match as long there is a common thread among them for a dining room.

Now if I had a breakfast room with a southeast exposure and wonderful windows with an old pine table, vintage linens and mix and matched chairs, I don't think I would ever leave it, except to get another pot of tea. However, dh would never be able to stand the mismatched chairs, he just wouldnot even be able to look at it.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 12:08PM
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We have mixed chairs. In the dining room we have 4 of the same pressed back chairs that we got with the table. It was dh grandparents. We had 6 chairs but were able to put them together to make 4. And I have a thing for chairs, so at farm auctions I pick up what I can find that I like.
In the kitchen the chairs are all dark green, but 2 match and 1 is a little different.
I am looking - really hard - for dining room chairs.
But, we are both picky.
Karen L

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 12:36PM
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Kitchen chairs match the table
DR table and chairs have the same color wood, but the host and hostess chairs are upholstered, while the other 4 just have cushioned seats.
Welcome Frenchdressing...hurry and learn to post pictures, you have LOTS that we will enjoy seeing!!!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 1:38PM
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I'm more inclined to mismatched chairs, while DH is more inclined to matching.

We've compromised and decided I can paint our 6 matching chairs different colors, until I can afford to buy upholstered chairs. Because like many of you, comfort rules, and our wood chairs are definitely lacking in that.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 2:07PM
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I have an antique round pedestal table painted black. The chairs are a contemporary Parson style but each is a different color fabric (blue, green, yellow and red - all sort of muted so it doesn't look like a box of crayons).

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 4:49PM
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I do we have a 1700 farmhouse they didnt have matching chairs.I have different shaped and color windsors with large farm table

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 5:24PM
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In the kitchen we have 4 ladder back chairs and we made 2 small chairs and I matched the stain on the small chairs to the existing chairs.
In the dining room our set came with 4 cane back chairs, and two upholstered back side chairs.
Several years ago, I decided I wanted two more chairs. We went on a hunt and the first place we walked into had two cane back chairs, and a bonus matching side chair with arms. We bought them home, refinished and restored them, again matching the stain to the existing chairs. Everything blends nicely and it's interesting and different for sure. Joann

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 5:26PM
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