Have you noticed the current trend of mixing and matching dining chairs?  Using mismatched dining chairs might seem easy – you just throw a bunch of chairs around a table, right? The reality is that mixing dining chairs isn’t quite as simple as it sounds.  You can’t just go and purchase any chairs and expect to pull off the look because not just any mix chairs will work.  To properly pull off this look, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind.  The 8 ways below will get you started to create this unique and fun look!  {And be sure to cast your vote at the bottom of the post!}

8 Ways to Mix and Match Dining Chairs collage graphic

A Note About Seat Height

No matter which of the 8 ways below you use to mix and match your dining chairs, always ensure that the seat heights are the same {or very, very close} so that no guest sits lower than everyone else.

8 Ways to Mix and Match Dining Chairs!

1. Change Just the Head Chairs

Since the head chairs {the chairs at the ends of the table} are traditionally a little different than the side chairs, this is probably the easiest approach to mixing and matching dining chairs. Head chairs often have more details, such as armrests, a taller back, more carving, etc. Changing the head chairs out for a completely different chair breaks tradition, but doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s less formal. You can use almost anything for a different head chair provided that:

  • The back is at least as tall as the side chairs, if not taller
  • You maintain the seat height guideline mentioned above

White Velvet Slipcovered Chairs | Tidbits&Twine

white slipcovered head chair with round French numbered side chairs

Green Wingback Chairs | Jen Langston Interiors

These traditional green wingback head chairs make a bold statement in a contemporary dining room.

Wingback Green Head Chairs in a contemporary dining room with bench seating
{via Jen Langston Interiors}

2. Keep Color Consistent, Vary the Chair

Color is a very noticeable feature on a chair, so if you stick with one color, you can get away with mixing and matching a few different styles of chairs!

Tip: If you have a random mix of chairs, remember that you can paint them the same color {or same hue} in order to create a common denominator!

Mismatched Dining Chairs in Yellow | A Beautiful Mess

Mismatched Chairs with Common Upholstery | Country Living

These chairs all have a similar wood tone, and the same mix of vibrant upholstery, allowing them to mix and match well together well.

3. Use One Shape, Vary the Color

As an alternative to the idea above, you can choose one style of chair and use a variety of colors for a fun look!

Multi-Colored Dining Chairs | Absolutely Beautiful Things

While all of these chairs are classing bentwood style, they are each painted a different color that ties in with the upholstery on the window seat.

bentwood restaurant chairs in different colors around a traditional round kitchen table

4. Use a Consistent Scale

One option of mix and match chairs of different styles is to pick ensure they all have a similar scale.

Mixed Dining Chairs | Dreamy Whites

The chairs below not only have a similar back height, but they all have similar widths and open backs. These commonalities allow them to mix and match easily.

Colorful Mix and Match Dining Chairs in a shabby chic dining room

5. Consider Using a Bench

Whether you use a bench or have banquette seating, this backless option helps to vary your seating style. For a bit of uniformity, consider using all one type of chairs opposite the bench.  The head chairs can be different.

Bench in Dining Room | BHG

white dining room with bench on one side and upholstered chairs on the other
{via BHG.com}

French Settee Dining Room | House Beautiful

white and blue french kitchen eating area with settee and blue plaid chairs

6.  Stick with One Time Period

Sticking to one time period or furniture style is another option to successfully mix and match chairs.

Mismatched French Dining Chairs | Horchow

Despite being different, all of the chairs below are French, with lots of curves and details.

Mismatched french dining chairs around a wood trestle dining table on zebra rug
{Mismatched chairs via Horchow}

7. Create a Pattern

Repetition, or creating an alternating pattern, using style and/or color creates a beautiful way to mix dining chairs!

Blue and Brown Dining Chairs | BHG

8.  Use Opposites

For a more eclectic look, try pairing style opposites such as:

  • Contemporary and vintage
  • Heavy and light
  • Traditional and modern
  • Industrial and shabby chic

But don’t forget to keep at least one thing in common so that the mix seems intentional.

Modern and Farmhouse Chairs | Decoholic

In the picture below, the chairs have a consistent scale and use of silver metal.

White contemporary dining room with mismatched chairs and white farmhouse table

Final Thoughts on Mismatched Dining Chairs

Mismatched dining chairs break from the traditional, but can create a really interesting and creative look when done properly. The easiest way to mix and match is to swap out just the head chairs for something different. This also provides the most traditional look even while using different chairs.

And keep in mind, the 8 ways to mix and match dining chairs listed above are intended to give some structure and guidelines in order to create a beautiful look. I say “guidelines” as opposed to “rules” because there are always exceptions. Mixing and matching dining chairs is an art form, though, so as with any decorating project, you can break the “rules” anytime you want!

Personally, one of my regrets about my own dining room is that I didn’t purchase a different style of head chairs for my dining table.  Yes, they are different in that they’re arm chairs, not side chairs, but I really wish I had purchased a completely different style of chair.  Normally, I like order and predictability, which is still true, but I really like the look of mismatched dining chairs because it helps to create a more individualized and collected look.

What do you think? Click below to vote!


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  1. #3 Is my favorite…wicker end chairs, the rest the same upholstered chairs..?

  2. My favorite color is yellow. So the chairs on the first pic look very nice.

  3. I love the idea of mixing chairs! But the photo with the two huge green wing backs? just…no. Looks ridiculous.

  4. The first table sets really outstanding, the yellow of the chairs made me very impressed.

  5. Clearly I’m in the minority on “thinking it over”. I love captains chairs for a dining room, but I think the jumbled look of a wide array of different style chairs would bug me. It’s a OCD thing. :-)

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