How to Mix and Match Kitchen or Dining Chairs

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How to mix and match dining room or kitchen chairs | 11 Magnolia Lane

As you may remember from last week, I updated a vintage cane bench and am using it at our kitchen table as banquette-style seating:

Vintage French cane bench used as dining banquette | 11 Magnolia Lane
That got me thinking about how I’ve mixed and matched my seating arrangements around my table for quite some time, and I thought it might be worth sharing some of those older photos and tips on how to mix chairs for a cohesive look.

Just to define our terms, this round pedestal table is really our kitchen table, but since this house only has one dining space, and it’s not large enough to hold our rectangular dining table, my husband has had the rectangular dining table out in Kansas with him and I’ve been calling this table our “dining room table” because it’s in the dining room of this house. Confused? Same.

Spring dining room updates in the MCC House | 11 Magnolia Lane

For about the last ten years I’ve used two cane backed chairs with cushions and two ladder back chairs with woven rush seats around this table. The table and chairs are vintage but were all purchased separately. Here are the things to look for when you’re mixing and matching chairs to ensure that everything works well together.

Similar Height

My chairs aren’t exactly the same height, but they’re within a few inches of each other. That’s one of the things you don’t notice unless the heights are really different, and then your eye can’t help but be drawn to it. If you’re ordering online, just make sure the chair heights are within about 4″ of each other.


How to mix and match dining room or kitchen chairs | 11 Magnolia Lane

You can see that Amy’s mismatched chairs are also about the same height:

This isn’t as important at a round table as it is at a rectangular table, but be sure that your taller chairs are at the ends of the table rather than in the middle (see my last point below).

Cohesive Colors (Paint and Fabric)

The photo below is actually a “don’t” in my opinion, even though it’s my own house! When I put the matching chairs opposite each other I feel like there’s a lack of balance at the front of the table. The reason is that the seat colors are just too different, and it’s visually jarring.

If you’re using vintage chairs like I did, you can paint them the same color and cover the seats with similar fabric to make them harmonize.

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Now, here’s the same chair configuration again in our Nashville house, but because the fabric on the seats is the same, the chairs look so much better:

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{Photo courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens Kitchen + Bath Makeovers}

The chair cushions for the ladder back chairs were custom made but it’s so easy to find a multitude of colors and patterns online these days.

My current color scheme is pretty neutral and I feel like the seats complement each other, even without chair pads:

How to mix and match dining room or kitchen chairs | 11 Magnolia Lane

Taller/Bigger/Bulkier as an Anchor

It’s a pretty widely known rule of thumb that when you have an armchair it should go at the head or foot of the table, and the same holds true for your larger or taller chairs as well. One current style is to have two large wingback chairs at the ends of the table and then smaller (armless) chairs on the sides.

Nuetral Dining Room Decor
I mimicked this look by putting my cane bench centered on the wall between the windows since it’s (obviously) larger than the chairs:

Vintage French cane bench used as dining banquette | 11 Magnolia Lane
That’s all there is to it! As long as you choose chairs with a similar size, style, and/or color, you know that they’ll look great together.

Here are a few of my favorite dining chairs:

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