Tradition decrees that a dining table and chairs should come as a set, but the dining room is one of the best places to turn tradition on its head. A synchronized look can feel airless or excessively strict, exhausting the life and character out of a space that’s meant for blissful entertaining. Mingling and complementary tables and chairs is a great way to refresh the room, making it feel miscellaneous and lived-in. But how to pull it off and strike the right balance?

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A successful dining area should be comfortable, inviting, and interest-evoking. Here is the best advice on how to achieve a perfectly mismatched look.

 

Find a common denominator

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Stick to the same color or shape, then let your imagination fly. Arranged around an antique wood Swedish table, these white chairs feel like an intentionally curated set due to their corresponding color, despite differing origins, designs, and materials.

Or tie things together through the details

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In this loft in New York’s Chinatown neighborhood, steel-framed chairs in stark black work well with a white marble table thanks to the warm wood accents that connect both pieces. Play with contrasts but don’t forget to include a unifying element.

Travel through time

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“Layering pieces from different eras creates a sense of timelessness and excites curiosity,” says Keck. In this contemporary dining room, the roundness and transparency of the glass table highlight the strong linear shape and soft, dark upholstery of the vintage Milo Baughman chairs.

Keep it simple

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“Focus on form and material, and don’t go overboard with pattern,” advises Keck. To create this subtle look, she drew upon her client’s passion for Brazilian midcentury design, combining pieces by two very different designers from the same period. Martin Eisler’s caviona wood dining table softens the sharp lines of the jacaranda chairs by Joaquim Tenreiro.

Start with art

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“The wall color in this dining room was selected specifically to provide a backdrop for the art collection, and the furniture is also inspired by the art,” says Keck. The brass, walnut, and ochre finishes mirror the paintings‘ palettes and bring warmth to the cool gray walls.

Explore our Pinterest boards for more inspirations.

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