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Mis-matched magic – how to nail the eclectic dining chair look

Our top tips to get the mis-matched chair look and transform your dining table from drab to dashing…

We’ve all seen it in interior magazine spreads and on stylists’ swoon-worthy Insta-feeds. A dining table with a pile of seemingly random chairs plonked ad-hoc in a way that somehow looks…effortless…cool…and easy.

But when we grab a chair from the office, the kids’ room, the back deck and the bedroom and line them up around the table it looks like a red-hot mess, right?

So, it turns out there is a bit of an art to achieving the look, but fortunately for the non-professional decorators among us – and those with a chair fetish who develop decision paralysis at the thought of having to select just one style – it’s not difficult if you have keep a few key things in mind.

And here they are (because we’re the sharing, caring types):


One chair style, multiple colours

Fancy going the full rainbow effect? Then this is the one for you. Pick one style of chair, such as the Replica Philippe Starck Masters Chair, and buy it in a raft of colours. An alternative is to choose similar chairs from the same era, such as the mid-century, without them having to actually be identical – and then sourcing them in a range of sensational shades.

One shade, various styles

At the other end of the mis-matched chair spectrum is choosing a colour, let’s say yellow, and choosing six or eight distinctive chairs in the same fresh shade. One piece of advice to make this work is to seek chairs with similar heights – it’s more appealing to the eye when you’re glancing across the room and your dinner guests will thank you. Nobody wants to be the stumpy one at the table.

A fresh way to achieve the ‘one shade, various styles’ look is to combine chairs in different shades of the same hue, such as blue. A white or timber table mixed with chairs ranging from pale blue through turquoise, teal, royal and navy is a fun way to embrace ombre-style in an easy way.

You can have it both ways

Say you already have a matching set of six chairs but you’re hosting 10 for lunch, instead of trying to search for four similar chairs, buy four entirely different seats and intersperse them with your originals – it’ll look intentional, and on-trend, and no one will ever know that wasn’t the plan all along. A classic ‘fake it until you make it’ kind of thing.

Achieving cohesion

An eye-pleasing trick to use with mis-matched chairs is to always decorate in pairs. Having two of each type or colour of chair ensures no particular chair looks lost or out of place.

To achieve a seemingly random look that somehow coordinates with the rest of the room – although an outsider might struggle to see how it works, they’ll just notice that it does – try to repeat the colours used in your chairs elsewhere in the room. Whether it’s through artwork, vases, lamps, linen, bar stools, rugs or fruit bowls, if you repeat the key colours you’ve chosen for your chairs in other areas it will bring everything together.











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