Should Dining Table and Chairs Match?

If you've been searching through the stores and finally found the perfect dining room table, to find out that it doesn't come with standard chairs, you might be wondering if you can still use the table. What if you can't find chairs to match - should the dining table and chairs match anyway?
A dining table and the chairs do not have to match. While dining tables are often sold with chairs as part of a matching set, this is more for decorating convenience. Nothing is preventing you from picking chairs that work with your own particular style.
Keep reading to learn more about how to decide what chairs will work with your table, how to create a pleasing aesthetic between mix-matched chairs and table, how to combine all the elements in your dining room, and more.
Modern luxury dining room interior with matching tables and chair, Should Dining Table and Chairs Match?

Why You Don't Have To Match To Look Good

There are two main techniqes in decorating: matching and coordinating. A dining table and the chairs do not have to match, but they should coordinate if they don't match.

In the matching style, everything, well, matches. Precisely the same, like twins. It's not hard to picture what "matching" looks like. However, in the coordinating style of design, nothing has to match. You find elements in common between everything in your decor so that, ultimately, everything in the final design has a way of tying together.

For example, the dining table and chairs might be made of the same wood. That's the common factor. The legs of the chairs are painted white. The buffet is also white. While this isn't matching, it is coordinated. All of those elements seem cohesive when put together as a whole because they all have something in common with something else in the room.

Chalkboard kitchen decor in open spacious dining room

It's entirely up to you which style you prefer; however, if the rest of the house focuses on a matching style, it is typically best to continue. If the decor is more relaxed, a coordinated style will work perfectly well.

How Do You Mix Dining Tables and Chairs?

There are practical and aesthetic things to consider when mixing and matching your chairs and the dining table. They include:

Chair Height

Select chairs that can be pushed under the table. If your chair has a low apron, you won't want high-armed chairs that bump into the table.

Select the right height chairs that offer the proper legroom when seated. The chair seat should be approximately 12 inches less than the bottom of the table. Read more here: How High Should A Dining Table Be?

Coordinate With Like Qualities

The same rules for coordinated design apply here. It's okay if the chairs don't match, but find something in common with the table and the chairs. This creates a certain cohesiveness between them. Some examples of elements that you might choose to coordinate are:

    • The time period for the furniture
    • Color
    • The undertone of the wood
    • Furniture legs, feet, or another design element (for example, scalloping on the table and back of chairs).

How Do You Mix Chairs?

Mixing the chairs instead of using an identical set provides visual interest. Some ways to try this style include:

  • Using one style as end chairs and a different style as matching side chairs.
  • An eclectic style, where none of the chairs match.
  • Having a unique "captains" chair, or a chair that is different as a focal point. The other chairs match.

Rustic table, different chairs and dark wall in dining room

Once again, even if you choose to avoid matching anything, you'll still want to make sure that the various elements coordinate and have a sense of unity. Otherwise, it can look like you have no idea how to decorate. You can learn more about mixed dining room furniture here: Do Dining Chairs Have to Match? [Here's why not]

Should Dining Table and Buffet Match

Of course, the dining table and buffet can coordinate or match, like any other part of your dining room design. The most important question to ask is how much you want either of those items to be a focal point.

Anything that matches other items in the room tends to blend in. If you want the table (or buffet) to have a strong, eye-catching appeal, then you'll want to be sure they don't match - each other, or anything else! Use contrast instead of matching. The more unique the item, the more it contrasts everything else present, the more it stands out. For example, if the buffet, chairs, and drapes are all black, and the table is white, the table is bound to draw the eye. 

Are Dining Room Sets Out Of Style?

Dining rooms overall have evolved throughout the last century. Formal dining rooms were once a strict place, with well-planned dinners and structured rules. As time went on, the dining room became more of a gathering place for fun and socializing and less of a show-place. 

Modern times saw the dining room begin to fall out of fashion. Some people even have dining rooms and dining room sets that they don't use regularly. They sit, collecting dust, while we're too busy with our lives to gather for a nightly, pre-planned dinner

However, as a people, we still enjoy entertaining. We like our spaces, our rooms for guests, our parties. We don't seem to care as much for the structure and formality, the regal dining room of the past. So, while dining room sets are still in style, it could certainly be argued that "formal" sets are not.

What Color Chairs Go With A Black Table?

A black table can work with any color chairs; however, the real question is, what other colors are present in your decor already? The easiest way to decorate with good results is to always start with a set color palette. A typical recommendation is to pick two dominant or main colors and one accent color.

If black is already part of your color pattern, is it a dominant (main) color or an accent color? If the table is a dominant color, you'll want to select another dominant color or an accent color. Often, the result is less overpowering if you pair an accent color with a dominant color in close quarters, such as at the table. If the black table is an accent color, you'll have good luck with using one (or both!) of your dominant colors in your chairs.

Can You Mix Different Color Wood Furniture?

You can mix different colors in your wood furniture, but you will want to identify the undertone of the wood to do so well. Wood comes in 3 tones, warm, cool, and neutral. In general, it is best to stick to the same tone in one room. So, while you can mix colors, you don't want to mix warm wood tones with cool wood tones.
  • Warm undertones come in red, pink, yellow, or orange. Cherry, mahogany, or hickory are warm-toned woods.
  • Cool undertones look a bit gray. They are green, blue, or purple. Examples are ash, maple, poplar, and pine.
  • Neutral undertones look beige, such as birch and walnut.

Beautiful kitchen in new luxury home with large island, pendant lights, and hardwood floors

In Summary

A dining room table and chairs do not need to match. A coordinated style of decor can create a room with good flow and unity, even when nothing matches. You can choose to mix and not match between tables, chairs, wood, and other furniture, such as buffets. You can even mix up the colors you use!

With some basic guidelines such as coordinate and working from a three-color palette, the sky is the limit for good design. Have fun being creative and happy decorating!

For more decor ideas, try:

21 Wall Decor Ideas for Your Dining Room

Curtain Ideas for Living Room/Dining Room Combos

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