DESIGN HOW TO: Dining table & chair combos

Creating a pretty dining room or breakfast space with personality can be a difficult task. Matched sets of dining furniture looks dull. Incorrectly mixed furnishings looks chaotic. Using a formulaic “big box store” table with four side chairs and two host chairs looks unimaginative. So how to do it, especially when you often have existing pieces to start with, seating requirements, space restrictions and the room needs to blend with surrounding areas? Follow along!

USE AN EXISTING TABLE & CHAIRS FOR A UNIQUE LOOK – if an older table and chairs are great quality, and their look is classic, they can still work well. Depending on the look desired, we like to use and update them with new chairs, modern lighting and art, in the right combinations, to create a dining space with personality.

We used an existing mahogany table and side chairs and added a pair of clean-lined upholstered host chairs and rug in cool colors to tone down the warm wood. We also added modern art and lighting.
We used an existing walnut table and added modern tufted chairs to create a comfortable spot for meals and a pretty spot that looks great when viewed from the living room and other areas.
We used heirloom furnishings in the formal dining room of a historic home, adding abstract art and a seagrass rug to update the space. We placed a pair of modern host chairs in the room’s bay window.

USE A TABLE AND BENCH FOR MAXIMUM SEATING – a bench is a great solution where maximum seating is needed. It can look polished if the bench matches the table and can look great if interesting chairs are added on the side and ends. The look can be casual, or more formal, depending on the elements used.

We used a long Parsons style table with matching bench, a pair of upholstered host chairs, and the client’s existing Queen Anne side chairs. This dining table, the only one in the home, has plenty of seating for the family and guests.
We used a client’s existing table, reupholstered their tufted dining bench and added new slipcovered leather chairs in their rustic French dining room. The bench makes a perfect place for children or guests who want to sit and chat.
We used a long picnic-style table and matching bench in this lakefront breakfast room. Large wicker chairs surround the table for maximum comfort. The bench makes a perfect dining spot for young children to eat or play games.

USE SMALL SCALE PIECES FOR TIGHT SPACES – many dining rooms are small, open to other rooms or part of a circulation area, making a functional dining area seem impossible. But if properly scaled pieces are used, a small dining area can be functional and beautiful.

This small breakfast room looked more spacious with a properly scaled, slim table and matching chairs. We used a pair of small host chairs and a textured, solid rug to create a cozy space.
This breakfast area is part of an open kitchen-living-dining space and is also near a busy circulation area. We used a slim table and chairs, with small host chairs, to create a proper “room”.
This breakfast room is central to a busy kitchen-great room-keeping room area. We used an 8′ long table that allowed 3 small chairs on each side, and a pair of slim host chairs, to seat a large family.

USE A ROUND TABLE FOR A SQUARE OR BUSY SPACE – in a square room, a round table can look well-proportioned and provide the most seating. In a small busy space, a round table can also allow for an easier, more graceful circulation pattern. It’s a favorite table shape that can look great when used with the right chairs.

This oversized round table seats at least 8 using slim chairs with a modern, round back. The use of chairs with rounded or curved backs works well with this table shape and continues the feel.
This small breakfast space, just off the kitchen and great room, is in a busy circulation area. A round table, with curved back chairs, makes a graceful shape to walk around in a tight area.
This oversized square dining room can easily accomodate a large round table with space to spare for other furnishings. The table is nicely centered under vaulted ceiling with large chandelier.

USE VERSATILE DINING PIECES IN OPEN SPACES – many dining areas now are part of, or close to, the home’s great room, foyer, kitchen or all of these. All spaces look best when they flow seamlessly together, visually and often functionally. We like to design spaces that provide more than one function if possible.

This dining space is open to the kitchen and living room and often serves as a drop zone. A large sideboard provides storage and the upholstered host chairs are backup living room seating.
This breakfast space is central to an open kitchen, living space and pathway from the garage. These dining chairs help create a distinct area in the open space and serve as secondary living space seating.
This breakfast/dining space has plenty of seating at the 8′ table and matching bench. We used comfortable dining wing chairs to blend the space with the nearby living room, only a few feet away.