cottage decorating ideas, coastal decorating ideas, country decorating ideas

Dining Chairs: Think Outside The Set

Your dining room is probably the most popular room in the house during the holidays when families and friends gather around the table for festive feasts.  And, if you are planning on doing some dining room redecorating, now is the time to think out of the set.  The traditional dining room table and chairs ‘matched set’ is giving way to a more creative ‘mix-and-match’ approach.

Maine Ladderback Arm Chair - Sunrise Double X-Back Chair - Pear Summer House Elizabeth Parson's Chair Peyton Dining Chair Twig Dining ChairNantucket Wicker Cafe Chair

In everything from fashion to home decorating, the emphasis today is on reflecting your own personality and lifestyle.  Throw out the old rules!  Experiment!  Play around!  Find a style that is uniquely you.

In July, we talked about farmhouse tables—the ‘must have’ for cottage-style country furnishings.  Now, it’s time to talk about chairs.  Of course, the first consideration is the size of your dining area and how many people you want to seat.  Do you choose a table with extensions to expand seating capacity for special occasions?  And what about extra chairs or seating for all those guests?

The first thing to remember is that not all chairs need to look alike.  You can combine styles and colors in a harmonious blend.  Painted chairs can brighten a room with easy-to-care-for finishes. If you are using painted wood chairs as your primary seating or as an accent – don’t overdo.  Select one or two colors that blend and work well with your overall décor.

Barn Wood Table with Two Color Windsor ChairsYou can also mix and match seating styles.  How about upholstered chairs for the head and foot of the table, matched with wood chairs along the sides?  There are countless chair styles available that can harmonize to create a distinctive decor.  One of the most popular is the country-style Windsor chair, which originated in Britain and quickly became a staple of American dining room furnishings. Some with arms and some without—some simple and others more ornate—there are numerous variations on the Windsor theme with a Colonial motif.

Barn Wood Table with Ladderback and Parsons ChairsAnother popular choice is the ladderback chair, a simple and more compact style, often with rush or cane seating.  There are also fanbacks, ryebacks, wheatbacks and open backs.  For a more rustic décor, there are twig chairs or wicker chairs. The list goes on.  There are authentic antiques and affordable reproductions made to look like antiques.  When not in use around the dining room table, these chairs can also serve as accent pieces throughout the home.

If extra seating is your goal – consider the bench.  A bench can be used either on one side or on both sides of the table, and can tuck neatly under the table when not in use.   The bench dates back to medieval times when all the inhabitants of the castle crowded around the table on hard wooden benches.  Today, the bench has achieved new status as a flexible and decorative approach to cottage-style seating. 

Barn Wood Table with Bench

Mix-and-match also applies to today’s most creative table-top settings where not everything needs to look alike.  Use old family china, napkins, serving pieces and silverware to make each place setting a unique collage of family memories. 

Brought to you by Cottage Home – specializing in cottage furniture & farmhouse tables

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