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round oak dining table with black dining chairs with woven seat

How to Match a Dining Table with the Right Chairs

I’m of the belief that your dining table and chairs should be sisters, not twins. That’s why I’ve decided to write up a post today that’ll show you how to avoid the matchy-matchy look, and instead embrace a more curated approach in your dining room.

That’s what we’re going to delve further into here, because this is a skill few people master. I also know it troubles many of you when shopping. This post comes in direct reply to a callout I did in the TLC Private Facebook Group, asking members what they needed help with the most. So as always, I’ve jumped right onto answering this common dining room conundrum.

By the end of this post my goal is that you truly understand how to match dining table with chairs correctly. And as I often do, I’ve included lots of examples and some ideas you can shop toward the end of the post. Enjoy!

amart furniture white dining suite and buffet hamptons style

First Things First: Avoid the Package Deal

Stores invented the package deal so shoppers didn’t have to worry about matching dining table and chairs. It was all about removing the stress and indecision. I totally get it. But that approach to design is very 1999. And just like double denim and belly piercings, it’s time to move on (side note: I had a belly piercing in my early twenties. It lasted a few short months).

The modern approach to design is to do what I call style grazing; take a little from one aesthetic, a pinch from another vibe, and a dash of a third theme and mix is all together for a well-rounded home. The same goes for your dining room. Purchasing your dining table and chairs in a matching suite tends to give it an uninteresting look and feel.

I always start with the dining table first and then select the chairs that’ll match it best. I lock in the table style, size and material, and then have a good think about the best chair based on functionality, comfort and of course – colour and material.

Here’s a list of our fave 60 dining chairs, broken up into different design styles.

To be fair, dining suites have come a long way, so I shouldn’t be too hard on them. If you’re on a budget, they are a great option, just ensure the materials of the table and chairs are different. The one above is all too much of the one finish. Sorry Amart Furniture. Upholstered chairs here would look so much better.

interior secrets massey dining table dark timber table with grey upholstered chairs
via interior secrets
The Block 2020 Luke and Jasmin dining room with halo light pendant above dining table
too much of the same material in this Block dining room

Your Table and Chairs Should be Different Materials

So we know you should avoid package deal dining suites, but you should also avoid a table and chairs in the exact same material. For example, an oak dining table with oak dining chairs, or a metal dining table with metal dining chairs. The example above from a recent episode of The Block illustrates my point perfectly. The scene is just too heavy with all of that timber.

If you match the materials, your dining room ends up feeling quite texturally overwhelming. You can feel the setting is suffocating the entire space. Instead, you want your room to have visual highs and lows. I know that sounds wanky, but it’s true. As your eye moves across the space, you want it to be stimulated by one moment, and then calmed by another.

So with your dining table and chairs, let one be the star and the other be the supporting player. When they’re in the same material, neither looks as special as it should. It’s like having two supermodels standing side by side. They’re both gorgeous. Stand one next to me and suddenly the model looks far superior!

light blue provincial dining chairs with timber frame and legs brosa provincial dining room
via brosa

Curveball Rule Breaker

The exception to the ‘different materials’ rule is if you had a timber table, for example, with timber chairs that featured some upholstery on them. The image above is a good example. See how the coloured fabric breaks up all the timber? This is allowed.

temple and webster oak dining table with black chairs
via temple and webster
bohemian dining room white marble table round black mirror australian natives on tray
via Jessi Eve

They Should Also be Different Colours

Colour in a room is so important to get right, and when matching dining table with chairs it becomes pretty crucial. You might have mixed up the material, but the other thing you need to ensure you do is mix up the colour.

In an ideal world, that is. There are examples of dining rooms where the table and chairs are the same colour and it can work (in a minimal Scandi-vibe home, for example). But I’m going to assume you want your home to feel more layered, so changing up the colour is recommended.

And the colour can be changed ever so slightly. A black table with charcoal dining chairs is a good example, or an oak table with beige chairs. I’m not suggesting you have to have a bold colour by any means, you just don’t want them to feel matchy-matchy. Remember: sisters, not twins!

kyal and kara beach house dining room square dining table with pendant

Curveball Rule Breaker

OK, so your table and chairs can be a similar colour but only if there is a very different material in the mix. The dining room above via Kyal and Kara is a nice example where both the table and chairs are quite warm, but it works because the chairs feature a woven material on the base seat. It gives you enough texture to allow the similar colour to not read as too overbearing.

Also keep in mind in the room above how many other soft textures are at play. It does balance out the hard materials, plus the flooring is a different colour.

dark timber rectangle dining table from brosa with grey upholstered dining chairs
via brosa
modern country dining room with clay pendant light over table metricon lookbook theme
via metricon

Your Flooring Also Comes into Play

Just to throw a curveball into the mix, your flooring colour is another consideration that comes into play when matching dining table with chairs. The biggest mistakes you can make here: the flooring, table and chairs are all very similar in colour.

If this is already happening to you, then a rug is a nice way to break up the potential monotony (if your dining room is large enough to take it – tips on choosing a dining room rug are here for you). The adding in of softness beneath your table is also a great way to reduce the heavy feeling of all those hard textures in a dining setting.

On hard flooring like timber, I usually never place a timber table of the same colour. I either choose a different material (glass table, metal table or marble table), or I choose a timber that’s way lighter or darker. The above image via Metricon showcases this point perfectly.

Failing this (if you already have a dining table a similar colour to your floors) introduce chairs in a different colour and soft texture. Remember… variance is key. Variance of colour, material, shape etc.

globewest small round marble dining table and green dining chairs small dining room design
via globewest

modern luxe dining room with glass top table grey upholstered chairs and fake flowers urban road wall art

Check the Table Size vs Chair Height & Width

The beauty of buying those outdated package deal dining suites is knowing that the chair height is going to be right. You can literally see them in store, sit at the table and know that it’ll all work together.

But, we know package deals are outdated. So, the one word of warning I can give you around matching dining chairs to your dining table when they’re not from the same store is to measure the size

I’ve seen many examples of dining chairs where the backs are so low they slide right under the dining table when it arrives. Not a good look. To remedy this, make sure you check the height of the chairs you’re considering buying. You want your chairs to be minimum 10cm higher than your table top.

Also think about the width of the chairs. If you divide the total length of your table by the width of the chair you’re considering buying, it’ll tell you how many chairs will fit on one side.

But… you also want to allow 10-20cm between the chairs, so factor that into the equation as well. Also keep in mind that some table tops might be 150cm in width, for example, but the gap between the table legs underneath could be less.

Some math is involved here, but it’s totally worth doing.

grey and white dining room design with navy blue velvet dining chairs and sheer curtains
via dulux

Examples of Matching Dining Table with Chairs that Work

Time to give you some examples of the sorts of dining chairs that’ll work with particular table finishes. Given what you’ve learnt about above I reckon this will all start to make more sense now.

 chairs for a marble dining table with black legs round

Dining Chairs for a Marble Dining Table

Grab the divine Zodiac Dining Table from Interior Secrets and Pair it with one of the delicious six dining chair options above.

First Row: Luxe Dining Chair Ink Velvet | Daintree Dining Chair Natural | Tish Light Grey Dining Chair

Second Row: Crimson Bentwood Chair | Belmont Cream Fabric Chair | Sophie Dining Chair in Green

chairs for a glass dining table round with black legts

Dining Chairs for a Glass Dining Dining Table

A glass dining table like the Kobe Round Dining Table from Life Interiors above works so wonderfully with the six chair options below it.

First Row: Lynton Fabric Dining Chair | Sergio Leather Dining Chair | Abbey Dining Chair

Second Row: Baltsar Dining Chair | Lima Dining Chair | Glasser Dining Chair

chairs for a round timber dining table

Dining Chairs for a Timber Dining Table

Loving the look of the Teak Dining Table above from Temple & Webster. Pair it with any of these divine dining chair options – they’re all stunners.

First Row: Cuba Woven Dining Chair | Ashely Dining Chair | Sandrine Dining Arm Chair

Second Row: Congo Dining Chair | Belmont Dining Chair | Eames Replica Dining Chair

chalie macrae art in hamptons dining room with beige tufted dining chairs tlc interiors

Got Any Dining Table & Chair Questions?

It’s kind of impossible to cover off every single situation that might arise when it comes to matching dining table and chairs. So, do feel free to drop me a comment below and I can answer any outstanding questions you might have.

Here’s another awesome idea: come and join my decorating junkies private Facebook group, where members post photos of their rooms and we all give our advice. It’s such a welcoming online community and I reckon you’ll love being a part of it.

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Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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50 Responses

    1. A black leather would work well. I did that in my Camberwell industrial design project and they looked great. The chairs were from Freedom; quite modern. Outside of leather, a black bentwood chair would also work.

      1. Chris, loved this article! Thank you!
        I am trying to acquire a solid wood dining table (weathered oak finish so on the lighter side) and was thinking of pairing it with vintage chairs : brass frame with printed cloth fabric for back rest (different hues of blue) and then dark charcoal velvet seat. Too much?

        1. Hey Beth, thankyou! What you’re describing could work. It’s all going to come down to how to speaks to the room as a whole. Does the print clash, does it blend in? Is it using some of the colour from things like art and cushions in the room?

          Sorry I can’t be more specific!

  1. Hi Chris
    I have a white solid surface table top and Vic ash legs (hubby made) so confused about dining chairs what do you recommend.
    TIA
    Nadia x

    1. Hey Nadia, can you clarify the materials please? Is the table top the same as the legs? It’s hard to give specific advice without seeing the table. Just don’t try to be too matchy-matchy. If the top and legs are two different materials, the chairs could be a fabric, maybe in an accent colour that pulls from some art or other items in the room.

  2. I have purchased a small round dining table for my sunroom , it has black metal legs and wooden top edged with beaten brass. Would adding velvet upholstery chairs with metal legs be too much ?

  3. Great article! I too hate matchy-matchy so I bought a very unusual Amish-made table. The table is made with 2 lengths of cherry wood on both sides and a length of glass down the center. The outside edges are straight and the inside live edges are under the center glass. The base is made of wide flat curved iron and is visible through the center glass, as the warm oak flooring. The table is very beautiful, but because of all the elements I am struggling with chairs. According to your article, the best option may be fabric, which may look too heavy. Another question is the chair leg material??? I don’t want it to look heavy or complicated. I would appreciate any suggestions.

    1. Hi Sheila, that sounds so unique! I’m having a hard time picturing it. Something simple so the table is the hero, maybe just a classic black Bentwood chair? I’d really need to see it to give good advice though.

  4. HI Chris, that was a great post! We are struggling to find chairs for the Nick Scali ‘Byron’ table – mari timber (very warm honey tones) with quite thick angled legs. any suggestions? Thanks, Jen.

  5. Hi Chris! I’m faced with the same problem. We bought a unique antique table. It has a glass top and metal frame with a woven, curvy metal design with a huge golden plant bud in the middle. It sits on the beige granite plate. It is possibly Austrian/German table of 30th 40th. I’m having a really hard time choosing chairs for it since it looks like something in Loui IVXth castle… Would appreciate any suggestions… Thanks!

    1. Hi Zoia, that’s a really tough one. If it’s as ornate as I’m picturing, you might need to find a chair that mirrors some of the detail and curvature of the design. Anything modern against it will just stand out far too much. Time to head back to the antique stores!

  6. Loved your article. I have purchased a light messmate table. My dining room has white walls, white cabinet with off-white floor tiles. Am at a loss as to dining room chairs, am considering charcoal or creamy beige fabric chairs, help! Would really appreciate your advice.

    1. Thanks Carla. A lot of white tones going on in the room. What’s the overall style? Beige might work if it ties in with everything else. If you need the contrast a grey would be nice.

  7. Hi Chris,
    We are looking at installing Preference Floors Prestige Oak Flooring in Chestnut which leans on the darker brown spectrum. What colour timber top dining table will go with darker floors and chairs. Walls are being painted Lexicon Qtr with Vivid white Trims and ceiling if that helps.

    1. Hi Tony, my biggest tip would be to make sure you don’t try match the tabletop to the floor. A few shades lighter than the floor is a safe bet. Hard to speak with certainty without seeing everything.

  8. Hi, Chris. Thanks so much for this article — it was really helpful. I could use your guidance: I’ve got a white, wooden pedestal dining table in my breakfast nook and no idea which chairs to pair it with. I’ve got an open concept home with gray cabinets and dark brown wooden/black rod iron counter stools close by. My floors are also a lighter gray tile. Any suggestions on color/material that would add layers but also help the flow of the room? I’d like to avoid fabric for the sake of cleanliness. Thank you!

    1. Thanks Ashley. The first thing that came to mind was a classic Bentwood chair. It sounds like the style would suit your home, but it’s hard to know with just a short description. In terms of colour, maybe just black. Or black with a rattan seat? Again, its hard just going off a few lines. Good luck!

  9. Hello, what chairs would you recommend for a light oak table with black carbon legs? Floors are also oak but slightly darker than the table top. Thank you!

        1. Metal legs sound safer given I don’t know exactly how everything looks. The seat could be a cushioned grey or some other colour already in the room, maybe from some art or cushions.

  10. Hi Chris.. Loved this article.
    I just don’t know what color to use in my open concept floor plan.
    I have white kitchen cabinets with white quartz counter and the floor is a creamy/white tile in kitchen/dining area.
    The adjacent family room has dark strip flooring.
    I have a very old solid wood oak pedestal table stained dark.
    I would love to restain it but not sure of color. Also wooden chairs with upholstered seat that I would retain.
    Any suggestions would be most appreciated.. Also any tips on whether I should stain or use paint!!
    Thankyou

    1. Hi Bee, sounds like a bit of a project you have there. I’d hire a local designer if I were you, at least for a consult. Nothing compares to seeing it in person to give a professional opinion.

  11. Hi Chris. I have black leather chairs with walnut legs. The wall is light grey. Its an apartment and looking to keep things compact and modern. What would you recommend in a table?

  12. Hi Thanks for this article very helpful. My question is regarding the last image with the off white fabric chair and the oak looking table can you tell me the name and brands of both these I love those chairs and would like to see a full size image of the table. Thanks so much

  13. Love your article! I’ve just bought an oak table and am looking for some nice chairs to go with it in my open plan kitchen, living, dining room. The colours in the room are quite grey, but I’ve got a multi rug and a teal occasional chair. I was thinking of maybe teal velvet dining chairs, but can only find some with walnut legs. Would this work? The flooring is engineered oak.

  14. Hello from the States! I wish you were in California. I just purchased a marble dining table (seats 6) – white with grey veins. The legs are a brushed nickel type silver. My flooring is a lighter driftwood grayish/beige color. The dining room is an open concept and the walls are all white and contemporary. The staircase is nearby and is white with has brown banister railings (a bit warm tone with slightly red undertones). I am stumped by the white marble table and silver legs. Can I choose an upholstered chair with black legs? And can I go with a neutral fabric on the chairs or do I run the risk of it looking like I was trying to match the white-ish marble?? I can send pictures! I already requested to subscribe to your newsletter. Loved the article!

    1. Hi Cheryl! Hope you’re going well in Cali. The table sounds lovely! I think black legs with a neutral fabric will work well. Maybe a greige, or just a light grey. Good luck!

  15. Hi,
    What chairs would look best with an oak river table (clear resin) that has stainless steel ‘U’ shaped legs please? I’m struggling whether to keep stainless legs on chairs or go for black metal?
    Thank you

  16. This is so cool and right on time, great article! I want to mix styles, mid century (round bamboo and white Cafe table) with more on the traditional style chair. Two chairs IA all. Is that possible, can that be done, suggestions? My eat in kitchen is centered around or between kitchen with cabinets darker counters with two off-white bar stools with back black leather cushion, on white tile floors leading into room with light hardwood. Hope this didn’t complicate things. Its a small space, want to keep it light and airy and avoid to much modern as I love traditional lines too.

    1. Hi Shan, it sounds like you have a lot of materials going on in a small space. White tiles meeting hardwood floors. Dark counters with an off-white stools with black leather. Not sure what colour your cabinets are, but that could be yet another colour/material.

      I’d be really careful about adding more materials and colours and styles. Pick something already in the space and use that as your colour/style inspiration for the table and chairs.

  17. I have a oak dining table and need chairs. Will a shade of red oak with upholstery chairs go with the lighter oak table.

  18. Thank you so much for this article. I will need a little more help choosing what dining chairs I should buy but I know now what I should not buy

  19. Hi chris! Love the article, very helpful. I have purchased dining chairs with oak legs and light grey fabric. What kind of table do you reccomend? Would a complete oak table be too matchy?

    1. Thanks Chelsea, depends on the type of chair in my opinion. If the whole seat and back is fabric, oak legs will be fine. If the chair frame is on show and its just the back and seat that are grey I’d be careful not to overwhelm the space with too much raw oak. Could try a different stain or colour.

  20. Hello Chris,

    Thanks for the article. I was hoping you would say what goes well with wood/steel legs. I have a rectangle walnut table top with matte black steel legs. I could really use some help on what type of chairs that will go well. Color and material.

    Thanks

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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