Remember last week I got you thinking about our obsession with poverty identifiers in decor and lifestyle? Well this weekend I took some time to do my actual job (not political commentary believe it or not) by advising my potential client on how to use this dining trend in their house. With every trend that hits our shores be it fashion or interiors, I always step in slowly. You do, by absolute good fortune, find clients who give you complete creative freedom and the resources to be creative but even those clients want you to explain the WHY of a design decision. Stepping into a trend cautiously allows you a number of things – firstly to pull out if it overwhelms your client but also to fine tune your design style, which I believe is very important. We (interior designers, decorators and stylists) can all alter a client’s space but I believe for longevity in this field, we should have some style that others can connect to us. We can do everything but I like being the best at something. I for one dream of being the queen of luxe interiors such as Kelly Hoppen. I love her style which is one based on a taupe colour palette. Of course taupe (grey with a tinge of brown) screams luxurious simplicity especially when then paired with colour and various fabrics. Taupe gives you an avenue to play with your interior, and boy do I love to play.
So what is the WHY of mismatched dining chairs?
- Well mismatched dining chairs are trendy, and deep down we know we love trends.
- They bring life (energy; variety; surprise) to a space
- They look lovely when paired against the other chairs in that space
- By having a somewhat non-formal setting (due to a mix and match of items), it allows you to be more creative with your decorative elements on the table as well as in that room. Will you place some faux fur to the back of the chair? Can the olive tone from the different chairs make your blue, plum and olive piece of artwork stand out? Maybe you can now add some yellow vases on the table or to be a little understated, you can add a clear glass vase with yellow roses inside? These are a few of the considerations you can make when your chairs are not all the same and predictable shape and colour of the others.
And the HOW of mismatched dining chairs?
No need to vary every chair, why not start with just varying your end chairs? End chairs are the chairs placed at the head of the table. You do not need to have six different chairs, rather go in slowly and source two chairs that can immediately add body to a dining suite. I love adding bulky occasional chairs to the ends of a table. By changing just two of the pieces you can keep the symmetry of the suite. For some reason the head of a dining table reminds me of the person who runs the house, usually a mother and father. Adding luxurious looking end chairs makes me feel as if those who use the chairs feel special too. I mean they aren’t just for anyone. Using chunky pieces adds some luxury to a space and makes it seem more expensive. Make sure that those end chairs are in fact comfortable for that table and not too low or high. Just because you are adding mismatched chairs, it does not mean that comfort should be compromised, seat height must all be equal. There are numerous ways to change up end chairs: adding slip covers; reupholstery for play with fabrics; adding pull backs to the chairs; changing the wood finish etc.
Looking for slip covered chairs? I came across some at the Coricraft Clearance Centre. It can be slightly messy, but if you have patience you can almost always leave with something in hand.
Add a bench
I know benches seem 1. uncomfortable 2. a kitsch and modern piece that won’t stand the test of time BUT it’s all the hype right now. I’d suggest that a home which accommodates kids can add a bench to the dining suite but I’d also advise keeping it the same fabric and colour as the other pieces. Don’t play too far away from the other pieces. If you’d like to play with fabric then consider keeping the colour as close to the other pieces as possible or visa versa.
Why not look into making your dining space a more relaxed one? Throw in a comfortable chaise or a bulky couch on one side. Perfect seating for that occasional nap brought on by mom’s Sunday lunch. Kidding… Sorta. The pros of having more comfortable versus formal seating is just that … comfort and the ability to relax into a space instead of sitting upright at all times. You can play with textiles and also add colour to the space as well as varying seating. Of course you can also formalize this space but still maintain comfort by playing with your fabrics.
Do you see how fabric and choice of colour can informalize or formalize a space? Both spaces are functionally the same but the play with taupe against the play with green makes the taupe space look more lavish whereas as the green space comes across with pizazz. In your mind you have, without meaning to, attached clients to each space. You’ve figured out how they look and speak and you’ve also guessed how the rest of their home is decorated. Isn’t it weird how easily we place people in boxes?
Do at own discretion
And then, good people, we come to the furthest stage of this trend. The “I can do whatever I like with my space” stage. Be brave. That’s the best advice I can give if you want complete play in your chair options. Although it does not seem like it, you can always add some form of uniformity to this stage: try keeping 4 of the chairs in one fabric and one style then do the same for the others playing with a different fabric and style. I think they got it perfectly done in this dining room. I put up the picture in my last post. It’s playful but also not too far stretched from the core of the wooden focus of the decor. The chairs also have similar shapes and they bounce off one another. This set up would be perfect in an industrial finished home. The space looks relaxed but uniformity and balance are present.
If I were trying to achieve this look, I would buy 4 almost identical chairs then change up the others bit by bit to fit into the theme. Where in South Africa can you find these, well almost everywhere as all the chairs are all different, but I would definitely check at @Home.
Want to achieve this look but nervous to go about it on your own? Contact us for some decor consultations.
What do you think? How far would you stretch this trend?
Happy Mismatching everyone.