Is mismatched dining the way forward?

Is mismatched dining the way forward? - Distinctify
Photography credit to Pinterest.

Annoyingly, as a fundamentally lazy human, I’ve fallen for a trend that requires actual effort and thought in order to pull it off. Gone are the days of structured uniformity in interior design. The day of mismatched furniture dawns. In particular, I can’t seem to resist the pull of mismatched dining sets. Tables with varying seating, from benches to different style chairs, add a real charm to dining areas. Perhaps it’s the nearly limitless possibilities or the fact that you can create a practically bespoke arrangement in your dining room or kitchen that adds to its pull. Curating your own collection of seating opportunities can really add a touch of your own personality into your space. But, it does require careful consideration and a lot of trial and error. It’s a real commitment for those of us who can only just about be bothered to get back out of bed to clean our teeth at night. So I’ve created a list to help make it easier. Behold, the lazy girl's guide to mismatched dining.


You may be wondering why, if it requires so much effort, so many people are indulging in the mismatched dining chair trend. The simple answer is that everyone enjoys bespoke. It’s nice to have something nobody else has; customization is the simplest way to create a stylish home. You can impress your own character into your dining room by using an eclectic mix of chairs. And because it’s customised, you can tailor it to fit into whatever style suits you, from bohemian to industrial. Often, curating your alternative seating can be a more budget-friendly way of kitting out your dining area. Buying individually from second-hand furniture shops earns you the coveted custom look without breaking the bank.

Is mismatched dining the way forward? - Distinctify

Photography credit to Pinterest.

The single rule not to break?

Mismatched dining is exciting because it’s slightly chaotic. Everyone likes to add a bit of disorder to their life and with mismatched dining, there are almost no rules. Except for one. The singular rule to stick to is to keep your chair heights consistent. If you’re mixing bench seating with individual chairs or stools, it’s always worth checking that the seat height is the same. Nobody wants to be the person perched on a pedestal at a dinner party, blocking the flow of conversation between the guests sat either side of them. Ultimately, these stylish features still need to serve their intended purpose: to be comfortable for dining, and if they make the dining experience feel socially awkward then they certainly aren’t achieving that purpose.

The other height variant to consider is that of the backrest. For aesthetic purposes you want all the backrests of your varying dining chairs to be the same height. Alternating backrest heights can become visually chaotic. This is a one-way ticket to turning the eclecticism of mismatched dining into an all-out mess.


‘How?’ you ask. Well, the truth is you can approach this however you want to. This trend offers you the freedom to experiment within your own boundaries. But if you’re terrified of getting carried away by the sheer limitlessness of this project, there are a few failsafe ways to dip your toe in the trend.

Is mismatched dining the way forward? - Distinctify

Photography credit to Pinterest.

First, try buying your dining chairs in pairs. Two sets of alternating chairs are enough variation for you to know if the mismatched dining set trend is for you. This method is distinctly less overwhelming and chaotic than buying four individual chairs and then realising that you cannot stand how it looks in your dining room.

Shop around, the process is supposed to be creative and fun. Vintage shops and charity shops are a great little treasure chest for individuals or pairs of chairs at great prices. Thrifting also means you get a larger more eclectic mix of furniture in one place, you can try out your variations before you take them home.

Don’t be afraid to upcycle. Your chairs need to be structurally sound to serve their purpose but try not to rule out options based on your visual first impression. Just because they may not immediately work aesthetically with your other selections, try to consider what you can do to alter them.


Bespoke is great, but sometimes you need some inspiration to get you started. And that’s fine after all imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Fortunately, the internet is littered with ideas to emulate in your own home. A more subtle option is to buy six of the same chair and paint them all different colours, using the style of chair to form cohesion throughout the collection. Alternatively, you can reverse this idea and buy six different dining chair and paint them all the same colour. This option is great if you have an overwhelming colour scheme within the room that you need to carry through into your dining set.

Is mismatched dining the way forward? - Distinctify

Photography credit to  Pinterest.

You can, of course, forgo these ideas altogether and choose to mix six, or however many you require, individual chairs of different designs. This method looks great if you can pull it off, but requires more time spent experimenting and matching.

Match the room

This may seem like we’re stating the obvious, but don’t design your room around your chairs. The organised chaos that works so well around your dining table is overwhelming when applied to the whole room. Use the design scheme that you have already implemented into the room to educate your decisions about which chairs to use. Have you used industrial features? Or pastel colours? Have you mixed wood and metal? Are you using a specific metal finish? All these options contribute to what you will put around the table. The table itself is also a great indicator of the kind of materials you might use for your seating, a marble top, for instance, may not lend itself so easily to wooden chairs.

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