Often home design is talked about in broad strokes: modern, transitional, traditional, or other relatively narrow, unified categories like Louis XV or shabby chic. But lately a more eclectic approach to decorating has become more popular. That is, choosing elements from lots of different styles to build the look you want, rather than choosing specific elements to suit a specific aesthetic. This is especially true is in the dining room and the eating areas of the kitchen, where many homeowners are mixing and matching colorful retro dining chairs to create a cheery, totally custom look.
Traditionally, a dining table and chairs are purchased as a complete set, with one or maybe two types of chairs designed to closely match the style of the table. These are generally made in a wood finish (or, for a kitchen table, a simple white or black paint), and have a fairly formal, unified appearance. But as kitchens have become a more casual gathering space, and the formal dining room itself has fallen out of vogue, this type of traditional dining room furniture has fallen somewhat out of favor.
Shop Zuo Modern Dining Chairs
On the simplest level, it’s a lot less likely for most people these days to throw the kind of party where you bust out the china, silver, crystal, and candelabras. If you’re hosting a big event, chances are it’s a more casual gathering among friends that might feel out of place in a very rigid, traditional formal dining room. Instead of being placed in a separate room, those big tables are part of wide, open kitchen spaces and have a much more relaxed, informal look and feel.
Throwing out the conventional high-backed formal dining chairs and replacing them with more casual seating is almost a no brainer. Retro dining chairs, especially from the early 1900s up to midcentury designs are smaller and simpler, with uniquely designed backs and legs that merge comfort and style. Paint them in a bright, cheerful color, and you’ve immediately got a much friendlier looking, more casual dining set, even with a more traditional table.
Mixing and matching different designs and colors immediately turns your dining set into a major visual focal point of a large kitchen, and can make the space seem more cheerful and inviting. While having a full set of the same chairs can give a dining area a unified look, choosing several different, distinctive chairs makes it feel more personalized. Especially if all your chairs are authentic antiques, having lots of different chair styles can even be a great conversation starter, as each piece will have its own story.
Shop Our Full collection of Dining Chairs
There’s tons of room to play with this trend, too, specifically in how many different types of chairs and how many different colors you include in your dining space. Choosing several of the same chair in different colors, or several different chairs in the same color can give a little more unity to the design. Different chairs in different colors will play up the distinct personality of each, while choosing the same chairs in the same colors or different shades of the same color can help make them coordinate better with the surrounding decor. If you opt for a lot of different colors, consider keeping the rest of the room fairly neutral, or, for a bright, cheerful modern style, contrast bold, bright colorful chairs with a white background.
For years now thrifty decorators have been snapping up retro dining chairs from flea markets and thrift stores and giving them some much needed TLC and a new coat of paint. But this trend has gone mainstream in a big way, and manufacturers like Zuo Modern and ItalModern have responded, by making reproductions of some of the most popular vintage chair styles available in a wide variety of bold, beautiful colors. That means that even if you aren’t a flea market maven, this is still a look you can get easily and affordably, and is a great, trendy way to perk up your kitchen’s dining area.
But what do you think of this trend toward more casual, colorful kitchen and dining spaces? Let me know in the comments!