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Cute, Colorful Retro Dining Chairs For A Casual, Eclectic Dining Space

We often talk about home design in broad strokes; in terms of 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 different styles to build the look you want, rather than to suit a specific aesthetic. This is especially true is in the dining room and the eating areas of the kitchen; many homeowners are mixing and matching colorful retro dining chairs to create a cheery, totally custom look.

Typically, you buy your dining table and chairs as a matching set. More often than not, both are made of wood, with paint or cushions to mix up the look. But kitchens have become a more casual gathering space and the formal dining room itself has fallen out of vogue. Likewise, this type of traditional dining room furniture has lost its choke hold on the market. In its place, we’ve started to see a lot more variety in terms of color, materials used, and style.

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. In other words, an event that might feel out of place in a very rigid, traditional formal dining room. Instead of a separate room, those big tables are now part of open greatrooms and have a relaxed, informal feel.

Throwing out the conventional high-backed formal dining chairs and replacing them with more casual seating is a no-brainer. Retro dining chairs, especially from the early 1900s up to midcentury designs are smaller and simpler, with unique, stylish backs and legs that merge comfort and style. Paint a simple chair in a bright, cheerful color? And voila: 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 turns your dining set into a focal point of a large kitchen; it can make the space seem more cheerful and inviting. A full set of the same chairs can give a dining room a unified look. But choosing several different, distinctive chairs makes it feel more personalized. Especially if all your chairs are authentic antiques, having lots of different styles can even be a great conversation starter; after all, each piece will have its own story.

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There’s tons of room to play with this trend, too; like seeing 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. Alternatively, different chairs in different colors will play up the distinct personality of each. Prefer a look that blends in? Choose the same chairs in the same colors or different shades of the same color for a look that’s less in-your-face. If you opt for a lot of different colors, consider keeping the rest of the room fairly neutral. To get 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. Manufacturers 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 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.

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