July 13, 2018

How to Use Vintage Seating in Your Dining Room

A Collected Space

A dining space that feels warm, welcoming, and lovingly layered always ranks highly on our clients’ wish lists. But where do you start? Start with your dining basics – the table and chairs. We’ve found that the creation of a thoughtful gathering space is all about mastering the mix, and one of the best ways to do that is to pair vintage seating with a statement table! Whether your style leans mid-century modern, French country, or traditional, discovering the winning combination that works for you will have guests drooling over your dining room in no time.

Selecting Your Table

Purchasing a table is easy. Finding one that’s the appropriate size and shape for your space can be overwhelming! Thankfully, there’s a wealth to choose from and many companies will offer the style you love in a variety of lengths, making it easier for you to find a piece that fits your space like a glove.

Shape: In general, a round table feels cozy in a smaller, square room, while a rectangular or oval shaped piece will feel proportional in a longer space. Currently, we’re loving the look of round and oval tables for the communal atmosphere they lend to a space!

image of dining space with oval table and mismatched vintage chairs

Design: Bobby McAlpine // Photo: Laurey Glenn

Size: We can’t stress this enough – measure, measure, measure! In an ideal world, you would have 3 feet between your table and the wall and any surrounding dining pieces. This allows your guests enough space to move freely throughout the room.

Expert Tip: As a general rule of thumb, you should select your table before your chairs. Your table’s size, shape, and style will determine how many people you can comfortably seat (ie. how many chairs you will need).

Selecting Your Vintage Seating

If you’ve ever been antiquing, you understand that the struggle of finding a full set of perfectly matched dining chairs is real. But who needs perfect? Vintage seating is made to be mixed! Once you’ve found a piece you love, bring in other chairs that complement and elevate the space for a dream-worthy dine.

Size: Found a chair you can’t live without? Be sure to break out that measuring tape! First, check the seat and arm heights against the height of your table. You want to ensure there’s enough space to slide the chair comfortably underneath.

Expert Tip: In general, you need 12 inches between the table top and your seat height and 7 inches from the chair arm to the table surface for a super comfy sit. (Always keep in mind that these loose “rules” are simply guidelines, and each person’s preferences can vary.)

Next, take a look at the width of the chair in relation to your table. You should allow roughly 6 inches between each chair, offering guests ample room to slide in and out. For more on measurements, check out this handy guide.

Style: Have fun mixing up your chair genres! We love how the pieces in Bill Ingram’s image above are all wood but boast varied styles and finishes. Same goes for upholstery – each piece can display its own personality while still contributing to the grouping as a whole. And if mixing and matching your dining chairs makes you nervous, go the classic route and opt for a statement head chair with complementary matching side chairs. This look still offers that collected vibe without straying too far from time-honored tradition.

Color: Although we love us some antique wooden chairs, upholstered dining chairs are especially luxurious. We suggest mixing colors, prints or patterns depending on the look you are trying to achieve.

Alternating the match creates a lovely little surprise!

Relaxed mismatched dining room seating

Source Unknown

Relaxed dining spaces with loads of Belgian linen are always winners in our book too!

Hopefully you’re feeling more confident about outfitting your dining space with vintage seating. Hunting for more inspo? Shop a few of our favorites below!

16 Comments
  1. Mary says:

    These are amazing! Vintage chairs and loungers are some of the best pieces you can find! They can really make a room if the chairs fit the theme and add an awesome vintage aspect!

  2. Kennedy says:

    Upholstered dining chairs are my favorite! We’ve always had them as long as I can remember and I plan to have them in my dining room once I get my own home. Thanks for the tips and inspiration!

  3. Winnie says:

    all of these pictures are so pretty! will definitely look at these pics for inspiration for my new house. Thanks!

    • marie says:

      SO glad you love them and hope you share pics of the new house with us! Congrats and thank you for following along!

  4. Hannah says:

    I love the round table featured in the first image! It really makes the dining room feel super cozy and inviting, which is what dinner is supposed to be about, right? Thanks for the advice!

  5. Austin says:

    I think I much prefer vintage furniture when it’s paired with a more modern room setting (not that I don’t like vintage-style rooms). Provides just the right amount of style contrast!

  6. Bella says:

    I LOVE the mismatch vintage seating! I currently have a vintage chair for my make up table, but definitely need to incorporate more into the rest of the house somehow!

  7. Van says:

    I love the idea of mixing styles and genres of antique chairs! There’s so many unique combinations to be made with implementing different pieces together.

  8. Luke says:

    I never thought about the shape of my table but you’re right, round tables have a very inviting feel to them! Next time I’m looking a vintage tables I’m definitely going round.

  9. Melina says:

    The vintage furniture is beautifully styled. I am loving the Viyet website, so excited to find my own gem and re-style my rooms. Great read!

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