Gathering Around the Dining Table

How do you furnish your dining area? It used to be that you bought a dining set: a matching table and chairs. But times have changed and dining room furniture has evolved. While we wouldn't pass up a great mid-century matched set on CraigsList, there are other options…

Uniform chairs around a favorite table; mixing it up with a collection of mismatched seating; going casual by pairing up chairs with a bench; or, conjuring up the informality of a picnic by using two benches. Which do you prefer? And what does it say about you and how you entertain?

What struck me, while gathering up these pictures, is how often the dining area was the centerpiece in these house tours, the picture that gave you a snapshot of the home's flavor, the homeowner's personality and their style of entertaining. It's something to keep in mind when furnishing your own dining area: Are you informal? A little old school? A modern traditionalist? Casual? Look at your dining area and see what it says about your home.


  • Nana's Warm and Modern Family Home: Right now, I'm loving mismatched chairs and this version, which combines modern classics around a long rectangular table, keeps it fresh and casual.
  • John & Sophie's Modern Desert Home: pairs a round table with matching chairs. The simple neutral table and matched chairs means furniture doesn't compete with the commanding view.
  • Dante's Charming Spanish Flat: Dante pairs her solid farmhouse style table with a chair and a bench, inviting it to be used in other ways as well -- a place for crafting, for homework or just for a casual chat.
  • Cory & Nick's Compact Hillside Home: Here's another case where the simple table and matching chairs let the furniture speak quietly while focusing the attention on the scenery.
  • LonAnne's Vintage and Modern Texas Charmer: By keeping it all orange, it takes a moment before you realize that there's actually two kinds of chairs pulled up around this bright Formica table.
  • Philip & Leona's Wide Open Loft: Another example of how matching chairs and a simple table keep the focus on the view, even if the view is of your spectacular space and not what's going on outside of your window.
  • Brooke & Sam's Skyscraper Loft: Casual stools pulled up around a chef's table in the kitchen encourage guests to gather around while a meal is being prepared. Is there anything more relaxing, informal and inviting than this arrangement?
  • Steven's Relocated Beach Cottage: This eating area, with its soft bench seating, light chair and bright color, is as homey, bright and cheery as your favorite corner diner.
  • Michael & Benjamin's Modern Contemporary Apartment: A high table and high stools have the informal air of a gastropub with its promise of good times shared with good friends.
  • Jason & Denise's Warm and Bright Ranch: Two benches pulled up to a bright red table is fun, cheerful and warm.

Images: as linked above

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