Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
08/09 Design

Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips

Navigating open-concept mixing + matching

Choosing stools and dining chairs… 

are already two of the most important decisions when furnishing a home, but what if your kitchen and dining space are connected? 

Before mainstream architecture and design started leaning towards open concept homes, the stool and the dining chair were often separated by rooms. Today, more and more people are opening up their homes, knocking down their walls, and designing to create a welcoming and social space, and we’re all about it. But what does it mean for stools and dining chairs? 

While we avoid using the same set of stools and dining chairs in an open-concept space for a more layered, curated look, we still want to make sure everything flows.  

Finding the balance between mixing and matching is harder than it sounds, but when you get it right, it’s like magic! In our opinion, it works best when you mix some elements and match others.  

Here are some of our favorite ways to mix dining chairs and stools in an open-concept space: 

Mix tone + match material  

When mixing two different wood tones on barstools and counter stools, we like to stick with drastically different tones so they contrast without clashing.  

Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
McGee & Co
Jasper Counter Stool
McGee & Co
Emerson Chair

In our Sunset House, we chose a cool-toned grey wood stool, and a black-stained wood dining chair to let the warm elements of this space shine through while still maintaining balance.  

Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
McGee & Co
Madison Chair
McGee & Co
Eloise Woven Counter Stool

In our Pine Brook Home, we chose a light oak stool and a black stained wood dining chair for contrast and cohesion. This look could work just as well with a light oak wood tone and a dark brown wood tone. 

Mix color + match shape & texture 

Another great way to get a mixed but cohesive look is to match textures and shapes for both the stool and chair while mixing up the tones or colors. 

Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
McGee & Co
Similar: Minka Counter Stool
McGee & Co
Similar: Jasper Chair

In this project from Dream Home Makeover, the counter stool and dining chair are different shades, but they feel cohesive because they share two similar elements of a rounded shape and woven texture. 

Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
McGee & Co
Ava Seagrass Counter Stool
McGee & Co
Catriona Chair
McGee & Co
Jasper Chair

In our Cove Remodel dining and kitchen space, the larger chairs on the ends pull more of the color elements from the stool, but it’s still different enough to bring contrast.  

Mix style + match color 

We love mixing styles, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to keep one or two elements consistent to make sure everything still flows well together.  

Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
McGee & Co
Williamsen Counter Stool
McGee & Co
Madison Chair
McGee & Co
Ruthie Chair

In our Red Ledges Project, we mixed styles with the stool and dining chair, but because there is a black element in each, it works. The stool leans a little bit more modern, and the dining chairs are inspired by traditional designs, but the black iron legs on the stool match the black finish of the chair, creating harmony. 

Mix texture + match style 

When doing a bold texture on one set of seating, mixing it up and going with something more muted in a similar style can give you a softer look.  

Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
McGee & Co
Reeves Stool
McGee & Co
Similar: Baron Chair

In our Home on The Ranch project, we chose bold woven chairs that made a statement with their texture, and balanced the look out with more streamlined, black wooden chairs. 

Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
McGee & Co
Moore Bar Stool
McGee & Co
Similar: Ruthie Chair

In our Northridge Remodel, this dining and stool combination works because both have modern style elements, but the textures bring enough contrast to keep things interesting. 

Still looking for inspiration? Keep scrolling for a few more stool and dining chair combinations:  

Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips

From our Historic Netflix Kitchen Remodel

McGee & Co
Similar: Johan Counter Stool
McGee & Co
Brinley Chair
Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
McGee & Co
Similar: Rosswood Counter Stool
McGee & Co
Odelle Chair

From The Cliffside Netflix Remodel

Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips

From our PC Contemporary Project

McGee & Co
Greely Chair
McGee & Co
Similar: Monson Counter Stool
Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips
Mixing Dining Chairs And Stools: Our Tips

From our Open & Airy Netflix Kitchen Remodel

McGee & Co
Williamsen Counter Stool
McGee & Co
Jaime Chair

This post has been updated from its original version.  

Show Comments
5 Comments
Studio McGee
  1. Thank you for sharing your expertise! This post is particularly helpful after recently reading your guide to choosing stools. After purchasing, and returning, three different stools I understand why you mentioned the important role “intuition” plays. I might go a step further to what my mother calls “Having an eye for it”.
    I think I did pretty well, after reading your earlier guide, choosing chairs to pair with my table. I settled on Black Eiffel Tower chairs to go with my rustic X table. Perfect! Now if I could only win the Trifecta and get that third piece of the puzzle. I need to go order more stools.

  2. I really love the color of the kitchen in the last picture. Can you tell me the name of the color and were I can get the handels?

    Thank you very much

  3. I have my stools, a slope leather in grey, But need a dining table and chairs. This is helpful for me as I do have an open concept! Thank you!

  4. This post is such a necessary topic – thank you so much for covering it! After reading this, I’m second guessing a recent decision to get the same style in dining chairs and counter stools. I picked the style because it’s so comfortable and stylish and adds some Scandinavian accents to our rustic/modern design. Are you opposed to a matching style if they are in contrasting colors? Such as dining chairs in white oak and counter stools in black? The chairs will be about 5 feet from each other, so I don’t want it to look too Matchy-matchy.

  5. Hi, I loved how you do mix and match of stool
    And dining chairs. Been wanting to achieve your styling. I have a dilemma with my open plan living. I have a dining with natural
    Timber and chairs with timber legs with gray upholstered chairs and counter stools is upholstered with brandy pu color with timber legs. I am worried that this might not complement. I hope to get a reassurance from you!

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