It might seem like a mistake at first, but mixing and matching furniture pieces can help your diners feel right at home.

The premise sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Over a span of years, you stop at every antique market, yard sale, or curbside dump and slowly build up a trove of dining chairs and tables that contrast but, miraculously, still mesh together in the perfect way – and together, they comprise of your restaurant’s dining room furniture. In reality, it’s much harder to achieve that kind of deliberate but casual  design than in theory – but mismatched dining furniture is still a top trend in restaurant design for owners that want to create a refined but informal environment.

Without having to gradually build your collection of chairs and tables in varying states and styles through painstaking means, an easy way to get this look from the get-go is to source several types of chairs from the same manufacturer.

That way, you can ensure a few key elements to a successful mismatched furniture scheme are in place:

  • The right balance between pieces that completely fight each other stylistically and pieces that look too similar to get the right mismatched look
  • Reduction in overall cost and time
  • Standardized heights of all of your chairs and tables
  • Capturing your space’s unique personality

The last point here is key. Mixing and matching furniture is a perfect way to separate your business from the rest. This is no cookie cutter design – it’s intentional, it’s thoughtful, and it’s born directly out of your unique point of view. When a diner recognizes these cues, they will likely feel more comfortable, invited, and relaxed – and a relaxed diner is more likely to hang around, spend more money, and return more often.

How to incorporate mismatched furniture into your restaurant space:

  • Start with small changes: switch out your chairs in pairs to start, and replace the heads of a table with something more substantial than your typical dining chairs, like armchairs.
  • Go side by side: remove dining chairs from one side of a table altogether and replace with a dining bench or built-in seating.
  • Choose a shared trait: by arranging chairs and tables around a common trait – colour, style, texture, shape, material, or era – you’re more likely to end up with a cohesive design.
  • Embrace accessories: complete your perfectly eclectic look with additional pieces like table runners, cushions, sheepskin rugs draped over the back of the chairs, or other textiles.

You can go on the antique market hunt for these pieces – but you may want to consider custom furniture manufacturers as well to get the perfect combination of styles for your space.