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Farmhouse Dining Chairs | 2 Rules To Choosing The Perfect Dining Chairs Every Time | Amitha Verma

By Amitha Verma

I’m finally sharing my fail-safe formula for choosing dining chairs to create balance in your space.

When I'm working on a dining room project, I start with the table and find the seating options in the right style and dimensions that fit the space and match the overall aesthetic.

To create synchronicity, I play with the rule of contrasts with the dining table and chairs. Whatever shape, style, and color my table is, I'll do the opposite with chairs.

Want to see how I do this in action?

I'm taking you on a mini-tour of the three eating areas of my house, explaining how and why I chose these chairs, so you can confidently choose French country farmhouse dining chairs that you'll love for many years to come.

The Formal Dining Room

A long and narrow view of the large dining room space in French country style

Rule 1: When it comes to style and scale, always opt for contrast between your dining table and chairs. When working with a larger, heavier style table, opt for something smaller or with a feminine design.

My dining table is huge, weighty, and made from solid dark wood. I love the strength and style, but I wanted to find seating that would contrast against it so that it wouldn't draw attention away from the table.

When I'm shopping for furnishings, I almost always include elements of French country style, or what I call the Farmhouse by Amitha style. That's why when I saw these cane-backed, s-scrolled detailed dining chairs, I knew they'd be a great fit for my dining room.

Modern French country style formal dining chair details blue and white

These feminine floral details contrast against the more serious straight lines of my table. The curved shapes in these chairs are also a defining feature in French country decor.

The cane chair back gives an illusion of more space and openness in the dining room. Because my dining room-scale is narrow and long, I wanted to make sure the room didn't feel too heavy.

Remember: when it comes to style and scale, always opt for contrast between your dining table and chairs.

Don't forget to look down when choosing your dining chairs.

Comparing the thickness of the dining room trestle table legs to the more delicate cabriole style legs of the dining chairs for contrast

 Let's talk about these chair legs. These are called cabriole legs, which you'll notice has two curves — an upper convex curve and a lower concave curve as the foot. They're less dramatic in bend than antique chairs you'll find in a cabriole, which ties this particular chair into a more modern French country style.

Modern French country style formal dining room with robust table and delicate chairs

Although it seems like the table and chairs are too different to work together, they match the French country farmhouse style of my home—the mismatched aesthetic adds to the charm and creates a sense of harmony in this space. This answers the age old question; do dining chairs have to match the table? The answer is no!

The Breakfast Nook

Lightweight rectangular table and heavier chairs contrast in this breakfast nook

Many more modern home builds have opted for open floor plans over traditional formal dining rooms. This is where rule number two comes into play.

Rule 2: Contrast the shapes in your dining room chairs, such as pairing a rectangular dining table with rounded or rounder back farmhouse dining chairs.

Most breakfast nooks are part of the kitchen—the busiest room in the house.

I wanted this area to feel more casual, so I have a petite and delicate table that I wanted to ground with bulkier chairs. This French country farmhouse style chair feels and looks more robust with its tufted back, wider frame, and thicker cabriole legs.

Pulling out the tufted curved, distressed wood chairs at the breakfast nook

Because I'm working with a rectangular table, I opted for chairs that had more curves in their shape. It all comes back to creating contrast. If my table were round, I would pick a dining chair that had a rectangular back.

Pointing out the rustic details of the modern French country style breakfast nook chairs

Many of my guests have wondered how I keep this light-colored natural linen fabric pristine in such a high-traffic area— I've got a DIY for you!

DIY Dining Room Chair Covers

Amitha lifting up the cushion cover from the chair to show shower lining beneath to protect the chair

I never want to sacrifice comfort for style, so these chairs have thick cushions that I’ve covered using outdoor fabric—Yes, outdoor fabric. You know the type of fabric you'd put on your patio furniture? Yep. That's the one.

This outdoor fabric is so soft that you would never know the difference. I made sure to color-match the fabric to the gray of my kitchen, and I took it one step further by sewing in a shower curtain liner.

A close-up view of the DIY washable chair skirts

When it comes time to clean the chair skirts, I simply toss them in the washer and spray the rest of the fabric with a household cleaner. This is the secret to keeping these chairs in near-pristine condition for more than a decade with kids.

The Kitchen Island

monochromatic white kitchen with modern gray french country bar chairs

This is where I exercised both of my design tips of contrasting the style and scale of my dining chairs to the table that I am working with. The same rules apply to my kitchen island.

If you've got seating options at your kitchen island, I've got you covered with bar-height seating tips for your pull-up counter. We use the kitchen island a lot in my household, so I wanted to make sure the chairs were comfortable and sturdy.

Showing the distance between the seat of the bar chair and the bottom of kitchen counter

 When choosing chairs for your pull-up counter, consider the chairs' scale in relationship to the island. You want roughly 9"-12" between the bottom of the countertop and your cushion.

Keeping in mind the contrasting rule, I opted for a darker gray-wood finish with leather seating, standing out against my almost-all-white kitchen.

Pointing out the details in a gray kitchen island bar stools with cane back and leather seat cushion in the farmhouse style

These counter stools have curved lines with cane backs (like my formal dining room) in the modern French country farmhouse style. Again, the shape of these chairs contrasts the sharwere comfortable and sturdy.p lines of my kitchen's architecture.

A view of white and gray farmhouse style kitchen with breakfast nook and kitchen counter seating

The Takeaway: Farmhouse Dining Chairs

There you have it!

Selecting chairs that contrast your dining table is the simplest way to give the room balance. If you follow these tips, I promise you that you'll love the outcome for many decades:

Rule 1: When it comes to style and scale, always opt for contrast between your dining table and chairs.

Rule 2: Contrast the shapes in your dining room chairs, such as pairing a rectangular dining table with rounded or rounder back farmhouse dining chairs.

What happens if you don't follow these principles? Don't worry. I won't call the interior design police. It all comes down to personal preference.

Love any of the decor pieces in this week's blog post? Shop at Village Antiques in Houston, TX. We're open Tuesday–Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm—Stop on by! We're happy to answer any questions and help you find unique pieces for your home in person.

If you don't want to miss another design newsletter with tips and tricks sent straight to your inbox, sign up for your free newsletter at the top right hand of this page.

Until next time, keep making your home amazing with your design gifts.

Inspiring you to create heart in your home,


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I love the paint, it was so easy!

Sarah G.


Just a quick note to say that I love your new paint line!! The colors are beautiful and it goes on so smooth and silky. The gray wax is fabulous. I'm getting some great new looks with your paint but most of all I'm having fun using them!! Hope all is well.


Sarah H.

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