Avoid the dining room nightmare: 3 tips for buying new dining chairs

Guestpost by Julie F. on Oct 29th

Seven years ago when I started college, I bought some cheap Ikea chairs. Starting last year, one by one, they started to give in. For $25 per chair, I can say they ended up being a pretty good buy — but I decided I was ready to go upscale a bit and buy myself furniture that I would really love. And just like that, I got caught in the unexpectedly wild adventure of buying new chairs for my dining room.

As a well-informed home decor enthusiast, what I thought would be a piece of cake ended up in a year-long drama. First realization: Omg, chairs are fracking expensive. Fortunately, with countless hours of research (ahem, Pinterest) and couples therapy, I finally found something that would be affordable, with a design both my husband and I would like So I thought I'd share with you my newly acquired expertise on buying chairs for your dining room — you know, to at least save you the therapy fees.

1. Mock ups

This is a copy of an Eames eiffel chair for $100.

But, but, I want THAT chair! Yeah, that happened a lot in the past year… Given I'm a huge mid-century fan, I was naturally attracted to designer furniture. But if you thougth regular chairs were expensive (oh my, a hundred bucks for this crap?) you've seen absolutely nothing (yep, $350-$500 per chair). So if your buying ethic allows it, you might want to consider copies of the real thing. You will get the expensive look at a much more affordable price tag. Find a look you like first, then downsize to a cheaper furniture store or one that specializes in copies!

2. Mix n' match

This solution solves a lot of headaches all at once: First, you don't have to settle for one unique style that you're sure you love more than the other. You can get all of them! Second, you can buy over time. You don't need to purchase all the chairs (in my case, six!) at once, giving you a lesser punch in your wallet. My advice if you're going to go for a mix n' match: you need to find consistency in your chairs. This can be the color, the style, the material, the height. Choose two among those, and you're in business.

3. Buy boring, dress it up

Sometimes, you just have to go with boring. They're cheap, they're a gift, they come with the table you want, you don't have time to shop for something else: whatever your reason, ending up buying boring chairs doesn't mean the fun has to stop there.

Solution A: Paint it! But prime first. Your butt will be kissing that chair many times a day. Make it last and prime the chair before painting it.

Solution B: Add a cushion! Choose a colourful and cute cushion to pimp out those chairs. This solution is really effortless and can be the pop of color you're looking for.

Solution C: Cover it all! Can't stand the view of your chairs anymore? You can buy fabric covers to dramatically change the look of your dining room in a glimpse.

So in the end, what did I chose? I opted for a mix n' match of old and worn wooden country chairs. Can't wait to share photos with you, but I have to admit I'm not completely done just yet.

What did you do when it came time to buy your dining room chairs? Share your experience with us!

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About Julie F.

Hi. My name is Julie. I'm a geeky gamer, amateur cook, ren faire costume maker, loving wife, former goth, devoted friend, cat lady on the sides, decoration freak, miss cupcakes, ecologist lawyer and larp enthusiast. Yeah, that sums it up. Nice to meet you!