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Mixed, not matched

Kitchen ideas from Food magazine

Not only is an eclectic dining room more in tune with current trends, it’s cosier and more comfortable.

We’ve all seen those perfectly manicured dining rooms on TV, in movies and catalogues — the highly-polished wooden table complete with matching chairs and carefully curated china. While spaces like these are certainly stately, most of us don’t have the time or energy to create that in our own homes. Not only is an eclectic dining room more in tune with current trends, it’s cosier and more comfortable.

By choosing a more casual setup, your dining room will be the kind of place where your family and friends can sit back, pop open a bottle of bubbles and hang out, long after the dessert has been polished off. With these simple tips, you can easily turn a dreary dining room into a style-savvy space in no time.

Coloured furniture gives pops of colour to your kitchen
In an otherwise white room, add colour to your furniture by painting one chair Resene Green Meets Blue, another in Resene Unwind and the rest in Resene Poured Milk. The walls, cabinets and ceilings in this kitchen and dining area are painted Resene Alabaster.

Blend seating styles

One of the easiest ways to spruce up your dining space is by adding mismatched chairs. Try a mixture of chairs and stools, stools and benches, or just mix up the styles of chairs themselves. Contemporary and vintage can look fantastic together if they have something in common, whether it’s colour, shape or matching metallic details. If the chairs you want to incorporate are wildly different styles, it’s smart to stick with a single colour on your seating for uniformity, but use a different tone on your table for added interest and contrast. Try chairs in a spicy red, such as Resene Salsa or Resene Raging Bull to pair with a table in Resene Jarrah; or go for a sophisticated monochrome theme with chairs in Resene Noir, Resene Charcoal or Resene Colorwood Pitch Black waterborne wood stain, and then a table in Resene Quarter Merino, Resene Half Black White or Resene Colorwood Whitewash.

Your chairs don’t have to be completely different styles to fit the trend. Seek out chairs for the head of the table that look similar to the rest of the set, but are just different enough to add some nuance to the room. Or if you have a set of chairs that match but are lacking personality, why not paint each a different colour using Resene testpots, and let each family member pick out their favourite?

Dining room with benches in differnet colours
Pink table combo with wooden chairs
Dining room with benches: If you like to entertain, benches are an excellent option for squeezing in a few extra guests. Bench seat in Resene Innocence. Stool in Resene Woodland. Wall in Resene Bud. Side wall in Resene Siam. Floor in Resene Cargo. Plant pot in Resene Mai Tai. Wall hanging in Resene Rusty NailBright antique table: Interior designer Becky Lee’s refinished an antique dining table in Resene Super Gloss enamel tinted to eye-catching Resene Smitten.

Think beyond furniture

Your colour ideas don’t need to be limited to the furniture – make table runners from Resene wallpaper, paint tabletop accessories in Resene testpots and paint or stain the flooring.

Mix materials

Don’t be afraid to mix up the materials in your dining set. If you like an eclectic look, try mixing woods with metal, melamine, plastics or concrete. If your room is full of bold colours or prints, clear acrylic or lucite chairs will keep the seating from competing for attention. Remember that surface prep is extremely important and that materials of different types – and ages – will require different preparations. If your chairs have a melamine or a very smooth finish, start with Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer. Rejuvenate timber chairs and tables with Resene Colorwood, or, if the wood grain isn’t worth saving, paint over them for a fresh new look. To give antique metal a pick-me-up, try a Resene FX Metallic finish to add a blast of silver or metallic grey. If you’re unsure where to start, check out the Resene Fun with Furniture step-by-step projects on the Resene website, or ask staff at your local Resene ColorShop.

Get creative with colour

The best mismatched dining room looks are achieved by boldly working with a mixture of different hues. If you’re worried about having too many competing colours but still want to experiment with a mismatched look, try using different strengths – for example, paint your chairs in your favourite Resene hue tinted to eighth, quarter, half, full, double and triple strength. Taking a two-tone approach to your walls can also add visual interest and enrich the appeal of the room. For a timeless look, try Resene Triple Duck Egg Blue with Resene Half Duck Egg Blue. For a mix of on-trend earthy greens, look to Resene Mother Nature and Resene Rivergum. Alternatively, go for deep moody blues with a smouldering sapphire like Resene Indian Ink paired with Resene Bunting.

A large-scale wallpaper mural is another way to make a statement in a dining space and can be helpful for setting the colour palette. For a well-travelled look, try Resene Wallpaper Collection P015-VD4 with surrounding walls and trim in Resene Half Rice Cake, an accent wall in Resene Peace, timber floors in Resene Colorwood Natural waterborne wood stain and mix in some emerald and terracotta coloured accessories in Resene Atlas and Resene Raging Bull.

Resene Poured Milk

Resene Noir

Resene Colorwood Whitewash

Resene Triple Duck Egg Blue

Resene Mother Nature

Resene Bunting

Resene Peace

Combinations to try:

Try a mix of tone-on-tone coastal blues...

Resene Safehaven

Resene White Island

Or a fun scheme that pops...

Resene Yowza

Resene Moonlight

Created and styled by Gem Adams. Photography by Wendy Fenwick.

Kitchen Decorating Ideas
View more kitchen decorating ideas from Food magazine in the Resene kitchen inspiration gallery.

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.