Mismatched chairs are a fun and budget-friendly way to add personality and charm to any space. Whether you’re looking to spruce up your dining room, living room or patio, combining different chairs allows you to showcase your unique style. The best part? You don’t have to spend a fortune to pull off this look. In this DIY project, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to sit pretty with mismatched chairs, from sourcing to styling. Let’s get started!

Sourcing Mismatched Chairs on a Budget

Finding the perfect mix of mismatched chairs doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some of our top tips for sourcing unique chairs on a budget:

Check Thrift Stores and Consignment Shops

Thrift stores and consignment shops can be treasure troves for interesting vintage and retro chairs. Search the furniture section for unique shapes, colors, sizes and materials. The great thing about used chairs is that you can often find high-quality pieces for a fraction of the original price.

Scout Garage and Yard Sales

Garage and yard sales are ideal for finding cheap chairs with loads of character. Arrive early for the best selection. Bring a friend to help load up any treasures you score.

Keep an Eye on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace

Check Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace regularly for people selling or giving away old chairs. Be ready to act quickly on listings for chairs that catch your eye.

DIY Flea Markets

Flea markets focused on handmade and upcycled goods can turn up affordable chairs refurbished with new life. Chat with the vendors to learn the history behind any standout pieces.

Buy and Repurpose

Basic new chairs from budget-friendly stores can be transformed into one-of-a-kind pieces with a little creativity. Try painting, reupholstering or decorating plain chairs to match your style.

Take Inventory of What You Already Own

Look around your home, garage and storage areas for chairs you may have forgotten about. Older chairs from different sets can often be reinvented to work together.

Ideas for Mismatched Chair Styles

The fun of mismatched chairs lies in mixing and matching different shapes, sizes, colors and materials. Here are some ideas to spark your imagination:

Mix Vintage and Modern

Blending vintage chairs with modern pieces creates an eclectic, timeless look. Try pairing curved mid-century chairs with industrial-style metal chairs.

Contrast Shapes and Sizes

Playing with chair shapes and proportions makes a statement. An oversized club chair, slim side chair and petite accent chair create visual interest.

Complementary Color Scheme

Tie mismatched chairs together with a complementary color palette. For a calming look, opt for various shades of blue and green. Or go bright with primary colors.

Texture Mix

Mixing chair textures adds depth and dimension. Contrast smooth leather, cozy woven fabric, sleek velvet and distressed wood chairs.

Style Mash-Up

Have fun blending chair styles from different eras and aesthetics. Spanish Revival chairs, French Country side chairs and retro diner chairs make playful combinations.

Tips for Arranging Mismatched Chairs

Once you’ve sourced your mismatched chairs, it’s time for the fun part – arranging them into stylish configurations. Here are some top tips:

Balance the Height

Create visual harmony by alternating tall and short chair backs. Place the tallest chairs at the ends to anchor the arrangement.

Pair Similar Legs

Tie the look together by grouping chairs with similar leg shapes and materials. For example, cluster all metal-legged chairs together.

Repeat Colors

Use color to create cohesion. Disperse chairs in the same hues throughout the grouping. Add pops of contrasting colors for vibrancy.

Angle for Movement

Turn chairs at slight angles rather than lining them up squarely. This creates a sense of motion and dimension.

Cluster into Vignettes

Break up a large seating area into smaller vignettes of 2-4 chairs. Overlap the vignettes for a unified look.

Balance Weight

Arrange the heavier chairs around the edges of the configuration and lighter styles toward the center for stability.

Consider Symmetry

While asymmetry has an organic feel, don’t overlook how symmetrical arrangements can provide order. Flank a focal chair with identical chairs on either side.

Styling Tips for Mismatched Chairs

Finishing touches like pillows, throws and accessories elevate mismatched chairs from random to curated. Here are some stylish ideas for pulling your look together:

Add Colorful Pillows

Pillows in coordinating colors and patterns unify the mix. Try solids, stripes, floral and geometric prints.

Layer on Throws

Toss blanket ladders with folded throws onto the backs of chairs for a cozy, collected effect.

Fresh Florals

Small floral arrangements on each chair add a touch of garden style. Try mason jars of wildflowers, daisies or sunflowers.

Creative Centerpieces

Make a statement with unique centerpieces. Vintage books, watering cans of greenery and stacked fruit bowls do double duty.

Interesting Tables

Mismatched end tables, side tables and ottomans anchor each chair or vignette. Mix metals, woods and painted finishes.

Fun Lighting

Overhead pendant lights, table lamps and votives add ambiance. Go modern, industrial, mid-century or classic.

DIY Projects for Upcycling Chairs

Part of the appeal of mismatched chairs is crafting pieces that reflect your personality. Upcycling chairs yourself allows you to customize them exactly how you want. Here are some fun DIY ideas:

Paint Makeover

Give tired chairs new life with spray paint or chalk paint. Try trendy colors like sage green, blush pink or deep blue. Add colored wax or distressing for texture.

Upholstery Update

Reupholster chair seats, backs or sides in bold patterns and prints that match your style. Use fabric glue and staple gun for a beginner-friendly approach.

Stenciled Patterns

Create interest with painter’s tape stencils. Paint geometric shapes, botanical designs or fun phrases onto chair backs, legs and seats.

Wooden Bead Garland

Make chairs Instagram-worthy with colorful wooden bead garlands hot glued to edges and backs for boho flair.

Fabric Tassels

Sew or hot glue fabric tassels along the bottom of chair legs and sides for a playful, whimsical accent.

Distressed Finish

Weathered, chippy paint oozes cottage charm. Achieve the look by sanding paint and dabbing with water before reapplying color.

Where to Use Mismatched Chairs

Almost any room is fair game for mismatched chairs. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

Dining Room

Create a statement dining area with eclectic chairs around your table. Mix host chairs with accent chairs pulled up on ends.

Living Room

In a living room, use mismatched chairs to define separate seating areas for conversation and reading.

Patio and Porch

Cheerful painted chairs give outdoor spacesfresh personality. Add waterproof cushions for comfort.

Home Office

Make working from home feel creative by surrounding your desk with inspiring vintage chairs.

Kids’ Rooms

Let kids show their individual style with fun, whimsical chairs mixed into their room.


Greet guests with charm by placing a pair of distinctive chairs flanking your front door.


Reading nooks, vanities and sitting areas all provide the perfect spot to add personality with an accent chair.

Tips for Maintaining Mismatched Chairs

To keep your curated chairs looking their best, be sure to:

  • Dust chairs regularly to prevent dirt buildup. Use a soft cloth or duster.
  • Vacuum or brush fabric chairs weekly to remove crumbs, pet hair, etc.
  • Spot clean spills and stains on fabric quickly to avoid setting.
  • Re-tighten loose screws, legs and fittings when needed.
  • Condition leather and wood chairs 2-3 times per year to prevent drying and cracking.
  • Rotate very heavy chairs or use furniture glides to avoid uneven floor wear.
  • Repaint chairs as needed when finishes start looking worn. Use primer for best results.
  • Store outdoor chairs in garage, shed or under a cover during rainstorms and winter.

Common Questions about Mismatched Chairs

How many mismatched chairs should you use?

This depends on the size of the space, but we recommend 3-5 for small spaces, 5-7 for medium spaces and 7-9 for larger spaces. Odd numbers tend to look more organic.

Should you mix wood tones?

Absolutely! Varying wood finishes, like natural, dark stain, painted and whitewashed, add great character when combined.

What if I can’t find chairs that go together?

Use similar color palettes, materials and styles to create cohesion. Add other decorative pieces like pillows and centerpieces to tie them together.

Can I mix formal and casual chair styles?

Yes, just add some traditional touches, like pillows or table runners, to make formal chairs feel more casual and inviting.

Should chairs match the table?

It’s not necessary for mismatched chairs to match the table. The table can actually help anchor very eclectic chairs. Just be sure the scale and footprint of chairs work with the table size.


The next time you’re looking to add interest to your dining room or living space, have fun sourcing and styling gorgeous mismatched chairs! With creativity and our tips, you can sit pretty on a budget. The varied textures, colors and shapes will showcase your personal taste and brighten any room with whimsical charm. This simple project proves you don’t need a uniform matching set to create a space you love. Happy DIYing!