Perfectly-Mixed Traditional Dining Rooms

I recently put together a contemporary mixed dining space for my dad’s house, but there are many examples of beautifully eclectic traditional spaces as well.  As I mentioned in the previous post, the key is to balance contrast and connection between the diverse elements in a room.

Here are two examples from two of my favorite designers: Sarah Richardson and Candice Olson, as well as some pictures of our dining room at home.

Sarah’s House

This beautiful dining space has a modern take on many traditional elements, such as the wallpaper and Queen Anne chairs (remember when I repainted my Queen Anne chairs?).


  • The plush dining bench sits opposite – literally – to the wooden Queen Anne chairs
  • The trestle table has a simple, rustic style and dark color that give a strong foundation and sense of comfort to this light, glittery room.


  • The grey color of the chairs reflects the overall light neutral palette of the room.
  • Both the bench and the chairs have an ornate, traditional feel, as does the chandelier.
Sarah's House Dining Room by Sarah Richardson

Sarah’s House Dining Room by Sarah Richardson

Go to Sarah Richardson Design

Divine Design:

Candice Olson has a great eye for beautiful things.  Her rooms always feel lush and complete to me.  This dining room design looks fairly simple, but there is so much beauty in the details.


  • The white and black palette provides instant contrast.
  • Candice used two different chairs at the table, with more substantial arm chairs at the head of the table.


  • The black and white color scheme is carried through every part of this room, including the chairs, rug and curtains.
  • Even though the head and side chairs are different, they have a similar scale and shape to them, so they work together.
Candice Olson dining room featured in Elle Decor

Candice Olson dining room featured in Elle Decor

Go to Candice Olson’s website

Jewels’ house:

I also have a mixed dining set at our house, where I painted and reupholstered our Ikea chairs to work with a dining table from craigslist that I had fallen in love with.  I started out looking for cherry wood Arts and Crafts chairs, and I am so glad that I ended up painting our chairs black.


  • Black and cherry wood look beautiful together, without disappearing into each other or feeling heavy and overwhelming, as a more traditional wooden set can.
  • I have two traditional Chinese chairs at the head of the table, which is a perfect place to introduce something different.


  • The chairs all tie together, because of their dark color and similar lines of the chair backs.
  • The Ikea chairs have a geometric cutout design detail on the back that is similar to the cutout design on the base of the cherry Arts and Crafts table.
Dining Room with painted and reupholstered chairs by Jewels at Home

Dining Room with new chairs. The head chairs are Chinese antiques, while the side chairs are transformed Ikea chairs. They all work together, because they share color and/or other design elements.

Dining Room with painted and reupholstered chairs by Jewels at Home

Dining room from the other side.

When you are looking for home decorating ideas, you can easily work with what you have by switching pieces of a dining set, slipcovering your chairs, or painting them for a fresh look.  Once again, I hope you feel inspired to create your own unique combination of elements in your dining space.  It can feel intimidating, but creating connections with shape, material, and color will help bring all the things you love together.