Chairs that Beg for a Dinner Party

When the months start heating up—and before it gets too hot here in Texas—the desire to host an outdoor dinner party overtakes me. And just last month, I hosted one with some dear friends. I strung my chandelier, set the table, and grabbed some chairs. It was magical.

At least a few times a year, a client asks me to design some unusual chairs that mix and match fabrics and patterns. This latest set of four is one of those. And for me, there’s nothing that begs for an outdoor dinner party more than a set like this!

So, let’s talk about the science of mixing and matching those fabrics. Let me assure you…it’s definitely not haphazard.  It’s planned very meticulously. First, I look for a variety of fabrics to use on the top front of the chairs. The top fabrics need to have different patterns.   

For this set, we chose to mix a floral, a stripe, and two very different suzani fabrics.

These top fabrics are the starting point, and the seat fabrics come next. And, I look for a common color found in the top fabric. 

I either go with solid velvets, leathers, or vinyls, or I make sure that all the seat fabrics have a different texture/pattern to it.  The later is exactly what we went for in this set.  The dark fuchsia, purple, turquoise, and chartreuse fabrics I selected work together because they are different enough from one another in both color and pattern. 

Finally, the fabrics for the backside of each chair are chosen. These fabrics need to be different enough from each other but also compliment the other fabrics on the chairs. I focus more on the pattern…making sure they are different.  

I might do a solid, animal print, geometric design, and a floral…that’s what I did here. But there are many combinations I could have done. These just happened to work with the color schemes found on the front fabrics.

It’s a bit like a puzzle. The tricky part is thinking of several things at one time…how does the color and pattern of all three fabrics on one chair work with the other three chairs?  

Now, the only questions is…what’s for dinner?  If this were your space, what would you suggest serving? Chicken salad? Tacos? Or perhaps just drinks?  I would love to hear your ideas for food in the comments below!



I'm Wendy Conklin, The Chair Stylist.

What brings me joy is helping others live more creatively. I design antique-inspired, boutique chairs, and I teach others how to do what I do. Check out my shop, services, and courses to bring more whimsy into your home and life!

Check out my online courses to spark your creativity and upgrade your joy, starting today!

10 Best Statement-Making Fabrics from Spoonflower

10 Best Statement-Making Fabrics from Spoonflower

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