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Coordinate Your Dining Space: How to Choose Dining Chairs and a Sideboard to Wow Your Guests

Atlantis table and Voyager sideboard by Cattelan Italia

Whether it’s a family heirloom, or a piece you found recently and had to have, your dining table is most likely the star of your dining spaceNow that the holiday season is approaching, why not refresh your dining room seating and storage as well? If guests will be visitingyou’ll want to make sure you have enough comfortable chairs, as well as adequate storage for dinnerware and table linens.

Maurice Brantley, interior designer at Copenhagen Tucson, agrees, saying, “Now that we’re gathering after the pandemic, it’s a great time to invest in new dining chairs and sideboards.” Often, it’s these supporting pieces that can pull your space together and wow your guestsRead on for design tips on selecting dining chairs, sideboards, and buffets, as well as Brantley’s personal recommendations.

Choose Chairs for Comfort

First things first: you want to consider comfy, supportive seating that will let your guests fully focus on enjoying their meal. Brantley says, “One of the biggest mistakes people make is buying chairs based solely on how they look. The last thing you want is to have a guest over for dinner and seat them in a chair that’s beautiful but uncomfortable.”

For a chair with a soft, cushioned feeltry the Roycewith an extra-plush seat and sleek look, or the Essie, with fabric upholstery and gently rounded lines.

Ergonomics are another factor to think about – when trying out chairs, pay attention to whether they support the curve of your spine and are comfortable to lean back in. The Addison and Stressless® Mint not only have a back shape that hugs the spine, but a manual reclining function so you can relax after your meal. Brantley can vouch for both these chairs, listing them as some of Copenhagen’s bestsellers.

It’s also important to consider the size and height of your guests. Brantley says, “As someone who’s over six feet tall, I can tell you it’s important that the scale of the chair be not only appropriate for the table, but for the user.” Consider whether you want high-back chairs, like the sleek and minimalist Swingor ones with mid/lower back, like the Paragon, which sports a modern flared shape.

Durability and longevity can mean the difference between having to get new chairs every few years or getting decades of use from one model. Brantley has nothing but praise for the Pia Chairexplaining that not only is it comfortable, but, “It’s what we call in the industry contract-grade, which means it’s so well made it can be used in a commercial environment.”

Look Out for Style and Color

From the classic look of thCaroline to the sculptural lines of the Mastersdining chairs come in a plethora of styles from traditional to contemporary. Many people like the style of their chairs to echo their table for a cohesive look. However, you can also mix and match if you have an eclectic tasteAs Brantley observes, Design trends for the 2020’s are fluid in mixing styles from different eras and contrasting dining chairs.

If you do choose to pair contemporary chairs with a traditional table, or vice versa, try to have some other element(s) in common between the two (such as shape, material, complementary color, they still harmonizeFor instance, the minimalist Morris Chair goes great with the mid-century-inspired Wave Table because they share a warm color and black accents.

Indeed, color can be a crucial player in your dining setupConsider chairs that match the color temperature (warmer or cooler) of your table, whether from matching woodsuch as walnut with walnut, or carefully choosing an upholstery shadeAgain, notice how the sunny mustard yellow of the Morris further brings out the warm wood tones of the Wave.

On the other hand, a table that emanates a cooler temperature, such as one made of metal and glass, would pair better with cool-hued or monochrome chairs. For instance, a black leather chair like the Jason lets the stunning grey marbleized design of the Atlantis Table be the focal point it was meant to be.

It can also be fun to use seasonal accent colors to tie your ensemble together. Brantley says, “I always advise the use of seasonal colors in placemats and tablecloths along with rotating accessories that are evocative for the time of year. When entertaining guests at mealtime, use fresh flowers or natural foliage at the center of the table or on the buffet to make a welcoming statement.

Refine Your Eye by Noticing Shape and Material

Shape is an essential component of design along with color. Looking at the shape of the table’s base or frame can help to coordinate the chair. For a table with a rounded or curved frame, a complementary chair can be one whose backrest or leg shape is related. For example, the curve of the Essex Table resonates with the shaped backs of the Lake Chair and BenchAs a bonus, the slats of the Lake pieces echo the slatted etching on the legs of the Essex.

Think too about the materials in your dining setup – such as wood, leather, fabric, or metal – and what finishes you like. Shiny chrome creates a different effect from matte black metal, which is different from a warm oak stain.

For an impression that’s both cohesive and varied, aim for a visible mix of 2-3 materials in your table and chair setup. Mixing many materials in one setup – such a glass, metal, and wood table with chairs of leather, fabric, and vinyl – may distract from your main design themeOn the other hand, a setup where the table and chairs are fashioned fully out of the same wood may not look as lively – unless there’s another element catching the eyeFor examplethough the Essex and Lake pieces have the same walnut finish, they are far from boring put together because of their striking shapes, slatted textures, and fabric cushioning.

Want to raise your design game one more notch? Brantley offers the following tip: Try a different piece at the end of the table, with perhaps a larger scale dining chair or a different covering on the same style chair. This gives a sense of the room being collected rather than staged.

Select Sideboards for Space, Function, and Presence

“Sideboard” and “buffet” are often used interchangeably, though some define a buffet as having higher legs. Both these pieces are a must if you’re looking for a place to store extra dinnerware, cutlery, drinkware, table linens, and more. Sideboards and buffets are also great as serving surfaces that let guests help themselves to food buffet-style (hence the name), freeing up more table room.

Both these pieces tend to be larger, so be mindful of this if you have a smaller dining room. The Curve Three-Door Sideboard by Skovby of Denmark is a great choice that’s both space-savvy and functional. Or try the Wave Two-Door Cabinet, with four inner shelves and an elegant textured front.

Functionality and strong design are Skovby’s trademarksmaking this one of the first brands Brantley will suggest to customers looking for sideboardsConsider Skovby’s Leo Large Sideboard, with six spacious compartments, or their Emil Sideboardfeaturing folding doors that operate with an impressive semi-automatic mechanism. The discreet push-to-open design of Emil’s doors can also prevent young kids or pets from getting into the fine china.

In terms of style, today’s buffets and sideboards can be as eye-catching as dining tables, even forming a secondary focal point. Think of how you want your sideboard to coordinate with your table and chairs in terms of style, material, and finish – and don’t be afraid to explore options off the beaten path, such as the combined wood, steel, and glass of the Totem, or the cosmic patterns of the Voyager.

Brantley personally loves Copenhagen’s Italian sideboards and cites his favorites as the Kayak and Royalton. Both these pieces have a shimmering surface and unique visual impact that makes them works of functional art.

It can be overwhelming thinking about all the elements, from comfort to color to composition, that pull a dining room together. Luckily, the knowledgeable sales associates and designers at Copenhagen are here to help. Brantley advises buyers: “Bring photos to the store of your existing pieces that you wish to complement when shopping so that you may share them with your salesperson. This will help your design professional in selecting the companion pieces that will coordinate appropriately. Whether you’re selecting chairs to go with a table, or a buffet that will wow your guests, Copenhagen is the place to go if you want your dining room to emanate personality and beauty.