It’s a battle between eclecticism and coordination: Pull up a seat as two Los Angeles–based designers face off on how to specify dining chairs. Is the magic in the mix or the match?
Windsor Smith Home
A good chair can shape your experience of a room. Every little detail, from the pitch to the seat height, can determine whether the conversation you have around that table will be meaningful or superficial. With a mix of chairs, my dining spaces feel collected over time—they evoke whimsy and fantasy, and indulge my love for beautiful forms. They also create a sense of history, rather than the feeling that they were bought in bulk off a showroom floor. The pairings aren’t random—sometimes, there is a historical or period reference that ties the chairs together. Other times, there is a complementary element in the arm or leg that creates a cohesive mix. For me, it has always felt like a missed opportunity not to embrace a mix of dining chairs.
Jeff Andrews Design
I prefer my dining chairs to be alike and make an overall statement, not an individual one. A gorgeous, functional, head-turning chair is like a piece of art—it doesn’t need competition. “Eclectic” sounds cool in theory, but in practice, it can be confusing and noncommittal. Although the mix-and-match look can be interesting, I prefer continuity: There is strength in numbers! Repetition is gorgeous when beautifully curated. Rather than let the chairs become a conversation piece, a matched set allows you to focus on the people in the chairs—not to mention the food, wine and conversation. But then, who am I to question Windsor? I’ve been to her house, and it’s stunning—though next time I’m there, I might just move a few chairs around and see if she notices.