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Ask the Audience: Chairs to go with my new dining table


Well folks. I pulled the trigger on the dining room table this weekend – after getting all of my friends/employees and Brian’s approval. And then after reading all your comments yesterday, I of course regretted it. Not that I regret the table, I still LOVE the table (see below), but you brought up some solid ideas and it made me wish I had processed them before I pulled that expensive trigger.

Here she is:

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Dining Room_Chairs_Table_Craigslist Photo Grid

I got it on Etsy for $1995. Not cheap, but I was so sick of looking and needed the box to be checked (plus we just sold our other house so I gave myself a bigger budget than usual). As you might remember from yesterday’s post we were loving our super simple wood table, but wished it were slightly bigger. Again, a normal person would be absolutely satisfied with that table, but since I’m a designer I knew that it should be slightly bigger to be perfect (when did I start to care so much about perfection??). We bought that first table because we thought we were going to orient the room along the window:


But ultimately it feels way better to have it parallel to the island. And after living in the house for a month after we shot this (2 months total) I can say that we have enough room to play in the living and family room, so we don’t need the middle of the dining room to be open, as I had previously thought.

After finding that table there arose this huge question: For the love of God, what chairs do we put with the table? Remember they need to work with the kitchen, be kid friendly and obviously work with the dining room windows and the new dining table. Since I had been pinning a ton I immediately pulled together some options.

Now let me be clear – these are not design plans. These boards are just for chair options. There will be a rug, art, a hutch (already purchased – check out insta-story for some behind the scenes today) and curtains. The room will be properly filled out with color and texture, I promise. These boards are only for chairs:

Here we go #1:

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Dining Room_Chairs_Table_Option 1

Lighting Fixture | Curtain Fabric | Captain’s Chair | Side Chair

I love both of these chairs. If the arm chair would fit under the table then I might get 6 of them, but I don’t think they will. I also love the tufts on the side chair.

The problem with this one is the fabric. As many of you pointed out, (slash begged me) kids specialize in smashing bananas and crushing red jello into chairs. Because of that I am rethinking some of these options. Charlie is pretty fine with food – just the average spilling out of the mouth and dirty hands, but nothing too high maintenance. Elliot, however, is a professional food thrower and smasher of Cirque De Soleil proportions. But she is still in a high chair and will remain there until she learns how to not act like a sociopath with her food (she looks me in the eye, smiles, then chucks her salmon behind her so it bounces off the glass and lands on the floor where one of two cats is just waiting to lick it up. So disgusting).

But I love those chairs. I’m wondering if we do go with this idea if I custom make them in sunbrella or perennials fabric. Or maybe those kids are just both in kids chairs until they are 5 (similar to these). We do entertain FAR more than I could have predicted now. We call our house a ‘frat house for parents’. We have a rotating door of friends and kids all weekend, so we do need the space at the dining table for both kids and friends. It’s actually amazing and a dream come true (barring the mess that we maniacally clean up on Monday mornings before our nanny Sylvia gets here).

The curtain fabric is such a pretty washed linen by French General – I’m obsessed with it. It’s a light green and white stripe. While the photos of the room during the day make it look like we don’t need curtains, at night it feels very cold and exposed. The curtains will only soften it without adding much busy-ness since they are just a texture.

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Dining Room_Chairs_Table_Option 2

Lighting Fixture | Curtain Fabric | Captain’s Chair | Side Chair

Option 2 is solid because those chairs are classic (which is the general vibe of the house) but lighter since they have a light fabric. Again with the fabric. UGH. But we don’t want hard chairs!! I’m absolutely obsessed with having the most inviting house ever (so I never have to leave) and it’s my firm opinion that upholstered chairs are so inviting and comfortable. Those toddlers are ruining this house. I love those chairs, though. Brian fears that they are on the petite side and he might be right.

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Dining Room_Chairs_Table_Option 3

Lighting Fixture | Curtain Fabric | Captain’s Chair | Side Chair

OOh I love this combo. That captain’s chair has leather arms so it’s a bit edgier/more modern in still a classic and simple shape. The tone of the woods all looks great together. The schoolhouse side chair is also simple and classic, and has an open back which I think is good in that room to keep it feeling lighter. Is this my favorite??? Maybe!!!

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Dining Room_Chairs_Table_Option 4

Lighting Fixture | Curtain Fabric | Captain’s Chair | Side Chair

In a lot of ways I think that this will work the best. Are those my two favorite chairs in the entire world? No, but they will keep the room feeling casual and light while still being classic. Brian doesn’t LOVE the chairs and my staff mentioned that they do feel kinda ‘Hamptons’ but I like them. I don’t love them with the fabric of the curtains on the board, but once art and accessories are added I think it will feel really easy, casual, wipe-up-able and affordable.

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Dining Room_Chairs_Table_Option 5

Lighting Fixture | Curtain Fabric | Captain’s Chair | Side Chair

This one was a last minute addition because all of us really love this chair. Now things to consider – we would probably do our own sunbrella or perennial fabrics. The kids would get the side chairs and for the next couple years would sit in a higher trip trapp or toddler chair. These chairs, while on the wider/bulkier side are so incredibly comfortable, inviting and work perfectly with the table and kitchen. Again, I don’t think that the tone of the fabric is perfect, but we can get whatever fabric we want. I found some recently that you can take a sharpie to and wipe it off, and yet it looks like linen. Won’t that be good enough?? Or am I still asking for problems?

The last option is one that I’m attracted to in theory but as a designer I feels like it’s not the most sophisticated.

But man …. do I love some mismatched vintage classic chairs:

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Dining Room_Chairs_Table_Mix and Match_Inspiration Photo_1

Please note that this table is propped up by some wood because the apron is too high for anyone to properly squeeze their thighs under. When shopping for vintage tables make sure that the apron clears at least 27″, if not more so that you can cross those legs.

I styled mismatched chairs in Ian’s dining room and man do I love them there:

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Dining Room_Chairs_Table_Mix and Match_Inspiration Photo_2

It would be pretty easy to find – classic Thonet, Tavern, Windsor, even a Paul McCobb or Cherner – all my best friends. But it is certainly less formal and it kinda feels like a cop out to me – like I couldn’t really pull it together so I just scrambled it together. But is that just because I’ve had “design” on my brain and I need to get back to being a stylist? I love those photos and in a way does that person look more interesting?? Do I want to be a mismatched/interesting person or a pulled together/well-designed person? I fear I’m the former that wants to be the latter …

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Dining Room_Chairs_Table_Option 6

Lighting Fixture | Curtain Fabric | Brown Leather Seat Chair | Black Rustic Wooden Chair | Black Ladder Chair | Flat Bone Wood Chair

Now if I really did that, would I replace the stools? I might have to. So many of you wish those stools were different but I’m here to tell you that when you are in that small room, those stools are perfect. They are just narrow enough to fit 3. They add a nice curve to the angular kitchen. They are casual yet classic. Could I find others that might photograph better? Sure, but I love those ladies.

Now it’s your turn. While I might keep shopping I’d love to know if there is some sort of overwhelming opinion out there. You guys are often right and have great opinions – don’t prove that statement wrong. Weigh in:

Emily Henderson_Ask the Audience_Dining Room_Chairs_Table_Option Roundup_FINAL

Would you go with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 and for what reason. Let us know below.

Fin Mark


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Evening guys, Megan in Australia. Your blog is my nightly ritual be4 bed. I like option 3 it feels the most “Emily-ish” to me. Fresh, classic lines and not all fabric which can only b a good thing with kids. Dislike 5 soo much it hurts my eyeballs. Good luck im excited to see results. Night


I couldn’t agree more with Megan. And don’t discount these junior chairs from Ikea. No need to spend hundreds.

Alicia M

Most definitely #3! Everything Megan said!!


They look like those poured concrete chairs people get for their patios now. I’m sure the different fabric Emily is considering would change that, but for now their such a Nope.


Also from Australia and your blog is my nightly ritual too! ? agree with Megan #3 is best… and please not #5!

Mandi Di Rezze

100% with the above! Definitely number 3 (but I love 6 too) and definitely NOT number 5!!! =)


Agree so much with Megan!


Hands down number 3 – it’s a great balance of modern and is somewhat kid friendly.


Said the same below — completely agree!


I like 3, mostly because it makes sense for the next few years, and you will likely want to change it up then anyway. Anything else and you are trying to create a look that will be “timeless”, which doesn’t square with your designer-y sensibilities. That said, I would consider a bench plus 2 matched sides and 2 head chairs.


Yikes! I meant #6. I think #3 is the goal later.
Also, regarding fabric protection. I covered some bar stools and noticed it pills a bit….from sliding on and off. Worse, my slipcovered PB sofa shows indigo from the many blue-jean clad bottoms that have sat there over the years. Even the cleanest among us has to deal with this.


My PB white denim couch does the same thing! If you have any ideas for how to stop it, I am ALL ears! Drives me crazy- Thankfully it is easy to wash though 🙂


Totally agree, #3 without a doubt!


1st choice: Option 3. 2nd choice: Option 4!



I like the idea of sticking mostly with wood to complement all the white happening in the kitchen. And those cafe chairs are my dream come true.

I hate to be mean, but I also agree with Megan about option 5. I don’t know why, but those chairs remind me of a shaggy dog in desperate need of a bang trim. I think they’ll crowd the table. And the amount of fabric surface area is proportional to the amount of stains they’ll acquire. And that’s coming from someone with no kids (but two slobbery dogs).

You’ll make it beautiful, whatever you do.




Yes 3 then 6.


#3 for sure!

Mary V

I concur, 3 or 6. The wood breaks up the white walls and curtains, and is easy to wipe clean.

Agreed with both (although no eyeball pain!). Three is pretty. I also like 6, although I see where it could get too cluttered looking in your perfect house. I also liked the idea of a bench on one side that you mentioned before!




I agree Megan! ? And yessssss I’m also in Aus and this blog is my nightly rital too! While I feed the baby to sleep! I look forward to it each day, hah!


I’ve arrived at this post at a time when there are over 800 comments and figured that there was no point in adding my 2 cents. To my delight, however, the very first comment in the thread captures my feelings exactly!

L Venem

Ha! ? Megan is spot on w/ #5.

#3 is the winner. Hands down.

Agreed! Three for sure, but option six would be a good backup.


Agreed. Option 3 is so ‘you’ and by far my favorite.


5! Looks so inviting and cozy


I love Option 5. I think these chairs will look least busy with your window/French door situation. They look like a modern chair with a classic fabric and offer a comfortable vibe that I love!


Agree with this! Like option 5 best.
If option 4 is that plastic rattan you friend in French bistros then they’re pretty uncomfortable, especially if you have any bare skin touching them. Presumably in California you’ll be in shorts and short sleeves and you’ll end up with completely patterned skin from these chairs.
I like the stools at the island and think option 5 doesn’t compete with them.
Hate the Windsor chairs by the way. They’re so uncomfortable and look like a cheap pub to me


Option 3 is the one I like best. I think it’s the prettiest. (And as a mom with two young kids they seem pretty friendly.) The end.


My vote is the same, for the same reasons. 🙂


No. 5, definitely. Kids grow fast.


Hmm. I like option 6, or the side chair from option 3. The others just don’t feel like dining room chairs to me. And personally I don’t think I would ever go for upholstered chairs in a dining room; I know they’re more comfortable, but having soft furnishings around food just feels wrong to me… is that weird? I too have a messy toddler (is there any other kind?!)

But you should probably ignore me, because I love your current chairs a lot and would just get those in white!


I wonder if a nice light colored leather would be good for upholstered chairs? OOOh, could the seats of the #3 side chairs be covered in leather? With the wood for the rest of the chair, and echoing the #3 capt chair arms…could be lovely.


I like this leather instead of fabric idea. I grew up with wood thonet chairs (similar to your stools) but with an leather covered cushion seat. They are still nice and are so comfortable !


I would get the current chairs in white too. Option 2, 4 and most of 6 are bad ideas – the chairs look too flimsy. Kids love to stand on chairs, and you don’t want anything that is going to flip backwards. And upholstered dining room chairs would be unthinkable in my house. Option 3 is pretty and could work if the chairs were sturdy and well-balanced, and if only grown-ups were allowed in the captain’s chair.


I love the current chairs too! Would just paint them white, as Clair said.
Or options 6 sounds so much fun. Also, if you need to add two more chairs when guests are over, all the chairs will go perfectly together.
I don’t have kids, but still won’t even consider upholstered chairs, unless with slipcovers (but I hate those, so…)
I don’t really like any of the other options, but I don’t like country/classic style, so my opinion doesn’t really mean that much


Claire* Sorry about that


Personally, I think leather upholstery is the perfect compromise, you would get a soft foam cushion (comfortable!) with wipeable fabric (practical!) for kid spills and grubby hands. Considering just the options above I like number 3.


Yes! Number 3 with leather was also going to be my suggestion.


I agree — #3 with leather rather than fabric!


I third this!!!


Number 2 with the seats reupholstered in leather or vinyl (gasp!)
Those seats looks like a DIY to me. Many chairs have seats that can unscrew and you could just staple a vinyl fabric over the existing upholstery and in a couple years you could just take the vinyl off 🙂


Agree with #3 – I love the dimension/texture those chairs offer while coordinating with the wood.

I am partial to #4 – I adore those S & L Riviera chairs. Hoping those are still around when we go to redo our kitchen in a few years.

I also dislike #5. Looks bulky for the kitchen, maybe?

Totally leather for the win!


I agree so much with a leather possibility, if Em isn’t wanting all wood. All the fabric options give me so much anxiety with kids. Finding dining chairs that are fabulous and leather is so HARD though. This is truth.

To be honest, I’m still feeling a little lost on what style were trying to do here, but I know Emily will figure it out!

The table is GORGEOUS. At first I think I wouldn’t love the grooves, because of clean up, but that table’s grooves look large enough that I think clean up won’t be as big of a headache as ours was.
Good luck! You’ll do great Emily

Jordan Pace



I say #1…or 3…. love the table….thanks for presenting the reader with choices…?


All I can think about is all the crud I’m currently cleaning out of our old dining table which is VERY similar to Emily’s new table (the supports underneath are different, otherwise the organic live-edge style is very much the same). We’re going to sell it because kids and adults get crumbs down in those cracks and it’s gross. I’m having such a hard time getting it clean, even with a special thingy for my vacuum and all kinds of wacky inventions I’m making with old tooth and bottle brushes. And I did not realize we had spilled So. Much. Glitter. these last few years. Maybe it multiplies in dark spaces.

Sarah in OR

We had a dining table with small cracks between the table-top boards. Oh boy what a nightmare! And I think it was the table we had before kids.

Emily – you might look into a vacuum with super suction and mini attachments for those table top cracks. I didn’t think to try one before craigslisting our table.


I clean our farm table grooves with one of those cans of keyboard cleaner. The blasts of air usually forces the crumbs up or through to the floor.


That is a great idea! We bought our table from a lovely elderly lady who told us her husband customized a table for their growing family when he returned from WWII: he put longer, wider planks right on the top of their store-bought table and then screwed them in, filling the tops of the holes with wood plugs and glue. So, our cracks don’t go all the way through, there’s a solid tabletop underneath them holding in all the mess. 🙁 It’s a lovely story, but a bad cleaning situation.
When I commented earlier I was actually forgetting that our table is an unusual specimen. Probably Emily won’t have a bit of trouble cause her cracks go all the way through the tabletop.

Keri Lee

I vote for option 3! All the heart eyes for your new table! ???


Ooh I love options 3 and 5. They look so comfortable and if you go the Sunbrella route that should assuage your fears about the champion food throwers for now 🙂

Can I also say thank you for letting us in on the decision making process, and that I love your instastories. You are magic!

Katy DeBardelaben

Option 5! So pretty! And if you get them in a Sunbrella type fabric and, even better, a slipcover, they would be totally fine with kids.


Option 3 captain chair with option 4 side chair. (That’s prob a weird mix bc of square and round backs.) I love all of option 3 the best of all, but those wide back openings will cause kid trouble. I’ve seen kids repeatedly slide backwards through openings like that. 🙂 Or climb through from the back and try to stand up and get stuck and then scream. Toddlers, indeed! 🙂

Deborah M

Because of the kids, I’d vote for option 5, then replace them in 10-15 years… but if you could upholster in a sunbrella fabric in a light pattern that could help disguise stains…

We have a Stickley table and chairs and our dining table became our everyday table when we moved to our current house. It gets used heavily for eating, homework, building legos, etc. Two of the side chairs have fabric (busy patterned) and two are black leather. When the kids outgrew their high chairs we had them use the leather ones because I was afraid they’d ruin the fabric ones..

After ten years (my kids are 14 & 12), most of the chair damage has been to the wood (and the table pad). The leather’s been easier to wipe off and wipe away spills for sure.


Option 6 or option 3 sans upholstery. The thought of cleaning smashed food products off upholstered kitchen chairs daily is too much! Save your upholstery for formal dining room.


Option 3 all the way. They are more classic than option 4 and would look great with the stools you already have.

Heather Johnson

Honestly I vote mismatched. I’ve always laughed when I read your bio–you have a line that says “let’s get weird” or something like that…anyhow, I think it would be true to who you are. You have such a gift for pulling in the quirky and the vintage–plus I am a firm believer that aiming for perfection will just cause you more stress. (This comes from a perfectionist–so believe me I can relate!)


yes totally agree, i mean her bio says ‘perfection is boring,”!!!!!


I like option 5 and 6 best! i have a thing for comfort AND vintage chairs alike…so it would be one or the other for me.

I love option 3! ✨ Those school house chairs are especially amazing. One thing to consider is a wide seat. Nothing is more uncomfortable for you OR your guest if you invite them to sit in an armed chair and their bottom won’t fit in. ? Happened before with some chairs I was trying out and I felt awful—for everyone involved! So, wide seat, no armed chairs is what we ended up with. GOOD-LUCK! You’ve got some great options!!!

PS I have four small kids, and know how to keep upholstery clean bc we have three white sofas—however, I gotta say, having all wooden dining chairs that I can wipe down after dinner and not worry about IS pretty darn nice!

Lauren Tyner

All I want to say is stay AWAY from the upholstery with kids…on your every day kitchen chairs at least. This is coming from someone who happily has a white couch and cream upholstered bar stools AND two little boys. I’m happy with those other decisions but our kitchen chairs get so much messy use that I would never take the chance there. If you go with option 4 consider that food can get smeared on and stuck between the weave of that material. Until December I had chairs with rushing and it drove me nuts. There is probably moldy food stuck in those chairs for good.
BUT I like all these options. What if you do uphoslstred captain chairs and then some non upholstered chairs for the kids? Another thing to consider–you might be able to contain your children’s messy eating but what about guests? Would it drive you nuts?

Lauren Tyner

Oops. Just realized option 3 is exactly what I suggested above. Then option 3 is my vote for sure!! 🙂

Jula Cordeira

Option three works best for me.


I love option 3 – it feels the most balanced and aesthetically pleasing. I’m not a fan of the contrast between the bulky, upholstered chairs (#5) and the rustic (beautiful!) table. #3 strikes the best compromise between comfortable/sophisticated and complimentary to the table. Also like #1 and #6 (maybe with matching end chairs?). Just curious- will you be staining or refinishing the table at all?



I really do not like 2 or 4.


An amazing space with all the light! Just to weigh in on the kid-friendly + design + comfort dilemma, we’ve gone from upholstered 18th century-style, to all wood in the style of your current black ones, to Eames plastic chairs with a sheepskin pad. By far I love the Eames chairs the most. Very, very comfy with the pad. Incredibly easy to care for. Adds interesting shape but no visual “mess”.


option 3! For sure. Without a doubt!


I like 5 and 6! I don’t always love mismatched chairs but I think it’d be so sweet in your house. You wouldn’t worry as much about ruining vintage chairs and I think it would say “I’m not taking this house too seriously”… if that makes sense!

(PS I don’t mean to imply that I think you’re taking your house too seriously 🙂 I don’t!)


Honestly, I don’t think any are quite right. With these options, I’d go with the mix and match (no. 6).

If you want softness,
I’d look for a chair with an antique leather seat. Something with natural canning could also bring that softness into your palate.

Those upholstered chairs with kids (or even adults drinking red wine) are a terrible idea.


While all these picks are lovely, I tend to agree with you. I do really like 3 and 6, though. The upholstered still seems so impractical. It’s not just the toddler years you have to worry about. I love having a gaggle of school-age kids/friends/neighbors over and never want them to have to worry about being neat in the kitchen. Having friends over is built-in babysitter! I can leave the room and do anything else! 🙂

Also, those skirted chairs scream hide-n-seek and would constantly have grubby fingerprints all over them. But, whatever you chose Emily, it will no doubt be perfect for you! And that’s all that really matters. Best of luck!!


I agree. I don’t think any are quite right also. It is starting to feel very one note right now. I like the table, but the chair options add to the already muted tone of the room. The green seems to be a soft green, so there is something that needs to be added to bring just a little bit of brightness or texture to the space (a print would be nice if you go with upholstery.) Someone suggested some Eames chairs and I think that would help too.


Option 3 or 6



If you’re having other people’s kids over all the time anything upholstered will make you so tense. You can put your own kids in toddler chairs or high chairs but you won’t have stacks of them for everyone else, and every time a grubby kid gets down and rubs their hands on their parents’ chairs you’ll be cringing.

Honestly I’d stick with the Windsor chairs you have now, and get leather pads made for the seats. I think those are the Target ones; I have a set and they’re pretty darn comfortable even without a pad. Upgrade to whatever upholstered version you are in love with in 4-5 years when all your and all your friends’ kids are relatively civilized.


I agree and just made the same comment about having other kids over. it’s a liability until they’re, like, 20. hahaha


I hate 4 and 5! 3 is a winner for me!


#1 is my favorite!


6 all the way!!!


Option 3! Also, what is the fabric you can sharpie and wipe off?


I want to be honest with you Emily. I feel like in this new house, you start to lose your very own, happy style. I know you can`t go too mid century in this house, but the sofa in the play room for example is something I just can`t see with your great and personal style (and I frankly do not like it, but that`s of course none of your business). Do not force too much farmhouse/shabby/ curvy style, some more modern and simple elements will balance it out better. I actually think your current chairs work pretty well, but as they are too busy for you, I would recommend to look for simple chairs with some mid century inspiration – maybe like in option 3 or even more Scandinavian (you can`t go wrong with Arne Jacobsen or Eames chairs).
I do not want to offend you and your style, it`s great but maybe just not me anymore.


I want to counter this and say that I love the new change. My own home tends toward mid-century style and Emily’s last home was MAJOR inspirations for me, but I’m glad she’s getting a chance to move on and implement some of that country style she says she’s always dreamed about. As a designer I know it’s really exciting for her to explore a new style (which potentially fits the new house and this stage of life better). Definitely a shift for readers, and some will miss what they see as her *signature style*, but I for one am really enjoying seeing her take on a new aesthetic.


I agree with Sarah. I have been reading your blog for years and have always been impressed with your ability to be creative but still be very true to your personal style. I think a lot of the design choices for the new house have been geared toward building your portfolio and “matching” the design aesthetic of the house, neither of which is a bad motivation. However, this is your home. While a good picture sells, what has always sold me with you is the character that you bring to each design. None of the options shows that character. Option 6 is the closest and so that is my choice. Option 6 also gives you room to change without forgoing your eclectic spirit.


Sadly, I have to agree with Sarah and Melissa. I am having trouble seeing the bright, eclectic, happily Emily design in this new home. I’m not a parent, and I’ve never lived in a traditional home, and surely that informs my design, but lately your designs have been so far away from the Midcentury Emily that I have loved for years and it makes my heartache. I really hope that I’ll be own over and who knows, maybe I’ll understand when I have kids.


my main issue is the “design by vote” ethos?? No wonder Emily is confused..I have a headache just looking at this amount of feedback and how can this much advice ever be helpful? I get Emily has “asked the audience” and if this is how Emily wants to build a community and her following that is Em’s choice but I can’t help feel the “design” as been compromised in the process, and it’s created a bit of a monster.


I’ve considered commenting many times before but out of concern of offending Emily and her team, have shied away from it. As a longtime reader and avid follower, I’m not drawn to the new house like I was to the Glendale home and your rental before that. It seemed like I was always looking to purchase whatever you had linked from those homes’ decor, yet I haven’t once even clicked over to look into purchasing anything in your new home. Your blog has always been my favorite and first read of the day, however I feel like this house has lost a lot of the personality that made you unique. Maybe it’s that your personal style has genuinely changed, but I feel almost you’re trying so hard to force this new style that it’s becoming generic. Like many other commenters, I dislike the island stools and feel they really cheapen the aesthetic of your kitchen. I think the pristine, painted look to them really clashes with the rawness of the antique table you’ve purchased, despite the spaces being open and overflowing into each other. Just my honest two cents since you frequently ask the audience, but you are obviously the… Read more »


I think the problem is having buy everything at once, right away. That pressure, and having the budget to do so (plus the ability to resell and recoup costs) seems like it’s making for some expensive impulse buys! I’m not begrudging you the success you’ve earned, Emily. But maybe having to wait and see what comes up on craigslist (i.e., obsessively check craigslist) is not a bad thing. I realized recently that every single piece of furniture in my living/dining room, except for the sofa, came from craigslist, and I love it all.


I understand where you are coming from, but I have to say that none of the rooms in her new house (except the kitchen) are fully designed yet. I’m expecting that there will be Emily’s personal, quirky and happy style when she pulls it all together. We just have to wait and see.


First of all, I *love the new table. I think chairs that contrast in style – say, mid century designers or the mix matched option 6 would look great. TBH, I feel that Emily’s style kind of started to change a lot once she became a spokesperson for Target…and I get that – being accessible to a wider range of people who don’t design for a living, or have the time, propensity, or money for thrifting or fleas or (as much) vintage. I felt like her style began to shift towards newer items, and sometimes a little more contemporary of a look. I think she has still put her personality into it, but it wasn’t quite as quirky or full of character as the work that drew me to her in the beginning. A lot of it had to do with a lot less vintage items, but also on top of that, her stated desire for more calm in her colors and design. I know it’s still there in lots of ways, and there is of course value in working with the new, but I sometimes miss the vintage-driven nature of her design, rather than the sometimes Target-driven one that… Read more »


What a dilemma! But LOVE your new dining room table – gorgeous – especially the legs and bar underneath. Great for kids to prop their legs against and push! 🙂

What will the final option look like next to your bar stools (assuming you’re not swapping them out anytime soon)? In my opinion that cancels out Option 6 – too busy.

Really dislike Option 5 (too much upholstery and not very elegant).

I would go for the captain chairs in Option 1 (they are gorgeous!) and the side chairs in Option 3. Keep the kids off the captain chairs on pain of the naughty corner and you should be set.

And re a carpet under the table – I would avoid at all cost! My 13 year old still seems to have half the menu on the floor at the end of a meal.


3 or 6… love them both!


#1 and #3 are my favorites. They both feel “dining room” enough to me (not too lightweight) without feeling too heavy for the amazing light filled space and give off a great vibe in general.


First choice: 3! Natural and easy with the table, plus they flow with the rest of the kitchen. I also like 5 and the comfortable formality they bring to the room.

I like the option 5 side chairs with a Windsor or other farmhousey chair for the basically a combo of 5 & 6.

Plus the chairs in option 5 look comfy vs a lot of the other options.


Definitely option 3. My kids are 6 and 8 and trust me they still spill stuff. You will regret the upholstered chairs almost immediately even if you do a performance fabric. At the time I also had fantasies about keeping my kids in a more kid friendly chair but trust me they won’t go for it as long as you will need/want them to stay in it. Maybe consider a chair that you can at least get the seat upholstered in a wipeable vinyl and use a pretty fabric on be back? If your house is truly an entertaining house even if you manage to keep your own kids from destroying the chairs trust me one of their adorable friends will certainly spill something and who wants to deal with that stress and awkwardness. Someday the kids will be teenagers and you can have those beautiful upholstered chairs but that is a long way off and unless you are comfortable looking at stains everyday choose something wipeable. That is why at least for the time being #3 feels like the smartest choice.

Anna Weylandt

Defs option 3 or 5!


3 or 6!

Allyson H

I vote option 7:

Funny enough, I saw this on my blogfeed today after reading your post and thought it was a perfect fit for your space! The table is similar to yours, and I think the matte black wood would pop against the white painted walls and trim. The backs are low to preserve the view and the cushions can be in a stain resistant material.

Just my two cents!


Those chairs are cute, and I love that the seat is a little wider and rounded, making a hard chair more comfy. Those chair cushions they use though, I do not think they are good. Especially the somewhat sloppy way they attach in the back. I agree with you that the matte black would be great.

Amy Madeline

Dang, option 7 is so good! Removable, washable cushions are comfy and smart. I have 50’s Drexel chairs with a similar scale. They have 70’s velvet striped upholstered seats which wear and wash up like iron, it is insane.

“Perfection is boring.” My initial vote was for the personality and individuality of option 6. But I also love the style and practicality of option 5. Kids and adults are hard on chairs, especially when they are having a good time at the dining table! I am curious to see which chairs end up being comfortable, practical, AND interesting in that space.

Amy Madeline

Oops, I meant options 7, 6 and 3!

Melanie A

Ooh, I LOVE that.


I love option 3! Those chairs compliment the table so beautifully!


100% option 3! They are beautiful. And I feel like you get some pretty upholstered chairs but still have some easy to clean side chairs for kids. Can you tell us how much the side chairs cost? I followed the link but the website wants me to create an account and well, I just don’t want the spam 🙂

Wow, such different and amazing options! I love #4! It does look like a more beachy vibe, but they will clean up so nicely and the blue works well in your home.

But I also absolutely love #5!! If you can get a durable fabric that allows you to wipe off a sharpie marker, then it’s indestructible!!

I think #5 would be the most comfortable, too. And it sounds like you love to entertain and linger and chat with friends. So this might be the best option!! Best of luck. You always knock it out of the park with your decisions!


Man, dining chairs and kids are such a nightmare. I have black, washable cushions on my barstools, and they look clean for about five minutes after washing. Ugh.

I agree #6 is the most kid friendly, while also really inviting. Are you against anything modern-ish? I love modern chairs with with a farm table, and the Bernhard dining chairs from Ikea come in white leather. They’re also super comfortable.

Score with that table! You will love it forever.




Option 2 – The color ties in with the stools at the island, there is nice detailing with the nail head trim, the look sturdy, while still being polished and refined. I am an Architect with a 9 year old boy, and his entire life we’ve had white Eames shell chairs with wood legs at the dining room table – I’ve never once regretted the color or the wood. Go for it!


This is my favorite eat in kitchen I have been fortunate enough to sit in. The chairs were mismatched as you like from slip covered wing backs, to partial slip covered comfy vintage leather side chairs, to leather side chairs (great for the kids) , plus a 2 seated leather simple French settee thrown in for good measure. ……heavenly. I hope you go vintage for the chairs, mismatched isn’t the easy way out. It is a skill to do it well.


I remember that kitchen from House Beautiful! Gorgeous!! Loved it then, still love it now.

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