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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson
Emily Henderson_Home_Engish Tudor_Dining Room_Layout_Ask the Audience_1

Wanna really dive into the brain of an insane lady today? GREAT! This post is for you. Some rooms come together easier than others. This one has been a big struggle for me and I’m not making any headway so far. My big disclaimer: balancing all the mom needs, with the kids needs, with the stylist’s desire and my husbands last minute opinions is EXTREMELY challenging… paralyzing even. Then add in the fact that I don’t want it to be totally traditional/country or mid-century modern. But mixing those two is hard is proving to be very hard.

More context …

When we moved in we brought over the Saarinen table from the office and the windsor chairs from Target. Like so:


It’s too small for the space and not the vibe that I wanted. What is the vibe I want? Good question. Warm, inviting, comfortable with a modern edge (could be in the table, chairs, lighting). I’ve been extremely attracted to primitive, shaker style furniture – the kind with no bells and whistles but maybe you see a nail or defined wood grain. Well when I was shopping I found a table that I fell IN LOVE with.

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It’s 100 years old and has tons of character/love but it is so simple. The sad  news is that I bought it for a different orientation of the room, and when it floats this way I fear that it’s too small. Here is a super distorted photo to show you where we are in the house.

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You see, all the doors will be open 7 months of the year, with the kitchen windows opening into the room, too. So for a while I thought maybe we should orient it this way:

Emily Henderson_Home_Engish Tudor_Dining Room_Layout_Ask the Audience_4

Then I’d get a bench for the front side and we’d still have room for dance parties in the middle of the dining room, which we do. Way too often. We sat in it this way for a while and kinda liked it (thus the weird lamp swagging over the table).

Ultimately it did feel like a big waste of space in the middle … ugh, except the fact that when you have two toddlers all they want is space to run, play, drag their toys around, or twirl until they get dizzy, fall over and cry as if it’s my fault.


They both kinda work, right? One is more breakfast nooky – think upholstered bench in front and two more substantial king chairs … and the other is more of a normal kitchen table in a dining room.

IF I were a normal person this would be good enough, but i’m a “designer” and this room will be featured in a magazine shoot that we have coming up of the new house so it does need to be perfect in scale, finish, style and of course function/comfort.

Here is my list of needs and wants:

1. Comfortable chairs, preferably with a cushion or upholstered. Not a generic upholstered chair.

2. If it’s upholstery it should be family friendly or slip covered. We have cushions on those chairs now and man they are disgusting from the kids spills and food.

3. Nothing too fussy or over designed. I like tufting but it has to be perfectly done to satisfy me, and I like carved legs a lot, but the finish has to be perfect and waxed or matte instead of shiny or faux aged.

4. Something that feels classic and timeless – six chairs will be an investment so I want something that I will love forever.

5. They have to look good with the windows and the rest of kitchen. I love these black windsor chairs, but with all the lines of the window frames/iron railing, beadboard and bentwood stools, they are just too busy. They would be way better in white (for the busy-ness) and I have considered for the time being selling these, buying the white so I can at least be 28% happier when I walk into this room, but that just seems so wasteful. The search goes on.

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So I started pinning chairs I liked, chairs that I thought could work or chairs that I want to sit in. I pinned A LOT. These are all over the place, mostly because until I know the table we are going to get, I have no idea what type of chair I want. Many of these are more shabby-chic (that could look great with an industrial table), or on the mid-century side which could look good with the right table.  Some of these are even pretty boring, but the fact that I pinned them means that I felt something about them when I saw them. So here we go.

Emily Henderson_Dining Room_What I Almost Bought_Ask the Audience_Dining Chairs_Resized_1

1. Slipcover Short Skirt Armchair | 2. Coppice Side Chair | 3. Julia Skirted Linen Side Chair | 4. Gaston Chair | 5. Fenton Dining Chair | 6. Jackson Armchair | 7. Comfort Upholstered Dining Chair | 8. Blue Striped Chairs Pair | 9. Keaton Side Chair | 10. Ladder Chair | 11. Octavia Side Chair | 12. Square Guest Chair | 13. Light Gray Slip Armchair | 14. Ward White Side Chairs Pair | 15. Piana Bea Dining Chair | 16. Newell Armchair | 17. Angel Dining Chair | 18. Slip Linen Slipcovered Dining Chair | 19. Low Belgian Track Arm Slipcovered Armchair | 20. Ladder Chair | 21. Pink Cushion Dining Chair | 22. Savoy Dining Side Chair | 23. Navy Elloree Side Chair Pair | 24. Afternoon Tea Chair | 25. Saddle Dining Chair | 26. Mid-Century Olive Chair Set | 27. Cameron Side Chair | 28. Brownstone Marcel Pewter Chair | 29. Grace Chair  | 30. French Victorian Tufted Arm Chair | 31. Lancaster Chair | 32. Folio Chair | 33. Dane Dining Chair | 34. Marvin Dining Arm Chair | 35. Framework Dining Chair | 36. Palecek Emery Arm Chair | 37. Isabelle Side Chair | 38. Grammercy Upholstered Tufted Chair | 39. Ray Dining Chair | 40. Alaina Slipcovered Dining Side Chair | 41. Lloyd Dining Chair | 42. Newell Armchair | 43. Vienna White Wood Dining Chair | 44. School House Chair | 45. Bowie Arm Chair | 46. Classic Cafe Dining Chair | 47. Emma Dining Chair | 48. Richmond Dining Chair | 49. Steel X Back Side Chair | 50. Dering Upholstered Dining Chair | 51. Bradley Dining Chair | 52. Whirl Swivel Grey Upholstered Dining Chair | 53. Lino Dining Chair | 54. Danish Arm Chair | 55. Sloan Dining Chair | 56. Finley Chair | 57. Brown Bistro Chair

My favorites up there are #12 (but that doesn’t look comfortable and they are a fortune), #14 (a great option and an absolute contender), #16 (great – classic, yet upholstered, and less slats than the vertical one so I’m less concerned about them being busy) and #24, although I’d love for all four feet to be turned – they are also expensive but I love the simple rounded shape, the pretty front legs, and they look super comfortable. I could get them upholstered in a color to make them more kid-friendly.

I don’t need both the table and the chairs to be standouts, but either the chair OR the table needs to be awesome. Ok, fine, preferably both. My ideal table is mine, but 6-10″ longer, and 6-10″ wider.

My requirements for the table are as follows:

  1. Beat-up-able. Nothing too precious for me or those spaghetti smashing monsters. This is why i’m leaning towards rustic or farm style, but every now and again I see a classic Paul McCobb and say, “yes, that’s my table”.
  2. Not huge or wide – We really shouldn’t go wider than 40″ to be able to easily access the doors, or longer than 84″ to keep flow at both ends.
  3. Wood, white, or black, and no marble since there is marble on the countertops.

So I pinned and pinned and pinned and I’m so sick of looking for this table. Oh and I’d really like for it to not be $4k but all of my favorites are around that price. We are going to the Round Top flea market at the end of March so I feel pretty confidant I will find it there (fingers crossed).

Until we find the perfect one, here are all the dining tables i’m toying with:

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1. Baluster Round Table | 2. Vintage Wooden Table | 3. Walnut Oval Dining Table | 4. Reclaimed Lumber Table | 5. Oak Turned Table | 6. Dovetail Table | 7. Ball and Claw Table | 8. Shaker Style Table | 9. Rustic Pine Table | 10. Campbell Table | 11. Bendelle Table | 12. Beck Table | 13. Gazzda Table | 14. Ansel Black Table | 15. Phillippe Starck Table | 16. Sarreid Wood Table | 17. Zinc Top Table | 18. Paul McCobb Mid Century Table | 19. Zinnia Table | 20. Steel Top Table | 21. Vintage Heywood Table | 22. Gideon Table |  23. Madison Table | 24. Teak Oval Table | 25. Belgian Stripped Table | 26. Paul McCobb Table | 27. Oval Zinc Table | 28. Farm House Table | 29. Solid Walnut X-Base Table | 30. French Oblong Table | 31. Viyet Italian Table | 32. Teak Dining Table | 33. Harvester Table | 34. | 35. British Campaign Table | 36. French Urn Pedestal Table

So many options, and yet none feel quite right. My dream table (I think) is #3 because it’s a 1930’s burlwood oval pedestal table and would really ground the room without being too big. It’s a cool $14k. I love a lot of the more industrial tables (which pair really well with upholstered chairs) but then I think – I want it to be warm and happy and not cool and cold. Also the other side of the kitchen is light and bright so it can’t feel too heavy ….

I wish I had more news for you, but I can’t buy the chairs without the table. In a perfect world the table should be rustic/farm-style we kinda need to find it first to pull any chair triggers to make sure that wood tones work together. Meanwhile if you are in LA and interested in my current table I’ll be selling it for what I purchased it for, $1200 (which I know is a lot, but getting the modern country look with real antiques in a big city is always more expensive – you should be able to get this look WAY cheaper most other places, and the table is stunning).

Help. Any thoughts?

**UPDATE: Since finishing this post on Friday I shopped a ton online and found THE table on Etsy over the weekend. YAY! I’m trying to pull together an ask the audience for this week since I can narrow down the chair options now. Also I pinned a ton more chairs and tables over the weekend so you want to see even more of a selection of what I’m going for head on over to my pin board. 

  1. No hesitation, I would get the #4 candelabra table with two or three of the #43 crate and barrel chairs with a modern clean lined bench, barely higher than the table, on the opposite side in a very washable fabric and on the ends, two of the #24 in a great fabric that you just love. I dont think that you should try adding in mid century modern or anything too elaborate like the tufted french chairs. It feels like there is too much going on with the chevron floor, shaker cabinets, retro lighting, spanish/tudor beams, etc. I would say, keep it simple.

  2. If you want a cushion with kids, I would recommend something in leather or very wipeable. I had upholstered chairs in my kitchen and they were absolutely disgusting. I can’t count how many times yogurt or milk spilled in the seats and I didn’t know until way too much time had passed and it had soaked down into the cushion. I’m not the design goddess you are (who is?!?) but I’ve since replaced those chairs because I could stand it no longer!

    1. I have to agree with the upholstered dining chair comment. My kids are roughly the same age as Emily’s and I have to wipe down my chairs every single day because there is always some food or liquid left behind. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with washable slipcovers!

      1. Fabric in a dining area + toddlers (or even older kids)=deathwish. I’m in the wipe down every day boat as well. I cannot believe how messy we are at this stage of life!

        1. Yes, that was my first thought. You want whatever you get to be wipeable and I wouldn’t even do a washable slipcover because its just too much with the kids and your busy schedule. You want to enjoy life and not groan every time they put their sweet, pudgy peanut butter hands on the chair. They don’t have to be forever chairs. Buy something pretty and wipeable and get something different when they’re grown which will be in a few days btw!!!

          1. I agree with these ladies…. dining chairs with fabric and kids is a mess. I have Kids ages 3 and 4, and ours are disgusting. I need to replace ASAP.

          2. Gonna have to agree with all these. I have removable covers on my upholstered chairs in the dining room and it’s gross. I’d have to clean on a weekly basis to even have them remain sorta clean. They just don’t look good and the material does withstand some wiping. So maybe have upholstered ones for the photo shoot and then put them away for 5+ years and then get them back out. 😛

    2. Wipeable is a great idea, but maybe vinyl or something. Leather scratches and gets holes fairly easy with small children. It’s not intentional, but things happen. 🙂

      1. yes, leather is great, but i’m also realizing that tiny children have sharp finger nails that scratch it and leave marks! Something i didn’t think about when i recently reupholstered some chairs for my living room.

    3. Even with older kids upholstered chairs would be a nightmare in my mind! My 11 year old spills crap EVERYWHERE! …it’s part of his charm 😉

    4. I’ve avoided upholstered seating all together for this phase of life with my 1 and 3 year old kids just for my own sanity. However, some of my friends have made it work with using upholstered captain chairs and then wipeable side chairs. The kids sit in the wipeable chairs and the parents in the upholstered. Good luck!

      1. OH man. this is BUMMING me out. What if I used sunbrella? We are seriously considering some slipcovered chairs And they aren’t cheap. Stay tuned tomorrow, but man, this is terrible news. Perhaps we switch to feeding kids in smoothie form only?

        1. I just had a bench cushion made from Loom Decor using a sunbrella parchment pattern in white… SUPER washable and beautiful/luxurious at the same time.

        2. Why don’t you just put a couple of upholstered or slipcovered chairs on the ends of your existing table and call it a day. The black side chairs are perfect for the kids, they get lots of room to run around, you have lots of room for party’s and you can fill in some of the extra space for the photos with plants. It looks amazing the way it is, seriously. That table is so beautiful!

        3. Yeah. Our upholstered chairs are disgusting. So sad. I had to replace a couple chairs with CB Windsor chairs and considering buying all 6 shorter Windsor from DWR or target! (I’m in Pasadena btw. So wants to go to see your Glendale house!). What do you think of the target chairs?? How have they held up?

          1. Btw I have two kids as well (hence the gross upholstered chairs). Where did you get th cushions for the target windsors?

        4. I have 4 kids aged 6 and under. I bought antique pub chairs for our dining room and reupholstered the seats in a gray tweed looking Crypton fabric. Cryptons used to be ugly (think healthcare seating), but they have some great options available now that are super affordable. The fabric is soft, and I wipe it down after meals and it looks great and cleans up great with soapy water. I also considered Sunbrella, which I think would work well too.

        5. Get the chairs you want and have some faith in your kids. We have an old midcentury dining set that we’ve refinished a couple of times and changed the seat fabric once. We went with a commercial fabric (Unikia Vaev, I think) with a stain treatment maybe 5 or 6 years ago. They are still looking great and we hardly ever have to wipe them down. We eat every single meal and snack in the dining room on those chairs. While your kids are small they will still eat in their messy little high chair / kid chair. Then, set some expectations when they graduate to a real chair at the table. Having family meals with expectations (use of cutlery, no random popping up, use your napkin instead of the seat) also makes for good restaurant practice so that dining out is not a disaster! TIP: enlist them in the cleanup of said chairs, if and when necessary. We find that our kids were miraculously better at mess avoidance when they became responsible for cleaning. This kids-in-charge cleaning tip also works for better bathroom cleanliness (better aim, less toothpaste smudgery, etc.).

    5. I totally agree! I also have upholstered dining room chairs with a toddler and I’m spending an inordinate amount of time cleaning and protecting them! They are a daily headache for me. I would suggest just getting wood ones for now and replacing them when the kids are older. I do love the look of upholstered dining chairs though-especially light ones.

  3. Our dining room is also weird. My kids are older (10 & 14) and I have found that the open space with the dining table set aside is best for family and function. Maybe stage for the shoot and then adjust for life?

    1. I agree. Stage for the shoot, then have the space your family needs. My kids are also older at 13 and 10 and you always need space, even as they age. Also, live in your house the way you live, sometimes thing are just for function and not for show. It’s cool. We’ll love it regardless. (well most of us haha)

      1. As a mother of a toddler I agree you need to leave lots of play space. Stage to shoot, put the table along the window to shoot. I mean you’re still using at least 1 high chair and at a booster for a year or more right? So it’s never going to be THAT gorgeous. I have a vintage round table that extends out into an oval and I see a similar thing in this space. As a bonus there are no sharp corners on this type of table for little heads to run into!

    2. Great idea!

  4. I didn’t read the post yet, but thought you would know that when I use my Chromebook computer, the lighting post from fri is still at the top, yet on my android phone, I see this post. (I’m not technically talented, so if this is my problem disregard. If it’s on your end, I figured you’d want to know. 🙂 I’m not complaining, just informing. )

    1. That happens to me once in a while on Firefox too – I only see the day before’s post. Weird.

      1. Weird. Hmm, i’ll look into it!

  5. What I thought of immediately was a round table that has a couple leaves to extend it, then you can put it in the middle of the space and easily walk around it. We had a dining room in the center of our house, with doors/archway on 3 sides (plus nutso toddler twins) and nothing worked til I figured out the round extendable table. Then I found the perfect Danish one on Craigslist for $75. The house was a 1930s Tudor and Danish teak looked great in there.

    1. Yes!! Exactly this comment.

    2. 1000% this. That’s been the best solution for us by far.

      1. This was my immediate, first instinct and what I shopped for first. Then I found pretty quickly that almost all the pedestal round tables were at least 42″ wide as a circle, which means as an oval its even wayyyyy bigger. A skinny oval would be amazing, but hard to find in the style we want (rustic/farm/primitive). I did find an amazing one last night on a site but it was $4k. Ultimately the shape of the island is also kinda weird so now I think that having a rectangle is truly the best way to go. I think 🙂 But that was my first instinct too ….

        1. Try the Amish furniture places where you customize your order.

        2. Really?!? The island shape is “kinda weird”?? …. Nooooo! Too funny! 🙂

  6. Ok, now I’ve read the post. Chair 2 is my standout. Also I can’t tell you how many times my children, who actually sit at the table without roughhousing, have managed to totally faceplant when simply trying to exit our one dining chair with arms. When it’s pushed in, it’s a pain for them to get out of. Fwiw.

  7. I can’t wait to see the table you found. I’m crossing my fingers for a primitive shaker style like the first table, with linen slipcovered chairs… that’s probably too boring for a mag feature but I just feel like in this space you should let the beams, the floors, the windows, the kitchen, and a special pendant or chandelier* (??) take the stage. Bonus: going with your gut re: kid-friendly materials. *Extra bonus: a light fixture is more or less safe from toddlers, so that’s usually a good place to really BRING it. 🙂

    1. HA. the table is like that and I think we are going slipcovered – except that apparently every mom in the world will think i’m nuts!!!! Are they right? Can I do it in outdoor fabric and then spot clean?? Ugh. KIDS.

      1. Moms are always right! Lol But seriously. Even sunbrella and spot cleaning are a no go. Sorry.

  8. Hi Emily
    Kids and friends… how about the quintessentail Navy Chair/ We love’em. Three kids later and grandchildren now , as beautiful as the day I bought them.https://www.emeco.net/variants/emeco-1006-navy-chair-brushed-us-navy. They are so good .

  9. What about a rug? Will there be one? And, if so, maybe laying one down each way will help determine the orientation?
    (Personally, I prefer the second layout)

  10. I think a round table looks great in your space, #3 was my favorite too. I like #23, #45 & #51 for the chairs. Good luck Emily, I know your space will be incredible!

  11. So, I really think those white bentwood stools at the island need to go. They will be competing with whatever table and chairs you put over there, because they are just SO white and tall in that space. I know you tried it before, but that island is begging for some natural wood, minimal stools.

    1. I liked the same stools in the light natural wood color, which she had at one point.

    2. I totally agree with this!

      1. Or black I think, to tie in the light fixtures. (If you’re not doing anything black in the dining area).

    3. I completely agree! I would paint them black and go with neutral color dining chairs. This would tie in the lights above the sink and the mesh in the upper cabinets. The kitchen needs more black accents and the stools would be enough to do it. There’s a lot of wood in the space already.

    4. I agree. Every time I see them, they seem out of place in the space.

      1. OMG, this always shocks me. I honestly don’t agree, but I LOVE this debate – stoolgate!! I know its really hard til you are actually living in the space but dark stools would make that super small space feel so much smaller. I just can’t. I would LOVE vintage darker wood thonet stools, but they didn’t really make counter height (just bar and dining ) and I don’t love the light finish of the wood version. Have I considered other stools since then? Yep, but none that I feel works as well. I honestly really think that these look good in here and you know I wouldn’t say that If I didn’t think so (I just wouldn’t respond to the comment :)) Obviously so many people think this so yes, I am questioning it, but remember that we live in a sun-filled bright california house and I really do want to keep it that way. EEK.

        1. I LOVE the white- I think black would make it look so dark and cold. Keep the white! 🙂

          1. The white looks cheap!

        2. Maybe white chairs with different lines? Those curved tops are making me harken back to some kitchen chairs my mom had in the late 80’s/early 90’s so that’s what’s throwing me. But I totally love you being like, “I like ’em, and I’m the one who lives here!”

        3. So stain the wooden ones so the grain still shows through – a black stain that is sort of transparent.

        4. LOVE the white. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise 😉 They are perfection!

    5. Totally agree. The white bar stools seem so out of place. I live in LA too and understand California light but sometimes white can just be TOO white. Wicker, rattan, light wood or something else similar may seem less stark. I just don’t think it works at all. Wait till August when the sun pores in with such intensity – your chairs may end up having a yellow tint.

    6. This was my first thought as well. The white stools have never worked to my eye. (I trust you, Emily! They probably look better in person, but whenever I see them on the web, it just looks…I dunno. Cheap? Wrong? Kind of late-90’s-coffee-shop-with-ivy-wallpaper-like. Eek! I don’t mean to sound catty.)

      But the problem here is that they compete with everything in the dining room. It might be interesting to stage the room without them and post a photo that way. I personally LOVE the black Shaker chairs you have there now – the way it picks up on the touches of black in the the kitchen lighting is great – not overwhelming, just a nice “bookend”. And I think they would look FABOOSH around that big round table. I do not, however, think that black stools at the bar are necessarily the answer. (I should mention that I am not a big fan of kitchen bars and bar height stools, ever, not just in your kitchen.)

    7. This was much commented on when you first revealed the room! Someone on that first post included a link to some black stools which had better lines for the space and tied in with the otherwise out-there black sconces. . . . I am sorry to say it and I know that overall your taste is so much better than mine, but the white bentwood stools just seem to me to be too same-y.

  12. I love that the kid-friendly is a design component you are considering, because there are so many pretty pictures on the internet that aren’t practical for daily life. Also, I am excited to see you pinned table 7 because that is exactly the table I have, only my grandpa pulled it out of an abandoned farm house for free!

    1. We’ve got that table too ~ our’s was pulled from a Minnesota barn 🙂

  13. At least a couple of chair 16 and I like tables 8, 10, and 21.

  14. So this is kind off the wall but when I saw the photos what came to mind was, “To be really EMILY, something needs to be brass, or brass colored.” Weird, huh? So all I have is an odd image of chairs with brass colored legs.

    But, hey, a nice brass bowl on the table would work too.;)

  15. I actually love those windsor chairs! I wanted the black before they sold out. Can’t wait to see the table you found!

    xo, K

  16. I have never been a commenter before, but since I have been experiencing similar dining table/chairs and space constriction situation, I couldn’t resist commenting today.
    Prior to reading through to the end of your post where you say you found the perfect table on etsy, my suggestions were as follows:
    1. thinner top rectangular light natural wood table, straight lines with NO APRON functional, plain farmhouse table/ lighter visual weight. (or #3 which has such incredible presence)
    2. Curvy white/light tone wood chairs, curvy since they’re almost side by side with your island stools.
    My humble suggestions from a fellow person in “the business”.

    1. Ah thank you. Yes I do agree with you – and the table we found doesn’t have an apron!!

  17. Chair #18, Table #8 and go more industrial with chandelier. My two cents. 🙂

  18. Tables : 5,11,23
    Chairs: 5,8,15,47,48 maybe 53

    ***new bar stools- to marry them all together.

  19. I have slip covered dining chairs (Williams Sonoma Home Belvedere in linen) and just wanted to mention that everyone LOVES the 20.75″ seat height. The chair is very comfortable, but the higher seat makes them awesome!

  20. We also have an older Tudor-style home with a 14 month old. Last summer I recovered a vintage set of dining chairs in Perennials Indoor/Outdoor velvet and couldn’t be happier with the decision. My son sits in a bumbo seat strapped to a chair and has spilled every type of food and even thrown up a couple of times (yay GI bugs) on the fabric and it looks as good as new. Vacuums up easily. You can also use pretty much every type of cleaner on the fabric including bleach. I’m not sure if you’ve used Perennials before but it’s the upscale version of Sunbrella. It’s amazing stuff. Not cheap, even at wholesale prices but totally worth it. Unless you’re able to find a commercially available chair that can be upholstered in sunbrella or Perennials I would stick to leather or find a vintage set and have it re-done in Perennials. Also maybe consider adding a beautiful Tabriz or Heriz rug to the space to liven things up?

    In regards to mixing traditional country decor with mid-century, if anyone can do it ,it’s you but I agree that’s tough. We’ve had better luck with mixing new-traditional (see Laurel Bern’s excellent blog) with mid-century pieces that are more simple in design. Maybe you should ask yourself if the house really says country to you or just more traditional decor versus your prior very mid-century home? Sometimes when design decisions really weigh on you I think it’s your gut telling you the direction you’re going in needs to be tweaked a bit.

    1. We have some stuff from Shaker Workshops that we got 20 years ago; the chairs still look new, even after two toddlers. Authentic, historical designs, not Shaker-ish. Made to order, so well crafted.

    2. Oh wow. I’ve never seen that site. thank you!!

      1. I was saving up for a $2000+ pedestal table from that site that I could expand but I happened to find the perfect 100+ y/o tabled on Craigslist for $300. It is ideal for our family of three, but can extend to seat 12. Like you, our “dining room” is open to our kitchen, so I wanted something cozy for every day that would still be good for hosting large crowds.

  21. In my humble opinion, your floor is competing with the wood of your table. I would put a rug down to define the space (which I am sure you are going to do). I would make sure I brought the color of the island over to that space as well. Preferably in a rug color or curtain. The island chairs are also competing with the dining space as well. The kitchen seems modern and colorful while the dining room seems rustic and antique. The spaces are supposed to blend and they are competing. I love your style and think you are very talented and I hope you I am not offending you.

    1. Ha. I don’t disagree with you. Thus is the challenge … Our curtains are a tiny green stripe and I think you are forgetting the pendant over the marble island is antique – it certainly doesn’t feel modern and colorful in there, it feels old but bright. but yes, its a challenge! Never offended 🙂

  22. I just got those same 4 Windsor dining chairs from Target in white and wish I got black. Lemme know if you want to trade! I’m nearby in Studio City. Love love that table that you are selling. Wish I could buy it but alas, we need one with a leaf.

    1. Do you want to trade? I’m not kidding. Whatever chairs we order we probably won’t get them for a while and i’d rather try white for now. Wanna do a switch?? email hello@emilyhendersondesign.com and Jess can arrange. fun!!!

  23. My fave tables are trestle for the warm rustic vibe. Relaxed slipcovered highbacks for that sweet country vibe at the heads of the table. Bench on one side. Then #56 or #45 for the other side chairs. Great choices overall! Let me know if I can help with a rug!

  24. So much inspiration! Wow! I really like chair #4 but I realize the the canning wouldn’t be so good with spaghetti hands. I like the idea of having leather upholstered chairs, and I absolutely adore the current table but understand the necessity to update it. Can’t wait for the reveal!

  25. dream table nr 9 🙂 and please hear me. As a mother of 3 I KNOW you will cry everyday if you buy chairs with any kind of fabric on it, even if it is washable. Go with leather or just wood and be happy everyday 🙂

    1. what about perennial or sunbrella??? I don’t want you to cry!!! but that room needs the softness …. oh dear …

      1. And to further smash your dreams, I’ve got 2 teenagers who are just as gross as my 7 year old. It never enddddsss.
        I honestly think the upholstered chairs could be a huge mistake but it’s your house!! If you want them go for it!

        1. I have to agree teenagers are just as bad as toddlers. And they wear metal studs and zips and wreck wood and ply chairs too … 🙂

      2. I had the same concerns you did about kids and food and markers and chewing gum, etc. but i really wanted upholstered dining chairs, figured sunbrella was the answer. It cleans up fairly well with a little work, but requires more than a simple wipe. I had to do it every day. every. single. day. regret. lasted six months.

  26. You’ve probably already heard this but my toddler has DESTROYED our (scotch-guarded) upholstered dining chairs with milk, more milk and worst, red jello. WHY did I let her eat red jello? I already bought new fabric and I’ll just wait until she’s about 18 to redo the chairs (again).

  27. The round RH table #1!! But really, think any ROUND shape is the way to go. Chairs good- I like #14 and #24. The house looks great!

    1. A round table with the weird kitchen island…what is this? Abstract city??

  28. Hi Em. I love the idea of using both layouts. : )
    For day-to-day, orient the dining table to allow for the ‘open dance space’ (an absolute necessity in my book!).
    For entertaining and/or magazine shoots, find a table similar to the lovely-but-too-small one you’re now selling -but one with extendable leaves!- which would then utilize the alternate layout beautifully.
    (I have no helpful ideas whatsoever as far as chairs go but I have faith you will make it work with panache.)
    Also, I appreciated the ‘distorted’ image as I had not truly understood how all the rooms in your beautiful new home related to each other until now…

  29. I’m late to the party and I see that you’ve already bought a table but chair #24 is THE CHAIR for your house. I’d love to see it with a straight legged farm table – like the one you already have. However, a round table would really clear up a lot of your issues. Regardless that is your chair.

  30. Hi Emily, I have a similar english tudor, so I feel for what you’re going through! Like others said, there are possibly too many competing elements… I think the space cries out for an antique rug and different barstools. Maybe the backless version of the Thonet Era stools in natural wood? Then, I think, you could go for whatever you want in terms of table and chairs. Something like the Prague/Hoffman armchair might look nice. They seem to blend with any style. Most importantly, do what works for you and your family rather than the photoshoot!

  31. This is fun! I’m excited to see the table you found. My caution would be around the practicality of the chairs you choose – as others have mentioned, if you’d like to keep these chairs in good condition for the long haul, I’d recommend either leather upholstery or no upholstery at all. Especially given your dining table will be open to the kitchen, I imagine your kids will sit there every day. Not only will they spill food, but they’ll want to do crafts, paint, color…and eventually they’ll find any Sharpie marker you have in the house. Maybe a very durable slipcover in a darker color would work? Or possibly a pattern, like a stripe, to hide any stains? Good luck!

  32. I read your update and I know you found a table already. I hope it’s round or oval, because I feel like the rectangular table is undesirably highlighting the different dimensions and different shape of your kitchen/island.

    1. It’s not! But I don’t really agree with you either. It seems like since the island is weird it might be nice to have something really easy for the eye to read, next to it. But hell. I am having some serious regret right now. Maybe I should have waited to order the table til after I read all your comments! But I LOVE the one I found and so does brian. xx

  33. If it was included I couldn’t find it….what is the size of the table your going to sell? Thanks.

    1. I think its 62 x 34 … somewhere every closet to there!

  34. Oh my gosh I am so overwhelmed now too! I feel for you. With a young family and having to be camera ready and unique and inspiring, this so so so much pressure. Thrilled that you found a table and can’t wait to see your next post. Fear not. This was not a waste of a post. I am trying to make my dining area more casual so we use it everyday (second biggest room in our house). This post is going to help my A LOT.

    1. oh and one more thing..if you get linen slipcovers, just order an extra set. your will be thankful when you pull the others for washing that you can throw the second pair on. Plus if you want new ones made after they are shot, you can send one set as the pattern to the upholsterer. And you can eat red sauce and wine without worry.

  35. That open space is a chance to put down an amazing original carpet, just the right size, that blows the space beyond. It’s not a liability, it’s a great opportunity to put more of your personality in the house! I love the table and the house, but the room is slightly boring without more color. It’s like someone is trying to avoid mistakes, leaving the room a little barren and without personality. I see an antique colorful rug with a pad for the kids to play on. Let’s see more Emily in the room! Thanks again for all of your hard work and great posts.

    1. Wait. Why didn’t i have the rehang the doors to open out?? Oh man. Maybe we will!!

  36. Oilcloth on the chairs, have the doors rehung to open out.

    1. Yup! 4 yrs ago i upholstered my dining chairs with the sides of a really fun reusable shopping bag I found (99 cents for two chair covers!). It’s finally falling apart and oilcloth is my next plan! So much better than the nasty crusty foods on the microfiber I had before!!

    2. Yes to covering the chairs in vintage oil cloth or a hand painted coated canvas like the floor cloths they used to make in olden times!!

  37. I really think upholstered chairs for everyday use in the kitchen/dr is a big gamble {i.e. mistake :)}

    paint, markers, chalk, crayon, glue, spaghetti sauce, milk, etc. I’m a huge a huge believer in making messes with my kids and don’t want the worry of being careful. yes, leather is a nice option, it’s the perfect solution in my home.

    Why can’t dance parties be in the large living room you have? scooch a chair over and it’s disco bonanza baby!!

    Best of luck in these most difficult decisions! It’s so hard. And, thought: why not let Brian choose the chairs, you choose the table? eliminate his “last minute” wishes by moving them upfront. it’s his place to and he needs to park his butt and like it. 🙂

  38. Ahh – I see from the update that you no longer need a table, but for anyone else looking – we got our beat-up-able table here years ago and love it: http://www.antiquetables.com/.

  39. I’m not sure if the scale of the table is the issue right now. The room just lacks many pieces of furniture. I would have a vertical peice – credenza, bookshelf, etc. where you have the small legged cabinet. Or I would buy a low sideboard/console table or long low coffee table height piece to go under the window. Either option would add some darkness or wood tone at that end of the room, push the circulation path toward the center of the room, and by the time you have an offset for the rug, then the chairs, then the table, I believe a 6 person table would end up near the center of the room. Plants, artwork, ceramics, or some of your other amazing finds would look great on a low console table in front of the window. Just a thought…

    Regardless of whatever pieces you have planned for this room, the table currently looks lonely because there is no rug, drapery or other furniture to balance it.

    1. HA. ok thanks! Yes, we have a lot still to come in. In fact since then we have added a hutch which i love. man. i’m hoping our new kitchen table works!!!

  40. What sort of seats do your kids use now? We had a Tripp Trapp from Stokke which grows with your kids and comes in many colors. I can understand wanting to have a uniform look but it might also be nicer for them to have comfortable seats with a place for their feet. I think a couple of tripp trapps with adult chairs would look fine since it’s a real home. Pull them away for shoots or include them to show life with kids. As for adult chairs, we liked our Modernica Eames shell chairs. They are really comfortable since they flex and the clean up is very easy. I know they aren’t on your list, probably since they are overdone, but they can work in lots of different settings like our 1853 New England farmhouse. And finally I like your placement of the table along the window. Extra floor space is great for the kids.

    1. Totally agree with the Stokke chair – also available in fun colors and incredibly durable. My daughter is now finally outgrowing it at 8.

    2. I third the Stokke Tripp Trapp recommendation! They come in cool colors (or you could always paint) and I think they look cool mixed and matched, like so: http://www.myscandinavianhome.com/2016/01/two-lovely-swedish-kitchen-tours.html

      I have a similar dining room doubling as a thru-way to the living room issue. The previous house owners used a small table and I think it looked awkward- like the room can’t make up it’s mind if it’s a hallway or a dining room. We now have a table that’s not huge but fills the room and it looks much better, but there is still space to maneuver around.

      My best decision with this set up was to get chairs with relatively low backs, that are only a few inches higher than the table height. When we first moved I was using high back chairs from another set, and they really blocked the view- switching out the chairs was a HUGE improvement.

    3. I also second Stokke. It looks nice and lean, easy to clean, grows with the child and also ensures the kiddos sit in an anatomically correct position, no slouching (to me this was super important as my daughter tends to slouch terribly in regular chairs).
      Actually even I sit on it occasionally, no complaint from the chair 🙂

  41. I love the herringbone floors!


  42. #35, 52 look amazing and comfy. I have #11 in a golden yellow and although it’s beautiful, it’s not comfy for sitting long at a time.
    I’ve had several types of dining chairs and yet to find one I’m in love with.

  43. Hold on! I like the table! The table is great! It’s nice to have something in dark and old in the middle of all that newness! I would go for either #32 or #54 for chairs. Either relates to the kitchen stools without matching them and is nice next to the table.

    Rearrange for the shoot, but then return the furniture to where it works for your family.

  44. The orientation with the dining table parallel with the island looks weird(er) because you automatically compare the height to the island height, and the dining table and chairs look like kids’ furniture because they are so much shorter. The perpendicular to the island orientation looks SO much better because your eye is not automatically comparing the size/height to the island. I think it will be much easier to have the room come together if you go with the perpendicular orientation.

    Also, I think the black dining chairs + wood table + painted island + white chairs + stone counter = too many finishes, making the space feel a lot busier than it is. Maybe if either the dining table or chairs were the same color as the stools, that would help it feel more cohesive. An idea would be white dining chairs and keep the existing stools, or if you stick with black dining chairs, then swap out the stools for black or wood stools (assuming the table you found is wood!).

    1. Whatever chairs you pick, make sure that your toddlers cannot easily make them tip them over backwards, I remember a vacation home my in-laws used to have and the dining chairs tipped very easily.

  45. I really think the chairs need to have some curve to them. the really straight ones , to me, don’t work with the Thonet’s at the island. Lot of beautiful tables and I would keep to some curvaliniare lines also. My 6 cents. It’s not easy for sure.

  46. Have you heard of Gat Creek Furniture? Everything they make is by hand and will last a lifetime–beautiful stuff!

  47. I think the dining room light needs to be replaced – something with color, character, and large! White table, rattan chairs, and cushions that can be added in fabric of your choice (and for easy cleaning!).

    1. Ha. its a temporary $7 ikea fixture. Don’t worry!!

  48. I have the #52 swivel chairs from Crate & Barrel. They look great in person, but the legs – which are my favorite aesthetic feature – drive me crazy. Because the seat swivels, the orientation of the legs turns every time you pull the chair in/out. We have a table with four legs (versus a pedestal), so the chair legs are constantly getting caught on or slamming into our table legs. It’s one of those things I didn’t even think to test when I was in the store and now it makes me so frustrated every time i get up from the table. If the chair seat didn’t actually swivel it would be totally fine.

  49. I have raised three kids and I’m lazy.
    For the chairs, with two little kids, I would go with #8. Simple clean lines, no froufrou for crumbs to collect in. I would have them slipcovered in an indoor/outdoor fabric for easy cleanup. The table you have is fabulous. I would consider having a removable top made with more length that you could use when you felt the need to fill the room (winter) and take off when you wanted more dancing room. And/or, I would consider an patterned rug for under the table and chairs. A sturdy rug that you can take out the door and hose off when catastrophe strikes.
    No matter what you do, it will be terrific. You have great style and taste.

  50. You need a round or oval table in that room. Not liking the square or oval in that room.

  51. Hi Emily,
    FYI, the Crate and Barrel bent wood chairs are really small. I looked at them for my kitchen and they are just so small. Love your style!

  52. i love a white, round simple table, think it shows off your floors and balances the other side of your kitchen….for chairs i liked #54 in natural wood or white best, also really drawn to chair #34…this is very overwhelming, cant wait to see where u go with this!

  53. My kids now in college and I am now in 3rd house with 4th dining set in 20 years. Nothing in kitchen raising kids lasts forever so spend wisely, knowing you will change out what is destroyed.

    Having said that – I am now in an open dining/great room situation for first time. Table with 4 legs at corner SEVERELY limits dining options, ability to pull up extra chairs to the table and increases leg dings, etc.

    HIGHLY recommend round, oval, pedestal or farmhouse pedestal style rectangle table – with leaves if possible. BEST of all worlds as you will maximize options for family dinners, guest, birthday parties etc.

    Love my new set – Classic Furniture, Jacksonville FL – I’ll check on furniture manufacturer as I can’t upload a photo right?

  54. I like your “breakfast nooky” orientation a lot. It doesn’t compete with your kitchen island as much as it does as when they are parallel to each other. And I like that the orientation follows the direction of the beams. But I’m sure you will decide on just the right design – you just haven’t found the right pieces yet which must be frustrating since you’re trying to meet so many diverse needs. I’m looking forward to seeing your design solution.

  55. EMILY!

    Orient Express Furniture, Hudson Table with Trestle base – in the cocoa Java finish. Perfect. They have great chair options – like Garanimals in the 70’s – mix and everything matches, although your too young to remember that.

    Sold at Houzz etc…..

  56. Honestly, I love the table and chairs you have now, especially the table, the patina is gorgeous. Also, I like the table to the side in that breakfast nook kind of way you mentioned.

  57. Love the light in those rooms! I feel like a rug would help ground the space. We have 3 kids and tried a very nice vintage midcentury table with upholstered chairs and found it impractical for daily use. We ended up with a Restoration Hardware table similar to your number one and love how indestructible it is! Everything has been done to that table and it’s only added to its character! No more stress, just living. We added metal chairs that can go outdoors, as well for warm weather eating. Upholstered chairs did not fair well with kids – even with outdoor fabric that had been scotchguarded.
    I love how I don’t have to worry about it and it still looks good. Maybe not my dream dining room, but totally functional… I love how the rug can live hard with the kids and pets.
    You can see it here:

    Can’t wait to see the outcome, I know it will be fabulous!

  58. Style for the shoot, buy for your family.

    I actually loved the round white table, but I also like the wooden one, turned parallel with the window (original layout) to maximise floor space. Personally I’d paint the chairs white.

    Definitely do not get upholstered chairs! I think you’ll regret it and replace within 6 months. Slip covers don’t look great and your kids are so young. We have a wooden bench and chairs (now upholstered – older kids.)

    I have a burl wood round table we need to offload – but I’m in England!

    Good luck!

  59. I LOVE table 3….that oval pedestal! But for 14 K (am I reading that right?) you can get a nice used car! lol

    I’m loving the round and the oval options. Fills the space but still feels soft around the edges…safe for dancing toddlers.


  60. Well, I was just going to ask why you don’t have a table custom made for the space but it looks like you bought one. A dining table seems like a no-brainer to make custom, and you have had plenty of other pieces made before. I would’ve suggested a trip to an architectural salvage place to look for old legs and get someone to build a matching top. But alas… you found something!

    I cannot imagine getting upholstered chairs with young kids — yikes! Get some washable, removable cushions instead.

    1. You can’t really get old wood, custom though. And i’m just so much more drawn to antiques. But it was definitely something we considered.

      1. Yes you can! Makers use recycled wood from demo sites.

  61. Not sure how to comment on the chairs if we don’t know what the perfect table from Etsy looks like? Also – please post from Round Top! I miss the flea market posts you used to do!

  62. What a beautiful house! I can’t wait to see what you choose in the end. A quick thought…I loved what your dining room looked like in pictures 1, 3, and 4…but the ones that show the blue (?) paint colour of your island with the white stools seemed to contrast too much with the darker wood and style of the dining room furniture. Maybe that’s throwing you off a bit?

  63. 10 table, 32 chair

  64. I honestly think part of the proble might be your bar stools/chairs. I have not been a fan of the stark white of them. Or the style for that matter. Sorry! If they were darker or even gray it would be much easier to design around them. The dining chairs are amazing, but modern with rustic is always my go-to so my vote is either a danish mcm style or pottry barn slip cover style.
    We have a hand scraped table from world market that they no longer sell and paired with white chairs, it is gorgeous! Will you be adding a rug?

  65. Elegant white allweather wicker chairs…indoor outdoor fabric on the cushions? Totally hoseable, and you can pull them outside without worry.

  66. Hi Emily,

    Love the look of the current table and the chairs too actually, but you are right, the chairs are a little busy for the kitchen. The black chairs look great with the lights over your sink and the mesh in the upper cabinets. I would even consider painting your barstools black also. If you do that, then you have more freedom for the dining chairs. It’s funny that you have the saddle chair from West Elm selected because that’s exactly the one I had in mind for your space. I would go with a more traditional pedestal table with modern chairs. A pedestal will give you and your family more freedom to move around the table without bumping the chairs into the legs.

    If you choose a rectangular table, go with it being perpendicular to the back wall (one with windows) and parallel to the door. In the other orientation, something feels awkward. Overall, I love the space and cannot wait to see what you choose. 🙂


    1. Correction, I like the table in the second orientation (parallel to the windows and perpendicular to the door) better. 🙂

  67. I would go with a round, pedestal table (like #1) with leaves. Orient it so that when you use the leaves it’s already oriented the right direction. That provides your dance space but allows for less possible scratching of your beautiful Herringbone floors. It may be easy for you and your husband to lift and reorient the table now but it won’t always be that way. And, believe it or not, the kids will get to a stage where they’re happy to help, but that help will involve pushing the table and chairs to their new positions. Protecting the floors calls out for a rug under the table.

    My kid’s babysitter got them playing a “game” called slithering. They would throw themselves on the gorgeous parquet flowers in our brand new house and slide across the great room — oftentimes in overalls. Badly scratched the floors. The babysitter was a problem all around, she ended up as wife #2.

    1. Parquet FLOORS, not flowers

      1. Oh dear. that babysitter sounds like really the worst babysitter that has ever ever ever existed. I’m so sorry. And yes to the rug. I may need to wait until Birdie stops her throwing food antics. I mean she looks me dead in the eye and she throws it behind her and it bounces off the glass and lands on the floor. Such sociopaths!!!

    2. My goodness – I’m so sorry for you, Juli! :'(

  68. Keep looking at chairs and get them done in Sunbrella fabric, perfect with kids, lots of fabric choices now.

  69. I love the idea of the bench for the side by the windows then additional chairs on the ends if extra seating is needed!

  70. I would sell a body part for table #3. Not that YOU should…I’m just saying I would.

  71. I can’t recommend these “junior chairs” from Ikea enough. They are the perfect solution for kids who’ve outgrown a high chair (and our 5 year old still uses and loves hers.) They are super easy to clean, and I actually really like how well they complement our MCM table. (probably not “shoot-worthy” but definitely a great choice for everyday living.)


  72. #12 on the table. then, see which chair style will work. BUT, here’s the problem as i see it: the white bentwood chairs at the counter are awful. they throw everything off. looks way too suburban country. p.s., i love your blog and really loved your tv show! those chairs, though…..

  73. I have an old French farmhouse table very similar in shape to the one you’re selling. I bought six Danish mid-century chairs with curved backs, no arms and black pleather seats. They are supremely comfortable, wipe clean and they are so clean in design that they really speak to the table even though they are from a different era. They are not Kai Kristiansen but they are in that idiom and so well-made. Also, the kids can do craft and painting without making me tense… I think you’re being too literal-minded about your country kitchen and that’s why the current chairs and the stools at the breakfast bar look fussy. Take a step back from it, get rid of the current set-up and look at the room when it’s empty.

  74. I love that first Restoration Hardware table (#1) or even #36 if it had a leaf. I feel that either would really tie in well with your beams. From the images you have posted, I prefer the table orientation not parallel and jammed up to the windows.

    My suggestion is also to stay away from anything with an Industrial vibe, worn metal, etc. That is such a beautiful room and I think it calls out for something light and happy. Whatever you choose, I know it will be unique and beautiful.

  75. I know others have warned you but DO NOT get fabric chairs!!! I don’t care if the fabric is scotchgarded or indoor/outdoor – IT WILL GET ANNIHILATED by your kids. You can do slipcovers but you will have to wash those puppies every day and forget about it if milk seeps through to the foam, the smell never comes out. Leather or vinyl, that’s it or all wood. One chair option you don’t have are vintage or new Baughman style with brass or bronze finish (which I have in my own 1920’s home paired with a reclaimed wood table. They are covered in navy linen but my kids are all teens so it’s not a nightmare but they still do need periodic spot cleaning.) They are the most comfortable chairs! i vote for the Jayson Home chairs #42 in white paired with the vintage pine table #9. Borrow the chairs, get your money shot, suck it up and go with something sanitize-able and cheap. Last piece of advice. You definitely want to get a table that can get beat up. My first table was a pristine Stickley with walnut inlay. That was the single worse furniture decision I have ever made.

  76. Why can’t you do wood/leather on the 4 guest chairs and do a cushy, upholstered, tufted chair for the head of the table????? Best of both worlds – the kids can use the non-fabric chairs and they’re easily wipeable. PLUS the head chairs can add a bit more formality and some color/texture/pattern to a simpler dining space.

  77. What about the Oak Farmhouse table from Wisteria? It’s expandable from tiny to huge so that most days you can have it in the everyday orientation and then expand it and move it for photo shoots and parties. It’s solid wood, not too dark and not too light.

  78. Hey! I had many of the same requirements when thinking about new dinning room chairs and I got http://m.crateandbarrel.com/curran-black-dining-chair/s570536 and they are so lovely, comfy and easy to clean. I don’t think the online picture really does them justice and they don’t take up that much visual space. Happy hunting!!

  79. We have Gustavian style chairs where only the bottom part is upholstered. The chairs have deep cushions, so they are quite comfortable and made it through the baby, toddler with a booster seat, and elementary school years where all art projects were done at the table. The upholstery could also be easily switched at any point, but we’ve never had to do that. I would stay away from upholstery where hands touch often!

  80. Oh! One other suggestion for a table possibility. I’ve mentioned them before on a post where you asked about favorite custom furniture makers. Check out gatcreek.com – lots of style options and they can tweak sizing/features to your liking in a finish of your choice. Solid wood and durable finish. So far my table has resisted all kinds of spills and painting experiments from my kids.

  81. Oh my, so interesting. If money were no object, I’d go with #24 for the chairs. I love those beautiful legs and the chairs look supremely comfortable, like sitting for hours with a laptop or a jigsaw puzzle comfortable.
    The table? I love #3, not just because it’s unusual and beautiful, but because, in the space, 16 legs for four chairs, or 24 for six chairs seems like enough. I have a round pedestal table and I’m in love with one round base. It just looks cleaner. A swoosh with a Swiffer and it’s done. My kids love sitting around it. Mine is from Arhaus, with a carved pedestal and a bluestone top.

  82. I really like #23 chairs. They’re already upholstered a child-friendly color and fabric, they look comfortable, they have interesting lines, they will pair nicely with a rustic table, and the price is right!

  83. I read your update that you already found a table you love, but I just had to chime in. I love the vibe of your original photo….round table with chairs, so I hope you bought a round table! And DO NOT do upholstered with kids. Just don’t. It doesn’t work. or a rug either. Try something that works for now…then redo when your kids are older.

  84. I too am on the hunt for slipcovered dining chairs. I want armless, but also a short skirt, which is harder to find. Seems like the long skirt would just get dirty too fast.
    Ballard has an option, but it comes with a pleated skirt, which is a little fussy for me. Ethan Allen has a pretty slipcovered chair called the Thomas, but their slipcovers have to be dry cleaned, which sort of misses the point in my opinion. And finally, Lee Industries (special order through Crate and Barrel) has a beautiful option called the hostess chair that is perfect and in cotton twill runs $759 (but if I wait till August I’d save 15% during the C&B upholstery sale, but I don’t want to wait! )

    1. What you want is the Anna slipcover at WorldMarket. $34.99. It’s a cotton and linen blend, and in store it’s a somewhat snug fit.
      If you really like the EA chair, you can wash the cover on delicate or light and hang it to dry, or a couple of minutes in the dryer to start the process. Put it on when it’s barely damp, so you can get the right fit. They only say “dry clean” because they haven’t bothered to check what might happen under a variety of conditions.

  85. You need a round table. There are a lot of straight lines and angles happening in that space. Whatever you do . . . please do not swag the light fixture.

    1. Agree! I hate swagged lights (unless you’re being full-on boho about it).

  86. Back away from that cool table and chairs. They’re perfect … well, maybe not perfect for you but just great until perfection wafts your way. Most of us are fine with waiting but when you’re a designer with a photo shoot coming in the front door in a few months, time is not on your side.

    Boy, I do not want that kind of pressure.

    We moved in January from our large-ish brick Tudor style house with a formal dining room into an apartment with living/ dining/ library room all mooshed together into one large room. Our vintage 30s mahogany duncan phyfe table and chairs would no longer work for us. I found a 48 inch round table (with leaf) and hairy paw pedestal in need of refinishing at my local Goodwill. Some hard work and I’ve got the perfect table for us. I refreshed four of our mahogany dining chairs and recovered with a blue and white Ikat print fabric (heavily sprayed with scotchguard) and they look decades younger in our new home. My cost? $33 for the table plus some stain (it was discount day at Goodwill and I got 20% off) and another $20 for the fabric.

    Done and done. But then, I don’t have the pressure of a magazine shoot. And having a blog to feed marvelous content. And dealing with everyone else’s critique.

  87. If you ended up purchasing a rustic rectangular table, what about wood benches with backs? Shaker style, super simple and the backs check off your comfort box. Kids love benches, all that sliding to and fro. It’s a more minimal look, a few bench ends vs. multiple chair legs. You could even do some cool long cushions on the benches, maybe in washed linen or velvet. The cushions pop just enough, since the bench backs cover them a bit. I would also switch out the somewhat stumpy vintage wood cabinet against the wall (I believe it’s a sheet music cabinet…I have one too) and replace it with a taller piece. The room needs something that makes a height statement. Congrats on your new home…it’s beautiful!

  88. Oh Em, what a dilemma. Then I read the end and almost abandoned my reply. Since I was actually following along, however, I feel compelled to make you read my suggestions!
    First, if you go with a rectangle or oval, like #4 which is lovely, you can have Head chairs and keep those strictly for the adults. I like the throne styles but the arms often don’t work, and I’ve found myself sitting practically with my chin on the table because the seat is too low. That said, I would pick #22, which edged out #7 because of the dang arms.
    For the side chairs, let’s just agree that #2 resembles every dentist office waiting room chair I’ve ever seen, and I would eliminate the bentwoods in #43 and #57 as too close to the bar stools. #37 skews into French territory, and I think that would be just plain confusing, and #52 belongs in a home office, not a dining room, despite the desire to spin in circles (does it tilt too? super fun). That leaves the collection of Parsons style chairs and many commenters say the slipcovers will wear out your washing machine welcome, which I might agree with. I would not consider the maxi skirt at all, with a cat (hair, claws) and kids confusing the seat with a slip-n-slide so the covers get stretched out. No, a cute short mini would be the better option. I would look for vinyl seats when the crew is in da house, wipeable and still clean lined, topped with linen or cotton duck covers when you have A Dinner Party. Heck, get two sets and rotate them, and of course you’ll teach the kids PDQ that these are not wearable napkins, right?
    Edge of my (bentwood, like #43 in brown) chair, waiting for the next installment!

  89. I’m a actually obsessed with the table and chairs you have now, they are like my dream pairing so it breaks my heart that it doesn’t work for you in your space! Can’t wait to see the new table though!

    1. I agree! I LOVE the farmhouse table pictured with the black chairs. In fact, I think the black windsors are far less busy than the same in white. I say stick with what you have! Although if you are really against the windsors then try Wagner wishbone chairs with the table!

      1. Yup! It’s like a test in school, always go with your first answer! Looks great. You put a rug in there, a new light fixture and a hutch and it will be perfect!!!

  90. I feel your pain. My table and chairs took forever to pick out. Many,many, many options. Also, as you know, you need to consider the height of the table and the height of the chair seat and back. It’s exhausting but when you finally get it, it’s AWESOME! Good luck

  91. Emily! Go for the slipcovered or upholstered chairs! The truth is you probably have design ADD like me and will probably be itching to make a change in a year or two. And that change will be as simple and fun as picking a new fabric. Presto! I did it with two little ones too.

  92. First, I want to say THANK YOU for sharing this! Design is harder in your own home, I think, and I love that you share that with the world. We looked for 3 years for the right table and chairs before we finally just made our own table. I like a wide 55″ table because you can get two people at the heads. That’s 12 instead of the standard 10 person table.

    As for the chairs…my girls are now teenagers, and they are really good about keeping our house clean. But, other kids are NOT. I don’t mean to be snarky here…I always think I have a nice but comfortable home until other kids come over and I realize how vulnerable we are to messy hands and feet (yes, kids will crawl on your furniture with their shoes on). If you get any kind of fabric on anything, only do the seats. You can find dark or patterned fabric that will hide food. Anything light will be destroyed before the shoot. All the moms are right. Save your sanity. We have a fabric bench in the eat in space and you can tell which end gets used the most. From dark wash jeans to little kids, the bench is just dingy now. And I can’t get it clean.
    As a designer, I know that breaks your heart. I have watched your work for a long time now, and you value function as much as form. There is a compromise out there. You don’t know if you will have kids who try not to spill, or kids who end up with half their plate on their floor and chair (yes, there was a 10 year old at our house who spilled more than her 4 year old little sister). For the sake of your sanity…if you are going to invest in chairs, they HAVE to be easy to clean every type of food and everything else. It’s just life. And life is good when you have little ones…it’s just not clean.

  93. West Elm was kicking a$$ in the chair department.

  94. Don’t get rattan or straw on chairs when you have little ones. Unless you like using metal tools to scrape out the dried food cemented into the crevices.

  95. a dark wood round table that can be enlarged and sturdy wood chairs. my daughter uses her great grandfather’ waiting room chairs that i had refinished. (a picture is available with notifce.) The have an active household with three boys. they eat dinner together nightly and use this table. A great uncle fashioned it and so it is old but very handsome and sturdy. I am into pretty and i love it for this alone.

  96. My mom bought a white Scandi style farmhouse table and chairs for her cottage when the grandkids were small. The chairs had WHITE fabric on the seats. Can you imagine? She bought some good quality clear vinyl and covered the seat fabric as if reupholstering. Worked great. Kids don’t care if they sit on plastic. And chairs tuck under the table, so aren’t really noticeable when it’s not meal time.

    1. Reminds me of those sitcoms with plastic covered furniture! Eich! Practical and beautiful need to meet in the middle sometimes.

  97. I can’t tell what the wall situation is like on the 4th photo down – on the left side between the hallway and the island – but with the orientation of the smaller table in the “breakfast nook” positioning, I think it’s begging for a tall hutch!

  98. So many choices–I can see why you’re overwhelmed! We’ve had the Cody dining chairs from Crate and Barrel for nine years and LOVE them! Super-comfortable with nice visual balance between wood and upholstery. Simple lines. Our dinner guests always comment on how comfy they are. Your room will be great no matter what you choose!

  99. Congratulations on finding your dream table! Not knowing what it looks like makes it difficult, but I really like #19 from restoration hardware, but in the white perennial fabric, so they are childristant, and when all else fails you can clean them or replace just the slip covers. The white would balance the white of your Thornet inspired bent wood stools. I always like a little bit of history in a room; I like the stools. Depending on your table that restoration hardware chair has a side chair version available as well. I just recommended these to a client with 4 children. My kids are no longer little ones, my youngest hit double digits this year, but I would stay away from anything with nooks and crannies. #45 from candelabra, while very nice, you will spend hours with a vacuum, followed by butter knives etc, trying to extract crumbs. Best of luck and I am looking forward to seeing the finished results!

  100. It’s all SO PRETTY can’t wait for the dining room reveal, whatever it is 🙂

  101. This may be pedestrian as I’m not a designer but if you have matching chairs at the dining table please mix it up at the counter. So much matching here and there feels forced. Also, it sounds like you found a farm table but I think round is an awesome way to use the space (and you can add chairs when needed). Love your blog and per Instagram – people who like your political posts (like me) balance out the others who didn’t. Keep it up. You be you.

  102. We have 2 different chairs for my kids. We have 4 matching wicker chairs and then 2 solid wood chairs. My kids (6-10) have reach the not completely messy stage. For my older kid we can use a chair cushion that comes off of the chair and dust off or wash when needed. My younger kid does not use a chair cushion and we wipe down the chair. Our chairs are similar in tone and don’t look bad together. Good for everyday, but not magazine worthy.

  103. One other suggestion, if there’s room, is to place a pair of upholstered chairs in front of the beautiful windows, and then move the table over using the orientation from the first photo. While it wouldn’t provide as much open space, it’s nice to have some non-traditional seating in the kitchen/dining area where the kids can hang out with a book, etc, especially when they get a bit older. I think rehanging the doors to open out would help provide more space as someone else suggested. And I second the idea of a rug under table. We have a dark kilm under ours and after 8 years and two boys it has held up well to spills and hardly shows the dirt.

  104. Our table is very similar to that ball and claw one (#7) but all dark wood. I’m curious what chairs you would pair with that one. (Also it’s a great table. Perfect size for four of us plus two extra leaves when we have company.)

  105. I love your design and your writing. Thanks for the entertainment and looking forward to seeing how it turns out!
    I’ve just emerged from the rabbit hole of reading all these interesting suggestions!

  106. I love the way the table you bought really pulls the beams into play with it’s simple style and color tone, but as you said it’s just to small for the room and for someone who loves to entertain! Maybe you could have a local craftsman build you a bigger table using the one you have as a pattern?

  107. Hi! I have a 2 year old and 6 year old with fabric dining chairs and a vintage rug. We eat at the table pretty much every day and I have no regrets. I like old lived in things. I say go for it if it’s what you want

  108. I can’t believe your favorite table is #3. If it were 2 feet across okay, but for your whole family to sit around? I just don’t like it. It’s so big and solid and … yucky. LOL. Also, I used to have those #14 chairs. Mine had woven seats. I bought them cheap and I sold them cheap…I wish I’d held on to them and sold them for more $$. But let me tell you, they were the MOST UNCOMFORTABLE chairs on the planet. It’s funny too, because tonight I watched “Girl on a Train” and those same chairs were in Megan’s kitchen!! My third point: I am not in love with the idea of white chairs in your dining room. I don’t even care for the white bar stools. Yep, just giving my brutally honest opinion. The black chairs don’t bug me at all and I don’t find them “busy” as you say.
    Overall thoughts: you pinned a lot of different stuff. It was definitely all over the place. I would steer clear of chairs that look “outdoorsy”–like they should be on the patio (36, 37, 45). I’d also avoid the chairs that look dressy/formal dining room (the ones w slipcovers that touch the floor). Also wicker or caning + spaghetti = disaster!
    My favorite is #31. I have similar chairs, and I have cushions in the seats. My table is round, pedestal style, with leaves that make it oblong.

  109. Hello Emily your work is really great and appreciate. Even i don’t decorate my house but now i suggest my wife to how to give our house stylish look after reading you posts..

  110. I have a hundred year old farm table exactly like the one you have. It took me several years to find it. I bought it in a consignment store and paid $1200 for it several years ago in Huntsville, AL. Your price is definitely not too high for LA. The table has the most wonderful natural patina. When you look at the prices of available new tables, it’s a fraction of the cost and likely made a lot better – wood pins and all 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing how your design turns out!

    1. REALLY LOVE these too. Find 2 different captain’s chairs then….

      1. I guess 2 are captain’s chairs.

  111. Check out Thomas Moser — do you know him? https://www.thosmoser.com/.
    If you are attracted to the Shaker aesthetic and table #3, take a look.

  112. Tree trunk table and organic modernism chairs or number 17 if upholstered. Something about the lower arched backs feels modern but nods to traditional and plays well off the barstool. If doing upholstered chairs maybe cover in a overscLe weird funky floral print which will hide some food.

  113. Emily, you nailed your own answer…..the round top flea market. Everything in the photos is looking lovely and very new, the cabinetry, the lights, the flooring etc. I know the queen of unique character/ soulful items will find the pieces you want and are known for….gorgeous vintage with heart, when you get to the markets, can’t wait to see the chairs and table you find there!

  114. All the Candelabra options are my favorites, especially the all white tree stump for a base beauty (my favorite combo would be that table with pink chairs like #21). I do think you’re right about the black chairs. To be honest, I think getting them in white is a great option if you stick with a non-white table. If you get a white table, I think going for a brown wooden chair would be best like #31 OR pink like #21.

  115. Not to give you ONE MORE THING TO THINK ABOUT (sorry for shouting), but have you considered making the space transitional? Here’s what I mean. I have fought back the need for my children to have space in my home for years. One day we pushed furniture away for an impromptu dance party or a pillow fort or something like that. And I felt so alive by the space. So did the kids. But it’s not my ideal design for grownup people and guests. I found my best peace when I created a space that could basically have an outfit change, yoga pant wearing fort building area by day, stiletto wearing wine sipping area by night. Is that possible? Can you have both? And can that be a feature in the magazine shoot? Just a thought. Love you and all you do.

  116. Hey Emily,
    I totally feel you. Making a design decision is sometimes overwhelming. So many beautiful options to choose from.
    For me, I love chair no 24 because it’s without lines thus a good contrast to the bar stools.
    I love your posts.
    All the best!

  117. So many options! I’m still drawn to the extension Madera table by Article. It’s simple, it’s OAK, so durable (especially with children) and has beautiful wood. I think once you have a great table, the chair selection will be much easier. It’s so nice to have a table that expands as needed, especially when you have one main dining area. I love the look of pine but it scratches so easily and is just harder to maintain if you have to use it daily. Just my opinion, but with all the natural light streaming in your room, any scratches will really show.

  118. chairs 11 or 24. Jenny Komenda has chairs similar to 11 upholstered in a buttery green leather that are divine. I think the shape works best with the counter stools

  119. Large wooden rectangular table makes sense. Wood brings more attention in the white space, while rectangular shape stabilizes all the different angles you have there. I don’t like, however, most of the options. It seems you can just add a modern base with a rustic top as opposed to going with rustic wooden legs. A regular table without an apron, just legs or base is the most versatile form when it comes to different styles. It will allow to marry an updated traditional and rustic styles together which seems to be your aim. What I’m saying is just choose a rustic top, but a more modern base. You don’t want your home to be stuck in one style or one decade, unless you really want to be renovating every few years. That’s why merging the styles will create the most beautiful and timeless space.

  120. This post could not have come at a better time for me! My husband and I have been on the hunt for the perfect dining table and upholstered/cushioned chairs. We just picked out the table, and we’re in the middle of debating which chairs to buy.

    I’m looking forward to the follow up post, and I’d love to hear how you determine whether a table and chairs are a good “match” in the event that they don’t belong to the same dining set. Also, how do you feel about purchasing a full coordinating set from a single retailer?

    Thanks, Emily!

  121. I love the table against the windows, with maybe a comfy set of chairs by the blimp? Adding a cozy sitting area in the heart of the home is a serious plus!

    1. oh Emily I love your blog, first let me say that….but the issue is when you ask for people’s comments you can bet you’re going to get them!! And if feels tantamount to in excess of over 615 people designing your house…!! Design by committee!! As someone in the business also across the pond, that notion fills me with dread!! And now you seem all confused and doubting your choices!! And your authentic design voice, your USP and the reason people fell in love with you in the first place is lost and drowned out in the crowds! I would love you to stop asking people’s opinions (do we EVER really want them anyway, I know I don’t ha ha coz I have 100% trust in my design aesthetic as that what makes me, me) and do what you (and Brian) wanna do…it’s your home…in all due respect I want to know what chair Emily has decided on, not “Wendy in Waco”! (all said with love and hugs!) xxxx

  122. I just read the update, so my initial comment plan is totally changed. If the new table isn’t wood, I would definitely pick a wood chair. For many reasons, the kids, the vigas in the ceiling and the white of the kitchen. I think that the wood would ground the space. I also love a huge round table. We just got one and it looks amazing in our dining room. I think it will also help with the flow of the space. I look forward to the next update.

  123. I am very behind here, but I would love to see a zinc topped table in here with a rustic base. Somewhere (maybe on Pinterest?) I saw antique Singer sewing machine bases used — fabulous. Years ago when we needed a new table for our breakfast room I fell head over heels with a zinc dining table with funky sawhorse bases, but it was too long for the space and I didn’t have it in me to pursue a smaller zinc top (yes, I still regret it, but it’s a pretty mild regret). Instead I got the funky sawhorse bases on their own and we had a glass top made (clean up is a breeze and we can easily see the base of our youngest’s wheelchair through the glass, which has proven useful!), but remember, this is our breakfast room, not our dining room (where we have a Nakashima live edge table which we wouldn’t trade for the world).

    Enjoy whatever table you found!

  124. I’m just catching up on posts, and wanted to throw out my 2 cents on the table… I had a beautiful old farmhouse table that i found in the city that just happened to be built with wood from an old barn in the town that I grew up in–FATE! i was sold. it was beautiful and charming and the first thing everyone complimented when they came into my home.

    sadly i discovered pretty soon after buying it that it was less than ideal from a practical standpoint. it had charming knots, gaps, grains and nail holes that made it *very* difficult to clean — crumbs became “one” with the table — and drink spills went straight through the table to the floor by way of those charming holes and gaps. Spilling a drink is already jolting, but feeling the spill with your feet is more so.

  125. Seriously, kids will spill. Big deal. Wipe it, clean it… whatever, but buy what you LOVE. Buy what makes your heart freak out. Thats what I love about you!

  126. I have four kids (ages 4 – 10) and am CONSTANTLY debating on reality vs dream look… mine haven’t gotten much cleaner as they’ve gotten older, sorry to say. I had slipcovered parson’s chairs that I’d take off and wash weekly, but it just got tiring… I ended up with some vintage burke propeller style base fiberglass chairs that were amazingly comfortable and so easy to wipe down! I loved the look of the mid century chair with my rustic farmhouse table. Just wanted to throw in there that upholstery isn’t the only way to be comfortable!!

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