Here are some examples of wood chairs:
The chairs in the photo on the left look like they were probably older dining chairs that were painted and recovered with this pretty striped fabric. Craigslist is a great source for dining chairs that have seen better days, but could easily be updated. Look for chairs that are solid and sturdy (not wobbly). Ignore the scratched finish and 70's fabric on the seats. Recovering seats is usually a snap. Often the seat pops out and the redo can be as simple as stapling new fabric over the old. If you're not up to a complete redo, however, plain wood chairs can be updated with a coat of paint in a beachy color, as seen in the photo on the right. I love the aqua color that was chosen for these chairs.
Woven chairs, whether made of wicker, seagrass, or rattan, are a quintessential beach house look.
You may be able to find some vintage wicker that's in decent shape, but wicker isn't one of the most durable materials, especially if it was used outdoors. Feel free to mix and match styles--they don't need to all look the same.
If you can't find vintage pieces in good shape, there are also some great retail options. The parson's chair is a classic look that works very well in wicker. The chair on the left is from Overstock.com. A set of two is just under $200. The chairs on the right are from World Market. A set of two, usually $200, is on sale now for $180.
For an excellent budget option, consider the Agen chair from Ikea (right). It's just $35.
If you're looking for something a little edgier, metal chairs might be the way to go. As seen here, these chairs contrast well with a rustic wood table.
|Den Gode Feen|
So how do you go about choosing chairs to go with your table? The main thing to avoid is a matchy-matchy look. It makes a room look dull and dated. For example, a rustic wood table looks great with metal chairs, but a metal-topped table (like the Messina table from Ballard seen here) needs something softer, like wicker. If you use wood chairs, make sure the finish contrasts with the finish of your table--either by using two different paint colors or by choosing a different finish altogether (e.g. paint vs. plain wood). Also, use caution with "distressed" looks. I love distressed pieces and distressed furniture can create a lovely patina in a room, but if overdone (i.e. every piece of furniture in the room is distressed), it looks less special and more just worn out. It's the juxtaposition of materials, colors, and textures that makes a room interesting. On the other hand, avoid introducing too many different elements in one room. Repeat the finishes and colors you use somewhere else in the room. For example, you could pick up the turquoise color of your striped chair fabric in a painted turquoise side table or in a display of colorful dishes. Zinc-colored metal chairs could be echoed in cabinet hardware. Remember--you need both contrast and cohesion to make a room work.