How to Mix & Match Seating in an Open Floor Plan

Kitchen with matching bar stools and dining chairs

How to Mix and Match Barstools with DIning Chairs

Most modern homes feature open floor plans with large kitchens that connect to the surrounding rooms — dining room, family room and foyer. The openness reflects the way we live today, making it easy to gather and mingle with friends and family in a casual manner without feeling separated from one another. However, creating a cohesive look and feel throughout the space can be tricky. Fortunately, there are many ways to achieve coordinated style, and one of those is through seating. Here are our favorite ways to mix and match barstools or counter stools and dining room chairs.

Same Design + Different Fabric

We love the tailored, sophisticated style of the Gentry Seating — definitely a look worth repeating in the adjoining spaces. The shared design elements of the barstool and chair — the silhouette, finish, tufted detail and nail head trim — create a common tie while the coordinating fabric in a similar hue keeps it from being an exact match. However, if you prefer a perfectly matched look, go ahead and use the same fabric on both chairs.

Different Design + Similar Style

Use your various seating to create a cohesive design aesthetic in an open floor plan. For example, if you have a lot of neutral hues, at least one farmhouse-style pendant and a mix of wood, concrete and metal surfaces in your home, you probably love the industrial design style. While our Allen Stool and Constance Chair have different design details and even different finishes, they share that same industrial design influence that helps unify the spaces — which is why they make a perfect pair.

Same Finish + Different Design

One of the easiest ways to create a harmonious flow between rooms is to match wood tones. The contrasting designs of these two chairs — one features slim, contoured legs while the other has thick, straight legs — are brought together through the same relaxed Weathered Oak finish. It’s almost as if they were made for each other.

Similar Material + Different Design

Here, the binding element is the woven texture of each piece. One of the best ways to warm up a space is through interesting texture, so why not spread the love throughout your home? The same warm color and texture unites the barstool and chair to create a casual yet chic vibe that effortlessly flows from one space to the next.

Not sure whether you need a bar stool or counter stool for your space? We’ll help you decide with our How To Choose Stools Guide. Or find more decorating ideas by browsing our Pinterest Boards.

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply


    March 31, 2021

    The round simple wood stool in the third group of pictures… do you sell that stool?

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      April 30, 2021

      Unfortunately we no longer sell that stool.
      So sorry!

  2. Reply


    July 29, 2014

    Dear Ballard,

    I’m furnishing a remodeled kitchen/dining room that will require casual dining chairs and bar stools. I’m planning a neutral, warm layered look with whites, creams and browns with a mix of wood tones…adding color with accessories. I love the weathered oak of the Constance chair and the swivel feature on the Marguerite, but I’m not sure how these finishes would work with one another based on the pictures. Any thoughts or suggestions are most appreciated!

    Thank you!

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      August 4, 2014

      Hi Shelby,

      We would love to help you pick some dining chairs and bar stools that complement each other! We actually have a design team dedicated to helping customers solve problems in their home, and they would be happy to make some suggestions for your. Go to this page and complete the form (with pictures!), and we’ll have someone from our Design Solutions team create a plan for you!

      Happy Decorating,
      The How to Decorate Team

  3. Reply

    pam lind

    May 12, 2014

    Ballard Designs
    I am interested in a catalog that was about two back issues. It featured a lot of the coral colors. I am interested in those fabric colors and the throw pillow that was included in that particular color coordination. I erroneously threw it away. Sorry, I was cleaning too efficiently. I am on your catalog mail list if you could mail me another one. Any help is appreciated.Thanks.

  4. Reply


    May 1, 2014

    Dear Ballard Designs,
    Could you please tell me who makes and sells the quadrefoil tile on the kitchen back splash? It is featured on page 88 of your May 2014 catalog. Thank you so much! I love it.

    • Reply

      How to Decorate Team

      May 5, 2014


      Thanks for your comment! We shoot our catalogs in real homes – the backsplash you saw belongs to the homeowner, so we don’t have the manufacturer’s information. If you take the image in to a local retailer, they should be able to find a match for you. Best of luck in your search!

      Happy Decorating,
      The How to Decorate Team