Impulsive Dining Room Changes: Pottery Barn Chairs

I’ve been meaning to write a post for a few weeks now about changes I’d like to make in our dining room, but I could never figure out quite what I wanted to say, because I can never figure out quite what I want to do in the dining room. Here’s hoping the impulse buy we made for the dining room over the weekend will help get things going in the right direction.

I mentioned awhile back that it was time to admit that my beloved cane chairs with squirrel fabric just weren’t working out in here:

cane chairs made over with white paint and squirrel fabric

Because they stopped looking like that a long time ago and started looking more like this:


It’s actually way worse now, in fact. Cane chairs are not a good fit for our house, it turns out.

The post that I was going to write but never did was going to focus largely on how I had a sudden epiphany that leather chairs would be great in here. Leather is easy to clean, my cats are indifferent to it, and I could picture it with the table. I even found leather chairs that I loved from West Elm:

west elm chairs

West Elm

So pretty! I still want them!

The only tiny issue with the chairs was that they cost $350 each. And I needed eight of them.  Even with a discount code, we’d be looking at more than $2500, which put them at least $2000 over budget.

I was feeling pretty discouraged about the whole chair situation, really, because other than beautiful West Elm leather chairs, I couldn’t figure out what would look right in here. The table is very big and chunky, so a lot of chairs (like bentwoods, for example) would be all the wrong scale and look funny with it. And also because, even if I knew exactly what I wanted, finding a matching set of eight chairs used isn’t easy, and pretty much any halfway decent new chairs were going to be more than I could really spend right now. We already did the mismatched chairs thing in the kitchen, so I didn’t want to do the same thing in here, too.

I was afraid we were just going to have to live with the rapidly deteriorating cane chairs for the foreseeable future.

Then, on a whim, I did a search on Craigslist on Saturday for “8 dining chairs.” And there they were: 8 Pottery Barn chairs in dark wood with black leather seats and brass nailhead trim. In like new condition. For $320 for the set (we ended up paying $300, so less than $40 a chair):

pottery barn dining chairs with leather seats and brass nailhead trim

I’m not going to pretend these are in the same league as those West Elm leather chairs, but I immediately liked them and I could picture them in my dining room. And they were the right price!

They were about an hour south of us, but, it just so happened, very close to the place where Dave had to go Saturday night to chaperone prom. We texted the woman and heard back right away that he could come that evening, so he rushed to get dressed and then went right over there on his way to prom and stuffed all the chairs into the van. And then danced the night away! Just kidding. He just sat at a table all night and….actually I forgot to ask what his prom job was because I was too busy admiring my new chairs when he got home.

So the lesson here is don’t be too annoyed when you have to chaperone prom because maybe it will make it easier for you to pick up your new chairs.

Also, I continue to have the best luck on Craigslist when I just suddenly decide to look for something…as opposed to stalking for days and weeks trying to find something. I guess the lesson there is that sometimes persistence actually doesn’t pay off at all, but maybe impulsiveness and impatience does. This is a very important post I’m writing here. It could change your life.

So here’s my dining room now:

dining room with pottery barn chairs

Incidentally, these chairs fit so much better than the old ones. The old ones were all arm chairs, and it was really tricky getting all eight around the table (even with one more leaf than we have in there now).

But where do I go from here? I’m not really sure. I think I need to live with the chairs for awhile and let them inspire me. But I do think we’ll be losing the blue walls sometime in the near future. I like the idea of white in here, since it gets so much light. I’m toying around with painting the judge’s paneling black, too. And I’ve wanted a different light fixture for a long time, so maybe that will finally happen soon, too. I also like the idea of bringing more green in here, but I just assembled a collection of blue and white transferware, so we’ll have to see. I mean, not that blue and and green can’t be friends.

Anyway, that’s where we are right now. We’re just hanging out being people whose dining room chairs aren’t all broken, and it feels really great to be those people.


Impulsive Dining Room Changes: Pottery Barn Chairs — 15 Comments

    • They do look brand new! I almost feel guilty bringing them into my house where they surely won’t stay that way for long 😉

  1. The chairs are almost as nice as the West Elm ones (which are so lovely you couldn’t expect them to be affordable too) and what’s more, you can actually see the table now, which I don’t think I ever properly appreciated as a table before. As for losing the blue, as a fan of blue I can’t vote for that, but I can tell you that my painted by the previous owner kitchen, somewhere between apple green and pea soup green, really sets off all my blue and blue and white china.
    Intuition and impulse are very important in shopping!

    • It’s true–I was always so worried about picking chairs that were too small for this table that I ended up erring in the other direction. And good to hear about the green and blue together!

  2. Don’t you just love it when things happen like that? They look great–and I think they’d look even better against light walls. Like the rest of the universe, I’m loving white walls + dark wood these days. It was prom this weekend around here, too. So glad my daughter went and I didn’t have to! 🙂

    • my facebook feed was full of prom photos last weekend; I should have taken Dave’s picture and posted it…he was wearing a penguin tie and everything 😉

Like all human bloggers, I love comments :)