Tips for Squeezing in Extra Seating

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Believe it or not, the holidays are coming right around the corner — and if you’re planning to entertain, you’ll probably need all of the extra seats you can muster! From spare seats in the living room for mixing and mingling at cocktail parties and the holiday open house, to extra chairs around the dining table for big feasts, here are 5 ways to sneak in the seating you need.

1. Tuck in a spare chair (or two). A side chair with a lovely shape can easily be tucked against the wall in the living room or dining room, just waiting to be called into duty. If you can’t resist scooping up chairs at the flea market, this is the perfect excuse to do just that! It really doesn’t matter too much if your spare chairs match your other dining chairs — in fact, mixing it up is a great way to cultivate an eclectic look. Just be sure to make one element (color, material, or style) go with the rest of your chairs for consistency.

2. Stock up on cute folding chairs. Folding chairs don’t have to be boring. Seek out fun, colorful folding chairs (like the ones shown above) or classic folding cafe chairs. They are so handy to have around when you need to seat more people than you were expecting. Since they fold up, you can slip a few in the back of a closet, or even under a bed, and simply pull them out as needed.

3. Embrace poufs, ottomans, and x-benches. These decorator staples are well-loved for good reason — they solve seating problems and look great doing it. Use poufs or square ottomans as a coffee table alternative that can also serve as party seating. X-benches look chic anywhere you put them; keeping a few on hand is smart since they can be used as extra seating in the living room or at the dining table.

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4. Make a stack of stools. Sleek little stools that stack, like the ones shown above, look like an intentional part of the decor — only you need to know they are secret seating superstars that can leap into service at a moment’s notice.

5. Slide benches under consoles. Not only does a bench tucked under a console table look chic, it’s a smart way to hide an extra seat in plain sight. For extra credit, tuck a pair of petite stools beneath one console to double your extra seating.

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When it comes time to shop, hunt for versatile pieces that will work in any space, with any color scheme. We love the graceful lines of the Aiden bench (top left), classic style of the Ann side chairs (top right), secret storage of the Owen linen storage bench, and stackability and modern good looks of the Easton stainless steel side chair.

Now it’s your turn to spill the beans: where do you seat extra guests? Share your tips and tricks in the Comments!

Shopping Guide: Owen Cream Linen Storage BenchAnn Carved Mahogany Light Gray and White Side Chairs (set of 2); Easton Stainless Steel Side Chair (set of 2); Aiden Hand-Painted White Bench.

Photo Credits: Society Social folding chairs; photographer Hoi Ning Wong coral x-benches; Inspired by Charm living room; Scandinavian Love Song stacked stools; 2 Design Group elegant entry; Glitter Guide console with bench.

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