There are certain times in the year, Christmas being the most obvious, when you might be feeding, and therefore seating several more people than you ever normally would.
Of course you can always go super casual with a buffet, and let everyone spread out and sit at every available spot, in the living room, dining room and kitchen, perching with their plates on their knees, but there's something just so lovely and celebratory, about seating lots of guests around the table, even if it is a bit of a squeeze!
So it's great to have a think about how you can extend your seating options to add to what you use everyday, in advance.
Bench seating is my favourite flexible seating option, because most benches comfortably sit two or three people depending on the length, but you can nearly always fit an extra person on when necessary. Especially kids. We recently got rid of all but two of our dining chairs, and replaced four of them with bench seats. Not only is it more flexible, but feels much more casual and inviting too.
The Clayton Designer Bench Set is a great dining table with two bench seats, that's designed to seat six. Of course, when you add a chair at either end of the table, that's eight, and you might even be able to squeeze an extra person onto each bench seat too on occasion, and voila, you have seating for ten!
Extendable tables are a fantastic option if you regularly entertain large numbers, but a really long table might just take up too much space on non-entertaining days
The beautiful award-winning Caso dining table in premium grade oak, extends from 180cm to a whopping 270cm, which is perfect for those occasions, when you have a big crowd coming to eat. Its classic design lends itself to any style, and looks equally lovely with chairs, bench seats, or a combination of both.
I’d mix up the styles by pairing it with the Brunel Bench, which has an industrial feel, to contrast with the classic rounded edges and tapered legs of the Caso table.
Before you go knocking on neighbours doors or panic-buying more chairs, have a good think and look around at what you already have that could be used on an ad hoc basis to accommodate the extras. That vintage peacock chair or rattan rocking chair, would be perfect at the head of the table for a Christmas feast, and footstools that wouldn't work as an every day option, will certainly do the trick every now and then. You can always add a cushion or two if it's a bit low. Solid side tables and even (non-glass!) coffee tables with a couple of cushions on top are another option (check they're sturdy enough first), and even a couple of chairs brought in from the garden. In fact, one of our bench seats was meant for, and originally used in the garden, but we’ve brushed it off, and it now lives permanently at the dining table. And if you have some stools in the house, they can also work as additional seating occasionally. I love these District Eight Stools, which not only look fab, but are height adjustable.
LisaAnne Photography (https://www.whoismadisyn.com)
I recently saw some vintage joined cinema chairs being used for seating at a dinner party which is a fantastic idea, and when they're not being used for additional seating, they're real show stoppers at the end of the bed or under a gallery wall.
Madisyn Fecko (https://www.whoismadisyn.com)
Of course if you need to buy some full time extra chairs, the Caso Deluxe Grey Fabric Swivel Chairs, Vienna Grey Fabric Chairs with Oak Legs and Constance Solid Wood chairs, are just a few of my favourites from the Out & Out Original collection.
And now it’s time to wish you a very merry Christmas - have a wonderful one, folks!