Traditional Goes Modern

An easy way to take a traditional dining room and make it more contemporary is to switch the fabric on your dining chairs.

By Melissa Mauzy


Oftentimes a total room renovation is completely out of the question in terms of time and budget. An easy way to take a traditional dining room and make it more contemporary is to switch the fabric on your dining chairs. A modern, updated fabric can change the look of a room.

The Great Cover Up
Schumacher #174822
Crazy Ikat flamestitch look.  A very modern looking fabric to change the feel of the chair.

Savvy Surrounding Style
Clarke & Clarke Cha-Cha Ebony (F0323/03)
A large-scale geometric print brings a cool contemporary vibe to this traditional piece. The chevron pattern and rich colors create a modern feel that complements the design of the chair.

Savvy Surrounding Style
Clarke & Clarke Samba Red  (F0321/07)
The aggressive color and metallic detail make this an excellent contemporary choice for a traditional chair. The large-scale diamond print, borrowed from the classics, but with gold detail creates a modern feel.

Cindy Kistner, G.M. Doviekis
Linen blend ikat pattern: Pindler and Pindler P2020 Shawnee: Punch
The vibrant pinks and oranges of this large-scaled ikat fabric can be fun, yet remain sophisticated if used sparingly. Pair with a solid natural linen fabric and a distressed, warm driftwood chair frame to calm the busy lines of the chair and let the colorful ikat sing!

Gail Doviekis, G.M. Doviekis
Pearson # 6520:94
Animal prints are classic and never go out of style. The scale is small enough to use with other prints, but still holds its own when used alone. This fabric would look great on the chair in its original cherry finish, or would look fabulous re-finished in a dark espresso stain.

Zinc Textiles Marbleous Racing #Z257/12
Nature inspired motifs, such as feathers, florals (in this fabric, marble) and chevron patterns continue to be popular. Emerald green and flat silver continue to trend as well. This fabric selection is a great representation of all of these aesthetics.

LuLu Belles
Ikat/Onyx by Brentwood Textiles
Simple and understated, this Ikat pattern adds a modern look to the traditional chair. The crisp colors bring out the pattern on the fabric.

Romo Amadei Viridian #7488-05
Bright colors such as lime green and turquoise are trending, as well as horizontal stripes - the wider the better. This fabric combines these two trends.

Gail Doviekis, G.M. Doviekis
Suzani print: Kravet # 31421:411
Zigzag print: Kravet # 32541:411

I chose this wonderful Kravet suzani print in a subtle yellow/gray/oatmeal texture, and paired it with a coordinating zigzag horizontal stripe. I would position the suzani print on the seat and inside back, and place the zigzag on the outside back, for an interesting contrast. I would paint the chair/s a charcoal color in a lacquer finish, to give the chair an update.