I've been rethinking the concept of layering from a design standpoint. Especially in the dining room. Layering can take the stuffiness out of the dining room and give it a relaxed "come in and sit down with friends" look. So rethink buying matching dining chairs and tables. Instead how about mixing it up - layering a traditional table with a variety of complementary chairs or a tulip table with traditional wood frame chairs or a few chairs with a bench or settee.
Layering can be the same chair upholstered in multiple fabric patterns that together create a look that works. Like this seating area in the Tyler Florence Kitchen.
Image Sources: House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Decor Pad, Country Living