The complexation of rhodium(II) tetraacetate, tetrakistrifluoroaceate and tetrakisoctanoate with a set of diamines (ethane-1,diamine, propane-1,3-diamine and nonane-1,9-diamine) and their N,N′-dimethyl and N,N,N′,N′-tetramethyl derivatives in chloroform solution has been investigated by 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopy and density functional theory (DFT) modelling. A combination of two bifunctional reagents, diamines and rhodium(II) tetracarboxylates, yielded insoluble coordination polymers as main products of complexation and various adducts in the solution, being in equilibrium with insoluble material. All diamines initially formed the 2 : 1 (blue), (1 : 1)n oligomeric (red) and 1 : 2 (red) axial adducts in solution, depending on the reagents' molar ratio. Adducts of primary and secondary diamines decomposed in the presence of ligand excess, the former via unstable equatorial complexes. The complexation of secondary diamines slowed down the inversion at nitrogen atoms in NH(CH3) functional groups and resulted in the formation of nitrogenous stereogenic centres, detectable by NMR. Axial adducts of tertiary diamines appeared to be relatively stable. The presence of long aliphatic chains in molecules (adducts of nonane-1,9-diamines or rhodium(II) tetrakisoctanoate) increased adduct solubility. Hypothetical structures of the equatorial adduct of rhodium(II) tetraacetate with ethane-1,2-diamine and their NMR parameters were explored by means of DFT calculations. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.