Buying Dining Chairs: What to Look for and Consider

Welcome back, design enthusiasts! Are you ready to elevate your dining experience and add a dash of style to your space? Look no further because today we are diving headfirst into the world of dining chairs.

These often-overlooked heroes of home decor can make or break the ambiance of your dining area. Whether you’re hosting a grand dinner party or enjoying a cozy family meal, finding the perfect dining chairs is essential.

In this post, we’ll be serving up a delightful feast of tips and tricks to help you navigate the vast sea of options, ensuring that your dining chairs not only offer comfort but also become an eye-catching centerpiece that sparks conversation and leaves your guests in awe.

So grab a seat, and let’s begin to discover the art of buying dining chairs!

Choosing the right dining chairs for your dining room table is no easy decision. If you host dinner parties often, or just eat with your family every night, then comfortable dining chairs are a must for your home. But with so many options to choose from – style, shape, armrests, and more – it’s hard to be sure that you’re making the right purchase.

Whenever possible, try out the chairs in person before making a purchase. Visit furniture showrooms or stores to sit on the chairs and assess their comfort, stability, and overall quality. This firsthand experience will give you a better sense of what you can expect from the chairs in your own dining space.

What to Look for in a Dining Chair

What do you look for in a comfortable dining room chair? When it comes to finding a comfortable dining room chair, there are a few key factors to consider. Here are some features to look for:

Supportive Design: Opt for chairs with proper back support. Look for chairs with curved or contoured backrests that follow the natural curve of your spine. This helps promote good posture and reduces discomfort during longer meals.

Ergonomics: Look for chairs that are designed with ergonomics in mind. This means they should have a seat height that allows your feet to rest flat on the ground and your knees to be at a 90-degree angle. The seat depth should be deep enough to support your thighs without causing pressure behind your knees.

Cushioning: Consider chairs with cushioned seats for added comfort. Look for high-quality foam padding that provides a comfortable seating surface. However, be cautious of chairs with overly soft cushions that may flatten over time, leading to reduced support.

Armrests: Chairs with armrests can provide additional support and comfort. They can help reduce strain on the shoulders and provide a place to rest your arms while dining. However, make sure the armrests don’t limit your ability to comfortably slide the chair under the table.

Stability: Ensure the chair is stable and sturdy. Wobbly chairs can be uncomfortable and even unsafe. Give the chair a gentle shake or test it by sitting on it to ensure it feels solid and stable.

Consider Your Budget

Determine your budget range for dining chairs early on. This will help you narrow down your options and focus on chairs that fall within your price range. Remember to balance cost with quality to ensure you’re making a wise investment.

Dining Chair Sizes

How do you know what size dining chair to get? When it comes to selecting the right size dining chair for your space, there are a few factors to consider that will help you make an informed decision. First and foremost, take into account the dimensions of your dining table.

Ideally, your dining chairs should be proportionate to the table, striking a harmonious balance between the two.

My biggest tip for purchasing dining tables is to measure your dining room and dining table before buying!

Make sure you leave enough arm space and leg space for every intended guest at your dining table. The general rule of thumb is 10 inches of leg space (space between the seat and the dining table), and 2 feet of table width space for each guest at your table.

You should also allow for at least two feet of empty space behind each guest at your dining table while they are sitting.

When not in use, allow for about 6-12 inches of space between the chair and the edge of the table to ensure comfortable seating. This allows guests to move their chairs back without feeling cramped.

How tall should a dining chair be from the dining table? The ideal height for a dining chair in relation to the dining table is an important consideration for both comfort and aesthetics. As a general guideline, aim for a seat height that allows each person to sit comfortably with their feet flat on the ground and their knees at a 90-degree angle. This promotes proper posture and ensures a comfortable dining experience.

The standard seat height for dining chairs is typically around 18 inches (46 cm) from the floor. However, this can vary depending on the table height and personal preference. If your dining table has a standard height of around 30 inches (76 cm), a chair with a seat height of 18 inches (46 cm) would provide the desired 90-degree angle for most people.

Lastly, don’t forget to consider the overall scale of your dining area. If you have a smaller space, opting for slimmer, more streamlined chairs can help create an illusion of openness. Conversely, if you have a larger dining area, you can explore bolder, bulkier designs that make a statement and fill the space effectively.

Dining Chair Materials

Dining chairs, like most pieces of furniture, come in a variety of materials nowadays. As the saying goes: you get what you pay for. There’s nothing wrong with purchasing lower-cost products made from synthetic materials, but don’t be surprised when you need to replace them after a year or two.

The most common dining chair materials are :

  • Wood: Wood is the most common material used to craft furniture. Left in its natural state, wood dining chairs can give a farmhouse or rustic vibe to your space.
  • Rattan: Rattan is a favorite material for dining chairs in coastal or bohemian homes. The palm-based material is lightweight yet durable.
  • Plastic: Plastic is a great option for homes with kids, as the plastic can be easily cleaned. Plastic dining chairs are often lightweight making them easy to pick up and use in other areas of your home.
  • Metal: Metal dining chairs are typically found in industrial-style dining rooms. They could be partially crafted with wood. To make them cozier, you can add a sheepskin throw or buy a seat cushion. Tolix chairs are common metal dining chairs.

Dining Chair Styles

There are a ton of dining chairs available for every home decor style imaginable. Here are a few ideas:

Modern dining chairs: Modern or contemporary dining chairs are characterized by sleek lines, minimalist designs, and a focus on functionality. They often feature clean and smooth finishes with materials like metal, plastic, or molded plywood. These chairs are ideal for those who prefer a clean and minimalist aesthetic.

Coastal dining chairs: Coastal dining chairs are designed to evoke a relaxed and breezy atmosphere reminiscent of coastal living. These chairs often incorporate elements inspired by the beach, ocean, or coastal landscapes. They are made of materials such as rattan, wicker, or lightweight woods like bamboo.

Traditional dining chairs: Traditional dining chairs exude elegance and sophistication. They often feature ornate details, such as carved wood accents, upholstered seats, and high backs. These chairs are perfect for creating a formal and classic dining atmosphere.

Farmhouse dining chairs: Rustic or farmhouse dining chairs exude a warm and welcoming charm. They often feature sturdy wooden frames, ladder-back designs, and distressed finishes. These chairs bring a cozy, rustic feel to your dining area, perfect for creating a casual and inviting ambiance.

Mid-century modern dining chairs: Inspired by the design trends of the mid-20th century, mid-century modern dining chairs are known for their iconic shapes and organic curves. They often feature tapered legs, molded seats, and materials like molded plastic, wood, or upholstered fabrics. These chairs bring a retro charm and a touch of nostalgia to your dining space.

Scandinavian dining chairs: Scandinavian dining chairs embrace simplicity, functionality, and natural materials. They often have clean lines, light-colored wood frames, and upholstered seats in neutral tones. These chairs create a cozy and inviting atmosphere while embodying the Scandinavian design principles of simplicity and comfort.

Bohemian dining chairs: Bohemian dining chairs are characterized by their eclectic and free-spirited style, reflecting the Bohemian or boho aesthetic. Bohemian chairs often feature a mix of materials, textures, and patterns. This includes natural materials like rattan, wicker, or wood combined with colorful textiles, such as woven fabrics, embroidered details, or even patchwork designs. Chairs in vibrant shades of deep blues, vibrant greens, warm oranges, or earthy reds can be found in bohemian dining spaces.

Industrial dining chairs: Industrial dining chairs draw inspiration from factories and warehouses. They often feature metal frames, distressed finishes, and raw materials like wood and metal. These chairs add an edgy and urban touch to your dining space, making a statement with their rugged and utilitarian aesthetic.

Your Future Dining Chair Arrangement

Before buying dining chairs, you must imagine the future dining chair arrangement you’ll have in your dining room. There are three main types of dining chair arrangements:

The most common dining room chair arrangement is comprised of 2 or more matching dining chairs placed around the table. This keeps things simple.

Some upscale dining rooms will feature two statement chairs opposite each other at the head and end of the table. 4 or more side chairs are then placed along the long sides of the dining room table. This dining chair arrangement only works in dining rooms with rectangular-shaped dining tables.

For an eclectic look, you can opt for a group of mismatched dining chairs. This option works best in industrial-style dining rooms and bohemian-style dining rooms. For this arrangement, each chair must be totally different and unique.

Beyond these three arrangements, you can also use non-conventional dining room seating options like benches, which are great for kids, depending on your needs.

Practicality and Maintenance

Consider the practical aspects of your dining chairs. If you have young children or anticipate frequent spills, chairs with easy-to-clean materials or removable/washable seat covers may be a wise choice. Additionally, think about how easy it is to move and clean around the chairs, especially if you require flexibility in your dining area.

I hope these tips will help you pick out the best chairs for your dining room!


1 comment

  1. I like how you said that you could have a farmhouse vibe with wooden chairs. My fiance and I want to start getting furniture for our new home we plan on moving into in a couple of weeks, so I wanted to know what to pick for the dining room. I appreciate you helping me learn more about the different types of dining chair materials.

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