Guide written by:
Alice, Furniture Maker, Manchester
It goes without saying that dining room chairs need to be comfortable and durable and this largely depends on the materials used to make the seat and structure of the chair. From wood and plastic to metal, resin, leather and fabric, there's a wide range of choice. Your decision will ultimately come down to your budget as well as any requirements you have in terms of care or strength.
For example, if you have children, you might want to choose chairs made of a stain-resistant fabric; if you have cats, it's best to choose a material that can withstand scratching. It's also important to think about seat height which should be chosen to match the height of the dining table and its users.
The height of the backrest impacts both the style and comfort of your dining set, especially if you like to enjoy long meals with family and friends.
Comfort is key when it comes to picking out a dining room chair, whether you're hoping to entertain family or friends.
Of course a cushioned or padded seat will be more comfortable than a hard wooden seat. Similarly, a fabric or leather seat covering will offer greater comfort than materials like faux leather which tends to stick to the skin. It's important to find a good balance between style, comfort and budget.
You also have the option to add cushions or seat pads to make your seats more comfortable.
The higher the backrest, the more comfortable it will be to lean against. This is especially important if you like to have long meals or suffer from back pain. That said, be aware that seats with high backrests look a bit bulkier and tend to be more traditional in style while chairs with low backrests look more streamlined and modern, and take up less space.
Armrests can transform a dining chair into a comfy armchair and will of course provide more comfort. However, they also increase the amount of space the chair takes up. This means you won't be able to fit as many chairs around the dining table. What's more, it can be tricky to slide the chairs under the tabletop so be sure to check the height of the armrests before purchase. A good option can be to invest in two dining chairs with armrests for each end of the table and pick out matching dining chairs without armrests for the rest of the table.
The dimensions of a dining room chair are determined largely by seat height which must match the height of the dining table. The same goes for the number of dining chairs you need to purchase.
The seat height of a dining room chair needs to be around 25 to 30 cm lower than the height of your table, but it also depends on your own height.
If you plan to use your dining room chairs for a range of purposes, you can always go for height-adjustable chairs.
The number of dining chairs you need depends on the shape and size of the dining table. A round dining table will generally accommodate about four chairs while a large rectangular dining table can accommodate eight chairs on average.
If you have any doubts, it's best to go for fewer chairs at the risk of crowding your space. If you hope to host friends or family from time to time, go for a minimum of six chairs. You can always store any extra chairs you don't use on a daily basis in another room. In this case, go for stackable or foldable chairs.
Dining chairs come in many different materials. Your choice will play a role in both the style and comfort of the chair.
Warm, durable and timeless, wooden dining chairs come in all sorts of species including pine, ash, walnut, and so on. Whether you go for natural wood tones with visible grain or painted chairs, wooden chairs can be paired with any type of table.
Lightweight and very easy to maintain, plastic dining chairs come in a multitude of colours and shapes, and can be a great budget option.
Contemporary and often minimalist in style, metal chairs can look a little cold so be sure to match them carefully to the rest of your dining room furniture. It's also worth noting that aluminium and steel are scratch-sensitive.
Very hardwearing, wrought iron dining chairs are perfect for vintage-style homes. But bear in mind that these heavy chairs are hard to move around.
Wicker or resin wicker chairs tend to be warm and rustic in appearance. However, these chairs won't match every table nor every interior, especially as they tend to be quite bulky.
Leather dining chairs are chic and comfortable since the seat itself is padded. However, they are expensive. What's more, leather is a fairly delicate material and must be cared for properly. Faux leather is less expensive but it's also less durable and tends to stick to the skin.
Available in a wide range of colours and patterns fabric dining chairs are padded and comfortable, but are at risk of staining unless you go for microfibre fabric. Additionally, they can get ruined by pets' claws.
The style of a dining room chair should work well with your dining room table as well as the rest of the room for a seamless and well-balanced design.
Here is some design inspiration to help you decide:
Another option which is particularly on trend at the moment is to choose chairs that deliberately clash with your table or to pick mismatching chairs to give a stylish edge to your dining room. There are a few different ways to achieve this look:
Guide written by:
Alice, Furniture Maker, Manchester, 13 guides
I have been crafty since my childhood, I have always been fond of new tools and other small practical machines. Beyond my interest in tools and materials, I am interested in building of all types. My professional experience as an artisan craftswoman, allows me to work with a material that’s both noble and common at the same time: wood. Surrounded by carpenters and other builders, I am constantly interacting with professional and amateur wood workers, but also various kinds of manufacturing. I am also an amateur gardener, I like to cultivate my vegetable garden. You could say that summer ends under the sign of ratatouille. So, with two passions, I hope to answer your questions.