From casual breakfast nooks to formal dining spaces to something in between, dining rooms come in all shapes and sizes. Regardless of what you have in your home, each shares a very important element: the dining room chair.
When it comes to dining room chairs, there are several things to consider. Are they the right size for your table? Are they comfortable enough for the type of entertaining you like to do? Is the fabric durable and easy to clean? We hope this guide helps you answer these questions.
Dining chair size
As with any furniture you bring into your home, measuring is important— maybe even more so when it comes to the chairs in your dining room. In general, the height of a standard seat is 18 inches, and the height of a standard table is 30 inches.
When measuring dining chair size, a good rule of thumb is to aim for 12 inches between the top of the dining chair seat and the bottom of the table, taking the apron into account. Not all tables will have one, but if it does, you’ll want to make sure there’s enough clearance for the arms of the chairs and of course, the knees.
After you’ve finalized the correct height, it’s time to decide how many chairs will fit around your table. A good rule of thumb is to leave 24 inches of space per chair. In the times you host bigger parties, you’ll be able to squeeze in a few more. The goal, however, isn’t to furnish your table for big parties but rather for everyday living.
Dining chair comfort
You have two options when it comes to dining chairs: upholstered and unupholstered. And of course, each has its advantages.
Non-upholstered chairs are easier to clean and typically fit better around a small table. This is ideal if your dining area is your regular dining space. With extra traffic, especially if there are kids involved, then dining chairs that aren’t upholstered might be the best option. Additionally, non-upholstered chairs are easier to stack and move out of the way, which can be extra handy if your dining room/area is smaller in size.
If you love to entertain bigger groups, however, you may want to consider an upholstered option that will make your guests extra comfortable. Keep in mind, however, that if you still prefer dining chairs without upholstery, you can always put down a seat pad when extra comfort is needed.
If you do opt for an upholstered dining chair, aim to leave 7 inches of room between the arm of the chair and the table.
Dining chair fabric and finishes
If you choose upholstered chairs, you have plenty of options. Let’s talk about what some of the most popular fabric choices are, along with their pros and cons.
Velvet is actually a really great choice for dining chair upholstery. Not only does it come in a wide array of colors, but it’s also durable, stain-resistant, and affordable. If you’re looking for a fabric that creates a sense of luxury and sophistication in your dining space, velvet will deliver.
Tweed, which is derived from wool fibers, is another choice of fabric for adding a touch of sophistication to your dining space. Although durable and stain-resistant, it can, however, be a little hard to clean.
Cotton is a tried-and-true fabric that works in any space, including the dining room. While cotton itself is considered a natural fiber, cotton blends have an additional synthetic fiber (usually nylon or polyester) blended into its makeup. This combination of fibers makes this an even more perfect choice for the dining room because of its extra durability, cleanability, and breathability. It also comes in a seemingly endless amount of colors that will suit any decor style. One con, however, is that it can retain moisture if spills occur. Left untreated, this could result in a stubborn stain or even mold.
Leather might not be the first fabric that comes to mind when thinking about dining room chair upholstery, but it’s actually a really nice choice. In addition to being easy to clean, leather is so versatile that it easily bridges the gap between modern to classic decor schemes. The only downside is that leather is one of the more expensive choices. That doesn’t, however, mean that it’s not worth the investment.
Regardless of which fabric you choose, or, whether you choose fabric at all, don’t forget about the finishes (essentially the frame of the chair). Common finishes include wood, acrylic, wicker, and metal.
Dining Chair Styles
Dining chairs come in a variety of styles. These include:
- Armchairs: Typically feature a straight back with structured side features that support the arms. These are often placed at the head of a dining table.
- Side chairs: These are armless dining chairs that are usually placed along the sides of a formal dining table.
- Parsons chairs: Upholstered dining chairs that feature straight backs and an armless design.
The backs of dining chairs also have a distinct style, which includes:
- Solid back, which features no cutouts, slats, or gaps.
- Tufted back, which features an upholstered back with button-tufted detailing.
- Open back, which features a gap between the seat and back support. These can be found with and without upholstering.
- Oval back, which can complement virtually any decorating style ranging from shabby chic to contemporary.
- Slat back, which typically features a wooden frame with vertical slats that make up the back.
Pick Chairs that Fit Your Room and Your Style
It’s important to understand that your chairs don’t have to match your table or each other for that matter. In fact, mismatched chairs can make your dining area incredibly unique! If you do choose mismatched chairs, just make sure they are the same height so that you and your fellow diners aren’t looking up or down at each other.
When you’re ready to deck out your dining area, be sure to see us first. From our custom furniture to our discount designer fabric, you’re sure to find something that can make your dining room one-of-a-kind.