Whether it is part of your kitchen or you have a dedicated dining room, most of our homes have a dining table and chairs. There are a few different approaches; some like to have a uniform look with all the same style of chairs, while others go a little more eccentric and go for all different chairs.
Finding the right dining chair can impact your dining experience, going beyond the mere look but also including the comfort, materials, size, budget and more. So, if you are looking into updating or upgrading your dining furniture and looking for guidance, look no further.
This blog will look at all the things to consider when buying a dining chair.
Comfort and Ergonomics
When having a meal, you want to feel comfortable, allowing you to enjoy your meal without worrying about an ill-fitting seat or uncomfortable backrest, right?
Sometimes, people put form over function, and while style undoubtedly is essential, you will want to ensure that you also pay close attention to ergonomic design features that enhance your meal experience.
Ergonomic Design Features
The seat height is one of the most critical factors to ensure a comfortable experience. It should correspond to the table height, giving you the first measurement for your chair research.
Most dining tables fall between 28 and 31 inches; generally, a distance of 10 to 12 inches from the seat to the table top is considered the most comfortable. But you also have to consider the tabletop’s thickness, and if there is an apron around the table, how far does it extend toward the floor? These are two additional factors to consider when measuring, especially if you are looking for chairs with armrests.
The depth of your chair is essential in a few ways. For one, how far will the chair go underneath the table when you push it in? For the other, how far back will you be sitting when you’re seated at the table?
Related to this, you must consider how much space you have between the chair and the wall or other furniture to allow people to comfortably push back their chairs without risking hitting anything.
We know that dining room chairs are not supposed to be as comfortable as living room chairs; you will still want to look for a chair that gives you support and does not make you want to sit upright because it is uncomfortable or even hurts.
Sitting in a chair with improper back support can lead to back, neck and shoulder pain.
Armrests vs. Armless Chairs
You may have asked yourself the question, “Do dining chairs have to fit under the table?” Whether you want armrests or armless chairs is a philosophical question. Some prefer the comfort armrests can give, while others are looking more toward the utility of an armless chair for quick entry and exit without having to push the chair back fully,
Style and Aesthetics
A famous saying for meals is for something to be a “feast for your eyes.” While you should probably not try to eat your furniture, it is the same for your dining table and chairs. Unless you like an eclectic look of seemingly disjointed elements coming together, you will likely try to match your dining room decor, table and chairs to give you one cohesive and pleasant overall look.
Different Dining Chair Styles
There are many different dining chair styles, so you should be able to find one that fits perfectly. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular styles.
Traditional dining chairs are characterized by their classic and timeless design. They often feature intricate details such as ornate carvings, curved lines, and decorative motifs. The predominant material is wood, with options like oak, cherry, or mahogany. Upholstered versions typically use rich, luxurious fabrics like velvet or brocade. Their legs tend to be turned or cabriole-shaped, adding to the traditional aesthetic.
Overall, traditional dining chairs exude an elegant and formal ambiance, making them perfect for formal dining rooms or homes with classic decor.
Modern and contemporary dining chairs emphasize clean lines, minimalism, and sleekness. They often have simple, geometric shapes. The materials used for this type of chair can vary widely, including moulded plastics and metals like stainless steel and wood, focusing on natural finishes. Upholstery, if present, is typically understated and in neutral colours. The legs are often straight and unadorned, contributing to the minimalist look.
Generally, these chairs create an open and uncluttered space, making them ideal for modern and urban interior designs.
Typically, rustic dining chairs embrace a more casual and rugged aesthetic. They often feature distressed finishes and natural imperfections. Staying with the aesthetic, rustic-style dining chairs are predominantly wood, primarily reclaimed or rough-hewn, with common metal accents. If there is upholstery, it often is in earthy tones or plaid patterns. Contributing to the rustic charm, the legs can be chunky and uneven.
These chairs create a cozy and inviting atmosphere, making them well-suited for farmhouse or cottage-style dining rooms.
Industrial modern dining chairs draw inspiration from factories and warehouses, showcasing a rugged and practical look. The dominant material is metal, particularly steel or iron and exposed rivets and bolts are common design elements. To add a bit of comfort to the overall quite raw design, upholstery is typically made from leather or canvas, while the legs are sturdy and often have a bit of an angular or machine-like appearance.
Overall, these chairs impart an urban and factory-inspired vibe, suitable for loft apartments and industrial-themed dining spaces.
If you can’t (or don’t want to) limit yourself to one particular style, there are transitional dining chairs which blend elements of both traditional and contemporary styles, resulting in a balanced and versatile design. Wood is a common material, but typically with simpler and cleaner lines. Upholstery of seats and backs may feature subdued patterns or textures while offering comfort while maintaining a timeless appeal. The legs strike a balance between the ornate and minimalist, often featuring a slight curve or taper.
If you want to bridge the gap between old and new, this chair is adaptable to various interior design styles, from classic to modern.
Materials and Finishes
Materials and finishes give you many options within the abovementioned styles, with wood, metal and plastic being the predominant materials used. Now, you may ask yourself “Do dining chair legs have to match the table?” And the answer is no. It’s completely up to you if you want everything to match or if you like a bit of contrast.
Common wood types used in dining chairs include oak, maple, cherry, walnut, and mahogany, each with its unique grain pattern and colour. Solid wood is sturdy, durable, and ages beautifully over time. It can be carved, shaped, and finished in various ways to achieve different aesthetics.
Engineered wood products like plywood and MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard) are used in chair construction. They are made by binding wood fibres or layers together with adhesives. The biggest strength of engineered wood is that it’s more affordable than solid wood and less prone to warping or splitting. It’s often used for chair seats and backrests.
Steel is strong, durable, and resistant to corrosion. It can be shaped into various forms, making it ideal for chair frames.
The two most significant advantages of aluminium are that it is lightweight and corrosion-resistant. It’s commonly used for outdoor dining chairs due to its durability.
Iron is exceptionally sturdy and can be wrought into intricate designs. It adds a touch of classic elegance to dining chairs.
Polypropylene is a lightweight and durable material resistant to moisture and staining. It’s often moulded into ergonomic shapes for comfort.
Acrylic is a transparent plastic that adds a touch of modernity and sophistication. It’s easy to clean and maintain.
As far as plastics go, polycarbonate is durable and impact-resistant plastic. It’s lightweight and often used for transparent or translucent seating.
There also are different upholstery options. The most common ones are:
Standard fabric options include cotton, linen, velvet, and synthetic blends. They come in various colours and patterns and are used to offer comfort and warmth. They are versatile and suit a wide range of chair styles. Fabric may require regular cleaning and can be susceptible to staining.
Leather upholstery comes in various grades and finishes, including full-grain, top-grain, and faux leather. It adds a luxurious and sophisticated touch to dining chairs. It’s durable and develops a beautiful patina over time. To maintain its appearance, leather requires occasional conditioning.
Vinyl is a synthetic material that mimics the look of leather. It’s easy to clean, budget-friendly and resistant to stains and moisture, making it suitable for households with children or pets.
Knowing the size of your table and the dimensions of your dining room or area will allow you to determine how many chairs you can fit into the space. Generally, most square or round tables will comfortably seat four; oval and rectangular (or extending tables) can accommodate more.
You have to calculate the chair’s footprint, which is the width and depth of the chair, for which you also have to factor in any potential splayed or bowed legs because you have to ensure that there is enough room underneath your table for the chairs not bumping into each other.
So, if you’re unsure how to measure a dining chair, generally, you should allow 28 inches from the centre of one seat to the next. At the end of the table, you should give it 14 inches from the centre of the seat to the end or legs of the table.
Durability and Maintenance
Durability and maintenance are essential factors to consider when selecting dining chairs, as they can significantly impact the longevity and functionality of your furniture. Here’s a breakdown of these aspects of dining chairs:
The material of your dining chairs plays a crucial role in their durability. Solid wood chairs are known for longevity, as they can withstand wear and tear over time. Engineered wood, metal, and plastic chairs can also be durable, depending on their quality and construction.
Pay attention to the construction of the chairs. Well-constructed chairs with sturdy joints and reinforcements are likely to last longer. For example, mortise and tenon or dovetail joinery indicate higher craftsmanship in wooden chairs.
Consider the weight capacity of the chairs. Ensure they can comfortably support the weight of people using them. Exceeding weight limits can lead to premature wear and damage.
If your dining chairs have upholstery, the quality of the fabric or leather is essential. High-quality upholstery materials are less likely to tear or show signs of wear quickly.
Regularly inspect your chairs for loose screws, wobbly legs, or any signs of damage. Promptly address any issues to prevent further deterioration.
Regular cleaning is essential to maintain the appearance of your dining chairs. Dust and debris can accumulate over time and cause surface damage. Use a soft cloth or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove dirt.
Fabric may require periodic vacuuming and spot cleaning, while leather may need conditioning to prevent drying and cracking. Wooden chairs benefit from occasional dusting and polishing with a furniture-appropriate cleaner. Avoid using abrasive materials that can scratch the surface of wood with a finish. Metal and plastic chairs are relatively low-maintenance. Wipe them down with a damp cloth to remove dirt and stains. Watch for metal chairs for signs of rust, especially if used outdoors.
Like with so many investments, setting yourself a budget is essential. Dining chairs come in widely differing price categories, so it’s important to approach them with a clear limit in mind. This will prevent you from overspending and avoid impulse buys that don’t fit your financial framework.
View your dining chairs as an investment to last you for a long time, so look at balancing higher quality against the cost to find the best balance. This is another reason why diligent research is critical. You may be able to find more affordable options or dining chairs for sale and save some money this way as well.
Brand Reputation and Reviews
If you want reliable quality, research brands online to see which fits your style and budget. Read online customer reviews to get a firsthand idea of what previous buyers think and form a comprehensive picture of the quality and reliability of the chairs in question. Also, ask your friends and family if anybody has bought dining chairs recently. They’ll be happy to let you know their experience.
Mobility and Storage
Depending on the size of your dining area, mobility and storage also can play a significant factor. If space is an issue or if you don’t want all chairs out at all times, look into foldable or stackable chairs that you could store in a spare room or a corner without getting in the way.
If you’re looking for easy mobility, consider chairs with casters that you can just roll around for quick changes or just convenience.
Customization and Personalization
Consider custom dining chairs if you’re unsatisfied with the off-the-shelf options. You can look into many options, from materials to finishes, sizes and shapes, to ensure you get what you want.
One of the most common customization options is the upholstery, with many different materials and colours available to match the chairs to the rest of your dining room decor.
While some companies offer pre-made customization with a choice of options you can choose from, you can also go down the DIY route, if you have the tools and skill, to, for example, re-upholster the chairs with your own material to customize them and make them fit into your overall vision.
Last but definitely not least, you might wonder where to buy a dining chair. Many options are available where you can buy dining chairs, from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to custom furniture shops. Depending on your budget and the style you are looking for, you can also check secondhand and vintage stores, but it will be harder to find complete sets.
One of the most popular options is online retailers like Urban Accent, which have a more extensive range of dining chairs with convenient delivery. One of the most significant benefits of an online retailer is that you can browse and shop from the comfort of your own home and often enjoy better prices as they don’t have the additional cost of a showroom.
Many factors can influence your decision on dining chairs, such as style and design, comfort and materials, or durability. It’s crucial to do your research to make an informed decision to strike the right balance between your vision and budget. After all, you will want to enjoy your dining chair investment instead of regretting it after you’ve made the purchase.
Urban Accents Furniture offers a wide range of dining chairs, allowing you to choose from various styles and materials available from the comfort of your home! Take advantage of our Canada-wide shipping to deliver your choice to your doorstep. We also have dining tables with your chairs and many other furniture to spruce up your home.