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Dining Chair Guide: 5 Tips For Choosing Dining Chairs

From dinner time to homework hour, weekday family meals to weekend parties and opportunities to entertain; your dining chairs must exude both comfort and style, and integrate seamlessly within the surrounding environment for all manner of uses and occasions. 

In this dining chair guide, we share 5 top tips from the team on selecting the perfect dining chairs for your home - considering colours, fabrics, structural frames, and finishing details.

What is a dining chair?

Before we get stuck into our dining chair guide, it’s first important to recognise how you and your family use your dining chairs. Traditionally stored and used in the dining room, dining chairs are versatile seats that tend to match or complement the dining table in terms of their design and offer comfort and functionality to those using the table. 

In many homes, dining chairs boast other uses including:
- An additional outdoor seating option for alfresco dining
- Extra seating for the living space when entertaining
- An office chair or statement chair which can be used across the home
- Adding structure to the aesthetic look of a dining room 

Before you start your search for the perfect dining chairs, we recommend considering how many chairs you need and how you tend to use your dining table and chairs - for example, do they need to work across both your inside and outside space, will they be used as an office chair so require good back support or will they be used across a number of rooms?

1. Styles of dining chairs

From armchairs to ladder-back chairs, stools, dining benches, parsons chairs, Windsor chairs, and side chairs, the breadth of dining chair styles means that there is something to suit every space - with the style playing a key part in the presentation of your dining space. 
While parsons chairs, side chairs, and armchairs are typically very formal and structured, ladder back and slat back chairs tend to offer more of a country house aesthetic, and dining benches lend themselves to an informal setting. 

You may also find that the ideal style of dining chair is heavily dependent on the dining table and the amount of space you have around the table.

Ash bistro dining chair by Graham & Green
Ercol Windsor Dining Armchair by Barker & Stonehouse
Bergen Dining Bench by Inside Out Living

2. Choose the right fabric and material

As styles evolve and interior design preferences change, so too do the assortment of material finishes available on the market. With dining tables becoming evermore design-focused and detailed, the dining chair market is expanding to encompass different types of wood, different fabrics, and different combinations of natural and manmade materials. 

Some of the most popular options include natural wood, leather, suede, and velvet - with the latter two tapping into the increased demand for luxury and elegant dining wear through upholstery, while the use of wood is typically more traditional and timeless. 

Choosing fabric for dining room chairs also requires consideration of both the functionality and aesthetic finish of certain materials - considering everything from the ease of maintenance and cleaning to the amount of natural light in the room. 

If your dining chairs will be in direct sunlight then we’d recommend choosing a more durable material that won’t fade over time such as wood or linen rather than velvet or leather. If you’re looking to achieve a luxurious look perfect for entertaining and lower levels of use then sumptuous velvet will add the perfect touch. 

And remember, your dining chairs are most often seen from the back - and can barely be seen at all when not in use. So when it comes to finding the perfect aesthetic to match your dining space, be sure to focus your search on the back view of the chair as well as its comfort level. In recent times, ring pulls have become a hugely popular feature on dining chairs, providing a function of pulling the chair out while adding opulence to the most seen part of the chair.

Natural Farmhouse Rattan Dining Chair by Homary
Torcello Dining Chair by Dunelm
Upholstered Dining Chair by Wayfair

3. The right dining chair size

This one may seem obvious but understanding the importance of scale means matching the right sized chairs with your surrounding space and the expanse of the dining table. Standard dining chairs tend to be built to a height of 18 inches, able to be pushed under the table, and comfortable for a user to sit beneath the table with their legs bent at a right angle. But it’s not all about seat height.

Consider the width of the chairs, how much space they take up when being used by an average-sized person, and how they fit into the space when not in use.

Kalaspel Dining Chair by
Arezzo Large Extending Dining Table and 8 Willow Chairs by Furniturebox
Arredoclassic Leonardo Italian Fabric Dining Armchair (Pair) By Choice Furniture Superstore

4. Mixing and matching chairs

There are two elements to this tip in our dining chair guide: mixing and matching your chairs with the dining table and mixing and matching different styles of chair completely. 

To create an eclectic environment, mixing and matching chairs involves a keen eye for identifying complementary yet differing designs and finishes - for example, pairing modern neutrals with natural materials, and blending industrial and modern styling together. 

If you want to create a sense of order in your dining space, light colours work well in smaller dining spaces and neutral fabric dining chairs complement natural wood and slate dining tables nicely. For something more vibrant and colourful, find ways of injecting pops of colour in the fabric of the chairs while keeping the table and chair frames simple - or else explore different colours with seat cushions on hardwood chairs.

Pair of Gigi Dining Chairs by Cuckooland
Madrid Cane Dining Chairs by Pepper Sq
Etta Pair of Velvet Dining Chairs by Habitat

5. Dining chairs don't have to cost a fortune

Our final tip is a simple one - dining chairs don’t have to cost the world to look good and tick all of your boxes in terms of function and style. Here at, we pride ourselves in giving customers a broad and diverse range of styles and dining chair options - with matching sets and single chairs available within all manner of budgets and stylistic preferences. 

We hope that our guide on choosing your perfect dining chairs has provided you with all the top tips you need to choose your perfect dining chair. If you’re interested in discovering exactly how to find the perfect dining table to bring your home to life and put your chairs to good use, check out our blog here

 For more style inspiration to create your perfect home, follow us on Instagram and Pinterest, or to search and discover over 110+ furniture retailers across the entire market, simply click here.

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