Dining Chairs Buying Guide

Our dining rooms can serve multiple purposes, from eating, hosting a game night, hanging out with family and friends, and even getting some work done.

Dining Chairs Buying Guide

If you are in the market for a new set of dining chairs, it can get a little overwhelming with the number of designs, styles, colors, and materials to choose from.

There are many things to consider, in order to ensure you end up with something you will love at the end of the day. Below is a buying guide for dining chairs designed to help you make the right decision.

Features to Look for in Dining Chairs


Mostly, it is color and patterns that people focus on, but comfort is important as well. Ask yourself if you will be able to stay in that seat for an hour without getting up. This is especially important if there are toddlers in the house, a person with a knee or hip issue, or older people sitting in the chairs.

A Stable Structure

Despite the material used to make the dining chair, it should stand firmly on the ground, without wobbling. Even when opting for a wooden bench on one side instead of individual chairs, it should still be able to hold the weight of people sitting without wobbling.

Easy to Move

It is advisable to have chairs that you can easily move around the house, especially if you host guests often. They can be used in the living room as additional chairs when lots of people are in the house.

Easy Maintenance

Choose a set that is easy to maintain depending on your lifestyle. If you have kids or own a pet, your furniture is likely to face wear and tear. It is, therefore, best to go with dining chairs without upholstery. Leather is easy to clean off, whether it is food stains or drools. If you get velvet or cotton that is resistant to stains, it can also serve you a long time.

Mixing and Matching

Most people buy a matching set which brings consistency to the dining room. Others may prefer an eclectic design approach by using dining chairs of different styles that complement each other. However, you need to be careful with this approach so that the arrangement turns out correctly. For instance, start by choosing a common element, whether the color, height, style, shape, material, or legs. The common element is what will unify the chairs, making them stand out.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Dining Chairs

Before heading to the store, there are a few things you will have to consider that will help you narrow down your search. They include

  • The size
  • The material
  • The Style

The Size

What is the size of your dining room? The number of chairs you pick needs to fit well around the dining table. In addition, when people are using it, they should not feel squeezed in and uncomfortable. You will therefore have to take the dining room measurements, and for the table, measure the width and height.


The average measurement of a dining room chair is around 18 inches from the floor to the sitting area, and a typical dining room table is approximately 30 inches tall. You should stick to chairs about 18 inches tall unless your table is taller than 30 inches. This ensures everyone gets enough legroom.


The next thing to consider is the width of the chair. An average chair measures around 18-20 inches across, but a chair with arms can be about 6 inches more than that. However, before deciding how narrow or wide the chair should be, you also have to consider how many chairs will fit on each side. This will also depend on the size of the table.

Typically, a rectangular or oval dining table measuring about 72 inches can fit six people, a 96-inch table can accommodate eight, and a 120-inch can accommodate ten people. If the table is square or round, measuring about 48 inches, it will accommodate four people. For 60 inches, it accommodates six, and for 72 inches, it accommodates eight.

If the table has an unconventional size or shape, the general rule is to ensure there is a space of about six inches between each chair for the elbow room. Also, leave 36 inches of space between each chair and the wall or any other furniture. This ensures that one can maneuver around when they want to sit or leave the table without disturbing other people.

The Material

Dining room chairs are available in different types of materials, giving you options. The most common materials used include wood, metal, acrylic, and upholstered.

Metal Dining Chairs

Metal chairs can be an excellent addition to your home if you are looking for an industrial style. They also have a contemporary feel, modernizing your space. Generally, metal chairs are lightweight, allowing you to pick them up easily and move them to another area when necessary. In addition, they are easy to clean and maintain and will last you a long time. Due to the industrial style, they might seem a bit cold, and so you may want to add a bit of warmth to the dining room by pairing them with a wooden table.

Wooden Dining Chairs

Wooden chairs bring a natural and earthy feel to your dining room. They can create a traditional look, especially when complemented with other wood furnishings. Wood can also be classified into natural, stained, or painted wood. It all depends on your preference.


These are sleek dining chairs ideal for those with contemporary design sensibilities. They are also easy to clean. Acrylic dining chairs are great for small spaces as the material does not visually clutter a room. When complemented with marble and brass décor, acrylics bring a modern and great look. It also allows other furniture in the room to stand out.

Upholstered Dining Chairs

Upholstered dining chairs bring additional comfort to your home, thanks to the padding on the seat and the back. You can also add little additions to the upholstery, such as tufting it to add some style to the home. There are so many fabrics that can be used to upholster a chair, including:

  • Leather - it brings a luxurious feel to the dining room; it is flexible and can last a long time.
  • Velvet - this is among the most popular materials used in dining chair upholstery. It is also available in multiple styles and colors, and it is durable. Ensure you choose a fabric that is stain-resistant with a unique texture.
  • Cotton blend - although cotton is a strong material by itself, blending it with synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon enhances its enduring capabilities, making it durable.
  • Vinyl - it is resistant to fading, easy to clean, mimics leather, and is available in multiple colors.

The Style

After choosing the size and material you want for your dining chair, you can now focus on the style. This comprises things like patterns and colors that suit the style of your home. If you have painted your walls in neutral colors like beige, light brown, and white, you have various options to choose from. You can choose contrasting colors like teal or mustard, which brings some color to your dining room.

However, you can also go for different shades of wall paint so that they complement each other. When it comes to the pattern, you can choose something solid if you are after a simple design. On the other hand, when looking to add some personality, patterns like paisley, stripes, or floral will do.

Types of Dining Chairs

When it comes to types of chairs, you have plenty of options to choose from. Here are a few things to consider:

Arm Chairs

Armchairs give your dining room a formal look by adding some character and depth to the head and foot of the table. They can take many forms, from partly/ fully upholstered and ladder backs. They are often paired with side chairs that match, but if you want to reduce the formality, opt for mismatched colors.

Side chairs

They are referred to as side chairs because they sit on the side, but they can also occupy the ends. From upholstered, casual, wooden, and formal, side chairs are available in multiple styles.

Parsons Chairs

The name originated from Paris’ Parsons School of Design. These chairs are armless and fully upholstered, and they have visible wood or metal legs. The upholstery fabric ranges from leather, linens, button-tufted, etc., making it a great fit for all types of dining rooms.

Wingback Chairs

If you are after a cozy and tidy look, the wingback chair is a great choice. On each side of the backrest, the chair has a wing-like design extending down. These chairs are often upholstered, allowing you to explore different types of fabrics.

Ladder Back Chairs

These chairs come with horizontal slats that are evenly spaced on the chair’s back, giving these seats an open and light look. More often, this design is combined with traditional styles. Still, it is possible to find them in contemporary designs as well.

Slat Back Chair

Almost similar to ladder back chairs, these seats come with slats as well, but they are vertical.

Queen Anne Chairs

Sometimes called ‘late Baroque’, they get their name from a style of furniture that was developed in the 18th century when Queen Anne reigned in England. It brings out an elegant look for the dining room.

Windsor Chairs

Inspired by early English designs, Windsor chairs have a half-circle backrest supported by vertical rods or slats. Another common feature is spindle legs. These chairs bring a vintage style and add some charm to your dining room.

Cross Back Chairs

These chairs have an X-shaped design on the backrest, which makes your dining room feel less overwhelmed.

Lattice back Chairs

These chairs come with multiple designs on the back, from geometric grids, scrollwork, and patterned diamond. The design gives the seats an airy look, making the dining room appear less cluttered.

Skirted Chairs

These chairs have a linen base skirt covering the legs of the chair.

Slipper Chairs

These are similar to Parsons chairs, but the base is covered or skirted.

Keyhole Back Chairs

This type of chair comes with a central cut-out in the back that is either rectangular or square, giving the seat a cool and clean appearance. They are often upholstered.

Final Thoughts

When buying dining chairs, the style you want to create in your home will be a significant determining factor. For instance, common styles you can create include contemporary, modern, traditional, farmhouse, rustic and industrial. You will be able to find chairs matching any of these styles.

Contemporary and modern homes would need clean lines, solid colored palettes, and minimal upholstery on the chairs. Anything farmhouse and rustic comes in warm colors and distressed surfaces. For an industrial appearance, check for lots of metal or exposed frameworks. And finally, anything traditional comes with rich colors, curved edges, and intricate patterns.