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Choose The Perfect Dining Chair

We bring you all the information and inspiration about the piece of furniture that can make your dining room your favorite place at home. It will be so comfy, you and your guests will want to stay an extra few hours.

Choosing the perfect dining room chairs does not only require the know-how on fabrics, furniture styles and what suits your personal taste when it comes to décor.  Sure, the variety found in the market is as endless as there are personal preferences for decorating, but there are also some quite technical considerations to be made:


The Technical Details

The first thing to consider is the ergonomics of the dining set-up.  The top of a typical dining table measures more or less 30 inches from the finished floor.  Given this, you will want to ensure that the dining chair you are choosing allows 12 inches from the underside of the table top to the seat of the dining chair. 

Technical details you must know about your dining room set-up.  We provide you with some handy measurements to help you remember the some key numbers.  All measurements are in inches.
Technical details you must know about your dining room set-up. We provide you with some handy measurements to help you remember the some key numbers. All measurements are in inches. | Illustration by Anna M. Rosete

You must also consider the number of people your dining room and dining table can accommodate for everyone’s comfort.  A 72-inch table can accommodate 6 people.  A 96-inch table will seat 8, and a 120-inch table will seat 10 easily.  Given this, make sure that each seating has a relaxed 24 inches of room.  Anything under 24 inches is a little snug, so consider this rule of thumb when planning parties and squeezing in guests.  You may have to end up with a few extra chairs to accommodate large parties.


24 inches is the ideal amount of room for each seating at the dining room table.
24 inches is the ideal amount of room for each seating at the dining room table. | Illustrated by Anna M. Rosete

For chairs with arm rests, make sure that there are seven inches from the underside of the table top to the top of the arm rest.


7 is the magic number if you are using chairs with arm rests. Make sure there are at least 7 inches from the underside of the table top to the top of the arm rest.
7 is the magic number if you are using chairs with arm rests. Make sure there are at least 7 inches from the underside of the table top to the top of the arm rest. | Illustrated by Anna M. Rosete

Fabrics and Upholstery

Now that the technical details are out of the way, let’s consider finishes and fabrics.

If you are opting for upholstered dining chairs, you must keep in mind that they will be subject to stains and spills.  Consider going for spill and stain-resistant fabrics.

If you are into print and patterns and would like to mix and match, be careful about playing with contrast.  Stay consistent, to avoid overwhelming the space visually. 

Consider this dining room set-up where two different prints were used on the rug and on the head chairs, but the prints were within the same shape and family for consistency.  In addition, the rug’s colors stayed within the same neutral family as the seat covers, maintaining visual harmony:

You may even opt for dining chairs upholstered in two solid tones such as this example that maintained the solid colors within the cool family:


Here, all dining room chairs received a combination of print as seen in the back rests and solids on the seats.  For continuity, the solids color came from the floral print on the back rest:







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For big impact, it pays to go big on art!

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Chairs for the head of the table

Being at the head of the table is traditionally reserved as an honored spot within the family.  Ergonomically, this place already has special perks.  Instead of the usual 24” inches of room for each chair, the heads of table have the luxury of having 30-40 inches all to themselves, as most dining tables are 30-40 inches wide. 

This special place at the table can be thought of as a visual punctuation to a room.  It is an opportunity to make a statement and to introduce a statement to the dining room, as these examples show:

Banquettes

If furnishing a smaller space, a banquette will help you.  Because it can be pressed against a wall, it is an essential space saver.  Banquettes also present with the opportunity to style with scatter cushions, print, pattern and color.


As with the rest of your home, the dining room is also an opportunity to show your personality, so don’t be shy about using upholstery and furniture silhouettes that do so:



Design Smarts

When your dining room falls within an open space plan, have at least one coordinating element as the rest of the living room and/or kitchen schemes.

In this example, continuity was achieved in an open plan by using the same color and mid-century modern chair styles and silhouettes:
Below, the use of the color black and natural wood tied up the elements of the open plan space, uniting the dining area to the kitchen.
The example below illustrates the use of neutral colors to coordinate the kitchen, dining and living areas.  The warm gray of the kitchen cabinetry is picked up on the pendant lights above the breakfast bar and a couple of gray chairs at the dining table.  Similar hues are then introduced in the fabrics that dress the living area.

Finally, it will be best to decorate your dining room for its everyday use.  You do not necessarily have to furnish it with your extended family in mind if they only come for the holidays.  Think of having a couple of extra chairs flanking your console against a wall if room permits.  This way, you can easily pull them in for extra company.


Banner Photograph by Maitina Borromeo, courtesy of Metro Home and Entertaining Magazine, Vol. 11.5.