Extended rectangular table and cream colored upholstered chairs.

Types of Dining Chairs: Which is Right for your Dining Room?

When it comes to designing a dining space, quality of life and happiness hinges on the furniture. Your dining table and dining chairs must be comfortable, but serviceable. They should look nice and add to the room. At the same time, they must be able to withstand the demands of your family. So, if you have toddlers, young children, or pets, your choice of dining room furniture should as indestructible as you can buy it. A great place to begin, especially when selecting dining room chairs, is with the materials they are made from.

Dining Chair Materials

Superior Fredonia Dining Set white and dark wood

Most people think of wood when someone mentions dining room chairs and tables. However, wood is only one beautiful option. There are many, many more, including metals such as aluminum, steel, and cast iron. Or perhaps you’ve always dreamed of a light-filled dining room decked out in wicker or a spacious, cozy nook where plush armchairs surround a glass-topped table. Regardless of the look you’re trying to curate, there’s a dining room material out there to help you achieve it. Some of the most popular types of materials include:

  • Wood: Wood dining chairs can be solid wood or use a combination of wood and other materials like metal or upholstery. Traditional, classic wooden chairs such as Queen Anne are great for creating formal spaces. And versions that are sleeker and more simplistic, such as those that mimic the style and craftsmanship of Charles and Ray Eames, are minimalist, yet modern.
    Regardless, wood dining chairs are elegant, durable, and delightfully classic. They also come in a range of finishes to fit any decor.
  • Metal: Dining room furniture crafted of metal is perfect for contemporary design. If you’re attempting to create a dining room that’s ultra-modern and industrial, metal is an ideal material. It’s durable and easy-to-clean, and a metal chair is perfect for those who favor simple lines and a lightweight metal frame. Also, metal-framed chairs are very durable.
  • Upholstered: Upholstered dining chairs are available in several different types. These include parson chairs, French country style, and the classic armchair design. Upholstered chairs offer ultimate comfort and lend a more formal appeal to your space. However, they’re vulnerable to staining and may show more wear than their wooden or metal counterparts. So, keep this in mind if you’re furnishing a dining room that doubles as the home art room. Upholstery is more difficult to clean, as well.
  • Leather: Leather upholstery has its place, and who’s to say it’s not the dining room? If entertaining is your life, and you’d like a dining room that offers a high-end appeal, leather dining chairs may be the solution. Leather furniture is fun, yet formal. It looks and feels expensive and is sure to please even the pickiest guest. But if you have pets with teeth and claws, you may find yourself replacing leather dining chairs more often than those made of less luxurious materials.
  • Wicker: Wicker furniture in the dining room is a must for homes that are beach-adjacent, or for whose occupants wish they were. Wicker furniture may be made of grasses, vines, or synthetic materials, is durable and long-lasting, and is always classically pretty. If it’s an ultra-feminine space you’re going for, a wicker dining table and chair set is a gorgeous choice. Wicker isn’t as indestructible as wood or metal, though, so it is important to keep this in mind when deciding on a dining chair type.

Dining Room Chair Designs

Of course, the design of your dining room table and chairs is just as important as the craftsmanship and materials used. If you love a rustic vibe, for example, then whitewashed wood chairs flanking a farmhouse table is a beautiful sight. But if your personal preferences lean toward elegant or antique, then a Queen Anne style or Windsor chair is a better choice. Few things feel worse than walking through a dining room that feels as though it was designed with strangers in mind, so spend time defining the look you love before making the leap. There are different types of classic dining chair options including:

  • Armchair: Simply stated, an armchair is a chair that features armrests. Armchairs are cozy, upholstered options, but they tend to take up more space than more traditional chairs. If you’re set on having armchairs around your dining table, consider limiting them to the head and foot.
  • Parsons Chair: The Parsons chair offers clean lines, but with a decorative side note. Always upholstered and featuring a straight back with no arms, the Parsons chair is often adorned in some way with buttons or rivets. The Parsons chair was originally designed by French furniture makers, which means it’s an elegant and refined choice for most dining rooms.
  • Side Chair: By definition, a side chair features a straight back and no arms. Side chairs may or may not feature upholstery, and they’re ideal for tight dining rooms where you need to seat more guests with less space.
  • Wingback Chair: If your wish is to cradle your diners in luxury, the wingback chair is a solid choice. Featuring cozy upholstery, wings on the sides, and armrests, a wing back chair elevates your dining space to a higher level.
  • Ladder Back Chair: The ladder back chair has horizontal slats across the back. If you’re furnishing your dining room to appear antiquarian, ladder backs should top your list.
  • Slat Back Chair: Super traditional, slat back chairs feature vertical slats or spindles down the back.
  • Cross Back Chair: Cross back chairs have exposed cross pieces that form an “x” in the chair back. Usually made of wood, they’re great for informal or rustic dining rooms.
  • Splat Back Chair: This dining chair features a decorative, vertical, exposed wood “splat” down the back that echoes (and may identify) the furniture style. Splat back chairs give a room a more traditional vibe.

Choosing Your Dining Room Chairs

Dark wood rectangular dining table with wooden and beige upholstered chairs.

You may even want to consider purchasing plastic dining chairs or the classic folding chair to create a unique dining space, especially if the area you’re furnishing is outside. Today’s higher-end plastic chairs are usually composed of resin, which makes them impervious to the elements. It makes them attractive and affordable, too. Chairs that fold away will never go out of style, simply because they’re so extremely functional.

The most important takeaway when choosing furniture for your dining area is to make sure it works well for the people who will be using it. You want ultimate comfort, extreme durability, and good value for the price you pay. Whether you choose plastic frame or wooden frame chairs and a farmhouse or colonial-style table, the furniture in your dining or living room should make you smile when you pass by. It should also make your guests feel welcomed and valued.

We suggest using these tips to help you choose the best dining room furniture for your space:

  • Partner with an interior decorator or furniture consultant to help you make the right choice for your space.
  • Survey family members to find out which elements they most appreciate in their choice of dining furniture.
  • Consider the level of wear and tear children and pets may wreak.
  • Make sure you have a well-defined image of your finished space in mind before you buy.
  • Set a budget and stick to it.
  • Purchase your new dining furniture from a trustworthy and reliable source.

Finding the Perfect Chairs in the Bay Area

In the Bay area, California Dining & Barstools is your go-to source for quality dining room furniture at an affordable price. And there’s always a professional furniture consultant on site to help you make the big decisions. Our showrooms in Pleasant Hill and Sunnyvale are well-stocked with our most popular pieces, so you can see and touch your new furniture before you commit to buying. And our valued customers always have the option of mixing and matching pieces to create a truly customized space.

When you’re ready to invest in dining room chairs, table sets, or more in the Bay area, stop by California Dining & Barstools to view our stunning collections. We have the furniture you’ll love at prices you can afford. Call today to learn how our furniture professionals can help you create the dining room of your dreams.