Complete Guide to Dining Chair Styles for Your Home

white chairs around a dining room table

While the table tends to be the centerpiece in any dining room, the type of dining chair you choose is just as important. Switching up your dining chairs is a great way to refresh any room that needs a new look, and upgrading your dining chairs for a new home will help you host get-togethers with style, comfort, and ease. But with so many dining chair styles out there, how do you choose?

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Here’s our guide on how to choose the right dining chair styles and sizes for your home.

Dining Chair Styles

Traditional Wood Dining Chairs

Traditional styles of dining chairs can include ladder back, cross back, Bentwood, or Windsor, among others. These are perhaps the most common choices for dining chairs and are typically made out of wood with different back slat configurations. 

Ladder Back and Cross Back Dining Chairs

Ladder and cross back dining chairs have wooden slats that are either stacked horizontally similar to ladder rungs, or crossed at the middle in an “X” configuration.

Bentwood Chairs

Bentwood chairs have a back made of wooden rods bent and curved into a particular shape using steam heat.

Windsor Chairs

Windsor chairs are stool seats (often with a shallow dish carved out for comfort) with the chair back consisting of multiple thin spindles pushed into predrilled holes and straight legs that splay outward slightly. 

You may be able to find any of these traditional wood dining chairs with upholstered seats, which would help to make them more comfortable for prolonged seating. 

Classic Formal Dining Chairs

Classic formal styles of chairs — such as slipcovered chairs, Parsons chairs, wingback chairs, and Queen Anne-style chairs — can be perfect for a dining room used for holidays and special events. 

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Slipcovered Dining Chairs

Slipcovered chairs can add sophistication to any dining room. Chairs with a fitted upholstered cover in materials such as linen can be great accent chairs for a classic formal dining room table.

Parsons Dining Chairs

Parsons chairs are fully upholstered chairs with no armrests and a very high back. You can customize the upholstery of Parsons chairs to fit with your unique style by choosing the color and material. Velvet, leather, and linen are popular choices. 

Wingback Dining Chairs

Similar in style to Parsons chairs, wingback chairs create a unique silhouette with “wings” along the sides of the chair and are usually completely upholstered. Pairing wingback chairs at the head and foot of the table with Parsons chairs at the sides would create a great dining table setup.

Queen Anne-Style Dining Chairs

Are you looking for something a bit more ornate? 

Queen Anne-style chairs are stained cherry wood chairs with beautiful, handcrafted details. The hand-carved chair backs and armrests include a detailed cresting top rail, or are sometimes fully upholstered with lush fabrics. Furthermore, Queen Anne-style chairs typically have an upholstered seat that you can customize to match the rest of your dining room.

Modern Dining Chairs

If your home has a more minimalist or modern aesthetic, modern dining chairs may be a better option. Styles include slope chairs, cantilever chairs, and plastic-molded chairs.

Slope Dining Chairs

Slope dining chairs have a simple, elegant silhouette, with the chair back and seat made out of one continuous curved panel. These chairs are usually upholstered in faux or real leather, making them easy to clean as well as very stylish and modern.

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Cantilever Dining Chairs

Cantilever dining chairs gained popularity in the 1970s. Their unique design with the upholstered seat balancing on a base without back legs makes them comfortable and stylish.

Plastic Molded Dining Chairs

Plastic molded dining chairs give off a funky, retro-inspired look with their bucket seats and curved backs. These dining chairs are also lightweight and easy to clean. This is an additional advantage for homes with children or pets.

Dining Chair Sizes

Whatever style of chair you go for, you need to make sure the seats will fit well within your dining room and under your dining room table. Additionally, after you take precise measurements, make sure you leave enough space for the arms and legs of each individual who will be seated. You want everyone to be comfortable sitting around your dining room table.

An easy-to-remember rule of thumb is to leave 10 inches of space between the seat and the dining table, and two feet of table width space for each guest to have before them at your table. To avoid a crowded room without space to leave the table, ensure each guest has two feet of empty space behind them at your table while they are sitting.

The size of your chairs also depends on how many guests you regularly entertain. For instance, if you usually have big dinner parties, choosing a slimmer and less bulky chair may help you fit more people at your table. This will allow for more room while they are seated. 

Tip: The average dining chair is between 16 and 20 inches wide, and you should have about 6 inches between each chair. As a result, each chair should take up approximately 28 to 36 inches of space along the sides of your table.

Don’t forget table height! Equally important is to make sure that you choose a chair with a compatible height to your dining room table. This will help avoid awkward levels between your guests and their meal or drinks.

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Contact Queen Anne Upholstery Today!

Need some more assistance in choosing your perfect dining chair styles? Queen Anne Upholstery & Refinishing has been helping people with all of their upholstered furniture, restoration and repair, and custom furniture needs since 1936. 

For more information or to move forward with your dining chair project, request an estimate today!

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