Style guide

Dining chair styles

If you’re shopping around for a new dining room table and chair set or are just in need of some new chairs, this is for you. In this guide, I reveal 8 of the most popular styles.

Written by:

It’s easy to get more excited about choosing a dining room table over dining room chairs because tables are obviously that much bigger.

But here’s the thing, dining chairs are just as important, if not more.

For instance, they need to be the right height and width plus, of course, be nice and comfy for you and your friends, family and other guests to sit on.

How do I choose the right dining room chairs?

It’s important you take your time when buying dining room chairs because you want them to tick all of your boxes from a functional and design perspective. Plus, i'm sure you also want to use and enjoy them for many years to come!

Even if you need some chairs in a hurry, always consider these factors before buying anything:

1. Size – how wide and tall do your chairs have to be so they don’t hit your table and they comfortably fit under and around it?

When measuring the width, leave a small gap between the chairs to avoid having to wedge them in.

2. Shape – what shape is your table?

If it’s round or oval, then you’ll most probably have a little less room to slot chairs underneath compared to a square or rectangular table

3. Style – which style of chairs goes with your table and the rest of your décor?

Because there are several different options to choose from (keep reading for more details on those options)

4. Usage – how often will you use them?

Are you going to use your chairs every day at meal-times, and for other things, or are they just going to be used every now and then? This will influence the material you go for – e.g. practical vs. decorative.

5. Materials – do you need something that looks the part, is practical or both? 

Wood, metal, plastic, fabric, dining chairs are available in the widest range of options. If your chairs are for occasional use, you may not feel the need to get too hung up on the comfort factor, and may go with traditional wood. Also bear in mind that leather and plastic tend to be easier to keep clean and wipe down, while fabric chairs tend to be softer to sit on.


What type of dining room chairs are there?

As you’ve probably guessed from the advice above, there are plenty of dining room chair styles for you to choose from, including these: 

1. Parsons Chair

Classic and modern, the Parsons Chair was created in the 1930s at the Parsons School of Design in Paris. Ever since then, it has attracted widespread appeal for its simple armless design, featuring straight, simple edges and squared legs.

Combining traditional wooden legs and striking patterned fabric, as well as a cushioned seat, these dining chairs are stylish and functional. Measurements: 105cm/41.3in (height), 44.5cm/17.5in (length), 52cm/20.5in (width).

2. Eames DSR chair 

The Eames Dining (height) Side (chair) Rod (base) chair was designed by Charles and Ray Eames for Vitro in the 1950s. The style is instantly recognisable, thanks to its ‘Eiffel Tower’ legs and moulded seat.

Knightsbridge Pair of Grey Dining Chairs

Incorporating a black coated metal frame and striking concrete-effect foil, these chairs are modern and contemporary with a minimalistic twist. Measurements: 82.5cm/32.5in (height), 47.5cm/18.7in (length), 41cm/16.1in (width).

3. Side chair

Can be seen in many a kitchen and dining room. Side chairs are characterised by their wooden frame, arched back, plain wooden seat and armless design.

Marylebone Pair of Dining Chairs

Featuring sleek wood (a natural grain-effect seat and black acacia back and legs), this set of chairs is striking and functional, all rolled into one. Meanwhile, the criss-cross back design adds an additional style detail. Measurements: 99cm/39in (height), 46.5cm/18.7in (length), 53.5cm/21.1in (width). 

4. Arm chair 

Is a more detailed take on the side chair, with the main difference being these chairs have arms that are usually attached to the back.

5. Upholstered 

Designed with comfort in mind, upholstered chairs feature a soft texture and cushioned seat and are built around all sorts of different frames.

Montero Pair of Dusky Pink Dining Chairs

Covered in a layer of luxurious velvet material and featuring a high back, these chairs are designed with style and comfort in mind. Meanwhile, the walnut-coloured legs and delicate gold tips give the chairs that unique edge. Measurements: 83cm/32.7in (height), 50cm/19.7in (length), 59cm/23.2in (width).

6. Wooden framed

Tend to incorporate minimal upholstery. Some designs may incorporate a slightly cushioned seat however, most traditional wooden framed chairs feature a moulded wooden seat. Removeable cushion pads can be used to provide that extra bit of comfort.

Distinctive ladder effect backs make these chairs stand out, while the natural wood seating provides a touch of style interest. Also available in black, these chairs are highly practical and guaranteed to go with most interiors. Measurements: 100cm/39.4in (height), 41cm/16.1in (length), 47cm/18.5in (width).

7. Benches 

Provide minimalistic, practical seating solutions that are most commonly crafted from wood, but are also made from other materials, such as plastic and metal. They can be bought as individual, free-standing seats that sit on one or both sides of the table. Some dining set designs incorporate benches that are attached to the table.

Classic and contemporary, the Harper Large Cross Bench features chunky, contrasting oak, with slightly curved criss-cross legs. Measurements: 46cm/18.1in (height), 250cm/98.4in (length) and 38cm/15in (width).

8. Stools 

Are essentially side chairs, minus the arms and back. Over the years, stools have evolved to be more than just a simple wooden seat with one, two, three or four legs. Today’s options include low or high backs, short or long legs, swivel and seat adjustment functionality, as well as plush upholstering, as well as leather or plastic options.

Brooklyn Natural Studded Button Back Stool

Plush material and a padded seat and sides give these seats the comfort factor, while the button back design and stud detailing provide an attractive edge. The slim legs, which are available in oak, oak veneer and pine traditional, add to the overall elegance. Measurements: 110cms/43.3in (height), 45cm/17.7in (length), 57.5cm/22.6in (width).

Dining room chairs are much more than just functional pieces of furniture, and with the variety of styles available these days, they deserve to be too!

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Ashleigh Ellis

Written by:

Director of Upholstery & Furniture

at ScS

25th January 2024

Having been a part of the ScS family for over two years, Ashleigh is intricately woven into the fabric of the upholstery world, a legacy she inherited from a lineage of Manufacturing Directors within her family. Ashleigh's journey spans manufacturing, upholstery suppliers, and furniture retail across 23 years, and her expertise is only enriched by her lifetime of passion and knowledge. Balancing her professional life in Doncaster, she's a proud mom to two teenagers and two playful mini sausage dogs. To Ashleigh, upholstery holds a special place in her heart which is why she actively advocates for inspiring younger generations to consider the upholstery manufacturing industry. Her dedication and first-hand insights breathe life into every sofa she encounters.