4 Expert Tips To Choose Kitchen & Dining Chairs

If you need new kitchen & dining chairs, you have many different points to consider. There is a dizzying array of chair types. You have to decide which materials and styles work best for your home. Plus, it's important to get an idea of how many chairs you'll need. Read on to find tips about how to find the best chairs for you.

How To Choose Between Different Types of Kitchen & Dining Chairs?

You'd think a chair would be a chair. But kitchen & dining chairs actually come in a wide selection of types, from how their backs look to even how they store. Each of these factors can mean a difference in comfort and function. So below we'll look at the main types of chairs and how they fit into different preferences. 

Padded

This is one of the most common chair types. It's upholstered and has some sort of soft material underneath the fabric, usually foam. Sometimes just the seat will be padded, and sometimes both the backrest and seat will. If you don't like the feel of hard seats, choose a padded design for maximum comfort.

Light Gray Polyester Upholstered Wood Dining Chair
Light Blue Velvet Upholstered Metal Side Chair
Milky White Velvet Upholstered Wood Dining Chair
Black Faux Leather Upholstered Wood Side Chair
Gray Velvet Upholstered Metal Side Chair
Charcoal Beige Polyester Upholstered Wood Dining Chair

Cross back

These have narrow pieces that form a cross on the back of the chair. Choose these if you want the support, along with a classic woodworking style. Open chair designs can also create less of a closed-in look in a kitchen or dining room.

Macadamia Wood Cross Back Dining Chair
Linen White Wood Cross Back Dining Chair
Ivory Wicker Wood Metal Cross Back Side Chair
Brown Manufactured Wood Metal Cross Back Dining Chair
Grey Wood Cross Back Arm Chair
Hazelnut Brown Wood Cotton Cross Back Side Chair

Slat back

This common style has a narrow flat piece going up the back of the chair. Either side of the slat is usually open within a thin frame creating the shape of the chair back. Choose this design if you want direct back support with a slightly open design.

Antique Gray Wood Slat Back Dining Chair
Off White Manufactured Wood Slat Back Side Chair
Gray Oak Wood Slat Back Side Chair
Cider Acacia Wood Slat Back Dining Chair
Peppercorn Wood Slat Back Side Chair
Light Oak Wood Slat Back Dining Chair

Windsor back

These are the traditional chairs with vertical rods forming the back of the chair, which are usually outlined in a frame. Choose this style for a classic, rustic or country look. However, they're an austere chair that might not be the most comfortable if you have joint issues.

Raspberry Wood Windsor Back Side Chair
Rustic Oak Wood Windsor Back Dining Chair
Black Metal Wood Windsor Back Dining Chair
Black Metal Windsor Back Side Chair
Ebony Wood Windsor Back Dining Chair
White Natural Wood Windsor Back Side Chair

Solid back

This type of chair has a flat back. That back can support your whole back, or in more modern styles, might be more of a minimal flat piece that fits along the middle of your back. Choose these if you want back support and a classic style.

Black Plastic Wood Solid Back Side Chair
Navy Blue Polyester Wood Solid Back Dining Chair
Manufactured Wood Metal Solid Back Side Chair
White Faux Leather Solid Back Dining Chair
Blue Plastic Solid Back Dining Chair
Hazlenut Wicker Solid Back Arm Chair

Stackable

If you plan to only have the chairs out for entertaining, choose a set that you can stack. Be aware that these are often meant to be used for short periods of time, so they are often hard metal designs.

Orange Plastic Stackable Dining Chair
Taupe Plastic Stackable Side Chair
Blue Velvet Gold Metal Stackable Dining Chair
Gray Leather Metal Stackable Side Chair
White Plastic Stackable Dining Chair
Black Metal Wood Stackable Dining Chair

Which Materials Are Best in Kitchen & Dining Chairs?

Another major consideration should be which materials the kitchen & dining chairs come in. You have several main options, each of which imparts its own style and function. 

Wood

Choose a wooden chair if you're going for a classic, rustic or timeless style. A wooden chair gives a look like the furniture is handmade and is a classic addition to any home. It's common to find a chair in a variety of wood types, though rubberwood is a popular wood species used in chairs these days for its durability.

Natural Walnut Solid Wood Side Chair
Natural Beech Solid Wood Arm Chair
Dark Brown Cherry Solid Wood Side Chair
Brown Solid Rubberwood Faux Leather Dining Chair
Brown Pine Solid Wood Side Chair
White Poplar Solid Wood Arm Chair

Metal

It's also common to see metal chairs, often with slat backing. Choose these for modern, casual or industrial spaces.

White Metal Steel Dining Chair
Brushed Copper Metal Side Chair
Black Metal Aluminum Slat Back Dining Chair
White Metal Solid Manufactured Wood Side Chair
Modern Metal Steel Side Chair
Rose Gold Metal Velvet Dining Chair

Upholstered

If comfort is your main priority, choose an upholstered style, which often has padding added. You might question whether having kitchen & dining chairs in an upholstered style is a good idea, seeing as it might be easy to drop something and stain them.

If staining is a concern, choose a fabric or chair that is rated as being stain-resistant. For instance, it's common to find chairs upholstered with polyester, which is a durable fabric that can be more stain-resistant than, say, velvet.

Beige Linen Wood Dining Chair
Brown Faux Leather Metal Dining Chair
Polyester Metal Solid Back Side Chair
Brown Yellow Polyester Wood Side Chair
Black Velvet Metal Side Chair
Gray Polyester Wood Arm Chair

How to Choose Different Styles in Kitchen & Dining Chairs?

It may seem like you already have enough choices, but you should also consider the overall style of the chair and how that fits into your home's style.

  • Curved/modern: This style covers any kitchen & dining chairs that have soft lines. These are usually minimal in style with low backrests. Some are made for comfort and others focus mainly on style. What they all have in common is they tend to look good in Mid-Century Modern styles.
  • Sleek with neutral colors: This covers any chair that has stark lines in its design and is of a neutral color. These go well in modern, upscale or timeless designs.
  • Geometric patterns: Chairs with geometric patterns are almost always upholstered. Choose these for modern looks that make use of geometry, classic styles or transitional looks.
  • Bold colors: No matter the material, you can find a style in whatever bold color you want. Bold-colored chairs make great accent pieces when placed off to the side of a room. You might also want to include them in artsy styles.
  • Country style: This encompasses any kind of chair with a classic handmade look. They're almost always made out of wood and often have a cross back or Windsor back. These were made for the country, rustic or classic looks.
  • Transitional: This is any type of chair that fits in well with timeless looks. They usually have neutral colors and understated builds that can fit into any home. Look for this type of chair for transitional homes, of course.
Gray Polyester Metal Modern Arm Chair
Light Gray Polyester Wood Vintage French Dining Chair
Yellow Polyester Wood Geometric Pattern Chair
Fig Velvet Wood Side Chair
Gray Cotton Metal Dining Chair
Green Velvet Golden Metal Side Chair

How Many Kitchen & Dining Chairs are Appropriate?

Once you've narrowed down which type of chair would fit your home in terms of type, material and style, you should also think carefully about how many you'll need. This depends most directly on the size of the table you're looking to place the chairs around. 

  • The smallest tables in the kitchen will often need one or two chairs.
  • Larger round or square tables do well with four chairs.

Dining tables get a little more complicated, as they usually have the two chairs on each end, but how many chairs you can fit around the table depends on the length of the table. Measure how long the table is, and make sure you know how wide the style of chair you intend to buy is as well. A general rule is to give about 6 inches or more on each side of the chair to give room for elbow space. 

Jessica started out as an interior photographer, but her love of pretty settings took her to the field of interior design, where she can combine two of her greatest passions, creating and then capturing the beauty of homes.