You find the table and are in love, then you realise you have to pick the chairs! Choosing the right dining chair is a bit of an art us Stylists learn very quickly. So many client’s get it wrong and then come to us. It doesn’t fit, uncomfortable but looks good or just doesn’t go together = HELP.
Dining rooms come in all shapes, configurations and sizes — casual, formal, outdoor, big, small you name it. But the most important element in a dining space is your chair. Is your dining chair size the right height for your table? Is it comfortable for the type of entertaining you like to do? Is the fabric practical for your 3 year old when eating spag bol?
There are lots of questions to answer before you pick the right one, and we’re here to help you through the process so it’s not so daunting. I see so many posts on social of people asking will this chair suit my table for complete strangers to say “oh yes lovely” yet there is no comments on the size, shape or practicality its all about aesthetics. There is more to consider than you may think.
How tall and wide should your dining chairs be?
The size of your dining chair is crucial to getting the space right. As they say measure twice and measure again. Those ones on Instagram may look great but there is a good chance they will not fit your table. Here is the basic rule of thumb when measuring for chairs;
- You should allow 75cm between the bottom of your chair and the bottom of the underside of the table to be able to sit comfortably
- 30cm between the top of the seat of the chair and the underside of the table
- To work out how many chairs will fit around your table you should allow 60cm of space for each chair for room to move.
How much room do you need between the dining chair and wall?
As a rule of thumb I always allow a good space between the chair and wall or other furniture. You need to be able to easily walk around the table and chairs when they are out and you don’t want people hitting the wall every time they push their dining chair out.
- Allow 90cm minimum from dining chair to wall but I recommend 1m
- Ensure you can walk around the table and chair while other people are seated
- Make sure you can open any cabinets, doors or drawers with the chair out
Do dining chairs have to match the table?
Hard no for me. I never choose matchy matchy sets for my clients. Each piece should stand on its own merit. Both your table and your chairs should be a focal point. After all it’s been 15 years since your parents bought a matching dining table, chairs and lounge suite from Harvey Norman right!
Your dining chairs do not have to match, in fact they don’t even have to match each other, as long as they fit the table and area and are comfortable it’s all that matters. You live here, not Instagram and you need to love the space you live in.
You might choose a bench on one side and chairs on the other, or the same chair in in different colours. Do something different that makes you and your family happy when sitting down to eat. Remember those visitors are not eating there everyday.
Are dining chairs with arms better?
Head chairs and side chairs again can be what you love after you have measured them. You can choose to have side chairs without arms and only the head chairs with arms. Many suppliers these days offer the same chair with and without arms. Most importantly you need to actually be practical about the use of the chair. Are you one of those people who want chair arms for comfort as you sit at the table a lot. Do you sit around the table for family chats and dinner time is often family time! then arms are a good options. If you have young children they are also good for keeping them on the seat. Casual dining leans more towards armless dining chairs, the in and out on the go family.
Do I choose a dining chair with fabric or not?
Comfort is your number 1 priority after fitting your chair to your table. Dining chairs come in so many different materials from cane to solid wood to wire and then upholstered. So may choices right? What to consider when choosing which dining chair material;
- Style of your home – you are not going to put a velvet dining chair in a beach house style home generally speaking. Follow your style without being to cliche
- Look for a curved back chair which is going to be more comfortable then a straight backed dining chair
- Most chairs with cushions seats are more comfortable but not all – sit in as many chairs as possible to test them out
- Do you have small children? if the answer is yes and you want a fabric dining chair consider the material and pattern for mishaps at the dining table
- The cheaper the chair the less likely it will have the comfort factor – trust me