Whether it’s a casual country kitchen or a classic formal dining room, the main feature of any dining space is its table. But what about the chairs that surround that table? Too often they get overlooked or left as an afterthought. If you’re planning to change up the look of your dining space, take a moment to consider hiring a professional furniture maker and the different chair design options at your disposal.
The Parsons Chair
Originally developed at the Parsons School of Design, this chair is designed for class and comfort. Fully upholstered, these chairs can be made in a wide range of materials, from leather to bright fabrics. Perfect for adding a pop of color to your space, this chair design can also be fitted with removable slipcovers to make it easy to clean up any spills or stains.
These is probably the design that first comes to mind when thinking of a dining chair. It includes a variety of styles, like Chippendale—a highly ornate style featuring lots of carving—and Queen Anne, which features bowed legs and typically a curved back. Most styles feature vertical slats at the back, except, of course, for the ladderback chair, which has horizontal rungs. This gives the ladderback chair a more casual, country-chic appearance. Most traditional styles can be made with or without upholstered seats, though it’s more common to find upholstery on some designs than others, including the Queen Anne.
Many traditional chair designs also offer the option of arm chairs or side chairs. Arm chairs, which, as the name suggests, have arm rests, are often used only at the head and foot of the table. Side chairs without arm rests are used for the rest of the seating since it’s more comfortable for diners sitting side by side to not have to negotiate the added obstacle.
If a traditional chair design doesn’t suit your style sensibility, check out a more modern design. Often made from metal and plastic, these streamlined chairs feature curves and flowing designs that aren’t possible with traditional construction techniques. This type of chair is typically not upholstered, making them easy to keep clean and spotless, but that’s one of the few features these styles have in common. From molded plastic chairs suitable for a mod-styled kitchen to cast aluminum seats with an industrial feel, there’s a wide range of modern styles available.
Like other traditional designs, these chairs are typically wooden and available in a wide range of finishes and upholstered seats, but unlike most traditional chair styles, Shaker chairs feature minimal decoration. There’s no carving, and the only curved lines may be a slight arc to the back of the chair for comfort. The straight vertical and horizontal elements give this classic design a clean and modern feel, even though they were first built in the early 19th century!
Another more traditional style, Windsor chairs were developed in England but gained popularity in America during the 1700s. These custom chairs differ from typical traditional designs because they use spindles instead of slats for the chair back. The arm rests are often built in one piece with the back of the chair using a single curved piece of wood, and the top of the chair is similarly capped with a bent hoop of wood. Often, these chairs are made from several different types of timber (sturdy wood like hickory for spindles, with more flexible timber for the curved portions), and so they were traditionally painted rather than stained. The style is perfect for a casual family kitchen or a relaxed country decor scheme.