Once you’ve chosen the perfect dining table for your space, getting the dining chairs to go with it can feel like a bit of an afterthought – often it seems more a case of simply grabbing whatever looks like it might vaguely match or fit into your space.
But how often have you found your desire to linger after a great meal dramatically curtailed by some seriously uncomfortable seating? And how often do you find yourself having to hunt around the house for extra seating when more guests than you have chairs turn up at your door? Never mind the awkward moment of who draws the short straw of being seated on the rickety fold-up chair or uncomfortable spare stool…
Essentially, dining chairs are every bit as important as your dining table, so we reckon it’s about time we pay them the attention they deserve!
It might sound obvious but you’d be surprised how often people forget to cover the basics before embarking on a shopping spree. Remember to make a note of all the vital dimensions – both of your dining table and the area around it – so that you have enough space to fit in the number of chairs you require, without squashing them up against each other or your walls and other furniture. Make sure the chairs are the correct height to fit under the dining table, and that guests have enough space to pull them out and actually sit on them too!
The material you choose for your dining chairs is probably the next most important decision you’ll make. Sturdy solid materials like wood are durable and easy-to-clean, whilst upholstered chairs are more comfortable but can require more maintenance. High quality leather and wood will wear well with age if looked after correctly and create a warm cosy ambience, whilst fabrics like velvet or linen give a different kind of aesthetic but may need to be reupholstered over the years.
This one’s simpler – do you want dining chairs with arms or without? With arms generally equals greater comfort, whilst armless saves on space – both visually and physically. It’s your call!
Similar to the arms question, do you want your dining chairs to have backs or not? Again, chairs with backs are more comfortable for whiling the evening away, whilst backless seating saves on space… but there’s a bit more to it than that. For chairs with backs, think about size and scale – higher backs tend to give a more formal feel, lower backs have a more casual vibe, and open-back chairs give the impression of more space. Meanwhile, backless seating can take advantage of being against walls to provide some back support for guests, whilst cushions can be added for comfort too.
Modern dining chairs no longer have to equal a prim and proper full matching set – these days, anything goes! That being said, you should make sure that your chairs are all roughly the same height (it’s just weird for some guests to be towering over others); similarly, having one cohesive element – whether it’s a colour, material or shape – will tie your look together, rather than just looking like a jumble. One particularly fun way of mixing and matching is to opt for head chairs that are different to the rest of your dining chairs – a bold pattern or stand-out shape here can really ground your space whilst adding visual flair.
Now you know what to look for, here are five of our favourite contemporary dining chairs from our collection.
Forget uptight formal dinners – our Swallow Dining Chair is all about a more relaxed, casual type of entertaining. Swallow is upholstered head to toe in our signature hand-finished leather, which has been hand-buffed to create a natural, rustic look that still feels sumptuously soft. Meanwhile, its winged sides add another element of comfort, keeping you suitably snug in your seat for the best kind of long, lingering evenings.
Inject some extra personality to your meals with our beautifully rugged Sparrow Dining Chair. Fully outfitted in our finest aniline leather, it has been carefully distressed to create a raw and authentic look that couldn’t be further apart from your standard cookie-cutter dining chairs – a finish that will age just as wonderfully as fine wine.
Be the ringmaster of your next dinner party with our brilliantly bold Circus Dining Chair. Taking inspiration from Danish mid-century design, Circus contrasts our buttery soft hand-finished leather with distressed Spitfire-finish metal details – and is all the more eye-catching as a result. Its smooth lines, pleasing proportions and generously padded seat set the stage for a night to remember; choose between traditional wooden legs or a contemporary swivel metal base to enhance your preferred aesthetic further.
Blasts from the past don’t come much cooler than our Retro Dining Chair, which effortlessly channels the laidback sports-luxe look of the 1970s. Simple but sophisticated, it features modern linear detailing and plush padding that make it a winner in both the comfort and style stakes. Take your pick from our vast range of hand-finished leather or linen upholstery to find an option that best suits your tastes.
Score a perfect ten at your next dinner party with our Gym Horse Bench, a playful take on vintage gym equipment. Available in single, double or triple-seater styles upholstered in our range of hand-finished vintage leathers, these quirky, casual-chic backless benches are a great choice for saving space – and squeezing in extra bodies for fun communal dining – whilst also bagging top marks in the comfort department too.