Shopping for dining chairs can sometimes feel as up-in-the-air as a game of musical chairs. But no worries – we’ve rounded up some of the most-loved styles to offer a guide to choosing your perfect dining room chair. Read on to learn about the styles, elements, and even histories of these dinnertime companions.
Types of Dining Chairs
Usually adding depth and character to the head and foot of the table, arm chairs create a more formal look in your dining area. They take a variety of forms, too, from ladder backs to fully upholstered. And while arm chairs tend to match their side chairs, you can also mismatch them for an eclectic appeal.
A dinnertime staple, side chairs take their name from the fact that they sit along the side of the table – although they can certainly occupy the ends, too. From upholstered to all wood, casual to formal, side chair style options are virtually endless.
Taking its name from Paris’ Parsons School of Design, parsons chairs feature clean, simple
lines combined with fully upholstered seats. Linen, leather, fabric, patterned, button-tufted – oodles of possibilities make the parsons chair a fit for many a dining room.
For a look that’s both tidy and cozy, you can’t go wrong with wingback chairs. “Wings” along both sides of the backrest extend down to the seat to create a distinctive silhouette. Wingback chairs are usually upholstered, so be sure to explore all your fabric options.
Ladder-back chairs feature horizontal slats evenly spaced along the chair’s back, creating a light, open look. You’ll usually find the design coupled with more traditional styles, but you can also find it dressing up transitional and even contemporary designs, too.
Like its cousin the ladder-back chair, slat-back chairs feature evenly spaced slats, only
vertical rather than horizontal. The result is a long, lean look you’ll see in a variety of
styles, from traditional to Mission to transitional.
Sometimes referred to as “late Baroque,” Queen Anne chairs take their name from a furniture style developed during the Queen Anne’s 18th-century reign. Elegance abounds with this design, from cabriole legs to carved details to cushioned seats.
Taking their inspiration from early English designs, Windsor chairs feature a half-circle back supported by vertical slats or rods. Spindle legs are a common feature, too. Add Windsor chairs when you want vintage style with casual charm.
X marks the spot with cross-back chairs. The X-shaped design draws the eye, while offering a light, airy look that won’t overwhelm the entire room. You’ll find cross backs in a full range of styles, too, from country to contemporary.
A little lattice can go a long way. Much like slat-back and cross-back chairs, lattice-back
chairs feature open backs. But their design possibilities are endless – choose from geometric grids, patterned diamonds, and even eye-catching scrollwork.
Simply put, a “splat” is a centrally placed, vertical column on a chair back. Splat-back chairs take this central column and typically dress it up, adding cutout shapes, scrollwork,
interesting angles, and more. The splat-back enjoys a long, varied history – you’ll find it in
everything from classic Gothic to English to Chinese designs.
With all the right angles on style, keyhole chairs feature a central cutout, usually square or rectangular, that adds a cool, clean look to the chair back. The style is usually found in modern and contemporary designs, and it’s often upholstered, too, whether in leather, vinyl, or fabric.