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Updated July 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best dining chairs

Whether you eat every meal in your dining room or only use it on special occasions, you want to surround your table with chairs that are comfortable and stylish. But finding the right dining chairs isn’t always easy.

Dining chairs are available in many styles, types, and colors, so you can find options that match any décor. In addition, you can choose from different sizes based on the size and shape of your table to ensure they fit well and are comfortable to sit in. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the choices, which is why shopping for these chairs can be so tricky.

If you’re looking for new dining chairs, start by figuring out how many you need. Getting the height and width right is crucial, but you want to choose chairs of a type and style that suit the rest of your décor. A buying guide and recommendations can help narrow your focus and identify the best dining chairs for your home.

Extra dining chairs
If you have extra dining chairs that you only use for large gatherings, you don’t have to keep them in storage the rest of the time. Consider placing one or two in an entryway or in the empty corner of a room. 

How to buy the best dining chairs

How many chairs do I need?

You want enough chairs for family and friends to comfortably sit around your table. The size and shape of the table will determine how many chairs can fit in the space.

Each person needs approximately 24 to 30 inches of space. Here are some general guidelines for the ideal number of chairs for standard table sizes and shapes.

  • 48-inch round or square table: four chairs 
  • 60-inch round or square table: six chairs
  • 72-inch round or square table: eight chairs 
  • 72-inch rectangular or oval table: six chairs
  • 96-inch rectangular or oval table: eight chairs
  • 120-inch rectangular or oval table: ten chairs

Remember that you want to have enough chairs for guests too. For example, if your table can accommodate eight chairs but your household only contains four people, you’ll want the extra chairs for holiday dinners, dinner parties, and other events. 

Chair dimensions 

Height: You need to get the height of your chairs right to make sure everyone has enough legroom.

The average dining table is 30 inches tall. For the most comfortable seating, there should be about 12 inches between the seat and the table. The seat should be approximately 18 inches from the floor, so your feet rest on the ground when you’re seated. If your table is taller than average, look for taller chairs so you can sit comfortably. 

Width: Most dining chairs measure 16 to 20 inches wide, though those with arms can be up to 26 inches wide. There should be 6 inches between chairs so everyone seated at the table has enough space. 

In addition, for chairs that back up to a wall, there should be at least 36 inches between the backrest and the wall to allow guests to get in and out of their seats without disturbing anyone else. 

Chair types

While all chairs might seem the same, you can choose from several types based on your available space and décor preferences. Common dining chair types include the following:

Armchairs have armrests that are usually made from the same material as the rest of the chair. They tend to have a more formal look than other chairs and are often placed at the ends of the table. The arms also provide extra support for people who have trouble getting out of chairs.

Side chairs resemble armchairs without arms for a lighter, more casual look. They’re often placed along the sides of the table. They work well in smaller dining rooms because they don’t take up as much space. 

Parsons chairs are similar to side chairs because they don’t have arms, but they’re typically taller, upholstered, and have a slightly curved back. 

Benches are ideal if you want to maximize seating around your table. These can be placed along the sides and seat two to four people.

Dyk1-cleaning dining chairs
Did You Know?
Vinyl upholstery is an ideal alternative to leather. Vinyl is easier to clean, costs less, and often looks just like leather. 
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Features to look for in dining chairs 

Materials

You can find chairs made of several different materials, which affect not only the appearance but also the performance. The most common materials for dining chairs include the following:

Wood: These chairs are the most common. Wood is a sturdy and durable material that can be fashioned into simple chairs with clean lines or ornate, carved styles. Some wooden chairs have an upholstered seat. 

Metal: These chairs have an industrial, modern look that pairs well with contemporary décor. They’re also lightweight and easily moved. Metal chairs are easy to clean, making them ideal for a home with children. Metal seats can be hard, so you might want to look for chairs with upholstered seats or add cushions purchased separately. You can also find some chairs that combine wood and metal components. 

Wicker: These woven chairs are made of natural materials, such as vines, grasses, or reeds. They aren’t upholstered, but you can add cushions for greater comfort. Wicker chairs are perfect if you like a boho look in your dining room. 

Upholstery: These chairs have a wood or metal frame that is padded and covered with fabric. You can find chairs upholstered with various materials, including leather, velvet, and cotton blends. Upholstered chairs are very comfortable, but they can be difficult to keep clean. 

Plastic: These chairs are lightweight, affordable, and easy to clean. They come in bold, bright colors that can help liven up a dining room. Plastic chairs are ideal for outdoor dining and homes with children. 

Sets vs. individual chairs

Many dining chairs come in sets of two, four, or six chairs. If you need more than one, you’re better off purchasing a set because you’ll pay less per chair. However, you might only need to buy one chair to replace a broken or damaged one. A set would be impractical because you don’t want to pay for chairs you don’t need.

Casters

Some chairs have casters on the legs to make it easier to move them around the table and pull the chairs closer to the table. Most casters are removable. If you don’t like the way your chairs move with them in place, you can take them off. Casters work best on bare floors, so they might not be a good option if you have a carpet or rug in your dining room. 

Most high-quality dining chairs can hold at least 265 pounds, but inexpensive chairs may not be able to support that much weight. 

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How do I accessorize dining chairs?

Dining table

Pair your chairs with the right table for dining and other activities. Dining tables are available in many of the same materials as chairs and come in several shapes, including round, oval, rectangular, and square. Rectangular and oval tables are the largest options, with some styles fitting up to a dozen people. 

Slipcovers

Slipcovers are a quick and easy way to change the look of your chairs. They also work well to hide stains and other damage on upholstered chairs. Slipcovers come in various fabrics to match any décor. 

St2-stackable dining chairs
Staff Tip
If you need chairs that are easy to store, look for those that stack. 
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How much do dining chairs cost?

Inexpensive

The most affordable dining chairs are those sold individually. Plastic and metal chairs are often the most budget-friendly, costing $35 to $50 each. However, you’ll pay $50 to $150 for a solid wood or upholstered chair.

Mid-range

These dining chairs are usually sold in sets of two or more. Simple plastic, metal, or wood chairs cost $150 to $350, while upholstered styles typically cost $300 to $525.

Expensive

The most expensive dining chairs are sets of two or more made of higher-quality materials. You’ll find many solid wood and upholstered chairs in this price range, including formal dining chairs. These usually cost $525 to $1,000.

Tips

  • Measure your dining room and table before buying chairs. You don’t want to wind up with chairs that don’t fit in the room or around your table.
  • Match the shape of the chairs to the shape of the table. For example, chairs with a square or rectangular back and seat pair well with a square or rectangular table. They might look a little off paired with a round table.
  • Choose upholstered chairs carefully if you have children and/or pets. To avoid stains, look for fabrics you can spot clean or covers you can remove for cleaning.
  • Add cushions for greater comfort. If your chairs have a hard seat, you can find plenty of cushions that add padding to make them more comfortable. Some include ties to hold them in place, while others just rest on top of the seat. 
dining chairs and table
Many chairs come fully assembled, but some require some assembly, such as attaching the legs and the backrest. 

FAQ

Q. Do all my dining chairs have to match? 

A. There are no rules for home décor, so your chairs don’t have to match. Matching chairs offer a formal, elegant look that many people associate with dining room décor, but mismatched chairs can give your space personality and flair. It’s also not uncommon for the chairs at the head of the table to be slightly different from the side chairs.

To keep the design of your dining room coherent, the chairs should have a common element. For example, you might choose chairs of different styles that are all the same color. You could also use chairs of different colors that are all the same style. 

Q. Do dining chairs have to match the dining table? 

A. Just as the chairs don’t have to match each other, they also don’t have to match your table. Many tables are sold with chairs as part of a coordinated set, but you can mix and match as you see fit. You might want to choose chairs that are the same color or finish as the table to tie the room together, though. 

Q. What’s the most comfortable type of dining chair? 

A. Upholstered dining chairs have padding that provides cushioning, making them more comfortable. These are your best bet if comfort is your primary concern. 

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