BUYER'S GUIDE TO DINING CHAIRS
Whether they’re used for a quick breakfast or a leisurely dinner party, dining chairs not only have to be comfortable, they have to withstand years of kids’ sticky fingers and adult behinds. So buy the best first time round.
COMFORT vs STYLE vs STRENGTH
When we’re shopping for chairs, most of us undoubtedly consider what they look like before we give much thought to how comfortable they are – let alone whether they’ll be tough enough to last as long as the dining table. But, getting comfort factor, durability and quality balanced with how nice they look in your dining space is a must. Here’s how.
Whether you go for contemporary or period designer chairs (or lookalikes) or traditional seats, there are a few basic design rules that you should bear in mind:
When you buy dining chairs, consider not only your comfort but that of everyone who will regularly use them. These tips will help you get it right:
Ideally, the seat itself should be at least 45cm to 55cm wide, deep enough to comfortably support the thighs of even the tallest family member, and 45 to 48cm high.
Do you want a soft or hard seat?
If you like a leisurely lunch, you’ll want a firm seat with some give in it, so consider an upholstered or webbed seat.
Arm rests or no?
If you tend to sit at the table for long periods, you’ll find arm rests a bonus. If space is tight and meals are rushed, do without them.
How is the back support?
What suits one person might not suit another, so it’s worth knowing if you prefer a low or high backed chair before you buy. Ideally, the back rest should follow the natural curve of your back.
Will the chairs last?
Whether you just want to ensure they stand up to the kids’ fingerprints or will withstand years of wear and tear, here’s what to consider:
1 Are the chairs the right height for the table they’ll be matched to? You can assume they are if they’re sold as a set but if you’re buying them separately, you need to check measurements carefully. Dining tables tend to have a standard height of 75cm, but not all will, so check first.
2 Have you bought the right number of chairs? If space in the room is tight and you’ll regularly only use four chairs, why not buy two or more foldaway or stackable chairs and store them somewhere handy? That way, you’ll keep the room feeling as spacious as possible while still having enough seating when you need it. Or, consider a chair and stool combination (see our District Eight range of stools), or a chair and bench combination (our Brunel bench is a popular buy). Both of these will help save space in a small room.
3 Will the chairs come ready-assembled or will you need to assemble them at home? Ask before you buy.
4 How are the chairs sold? Some chairs are sold as a set or in pairs, others are sold singly.
5 Is there a guarantee? Find out how long the chairs you buy are guaranteed for before you buy.