Dining chairs are an easy and affordable means to refresh or develop your dining room aesthetic.
Yet, there are so many different dining chairs out there that choosing a set for your dining room can be pretty daunting. So whether you’re first moving out of home, or your current dining chairs are falling apart, or you’re simply falling out of love with them, check out this easy guide to take all the stress out of the shopping.
START WITH THE PRACTICALITIES
There’s no point thinking about how to make your room look inviting as a place to eat if you’ve got little idea about the functional aspects of your furniture.
If you’re buying a new dining table with dining chairs, the first and foremost constraint that you’ve got to come to terms with is the room itself. What shape is it? How large is it? If, like most people, your room is a rectangular prism, then rectangular dining tables are probably the way to go. If your room is closer to a cube, you could go for something more adventurous, like a custom-made square dining table. If it’s a spacious room, you should go for a larger table. If it’s smaller, or you’re in a unit, go for a smaller table (circular ones are pretty cute in these settings). From there, you can consider things like sideboards, mirrors, display cabinets, artwork, and other furniture pieces or homewares that you might want to include in the dining room. We won’t go into that here.
Once you’ve sorted out the table, you sort out the chairs. Firstly, how many people are you expecting to host at any given time? Secondly—and you’ll need the measuring tape for this—what’s the maximum chair width that allows you to seat that many people at your table? And thirdly, what is the maximum seat height for your dining chair that will allow 300 mm from the top of the seat to the underside of the dining table? (Or, more clearly: measure from your dining room floor to the underside of the dining table, deduct 300 mm, and that’s the maximum height for the seat of your dining room chairs.)
You consider these questions because 1) you’ll need as many chairs as the number of people you’re expecting to host, 2) those chairs will have to be correctly proportioned so that you can fit the maximum number of people at your table, and 3) you want the people sitting in those chairs to be able to fit their legs comfortably under the table. There’s no use having a pretty room if people’s legs are jammed under the table every time they try to sit, or if every time a guest comes over they have no chair, or worse still, they can’t even fit at your table because the chairs you chose were too large!
THEN, CONSIDER THE AESTHETIC QUALITIES
Your dining chairs don’t have to match your dining table. Your dining chairs don’t have to match your dining table. Your dining chairs don’t have to match your dining table.
Did I mention that your dining chairs don’t have to match your dining table?
Yes, dining tables can come with dining chairs. In fact, these dining packages, as they are so called, are one of our specialties. But you’ll notice that even with our recommended dining packages, we like to mix and match dining chairs with dining tables. You don’t have to have Tuscan dining chairs with a Tuscan dining table. You could go for French Cross dining chairs, instead; even in a contrasting colour. Another option is to move away from timber dining chairs and go for fabric in a matching colour—for example, our Gallery chairs with the Tuscan table. Another option still is to be more adventurous—for example, by going for chairs in a similar but noticeably different tone and texture to your dining room furniture. Really, the (dining chair) world is your oyster!
Now, what to do with those old chairs? Landfill isn't the answer. There will be some person, family, or charitable organisation out there that will be willing to give your old dining chairs another life. Consider storing them for your kids until they’re ready to move out, passing them on to relatives, selling them at a garage sale, or calling an organisation running a community shelter to see if they could use them. Alternatively, keep them in your garage for your own use. Having spare dining chairs may come in handy down the track -- you know, for any emergency seat-uations.