Dining chair buying guide

Sharing a meal is time well spent, so make sure that your dining chairs live up to the occasion. We’re here to help you find the perfect style for you and your family – and for the dining table that they’ll be arranged around.

Upholsted chairs

Fabric or leather

Ideal for formal dining tables

Stylish luxury

Comfortably cushioned

Upholstered dining chairs have a formal feel. They're comfortable and luxurious thanks to soft fabric or leather upholstery and usually have an upholstered, cushioned back. Naturaly, they look good with more formal tables, such as glass-topped or high-gloss designs. Button backed or tuffed designs have a more traditional feel, providing superior comfort for hours of entertaining.

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Slatted-back chairs

Perfect for everyday dining

Informal and casual

Mix and match different styles

Use as desk or occasional chairs

These generally have a more informal appearance than closed-back or upholstered chairs. They have more of a rusic or bistro look, making them a great option for more informal everyday dining. They look equally stylish as a set or mix and match them for a modern aesthetic.

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Dining armchairs

Comfortable and relaxing

A more elegant look

Double as occasional chairs

Wood or upholstered

Dining armchairs, sometimes called carver chairs, are a great way to add just a little traditional formality to your dining room. As they do take up more room than armless dining chairs, many people opt to place dining armchairs only at the ends of the table.

Bar stools

Right height for bar tables

With or without backs

For casual dining

Contemporary and stylish

If dining space is limited you may have decided on a bar table. And if you have a bar table you're going to need at least a couple of bar stools. It's the perfect arrangement for a quick meal or the kid's breakfast.

Bar stools can be quite formal in look - imagine a standard upholstered dining chair simply with long legs. Or opt for a more modern design, like a bar stool with a shaped acrylic seat or low padded back. Some bar stools even swivel or are height adjustable.

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Materials

Here's a quick guide to all the different materials used for dining room furniture.

Wood

Available in solid oak, mango and acacia, wooden chairs, tables and dining sets tend to have a more rustic look and will age well over time. Every piece of wooden furniture is unique, with different characteristics in colour, grain and durability.


There are some more modern takes on wood too with more varied designs, such as industrial-styled slab tabletops with metal legs or contemporary chairs with curved wood backs. Wood can mark and stain, so consider this if you've got pets or young children or if you're more of a minimalist.


Our furniture experts will be happy to tell you all about the benefits of different woods and finishes, how each piece is made, and the pros and cons of solid wood and veneer.


Our buyer says: Dark wood tends to look heavier so it's a better choice for larger dining spaces. If your room is more compact, light-coloured woods like American oak can help increase the feeling of space.


Wood veneer

Wood veneers are a practical choice for modern family dining as they are so easy to clean and care for. Veneers are a thin layer of wood applied to another material to give it the appearance of wood, cut to enhance the richness of the grain. Versatile and easier to shape, wood with wood veneers lends itself beautifully to exciting contemporary design.


Our buyer says: it's important to remember that wood veneers are real wood, so your dining table will still feature the naturally beautiful grain of the wood that's used. But because of the way wood veneer tables area constructed, surfaces can be more durable and can guarantee exact colour and grain matches for a neater finish. A wood veneer dining table can be more affordable - but every bit as beautiful - as a solid wood dining table.

Metal

Metal can be sleek and modern, industrial style or vintage feel depending on how it's used. Chrome finishes add a glamorous modern look to your space, while cured metal is distinctive and brings to mind more of a retro feel. It also comes with the added benefit of being easy to clean and care for.

Our buyer says: If you like the industrial chic look, then metal dining room furniture can be the perfect choice. But be careful not to overdo it. Too much metal, especially in a small room, can make your space feel cool and uninviting. A chrome-finished dining table can feel lighter and brighter.

Glass

Glass is becoming increasingly popular for dining sets as it gives a contemporary look while creating a feeling of light and space in a smaller room. Our glass dining tables are always made of tempered glass and reinforced to be extra safe. As a material glass is very easy to care for and is spill proof. All our glass meets with British Safety Standards BS6202.


Our buyer says: A glass or glass-topped dining table isn't the easiest to keep clean - especially if you have young children - but it's a great way of increasing the feeling of light and space in a room, and can look absolutely stunning in the right setting.

Stone

Our stone furniture range includes large and small dining tables, occasional tables, stone-topped sidebaords and console tables. Stone finishes include travertine, carrara marble and granite.

Our buyer says: In the right space, a stone-topped table can look amazing. But be sure that you choose the best material for you and your lifestyle. Marble needs very careful maintenance; spills should be cleaned up immediately so it's perhaps not the ideal choice for young families. Granite, on the other hand, is much more durable. It also tends to be less expensive.

Faux Leather

Faux leather-upholstered dining chairs can give your dining room a luxurious and opulent air, with all the good looks of leather but more easier to clean.


Our buyer says: Faux leather used to be regarded as an inferior choice to real leather. Not so anymore. Obviously it's generally more affordable than real leather but many people prefer it for their dining chairs as it's easy to keep clean, is stain resistant and tends not to fade. And, of course, some people feel they are making a more ethical choice.

Acrylic

Modern moulded acrylic or plastic chairs can be very comfortable to sit on. They're light in weight, scratch and scuff-resistant and are generally available in a bolder, brighter range of colours.

Our buyer says: Acrylic is a bold style choice as it feels very modern. Its transparency means that it works well with almost any other material - glass, wood and metal - and is the perfect foil for bold and bright upholstery fabrics. It also takes up less visual space, so it's a good choice for smaller dining rooms.

Gloss finishes

High-gloss finishes are an ultra-modern choice for dining tables and sideboards. They look sleek, and are usually spill proof and easy to clean.


Our buyer says: Gloss finishes come in almost all shapes and sizes - from a polished wood end table to a while lacquered extending dining table that seats 10. These statement pieces are generally easy to keep clean but you have to be prepared to dust or wipe daily, as high-gloss furniture does tend to show every smudge and fingerprint.

How to choose dining furniture to suit your needs.

Start off by thinking about how you use your dining space. Do you mostly hae relaxed suppers, or are you a fan of hosting formal dinner parties? This all affects the type of material, style and finish you go for.

If you're choosing the only eating table in your home, we suggest something versatile that won't feel out of place for family breakfasts, formal dinners and everything in between. If you're looking for a more formal set of table and chairs just for your dining room, you can afford to make more of a statement.

Style should be the second consideration. Think about the look you wish to create - modern, minimal, eclectic or rustic, for example - and use that to inform your decision.

Then carefully consider who's going to be sharing your table. If you have young children, for example, a glass-topped table might not be ideal.

Before you order, measure carefully to make sure your furniture will fit your room and can fit easily into your home. Our larger tables come apart for delivery, so ask us for help if you're concerned. Once your furniture is in production, we can't accept your cancellation without a charge.