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Dining Chair Styles and Types Guide

dining chair guide
Whether you want a matching set or are planning to mix it up for an eclectic look, dining chairs can help set the tone in your dining room. If you're trying to figure out the right height and size chairs for your dining set-up, read more about How to Choose the Right Size Dining Chairs. Below, we take a look at six popular styles and the two most common types of dining chairs to keep in mind as you shop.

Dining Chair Types

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Arm Chair

Typically found at the head of a table, arm chairs can have a formal feel. Oftentimes contrasting arm chairs are used to create a statement, though you can also find arm chairs that match the side chairs. Arm chairs can be fully upholstered or made of all wood, plastic, or metal.

dining chair

Side Chair

Armless chairs that generally sit along the side of a dining table are called side chairs. Though in more casual dining rooms, side chairs can be found at the head of the table. Side chairs can have upholstered seats, but are generally not fully upholstered. 

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A parsons chair can suit nearly all décor styles, because of its simple design and clean lines. It can be upholstered in fabrics ranging from linen to leather and patterned or tufted.

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Upholstered and Non-Upholstered

Dining chairs come in a variety of upholstery options and styles, however it's important to take a look at your lifestyle and family when making a decision about upholstery and fabrics. An upholstered chair seat and back creates a more traditional, glam feel, while an all-wood or metal chair offers a more clean-lined look that's easy to clean. For an easy way to switch up the style or pattern of your chair, take a look at dining chair slipcovers (most commonly used with parsons dining chairs). 

​​Dining Chair Styles

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Traditional dining chairs often feature elaborate slats (the vertical central element of a chair back), curved legs, and ornate carved details. Chippendale, regency, and Queen Anne chairs are all traditional styles. Traditional arm chairs can be upholstered and/or tufted, while side chairs often have upholstered seats.

Looking to add a twist to a traditional dining space? See our ideas on How to Mix and Match Dining Chairs

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Often made of bent wood or molded plastic and metal, modern/contemporary dining chairs have a streamlined, organic look. 

Check out our tips and picks for creating a relaxing space with Casual Dining Room Furniture

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Mission/Shaker dining chairs feature clean lines and no extra details. Mission chairs generally have simple, straight vertical and horizontal lines and are made of wood. Some Shaker style chair backs can feature curved panels. 

Looking for affordable chair options? Take a look at our favorite Dining Chairs Under $100

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A ladderback chair features horizontal wooden slats evenly spaced along the back of the chair. Though ladderback is a traditional design, depending upon the materials and details, it can fit into many décor styles, including country and transitional.

Create an updated and welcoming space in your dining area with our ideas and picks for Warm Dining Room Decor

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This early English style chair features spindle legs and back. The back of a Windsor chair can be bowed or hooped. This traditional style chair can have a casual or country feel.

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