Dining Chair Styles Guide: Choosing a Seat to Match Your Style

dining table

Hosting season is here and it’s a great excuse to get your dining room in shape for holiday guests! Dining tables are, of course, the centerpiece of the room––but they can be pretty expensive, so you probably don’t want to switch this piece out with any real frequency. However, if you’re feeling a little blah about your dining room, don’t fret. There are still plenty of changes you can make to totally refresh your look!

Our favorite piece to start with is your dining chairs. You might think you can’t change your chairs without also changing your table, but that’s not the case! To prove it, we styled this traditional farmhouse dining table with 9 different dining chair styles to show you the possibilities. Read on to learn about how you can choose just the right seat to match your style.

dining tableFor a Traditional Style

For a traditional look in your dining room, go with a farmhouse chair, similar to a Shaker Style or Windsor Chair. The slatted back and spindle legs hearken back to early American designs that lend your space a traditional style.

We love this simplified design from Beldan Lane. The chairs are made of metal so they’re long-lasting and easy to clean, which is great if you have a family that tends to make a mess! Plus, metal provides a lovely contrast to the rugged wood dining table. All in all, it creates a perfect balance of traditional and rustic, with an industrial edge.

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dining tableFor a Contemporary Style

Don’t be afraid to play with contrast and pull up a contemporary style dining chair. Here we styled our table with some Parsons chairs, which takes their name from the Paris Parsons School of Design.

The chair has a sleek, simple form combined with a high, solid back, fully upholstered seats and armless designs. It’s a more modern design that’s great for mid-century or contemporary interiors and the streamlined shape works with interiors and dining tables of any style, including rustic!

We love it paired with this rustic farmhouse table for a fun pairing of old and new. Plus, the airy, spindle legs make the design feel lightweight which perfectly balances the heaviness of the table. The cushioned seat definitely adds extra comfort but can also stain more easily, so choose a fabric in a darker shade or be sure that you’re extra careful when handling these chairs.

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dining tableFor a Mid-Century Modern Style

The Wishbone Chair is an icon of mid-century modern design and works perfectly with a rustic farmhouse table. This style of chair was originally designed in 1949 by Danish designer Hans Wegner, who was inspired by the forms of Ming Dynasty chairs. They feature a bent wood frame and a woven cord seat, and are designed to cradle the body and provide comfort and support. The sleek shape beautifully mixes traditional design with modern forms.

Wishbone chairs have recently regained popularity in the design world and are particularly known for their use in modern rustic interiors. We love the contrast between the traditional farmhouse table and the curved shapes and natural textured seats of this modern dining chair style.

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dining tableFor a Refined Rustic Style

If refined, rustic style is your cup of tea, this pairing of Bentwood and slipcovered chairs is the perfect dining room combo for you. And fun fact, the Bentwood is one of the most popular dining chair styles of all time. It’s also known as the Thonet chair because Michael Thonet perfected the process of creating chairs out of bent wood in the mid-1830s. They were produced on a massive scale and tend to be super affordable, which is why they were so popular in cafes.

These chairs are made of (you guessed it!) a bent wood frame, which is lightweight, durable and oh-so elegantly designed. Some contemporary designs come in metal options for a more industrial take on this traditional style. We love how this room changes up the end chairs with slipcovered chairs for a more polished look. This is also great for families where the parents want more distinctive seats at either end of the table.

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dining tableFor a Farmhouse Chic Style

Thanks to its classic design, the cross back dining chair is bound to be timeless. It is a close cousin of the Bentwood chair, made of a bent wood frame with a metal or wood X back brace and then a rattan- or linen-upholstered seat.

This chair is also closely associated with cafes, as they were first used in 20th-century French bistros. Here, they perfectly complement the farmhouse dining table for an overall classically rustic design. They add a touch of refinement to the rugged table and are great if you want a traditional style with a vintage vibe. Generally, they are a more affordable chair type and they often come in pairs, which is great if you need a lot of seats!

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dining tableFor a Classic Formal Style

These refined and elegant slipcovered chairs are the way to go for a classic and formal style. Slipcovered dining chairs are a staple of formal dining spaces and add a touch of class to any room.

They usually come in lighter materials, so they’re not always the most family-friendly choice if you have kiddos prone to spills. Luckily, you can find chairs with removable slipcovers, which makes popping dirty covers into the wash super easy.

We like to pair these style chairs with a wooden bench for a more relaxed vibe that ups the family-friendly factor. Done this way, the overall style is more classic rustic with a sophisticated polish.

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dining tableFor a Modern Rustic Style

If you love a modern rustic style, consider some Campaign style chairs. This style of furniture was popularized during the height of the British Empire. Military officers traveling on long campaigns (hence the name) needed portable furniture, so companies began creating pieces that were sturdy and easy to break down, transport, and reassemble. Most were made of wood and leather, and today are still a popular design style. The overall look is a modern rustic style at its finest.

And while these leather upholstered chairs don’t break down, they still sport the signature campaign style. Their woven backs and bent wood frames will add a major pop of personality, warmth, and style to any space.

Paired with a farmhouse table, they create the perfect modern farmhouse vibe. Keep in mind that leather is a more expensive alternative to cloth upholstery, but it can be much more durable and easier to clean––plus it just looks extra stylish in any room.

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dining tableFor a Classic Bistro Style

The French Bistro Chair, made of woven rattan and wicker, features a checkered design that comes in an array of colors. It’s iconic of French outdoor cafes and you can easily bring the classic bistro look into your dining room.

These chairs are famously light and easy to move, which makes them great for both indoor and outdoor dining spaces. The materials add texture and are designed to weather the elements. The Bistro Chair is a great choice if you want a more refined rustic style with cafe charm.

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dining tableFor an Eclectic Minimal Style

For a major pop of texture in your space, consider adding a set of woven dining chairs. The pliant, tough, and richly textured materials are perfect for the eclectic minimal style. Rattan and weathered woods have natural textures that collaborate perfectly for a space that’s super rustic and fresh. They can also push a bit more coastal if that’s your style!

To let the beautiful natural textures of the chairs and table do most of the talking, we prefer to opt for a quieter chair shape, like this sleek and streamlined form.

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