Even though we aren’t entertaining much these days, we still need to have a proper dining table and dining room chairs so that you can enjoy a proper meal! In fact, dining rooms are more important than ever because we are spending so much time at home! Along with a dining table, dining room chairs are an essential part of any dining space—peep this Guide to dining table styles if you need help picking out a table to start with.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to dining chair styles—you can find wood chair styles, side chairs with upholstered seats, Art Deco dining chairs, traditional dining chairs, rustic style side chairs….you get the picture. Dining room decor comes in all kinds of options and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with how many types of dining chairs are out there.
If you’re finding it hard to know which types of dining chairs will work for your dining space, we’ve got you covered! This dining chairs guide breaks down all the major shapes, sizes and types of dining chairs to help you find a solution that works.
And if you need a little extra interior design help in bringing your dining room to life, Modsy is here for you! Even though the holidays might look a little different this year, a well-designed dining room can help make the time at home feel special.
One of our favorite dining room chair types is the classic armchair. Often used as a side chair, their larger size adds depth and character to dining room tables. They make a super elegant option and definitely complement a more formal look—but they fit well with more casual styles, too. Dining chairs like this usually have upholstered seats, which makes them more comfortable than hard materials. We love dining chairs that bring both comfort and class to your dining space!
The classic side chair is one of the most traditional types of dining chairs. Known as a “dinnertime staple,” they take their name from the fact that they sit along the “side” of the table. These types of dining chairs can be more casual in style or super formal, depending on the type of dining room table you have. (Check out our guide to dining table sizes, shapes, and materials if you’re in the market for a dining room table, too!) These types of dining chairs come in all kinds of looks, so you can be sure to find one to match any style you like.
The Parsons dining chair is another dining room classic. It gets its name from Paris’ Parsons School of Design and the dining chair features lean, simple lines and an upholstered seat. This type of dining chair comes in every fabric you can think of so there is an excellent variety to choose from. We love these dining room chairs because they can work for many styles—rustic, transitional, contemporary, modern, traditional mid-century modern—you name it! Dining chairs like this are also comfy to sit on and can fit in smaller dining rooms because they don’t have bulky arms to take up space.
If you want a cozy, but sophisticated look for your dining chairs, the wingback chair might be just right! This dining chair has “wings” along the side of the chair to create a distinctive silhouette—they are often used just at the heads of the table. They are usually upholstered and stuffed with nailheads for a more traditional and sophisticated look. These dining chairs aren’t ideal for kids who make a mess—they are fully upholstered so they do require a lot of cleaning.
Ladder Back Chair
The ladder back dining chair features horizontal slats spaced along the back of the chair, which is usually made of wood. They are great casual dining chairs and the slats create a light and open look. They work best in more rustic and traditional styles and make a great option for a kitchen table.
Slat back chair
Slat back dining chairs feature evenly spaced vertical slats, for a laid-back, quaint appeal. This look works for a variety of styles—traditional, rustic, mission, etc. and the dining chairs can be dressed up for formal settings or toned down for a casual look. They are practical and come in both solid or upholstered seating—a great choice for casual dining and households with kids!
The Windsor Dining chair takes inspiration from early English designs. These types of dining chairs feature a half-circle back supported by vertical slats or rods, along with spindle legs. These dining chairs look great with rustic, traditional, and vintage styles!
Cross back (X) chair
The Cross Back Chair has an X-shape on the back side of the chair that adds a light and airy look. These dining chairs range in styles from cafe chairs to rustic to contemporary. It’s a perfect choice for a casual dining room with a more stylistic approach. And these dining chairs are usually all wood, so they are kid-friendly and easy to clean!
Slope Dining Chair
The Slope dining chair is cool and sleek with a simple silhouette. This type of dining chair features a comfortable upholstered seat, usually in leather or faux leather. They can have a swanky, factory-style feel, making them great for modern rustic to industrial style. Bonus: the faux leather can be wiped down easily, making them super kid-friendly and pet friendly.
Barrel Back Chair
Barrel back dining chairs have a bowl-like backrest that you can sink into when you sit down. These dining chairs are super versatile—some can swivel back and forth and make great desk chairs too. The upholstered seats are super comfortable for longer sitting, and they are style-forward but not stuffy. We love these dining chairs for mid-century modern, minimal, contemporary, and industrial looks.
Splat back chair
“Splat back” refers to the centrally placed, vertical column on the back of these dining chairs. These are usually found in metal, but historically they had a more gothic and English design. The metal chairs tend to be lightweight, making them versatile for indoor/outdoor dining. If you want dining chairs with a cool, industrial-chic look, these are perfect—plus they are super low-maintenance when it comes to cleaning.
The Wishbone Dining Chair is an iconic Danish design that’s usually made with a wood base and woven or upholstered seating. The elegant, curved frame forms a wishbone shape on the back and they are both comfortable and decorative pieces. This style of dining chair works well in eclectic, mid-century modern, rustic, minimalist, and boho styles.
The Cantilever Dining chair is one of the most unique looking options for dining rooms. It gained popularity in the 70s and design enthusiasts still love it today! These dining chairs have a flexible form that makes them a little bit “bendy.” They can be upholstered or solid—caning is popular material, too. They work great with many styles, from industrial to mid-century modern
For a more formal look, consider the slipcovered chair—it can add instant sophistication to a space. Slipcovered chairs can be bought as is or you enhance dining chairs like the Parsons chair by adding a slipcover over the frame. They make cleanup easy because the cover is easily removed and washed. This helps these dining chairs last over time—which is great because they tend to be a bit more expensive! They fit perfectly into classic and traditional styles.
For a trendy and funky look, try these plastic molded side chairs inspired by the Eames chair! These chairs for dining rooms are lightweight and airy looking—classic Scandinavian style. You can easily wipe the chair clean, so they are perfect for households with kids. And the dining chairs usually come in a solid color with metal or wood legs, making them super versatile and great with minimalist and modern styles!
Need help finding the right dining chair type for your space?