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Types of Dining Chairs: The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Right Dining Chairs for You

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.

Armchair

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!

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Side Chair

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.

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Parsons Chair

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.

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Wingback Chair

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.

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types of dining chairsLadder 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.

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types of dining chairsSlat 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!

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types of dining chairsWindsor chair

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!

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types of dining chairsCross 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!

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types of dining chairsSlope 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.

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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.

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types of dining chairsSplat 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.

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Wishbone Chair

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.

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types of dining chairs

Cantilever Chair

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

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types of dining chairsSlipcovered

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.

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Plastic molded

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!

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contemporary dining room design

13 Contemporary Dining Room Designs That are Anything but Boring

If you’ve ever wondered what goes into contemporary design, you’re not alone! People often confuse contemporary and modern design, but there is actually a world of difference. Fundamentally, contemporary design is simple and deliberate. The focus is on the basics: color, texture, and shape. Contemporary spaces are “clean” and fresh in appearance—this style is much more approachable than minimal or modern dining room design.

Contemporary design typically focuses on a palette of neutral colors paired with metal accents and wood tones. Good lighting is a central element and you’ll usually see a lot of accent lighting in a contemporary style. Overall, it’s a look that keeps things simple and sleek.

Why is contemporary design great for a dining room?

Contemporary style is a popular choice for dining room designs. The ambient lighting creates a warm and welcoming place to gather, entertain, host dinner parties, etc. It’s a super comfortable and versatile look that can be dressed up or dressed down as needed.

These 13 contemporary dining rooms show off a range of how contemporary design can come to life and blend with other styles. Take a look and get inspired!

contemporary dining room designHigh-Contrast Dining Room Style

This dining room is all about crisp and clean elements that speak to contemporary dining room design. The round table with geometric elements and the patterned rug add interest and texture to the dining room while the white/wood dining chairs add sophistication. The natural wood sideboard is attractive and practical—it anchors the bold black and white art. Maintaining a grey color palette keeps the dining room calm and easy on the eyes, along with the simple and practical decor stylings. To keep the modern dining area from being too monotone, add a plant for a pop of greenery/texture and a few hanging pendant lights (like this sputnik design) never hurt either.

High-Contrast Dining Room

We love this contemporary dining room because it’s tasteful and streamlined, yet still so full of energy. Notice how sleek all of the forms are—the chairs, table, and sideboard have sharp edges and absolutely no ornament. A rich, high-contrast color palette featuring bold blues and crisp whites creates just the right amount of drama and visual intrigue.

Industrial touches like the metal chairs and dark wood floors look elegant with the large windows and view outside. It seamlessly blends contemporary forms with a minimalist edge that gives off an air of sophistication and refined taste. The stark white table on the vibrant white and blue rug helps ground the room and the long blue curtains balance the look. A key element of this look is the small details, as well. We love the geometric forms used in the table setting and the striking white giraffe lamp placed next to the simple mirror and decorative vases. It’s a super bold dining room that makes a statement but is still totally approachable.

contemporary dining room designNavy Blue Contemporary Dining Room

This blend of contemporary and Industrial dining room styles is moody and masculine to the max! The modern dining room features a blue and grey color palette with pops of white and wood for contrast. The brass/bronze light fixture adds geometry and interest and the classic X-Base dining table makes a substantial statement as the dining area’s focal point.

It’s a contemporary dining room design with simple, sleek chairs in a dark fabric so you don’t have to worry about spills. The woven jute rug adds durability and the curtains help to visually frame the setting. The simple but bold styling on the sideboard and the plants add pops of texture and life to the modern dining room.

contemporary dining room designCozy Contemporary Dining Room

This lovely dining room oozes with mod contemporary style and shows off the beautiful, light-filled space and high ceilings. It’s mid-century modern to the max with a transitional edge that makes it more approachable. The mid-century modern undertones in the furniture are unmistakable but also rendered in a more pared-down way so they are less stark.

The dining table is beautiful and substantial and looks great with this minimalist table setting. The key to this look is a mix of materials and shapes, like the forms of table and chairs, the stunning mid-century modern sideboard and the rounded mirror leaned up against the wall with the dramatic vase. We love how the patterned rug underfoot adds lightness and balances the design. And the stylish globe pendant lights are a sure-fire way to start a conversation and add a playful pop that’s cool and casual all at once!

contemporary dining room designEarthy Neutral Dining Room

This dining room has a super sophisticated and curated look that is all out contemporary. It focuses on minimal styling so that what you see has a bigger impact all around. Notice the frill-free chairs and furniture, including the bar cart for entertaining, and the simple pieces of wall art for impact.

The neutral colors of the furniture set against the green wall with blush accents create a sumptuous, luxurious feel while the rug brings in some grounding energy. The sculptural waterfall light fixture adds the perfect amount of mood lighting for this contemporary dining room.

contemporary dining room designContemporary + Industrial Dining Room

If you want to go for a totally unique dining room, try something like this blend of contemporary and industrial styles. The minimalist chairs feel iconic and avant-garde and the tulip-style table doesn’t overwhelm the dining room. The round, striped jute rug echoes the circular shape of the dining table and touches of black and white add a high-contrast, modern flair.

Elements like the hanging pendant lights and the single, bold piece of art bring all the earth tones together with added greenery for an organic touch. It’s an ideal dining room for those who love a little something unexpected and conversational.

contemporary dining room designMonochrome Contemporary Dining Room

If you want a uniquely curated dining room that makes an immediate impression, you might love this monochrome contemporary look! It’s a cheery, inviting space with tons of style and originality. The sleek, transitional forms give it a slightly posh edge and the green monochrome scale adds tons of personality and warmth, bringing it back down to earth. It’s a great option to consider now, just in time for spring!

We love these leather chairs because they are simple, easy to clean and make a statement while not being over-the-top. The gorgeous stone and wood dining table grounds the room in earthy tones and looks sharp and savvy. The colors look fabulous against the cool mint walls and the striking graphic art adds a pop of contrast, pulling the whole room together.

contemporary dining room designContemporary + Modern Dining Room

This dining room seamlessly blends contemporary and modern styles to create a colorful and playful dining room. Jewel tones and elaborate dining chairs give it a luxe feel and the vibrant rug adds color to the modern dining room. The bold, white cement table is ultra-contemporary—talk about a statement piece!

The design pairs well with the tapered legs of the mid-century-style dining room chairs and the striking oversized chandelier. We kept the decor simple with just a large plant next to the sideboard so as not to distract from the beauty of the dining room chairs and table.

contemporary dining room designContemporary Minimalist Dining Room

This minimal dining room pares down to the bare essentials for a gathering atmosphere ready for hosting. Comfort meets design with the upholstered dining chairs. And the honeycomb rug pattern is a smart choice for dining rooms because the busy pattern can help hide any accidental spills!

The blue color palette with greyscale is perfect for lovers of crisp, sleek, and modern dining room design. And when it comes to keeping your dining room clutter-free, there’s nothing better than a practical sideboard with storage.

contemporary dining room designContemporary Chic Dining Room

We love the mix of contemporary and glam touches in this stunning dining area. The regal blue color palette is offset with warm wood and brass tones that give it a luxe feel. Velvet dining chairs against the light, woven rug create a formal modern dining area and the chic sideboard styling helps accentuate the sophisticated vibes.

The unique sculptural pendant light fixture is the perfect ambient lighting situation for a contemporary dining room style. Complete the dining room look with a symmetrical and bold gallery wall to create a striking contrast and a trio of plants to add a modern, earthy feel.

contemporary dining room designContemporary + Rustic Dining Room

This dining room has a distinctly Tuscan feel with dark woods and iron elements that create an immediately inviting vibe. Barrel back upholstered dining chairs add a sophisticated touch and the sculptural sideboard offers storage as well as extra aesthetic appeal. The geometric dining room rug and black and white bold art bring the classic, formal styling down to earth. And a simple color scheme, one of the hallmarks of contemporary design, allows the bold furniture pieces to be the star of the show.

contemporary dining room designCool Contemporary Dining Room

For an urban, contemporary/modern dining room, you can’t go wrong with a look based on a greyscale color scheme. This dining space has just the right amount of mood and edginess and the sleek modern dining chairs are so cool they could be functioning art pieces. This is definitely an entertainer’s dining room—the sideboard can be used for bar/party storage so you can be ready to entertain at a moment’s notice!

The handsome stone dining table with a wood base grounds the room and balances out the black chairs. Then, we added a light neutral rug to bring a little extra relief to the dark colors. And the oversized wall art and tall tree plant in the corner add impactful pops of color alongside the grey chairs. This is the kind of look that’s serious yet swanky, with sass and sophistication galore.

contemporary dining room designUltra-Minimal Dining Room

This contemporary dining room takes a cue from the understated and simple stylings of minimalism. Wire dining room chairs and a glass tabletop give it a clean, crisp lightness that doesn’t impede the beautiful view. The white captain’s chairs at the ends punctuate the table for impact and make the modern dining room feel more formal while the unexpected organic metal chandelier brings nature inside.

For a little mid-century flair, we added the tweed patterned area rug and a single plant for a pop of greenery. Overall, it’s a welcoming, yet cosmopolitan dining room with enough chairs for a small dinner party.

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dining table

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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