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Dining chair materials guide

Guide to Dining Chair Materials & Which Is Right for You

When you think of dining chairs, you might think they’re all function and no form. But that’s far from the truth. They can actually be fun statement pieces within your dining room! One of the best ways to get creative with dining room chairs is in the material. There are so many different types of dining chairs and materials to choose from—and what you land on can help influence or support the overall design style of your dining room. (Of course, the frame shape has a lot of bearing on the style of your dining room as well. Check out our guide to dining chair styles for more on that.)

Since they are highly functional pieces, it’s important to think about and which ones are best for your lifestyle. So, when thinking through dining room design ideas, you’ll want to consider your individual needs. If you have kids, you’ll probably want a material that’s easy to clean. If your dining room is doubling as a home office, you’ll want dining room chairs that are comfortable to sit in for a full workday. What you need depends on how you use your space, and who uses it. But from there, you can choose whatever dining chair material that suits your fancy!

Ready to dive in? Keep reading for our dining chair materials guide! We’ve rounded up a few of our stylists’ favorite dining room chair materials and why we love them!

Dining chair materials guide

NATURAL MATERIALS

Dining chairs made of natural materials encompass materials like woods, cane, rattan, and so much more. This is by far the largest category of dining room chair materials, as it encompasses such a broad range of materials that are often used in dining chairs. Read on for a bit more on some of the more popular natural materials for dining chairs.

Wicker

Wicker is made from pliable plant materials (like bamboo, willow, rattan, and reads) and can come to life in furniture in many different woven styles. It’s a lightweight but sturdy material, which will hold up well over time when treated with care. And, when weather treated, it’s generally safe for outdoor use as well. (Perfect for an outdoor dining set!)

Wicker pairs well with…

Dining tables made of other natural materials—like stone, wood, marble, and some metal tables. And wicker also pairs well with metal within the chair itself. The chairs featured above have wicker seats but feature delicate metal legs which add a more modern vibe to this more traditionally eclectic material.

This material is perfect for…

A more casual interior design style. It goes really well with rustic, coastal, and eclectic interior design styles.

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Dining chair materials guide

Teak

Teak is a tropical hardwood tree species that makes for beautiful and durable furniture. With its warmer tone, it adds nice organic warmth to a space, making a beautiful statement in dining spaces. Teak has beautiful coloring and can easily be combined with other materials. In the image above, teak chair frames are supplemented with woven seagrass seats which adds beautiful texture to the chairs.

Teak pairs well with…

Wood dining tables that are in a similar color family as your teak chair’s finish. It also pairs well with stone and marble.

This material is perfect for…

Eclectic spaces, mid-century modern styles, and even some minimalist and rustic styles. In fact, the use of teak furniture is big in the Japandi trend, a minimal but warm interior design style.

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Dining chair materials guide

Natural Wood

Natural wood dining chairs give dining rooms a beautiful earthy and natural quality to them. They come in a wide variety of different shapes and styles, making them one of the most versatile dining chair materials. In fact, they transition well between many styles—and the finish found on natural wood chairs tend to be more earthy and organic, since it’s not a stain but just a finish that seals and protects the wood without significantly changing the natural coloring. Because this is a sturdy natural material, natural wood chairs hold up well over time.

Natural wood pairs well with…

Almost everything—from natural wood dining tables to metal, stone, marble and painted wood in just about any color.

This material is perfect for…

Minimalists, mid-century modern style, and some traditional styles that veer more eclectic.

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Stained or Painted Wood

When it comes to wood dining chairs, there’s a lot more out there than the natural wood look. Stain shows off the natural grain and texture of a wood chair while giving it a darker finish. But wood can, of course, also be painted or manufactured with a darker finish—which means painted wood dining chairs can span from black and white to bolder colors like red, yellow, pink, or blue! Whatever the finish, stained or painted wood dining chairs give a more high-contrast look than natural wood dining chairs—while offering the same benefits.

Stained or painted wood pairs well with…

Metals, marbles, and stone. Depending on the stain or paint color, these chairs can also pair with other wood tones that are more refined. Just make sure that if you’re going for stained wood dining chairs and a wood dining table, that there’s enough contrast between the tones.

This material is perfect for…

A variety of styles. Chairs painted with a color other than black or white tend to suit a more eclectic style, while dining chairs with an ebony finish go well with glam or minimalist styles—or even some mid-century modern spaces. Stained dining chairs go well with mid-century modern spaces as well, but also suit traditional and classic spaces depending on the shape and style of the chair. Chairs that are painted white go well with traditional and coastal spaces. Needless to say, stained or painted wood dining chairs are quite versatile!

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Dining chair materials guide

Leathers

Leather dining chairs add a subtle pop of color to your dining room. There’s a sophistication that comes with leather, but different leather tones and finishes will give your dining room a different vibe. Leather dining chairs are often paired with metal legs, giving them a more sleek look.

Saddle Leather

Leather is a softer material, which makes it more comfortable than other dining chair materials. A saddle or cognac leather color is very versatile and adds nice warmth to a space. When treated well, it will hold up over time—though it will definitely develop a natural patina over years of use. (In our opinion, that only adds to the look—so don’t be afraid of visible aging or even small scratches and scuffs!)

Saddle leather pairs well with…

All dining table types—from wood and stone to metal and marble. This is such a stylistically versatile material, making it an all around all-star for dining chair materials.

This material is perfect for…

Mid-century styles and more transitional styles. It can also work well in eclectic spaces. Leather chairs also go well in a variety of spaces and can make excellent desk chairs or side chairs.

For tips on integrating dining chairs into different spaces click here.

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Dining chair materials guide

Tobacco Leather

Tobacco leather has a darker finish which makes it naturally suited for more masculine and dramatic spaces. With that darker finish, it helps ground your space, and like all leathers, it will develop a beautiful patina as it wears naturally over time.

Tobacco leather pairs well with…

Wood and metal dining tables, as well as some stones that are more earthy and industrial.

This material is perfect for…

Industrial and minimal spaces, mid-century style, and some rustic styles.

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Dining chair materials guide

UPHOLSTERED

Upholstered dining chairs have a bit more of a formal vibe—the material used in the upholstery will definitely influence the style. Upholstered dining chairs can range from cottons and linens to velvet and vinyl. They can also be fully upholstered or slipcovered, or have metal or wooden legs or frames with upholstered backs and seats.

Upholstered Velvet

Velvet has an ability to elevate a look due to its richness in texture and material. So, dining chairs upholstered in velvet will add a sense of luxury to any dining room. However, velvet isn’t super easy to clean—so veer away from using it in homes with children (unless it’s a durable or performance velvet that is a darker color). Sometimes velvet dining chairs are entirely upholstered, like the ones above, while other styles have an upholstered seat frame, while the legs are metal or wood.

Velvet pairs well with…

Marble dining tables. Marble and velvet go beautifully together, as they’re both materials that have a glam, luxurious vibe. Velvet also pairs nicely with white and ebony colored tables, and tables with glass tabletops and gold or brass metallic accents.

This material is perfect for…

Glam and eclectic interior design styles, as well as maximalist lovers.

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Dining chair materials guide

Upholstered Frame

Upholstered dining chair frames—where the chair’s seat and back are upholstered in fabric, are one of the most popular styles of dining chairs. They’re also one of the most comfortable dining chair styles, as upholstered chairs also have some built-in padding. Most upholstered dining chairs have wooden frames. The fabric used in the upholstery—as well as the finish of the rest of the chair’s frame—will influence what style the chair pairs with best.

Upholstered chairs pair well with…

Stone, marble, concrete, and wood dining tables. Upholstered chairs also pair well with caning. In fact, there’s also a sub-set of upholstered chairs where the seat of the chair is upholstered in fabric but the back is caning, which adds additional visual interest to the chair.

This material is perfect for…

Traditional dining rooms. However dining chairs with upholstered frames can also go with some mid-century styles as well as contemporary, rustic, coastal, and transitional spaces.

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Dining chair materials guide

Slipcovers

Slipcovered dining chairs are great for more formal dining rooms, as they tend to give off a more refined look. Since most slipcovers can be taken off and washed, they’re generally kid-friendly! (Though only if it’s a performance fabric that’s washable—so make sure you look out for that when buying!) For a less formal look, you could use slipcovered chairs just at each end of your dining room table, then bring in a natural material chair along the lengths of your table. This adds structure to your dining room with less formality—and is one of the easiest ways to dip your toe into the mismatched dining chairs trend!

Slipcovered chairs pair well with…

All table types. Since they’re completely covered in fabric (and dining room tables are never made of fabric) there is no sense of competing materials. So they really can go with any dining table materials.

This material is perfect for…

Rustic, traditional, classic, and transitional styles—although it can be mixed into more eclectic styles as well.

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Dining chair materials guide

MANUFACTURED MATERIALS

Dining chairs made of more manufactured materials—like acrylic, polycarbonate, plastic, and metal—tend to be kid-friendly because they are so easy to clean. But, the material itself has a huge bearing on what style of dining room it’s suited to.

Acrylic

Acrylic dining chairs are super sleek and are perfect for those with modern design sensibilities. While they’re not the most comfortable dining chair material, they’re very easy to clean! All you have to do is whip them down. They work great in smaller or busier spaces, since acrylic doesn’t visually clutter a small space.

Acrylic pairs well with…

Mixed materials, like brass and marble (like the table pictured above). Acrylic also pairs well with a white lacquer table or a white concrete.

This material is perfect for…

Modern and glam dining rooms. Acrylic really lets the other materials in the space shine.

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Dining chair materials guide

Metal

Metal chairs are easy to maintain and will pretty much last forever. Like acrylic, they’re also very easy to clean. However, since they veer industrial in style, they can seem a little cold—so if you want to add more comfort and warmth to your dining room, we recommend using metal dining chairs as an accent paired with a more comfortable chair or bench to help break up the metal-on-metal in the space. You could also add seat cushions to metal chairs for added comfort.

Metal pairs well with…

Wooden dining tables. Pairing metal chairs and a wood table adds beautiful contrast to the space, and the finish of the table can help define the overall style of the space.

This material is perfect for…

Industrial dining rooms. But, when paired with the right pieces, they can also work well in transitional, rustic, and farmhouse spaces.

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Celebrate the Little Things With these 5 Fall-Ready Tablescapes

This year, as we prepare for fall gatherings and entertaining (or get ready for hunkering down at home with just our families) we’re getting back to basics with earth tones, natural textures, and special touches to make each space feel welcoming and warm. One way we’re infusing this warmth into our homes? Fall tablescapes.

A tablescape is one of those low-cost dining room design ideas that can really transform the look and feel of your space. In fact, if you’re wondering how to prep your dining room for entertaining, outfitting your table with a gorgeous tablescape is one of the simplest ways. They’re a perfect way to bring joy home this season, as you enjoy cozy fall dinners. So, whether you’re hosting a small gathering and looking for Thanksgiving tablescape ideas or celebrating solo—we’ve got a look to inspire you.

thanksgiving tablescape ideas

Rustic and Ready to Entertain

Bring on the fall vibes! You can celebrate all the colors and coziness of the season with this rustic tablescape. It’s perfect for the lover of all things fall decor, as it brings in a mixture of pumpkins and pinecones, natural materials, and fall foliage. Plus, a beautiful mix of rich, warm fall colors! (Layering in fall decor is one of our favorite fall decor tips for your dining room.) This is a great look for fall gatherings and entertaining—and makes perfect Thanksgiving tabletop decor.

Tips to get this look:

Start with a table runner in a rich fall hue to help ground the center of the table. Then layer decor pieces of various sizes along the center to create a sense of depth. For the true centerpiece of the table, opt for something natural to soften the look and add a pop of nature.

If you have other surfaces in your dining room, extend your tablescape decor to other parts of the room, like we did here with the credenza and the wreath.

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thanksgiving tablescape ideas

Cool, Calm, and Collected

This coastal-inspired fall dining nook is the perfect spot for a casual but festive brunch. Natural texture meets weathered woods to create a space that’s full of rustic charm. And a light, neutral color scheme keeps things bright and cheery as the days start getting shorter! This type of simple table setting is perfect for smaller gatherings during the holiday season.

Tips to get this look:

Ground the center of your table with a small centerpiece that doesn’t have a lot of height. That way you can still see the people sitting across the table from you! A bowl of seasonal fruit is a great option. A collection of gourds, pears, apples, or figs are all great for injecting some earthy color into your tablescape while still creating a natural, rustic look. For place settings, layer in placemats and chargers to add depth of texture and visual interest to the tabletop itself.

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A Trendy Take on Fall Tablescapes

Gather loved ones for a sophisticated but laid back dinner with this neutral, trendy twist on fall decor. We veered away from traditional fall decor in this look, and instead opted for white pumpkins and natural accents such as pampas grass. Cane—a very trendy natural material this season, found in these dining chairs—mixes well with other natural materials to create the ultimate trendy-casual tablescape.

Tips to get this look:

This look is all about simplicity and a neutral color palette. Let foliage be a main decorative element in your tablescape, then layer in white pumpkins or gourds in earthy neutrals. Then, bring in some marble pieces—like decorative bowls and vases—to elevate the look, and pair them with ceramics and delicate glassware. Bring in easy natural materials such as jute, cane and seagrass to balance out the more formal look of marble.

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Making Industrial Cozy and Inviting

If you gravitate toward a moody, industrial look, but want things to be a bit more cozy and inviting for fall gatherings, consider this look. The base of the room is quite industrial, but we added organic modern elements to the tablescape, with some natural materials and earth tones (one of our favorite trendy fall color schemes), to give this spread a much warmer look.

Tips to get this look:

Warm up the industrial metals in the room with accents of wood and natural materials in your table setting and around the room—from baskets to woven placemats and wooden bowls. Using a long wooden bowl as a centerpiece gives an organic element to this industrial space and softens the look. Candles scattered around the tablescape will bring added warmth and layered lighting. When hosting guests, give each place setting a personal touch with place cards, and perhaps even a small pumpkin to decorate or take home!

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A Refined and Welcoming Set-Up

Bring comfort and ease to your fall tablescape with some seasonal decor and thoughtful elements. There’s a rustic warmth about this dining room, with the combination of lighter woods, linen, and white dinnerware giving off a refined but welcoming look to this fall table setting.

Tips to get this look:

Center the table with a bouquet of fall foliage to help ground the design. Then, decorate with vibrant pumpkins—both on the table and around the room. Both the fall foliage and pumpkins work beautifully with the light wood of the table. Need a little extra seating for some last-minute Thanksgiving prep? A dining bench is a great way to squeeze a few extra people around the table.

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thanksgiving tablescape ideasA Cozy Tablescape for Virtual Gatherings

Can’t gather for Thanksgiving dinner in person? You can still make a virtual gathering special with some simple fall decor. Whether it’s just you and a partner or friend, or just you virtually joining family members across the country, you can give your intimate table setting and elevated feel with layered table settings for more warmth and texture.

Tips to get this look:

Even if it’s just you, you can still make dinner feel special. Bust out the good cutlery, fancy dishes, and serving platters to make it feel more like an event. If you want some simple fall centerpiece ideas, opt for a petite pumpkin—or get yourself a bouquet of fall blooms for some cheery color! And if you’re joining a video call, be sure to elevate your computer for optimal viewing.

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Merchant Picks: Dining Tables to Make Memories Around

We know many people will be skipping in-person fall gatherings and holiday celebrations this year. But fall is still a season of coming together around the table—even if it’s just you and your family or roommates. It’s over dinners and meals, with family or friends, that we make so many of our deepest memories. Even if things look a bit different this year, we still think it’s important to have a place to gather in your home and connect over food and drinks. And having the right dining table to make memories around is key!

We sat down with Meg Donovan, Modsy’s Senior Director of Product Development and Sourcing, to get the scoop on the importance of prioritizing your dining room design. She leads the charge on curating all the amazing furniture and decor in the Modsy catalog—so if you’re in the market for a dining room table, listen up. Because she’s also sharing some of her favorite dining room tables with us.

Dining Tables to Make Memories AroundWhy do you think it so important to prioritize the design of your dining room?

“Dining rooms are often where I have made the most memorable moments of my life. From pop-up brunches with the girls to larger gatherings for the holidays with a mix of friends and family, this room has set the stage for so many sweet memories. The jokes, the laughter, the smiles—and of course the delicious food. These are moments that I fondly reflect on for years but especially now in these crazy times, when it’s been difficult for a lot of us to be close to the ones we love.”

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Dining Tables to Make Memories AroundWhat’s something that many people overlook when choosing a dining room table?

“The anchor to any dining room is obviously the dining table. It’s easy to view this piece as something that’s purely functional. But it can be so much more! I love tables that become a part of your space and event. A beautifully designed table can make a statement in your dining room and become a star player in creating those precious memories.”

Explore our guide to dining table styles to see what Meg’s talking about!

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What are some of your favorite brands right now?

“I love Nuevo because they consistently strive to make innovative and creative products. They push the boundaries on furniture and lighting design. They focus on top quality materials and quality while offering a touch of the unusual.

Scout home is a go-to brand for me due to their focus on quality, innovation, and design. They are inspired by the world and design their products using trends, techniques, and materials from around the globe. They have incredibly high standards for build and quality and work to create one-of-a-kind pieces that make a statement.”

What tables from these brands are you loving right now?

The Daniele Dining Table, Nuevo

The sculptural base reminds me of modern art and pairs beautifully with the black ceramic top—which mimics the look of black marble but with significantly less weight and upkeep!

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Dining Tables to Make Memories AroundThe Quattro Dining Table, Nuevo

This table is pure elegance! The oak table is finished in a beautiful hand-applied, multi-step onyx finish with tapered legs capped with hand-polished bronze. I love that something that seems so simple can have the subtle details that take it to the next level.

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Scholar Dining Table, Nuevo

For just a tad more flare than the Quattro Dining Table, the hand-applied, multi-step finish is matched with a stunning brushed gold skirt and leg bands. The legs are hand-honed and solid oak, which makes this table not only stunning but also very stable.

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Vega Dining Table, Nuevo

Organic, sustainable, and rustic are the best words to describe this table. The beautiful solid French oak top is cut with a live edge that highlights the natural edge of the wood. Just like each tree is unique, each table will be unique, with slight variations in the edge shape and the wood grain. The natural beauty of the top is complemented by flared cast iron legs and brass dovetail detailing.

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Dining Tables to Make Memories AroundAlta Dining Table, Scout Home

This rustic table, with its modified double pedestal base, is crafted from solid reclaimed wood, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council—making it not only beautiful but ethically produced. Skilled artisans bring out the unique nature of the wood, highlighting the beauty of the recycled materials through maintaining the natural markings, hues, and textures.

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Dining Tables to Make Memories AroundBarbosa Dining Table, Scout Home

Innovation and basic chemistry are at play in the stunning bronzed iron base of this table. Acid-washed to create the patina, the metal is sealed to lock in the color at the height of oxidation. The iron is formed into a cool cross pattern that seems to shift depending on the viewing angle, giving added visual interest to the base. Not to be overshadowed, the top is a made of beautiful reclaimed oak that is hand-honed and sealed to a smooth finish, highlighting the natural warm tones of the wood.

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Dining Tables to Make Memories AroundThe Scandi Extendable Dining Table, Scout Home

I love that this table is both simple and extendable. You don’t always need a large table—but when you host bigger dinners, you’ll wish you had one. This is why I love extension tables, and the easy extending glide on this one makes flexing from 84” to 104” quick and easy. But this table isn’t just practical—it’s also beautiful in its simplicity. The Scandi extending dining table has a simple design, but the conical tapered legs with contrast iron banding and the natural finish of the wood save it from being boring. Plus, the simple design means you can go crazy with your chairs!

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These 7 Traditional Dining Rooms are Making Us Re-Think Our Mid-Century Obsession

Mid-century modern and eclectic styles have been trending for a while—but they’re not for everyone. If you don’t love the look of modern designs, you’re in luck. Because lately we’ve been seeing traditional and classic designs come back into the spotlight!

One area, specifically, where traditional and classic interior design elements are being embraced are in dining rooms. While many open-concept homes have done away with formal dining rooms in favor of open living rooms/dining rooms, they’re far from out of style. In fact, here at Modsy we’ve recently seen a rise in formal dining room designs! While super formal dining rooms were definitely out of vogue for a while, people are returning to them, with the desire to have a nice, dedicated space to gather around the table for meals.

What is traditional interior design style?

So, let’s dig a little deeper. What is traditional style? Well, it actually encompasses several different sub-categories of interior design—including rustic, classic formal, and American traditional.

Rustic design celebrates the vintage charm of pre-industrial design styles. Some of the traditional features you’ll notice in rustic styles are natural, weathered wood combined with simple accessories, architectural fragments, or one-of-a-kind pieces. Overall, this style is comfortable, warm, and inviting.

Explore rustic design ideas

Classic formal relies more on antique and heirloom pieces of furniture to create an elegant, formal feel to the space. Classic formal interiors have traditional elements and expected furniture arrangements and layouts. The patterns you’ll find in these spaces are classical, like damask, floral, chinoiserie, and toile, and you’ll find them layered in furniture upholstery, drapery, and bedding.

Explore classic design ideas

On the other end of the spectrum, American traditional design is a bit understated and a less formal style than other traditional options. It’s based on an older American style that pulls inspiration from colonial and craftsman interiors. In these spaces, you’ll find dark leather and upholstery or muted, woven patterns, along with dark wood furnishing with minimal ornamental details.

Explore traditional design ideas

We love that there are so many different approaches to traditional, so you can find the design sub-set that best suits your style! Want to get the look of a traditional dining room in your own home? Keep reading for seven ways to bring a traditional dining room to life!

The Style: Rustic Warmth

Rustic Warmth gives you rustic-traditional vibes with some contemporary design elements. It’s a cozy but clean look that’s an approachable, practical take on rustic-traditional style.

The Key Elements

This style is full of traditional dining room elements—like the slipcovered and spindle chairs and the trestle table. But the contemporary nod comes in with the streamlined forms of the furniture. However, the rustic materials and natural textures keep this look decidedly grounded in the traditional sphere, featuring textures from rugged wood and chunky jute to linen and antiqued metals. As for the color palette, you’ll see a lot of high-contrast neturals—which keeps this space cozy but enlivened.

It’s perfect for…

Families, since the dining table and chairs are all solid and approachable. It’s also great if you like a hint of those rustic-traditional vibes but want a more contemporary approach.

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The Style: Farmhouse Chic

Rustic and glam elements combine to create this farmhouse chic look. It’s an interior design style that’s fresh and feminine but has plenty of cozy vibes, with some definite hints of luxury throughout.

The Key Elements

Farmhouse chic relies on traditional shapes in the furniture—like wingback dining chairs and this ornate pedestal dining table. But the mix of materials is both chic and rustic, from the weathered and distressed woods to velvet, brass, and decorative nailheads. There’s also a variety of natural materials in this space, with pops of jute, seagrass, and linen. The color palette is neutral and muted, but features pops of pastel pinks, blues, and yellows to warm it up—as does the natural light flooding into this room. And with those colors comes an eclectic mix of patterns, which gives this dining area a playful edge.

It’s perfect for…

Those who love both cozy and glam styles. They may be seemingly opposite design tastes, but this room is proof that they can co-exist. In a similar vein, it’s also perfect for those who like a little luxury but also want some countryside charm.

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The Style: Timeless Traditional

This look is where traditional design and classic formal elegance meet, for a look that’s timeless and traditional. This style has a stately, formal air, giving a sense of history to the spaces it’s in. We love that it creates a livable yet polished space.

The Key Elements

Key to the timeless traditional style is choosing foundational furniture for your dining area that are in traditional or classic formal styles. You can include a lot of antiques in this style—now is the time to choose pieces with great history or interesting stories of origin. Furniture in timeless, traditional dining rooms should be in dark wood tones or even black, and will feature ornate carved details—like spindles and fluted bases (peek this petite dining table). In this type of formal space, you’ll want to go with expected, traditional layouts. A statement chandelier helps create a focal point in the space. And, for any pops of colors and patterns, keep it traditional with damask, toile, chinoiserie, and oriental rugs.

It’s perfect for…

Anyone who loves a space with timeless appeal and antique elements. This one goes out to everyone who isn’t a fan of sleek, modern spaces.

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The Style: Refined Rustic

Classic and rustic styles combine to create refined rustic. Formal styling and elegant design elements keep this look in the traditional camp, with a timeless air. But this style also carries a sense of history with its smattering of vintage touches—while still being livable and warm.

The Key Elements

This style relies on rustic materials and shapes. For a dining area, think a distressed farmhouse dining table, slipcovered chairs, an antiqued oriental rug, and spindle dining chairs. As for the layout, you’ll notice that this style tends toward the formal, traditional dining room layout that’s symmetrical and expected—giving a sense of order and curation to the space (peek this guide to learn all about dining room layouts). You can finish off this look with vintage touches, like an antique-style mirror or a vintage-inspired chandelier. An added element that helps this style shine? Tons of natural light.

It’s perfect for…

Lovers of vintage spaces who gravitate toward classic, formal polish that’s warmed up with rustic elements.

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The Style: Contemporary Connoisseur

Classic formal design is softened with transitional and contemporary design elements. While, overall, this style has classic undertones, you’ll notice a more contemporary approach to finishing touches.

The Key Elements

The contemporary connoisseur look relies on classic foundations—like formal chairs, elegant accessories (like the chandelier, mirror, and sconces), traditional patterns, and a symmetrical layout. However, none of these pieces are full-on classic; rather, they all have slightly toned-down aesthetics. In this traditional dining room, you see this in the muted color palette and the streamlined captain chairs at either end of the table, both of which make this space more approachable. However, the soft, neutral color palette also features some pops of blues to add a cheery vibe to the space and is punctuated by pops of dark metal, which add a slightly contemporary air.

It’s perfect for…

Someone who wants a classic look but wants it to still feel approachable.

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The Style: Vintage Farmhouse

Vintage Farmhouse design is a mix of American traditional and rustic design elements. The traditional side is based on the older American style we mentioned earlier, which pulls inspiration from colonial and craftsman interiors. While American traditional is a very—you guessed it—traditional style that’s not necessarily “on-trend,” it’s still one of our favorites. It has stood the test of time for good reason. This is one of the more “masculine” approaches to traditional style and effortlessly pairs rustic touches with formal shapes and stately antiques.

The Key Elements

With vintage farmhouse design, you’ll often see dark upholstery, leather, and dark wood furnishings that have minimal ornamental details. In this traditional dining area, we opted for a small, round dining table to give it a more intimate vibe. Meanwhile, the blue wingback chairs are polished, stately, and have a formal air. Subtle pops of patterns found in the art, the ginger jar in the corner, and the texture on the rug drive home that vintage feeling—as does the dreamy color combo of blues and neutrals found in those patterns and throughout the dining room. Rustic materials come through in the distressed wood dining table and the antique metal chandelier.

It’s perfect for…

Those who want to fill their home with a sense of history with antique and vintage elements but still want to keep ornamentation to a minimum.

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The Style: Comfortably Classic

Classic formal is mixed with a bit of charm in this comfortably classic design. This style features a rustic sense of warmth and coziness, with a contemporary ease and approach to styling.

The Key Elements

Rustic materials are foundational to comfortably classic design. In this space, that means a distressed rug, an antique table, and distressed wood window frames-turned-mirror. However, the linen dining chairs add a crisp, clean vibe and their shapes add a contemporary flair. The relaxed arrangement feels more welcoming and family-friendly than other traditional dining room designs—and the swap of chairs on one side for a bench only adds to this feeling. (A bench is also great if you don’t want little ones near white upholstered chairs!) Finally, plants bring this space to life and add a welcome pop of green and texture!

It’s perfect for…

Those who want a classic space that’s still family-friendly, livable, and welcoming.

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Shape, Size, and Materials: The Only Dining Table Guide You’ll Ever Need

Your dining table is one of the most crucial pieces of furniture (especially during the upcoming holiday season!) in your home. A person’s gotta eat, after all! Not only is it the place you and your family dine on the regular, but it’s also the focal point of your kitchen or dining room and the place where family and friends gather for everything from formal dinners to casual gatherings to the occasional crafts session and everything in between.

A great dining area means you have a place to enjoy bountiful meals, laughter, shared stories, and memories with family and friends. No wonder choosing a dining table can be hard! There are many factors to consider to make sure you have an attractive and practical setting that fits your space, offers adequate seating and fits in with your own personal style. If you’re ready to invest in a new table, this dining table guide will walk you through everything you need to know to make sure you furnish your dining room with functionality and style.

dining roomConsider Your Dining Table Shape

When choosing a dining table, one of the first things to consider is the shape – this helps to narrow your search a bit, too. You can choose from the whole array of selections based on your personal taste, but there are some general guidelines to follow when it comes to the shape of a dining table. It usually boils down to the size and shape of your dining room.

dining roomRectangle/Square

This is the most common shape for a dining table. This is largely because these shapes work best in rectangular rooms and most dining rooms are – you guessed it – rectangular! It’s a good shape to seat more than 4 people, so keep this in mind if you have a big family or love entertaining. But keep in mind, it’s not awesome for super large gatherings because there’s not as much room on the tabletop to fit place settings on both sides and food in the middle.

oval tableRound/Oval

Round tables are great because they can accommodate the most people. It’s easy to squeeze in an extra table setting or two where there aren’t any corners! They’re better for small rooms or rooms that aren’t square, as their rounded edges help create easy flow through the room. Circular tables are perfect for small gatherings and make an intimate and cozy setting for conversation. Oval tables help fill out longer, more narrow rooms.

dining roomFind the Right Dining Table Length

The size of your dining room table will depend on the size of your room and how many people you want to accommodate.

In order to make sure each diner has enough elbow room while chatting, follow these standard seats to size ratios:

  • A 48” long table seats 4 people
  • A 60” long table seats 6 people
  • A 72” long table seats 8 people

Of course, if you don’t mind a more intimate setting or have little ones at the table with you, you might be able to squeeze in an extra seat.

Expandable dining tables are also a great option! If you don’t need as much table space on the day-to-day, but want to have the flexibility for an occasional dinner party or holiday gathering, consider a table with leaves that can be dropped or inserted at the center of the table.

tall chairsGo For The Right Dining Table Height

Dining tables generally come in 3 height variations. Most standard dining tables fall between 28-30” to allow for comfortable legroom underneath. Counter height tables are closer to 36”. And pub-style tables are the tallest, falling in the range of 40-42”.

If you’re not married to the idea of a traditional dining table, counter and pub tables are worth considering! They’re convenient because they can double as a place to serve food or extra space for food prep and work especially well in small spaces with open kitchens.

dining roomPick Your Dining Table Material

Dining tables come in a wide range of materials. So when choosing a dining table, this factor mainly boils down to your own personal aesthetics and how much wear and tear your dining table will need to withstand. Here are some of the most popular material options for dining tables.

wood table

Wood

Wood is the most common choice for dining tables because it’s super durable and stands up to everyday butchering! It’s also easy to maintain or refinish with paint or stain as needed.

Natural wood offers a beautiful color and texture in a dining space and there are plenty of different types and shades of wood to choose from. Weathered or reclaimed wood looks great in a variety of styles and can also hide nicks or scratches – great for families! Solid wood is more expensive and can be damaged more easily, so it’s more of an investment.

Veneer

Veneer or laminate options can mimic the look of wood but are usually a much more affordable alternative. It is a non-porous material so it’s easy to clean and holds up to stains better than many other materials. However, if the veneer chips, stains, or get scratched, it can’t be refinished, unlike solid wood.

glass

Glass

Glass dining tables provide a sleek look for modern or contemporary spaces. They are great for small dining area because they don’t add any clunky visual weight to a room.

Glass is also super low maintenance and easy to clean. However, these tables might not be very family-friendly as they easily show finger smudges and their sharp edges can pose a threat to rambunctious little ones!

marble

Marble

Many people consider marble to be one of the best dining table materials. It’s luxurious and sophisticated and puts the natural beauty of the stone on full display. However, marble is a porous material meaning it can stain easily and quickly. While it’s great for elegant, traditional settings, it might not be the best choice if you have a family of young kiddos or like to entertain often.

Metal

A metal dining table can add a cool, industrial feel to any room. It’s also super durable and easy to clean up. Some metals can be prone to corrosion, however, so make sure to choose a cleaning product that won’t damage it.

dining chairsExplore Dining Table Styles

Finally, choosing the best dining table means finding the right style for your space. There are so many styles to consider, from modern to rustic, contemporary to traditional, and each style has plenty of variation within it! In addition to being functional, you want your dining table to reflect your personal style and complement the decor in the rest of your home.

Take our style quiz or check out our dining table style guide to learn all about the pros and cons of different dining tables!

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The Ultimate Guide to Dining Table Styles

dining table

In the strangeness of 2020, the dining room has truly become the new center of the home. For many households, this (newly) multipurpose room has taken on the roles of home office, homeschooling zone, and arts and crafts space, as well as hosting all our family meals. So, this space now needs to be functional for far more than dining! On top of all that, our typical plans for holiday hosting have probably gone out the window. Basically, our dining rooms have been turned on their heads!

But, even as things look different this year, we’re taking any chance we can get to make this space feel extra special. And the best way to do this is with a dining table that you really love. It sets the tone for your space, bringing in unique style and functionality. 

But here’s the thing: there are so many dining table styles to choose from, you’re probably wondering where to begin. A dining table can be a big investment, so you want to make sure you pick one that fits your style and meets all your daily needs. So, whether you’re doing some holiday entertaining prep for a small group, figuring out how to make a dining room office work, or simply just dreaming up some dining room design ideas to give this workhorse space a refresh, we’re here to guide to our favorite dining tables for 2020 and beyond.

There are so many dining table styles to choose from, you’re probably wondering where to begin. A dining table can be a big investment, so you want to make sure you pick one that fits your style and meets all your hosting needs. To help, we’re breaking down the different dining table styles here so you can find the one that works best for you.

dining tableFarmhouse Dining Table Style

A farmhouse dining table design is generally an expansive, warm, and welcoming option. This style is great for complementing rustic styles and makes for an extra cozy vibe. It adds a rugged, vintage-inspired touch to your dining room that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into an old country farmhouse, even if you live in a high-rise apartment. And, since farmhouse tables are usually made of rough, solid wood, they tend to be very sturdy.

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The Perks: This is a versatile dining table style. You can pair a farmhouse table with a dining bench for a more family-friendly style or turn up the sophistication with upholstered chairs.

The Vibe: Solid, sturdy, and timeless—this is the workhouse of dining tables. And its rustic style makes your dining room feel extra cozy and inviting.

dining tablePedestal Dining Table Style

Pedestal dining tables are generally composed of a wide (usually round) table top sitting on a single solid leg in the middle. (Though some more contemporary options sit on two legs instead of one supporting pedestal.) They are stylish, architectural, and just plain useful in a dining room. They come in a variety of styles and can blend in with an assortment of dining room designs.

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The Perks: Despite their more streamlined design, pedestal tables have plenty of surface space. And round or oval styles can seat more people than a square or rectangular table, since you can squeeze more chairs around the table in a pinch!

The Vibe: Smart, symmetrical, and stylish. These tables can put the fun in functional in any dining room design.

dining tableParsons Dining Table Style

A Parsons dining table is the perfect table for a super streamlined and contemporary style. There are a myriad of incarnations of its simple, balanced form, but this modernist style is always distinguished by clean angles and straight lines with absolutely no frills or ornamentation. 

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The Perks: The pared-down aesthetic makes this table incredibly versatile and timeless.

The Vibe: Dress it up for an elegant and dramatic look. Dress it down for a simple, laid-back style.

dining tableTrestle Dining Table Style

Trestle dining tables have a tabletop that sits upon two trestle supports. This timeless style was very popular in the Middle Ages and the simple look is a natural fit in many dining rooms today. This style was built to be portable and flexible; back in the Middle Ages, people didn’t have dedicated dining rooms, so dining tables had to be easy to take apart, transport, and reassemble. Trestle tables remain popular today because they’re sturdy, attractive, and great for hosting large groups.

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The Perks: Trestle tables come in so many styles that you can find one that will work with your aesthetic no matter what.

The Vibe: This is the kind of table that makes you think of gathering friends and family for a jovial night of eating, drinking, and merrymaking.

dining roomMid-Century Modern Dining Table Style

Mid-Century Modern seems to be the forever favorite aesthetic—after all, the trend is still going strong after 60+ years! You can usually spot a mid-century modern dining table by its warm natural wood construction and slender, tapered legs. The sleek silhouette and medium-to-light woods of the era feel both polished and fresh and bridge the gap between comfortable living and aesthetic delight.

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The Perks: A style of furniture designed during an era when American families were moving into more urban, smaller spaces, mid-century modern furniture is great for smaller dining rooms.

The Vibe: Clean lines, geometric shapes, and sleek simplicity give these tables a timeless appeal.

dining roomTraditional Dining Table Style

A traditional dining table is usually made of sturdy wood with a darker finish. You’ll often find these tables with more ornamentation and carved features on the legs. You can keep with the traditional vibe by pairing it with traditional dining chairs, go more farmhouse with upholstered options, or even play up an eclectic vibe trying on the mismatched dining chair trend.

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The Perks: These tables are large and in charge, with plenty of room for guests. They make a lovely centerpiece and are substantial enough to call for a big, beautiful chandelier to illuminate the dining area.

The Vibe: Traditional dining tables are elegant, super-versatile and never go out of style.

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