With more people spending more time at home these days, dining chairs are getting a workout — as seating for meals, but also as improvised places to sit while working or home schooling.
In the face of such a multiplicity of demands, durability and comfort are at least as important as style.
“Most people don’t change their dining chairs very often, so the durability of the materials and quality of construction are very important,” said Dolores Suarez, who founded Dekar Design in Manhattan with Caroline Grant. “It’s something people should look forward to using for many years.”
Ms. Suarez and Ms. Grant have researched a number of hard-wearing dining chairs over the years, while designing the interiors of New York restaurants like Claudette, Bobo and Rosemary’s, as well as private homes.
In terms of comfort, “the seat height should be 18 or 19 inches,” Ms. Grant said, “or it’s going to feel off.”
Also consider the width of the chairs, so they don’t feel jammed together. “You typically want to reserve 24 inches at the table per person,” Ms. Grant said.
The goal, Ms. Suarez added, is simple: “You want people to be able to relax.”
Should the chairs have arms? Most people choose armless chairs because they take up less space and are easier to move, Ms. Suarez said, but arms can provide added comfort. But if you choose arms, measure carefully, Ms. Grant said, “to make sure they’re going to slide under the table.”
Should you buy extras? “If you have the luxury of space, we often get two extra chairs for when people entertain,” Ms. Grant said. The rest of the time they can be used as side chairs or desk chairs.
Should they be upholstered? It depends. “We love upholstery, because it makes it more comfortable,” said Ms. Suarez, who recommended leather and mohair as durable options. But a hard surface is more forgiving and easier to clean.
Ash-wood and paper-cord chair by Tatsuo Kuroda for Normann Copenhagen
$560 at Danish Design Store: 800-688-0974 or danishdesignstore.com
Upholstered armchair by LucidiPevere
$499 at Hem: 310-980-3029 or us.hem.com
Afteroom Dining Chair
Powder-coated steel and MDF chair by Afteroom
About $390 at Menu: 760-230-6010 or menudesignshop.com
Lenox Dining Chair
Upholstered chair with steel frame
From $259 at West Elm: 888-922-4119 or westelm.com
Shaker-inspired bentwood chair by Ton Design Team
$150 at Design Within Reach: 800-944-2233 or dwr.com
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