Dining Chair Ideas: Which Style Best Suits Your Room?

Whether it’s an impromptu lunch or a grand Christmas banquet, your dining room is where you gather your favourite people together. Get everyone sitting comfortably and make your décor and taste a (complimentary, of course) topic of conversation thanks to your dining chairs.

From modern and contemporary styles to retro and vintage designs, we’ll help you choose the right furniture for the feel you want to create. We’ll also help you see how you can accessorise around your table to enhance the look you are going for.

Don’t feel down if your dining room is on the small side either. We’ve got tips on how to bring the best out of a limited space. The designs we have available are all intended to give you a comfortable seat along with excellent aesthetics. So whatever the occasion is that has you at the table, you and your guests will be sitting pretty.

Modern dining chairs for contemporary dining rooms

Modern dining chairs are found in an interesting array of shapes. They often feature slim, streamlined silhouettes with embellishments kept to a bare minimum. Curved, smooth back shapes also crop up regularly. This allows them to fit seamlessly into open plan spaces, so they’re perfect for kitchen come dining rooms if you have a minimalistic layout.

Want to add an industrial vibe to your dining room? Fully metallic models or hairpin metal leg designs will complement or create that feel. The clean linear lines of slender metal bases will slot into all kinds of contemporary spaces. Plastic constructions also abound in modern dining chair designs; they’ve come a long way in aesthetics and can be moulded into all sorts of desirable shapes. They will make a place instantly feel more contemporary. For one, if you have a plain wooden table you can use plastic chairs to give the dining room a fresh and modern texture update. They also offer up a wide array of shades (from monochrome to bright and vibrant) if you want to mix and match some colour into your décor.

Modern designs in metal, plastic and other materials aren’t just perfect for creating unconventional shapes and silhouettes. These designs also have excellent function to go with the form. So while they make décor statements, you’ll also enjoy using them to sit and eat every day. No attention has been spared to ensure that their comfort is matched by their standalone chic.

Another beauty of contemporary design is that it’s not bound by anything. You can also have modern styles and shapes in traditional materials. Bent wood in particular is a staple used for dining chairs. It’s manufactured by wetting wood through soaking or steaming to make it more flexible. Then, it’s curved to create those smooth, minimalistic outlines in the beautiful look and feel of wood.  

Oval wooden table with blue fabric chairs

The best chairs for a retro dining room

Ever wanted to step (or sit) back in time? Look to retro dining chairs to give your furniture a vintage feel.

Upholstered designs with metallic or wooden frames are a signature retro style. You can find padded seats that are colourfully covered with a texture to contrast with the chrome metal frames. A cantilevered chair (where there’s a tubular metal that supports you instead of four legs) is an easy way to channel 70’s style. Likewise, you can choose bright fabric or white dining chairs with the unmistakeable warmth and woody tones from timber frames and legs.

If the chairs aren’t going into an already retro-styled dining room, a first step to build the vibe can be to have a retro-feel light fitting above the table. Around the room, think high contrast colours and shiny metallic finishes. You can accessorise further by hanging a mirror with a by-gone era frame too. (Consider an ornate or circular mirror design for example). As well as chairs at your table, benches can also bring a retro touch to any dining room. They’ll sit charmingly alongside upholstered designs with wooden legs. Bring it all home by serving up on retro ceramics (blue and white porcelain is always a prime option here).

Vintage dining chairs for a classic look

Oak dining chairs and spindle back designs will bring a classic, rustic feel to any space. Spindle backs (recognisable by the spaced out vertical rods in the back rest) are very versatile and will work with a range of table designs. A ladder back style (where there are horizontal slats at the rear) is also a classic chair choice. Its simplicity also lends itself to wide choice of décor options.

You can also be a bit daring with either style and choose the same model in a range of colours. Wood grain on its own brings warmth to a room. If you have other timber furniture, a blend of wood tones can have an engaging effect. It also works excellently in tandem with other materials. Wood and cord are classic partners that bring a vintage, coastal feel with their texture blend.

Mid-century modern dining chairs are a key interiors trend and will elevate any space stylishly. They are recognisable by their uncluttered shapes and clean lines. Smooth, moulded plastic backrests with slender or geometric metallic bases are common designs. (If it’s not coming to mind, think of the 1960s furniture in the wildly popular series Mad Men). Form and function were vital back then and it’s been boosted now with modern ergonomic knowledge. You’re promised an excellent anatomical fit so you can sit long and comfortably. There’s also bold colour variety; choose a set of white dining chairs for a monochrome décor plan or create a vivid blend of different shades.

How to choose the best chairs for your dining room

Whenever planning for any new furniture, the mantra is always ‘measure meticulously’. Ensure your new chairs will fit around your table and into the space.

Room not enormous? No worries. Just be sure to choose chairs that can be easily tucked away to reduce clutter. As well as chairs, benches will also work well in small dining room. They can be handily hidden away and can squeeze more people in. Stackable and folding designs are also perfect for small spaces. Aside from being stacked up out of the way, folding chairs can also be hooked up on the wall when they’re not in use. It’s also a good opportunity to brighten up the room with different colours.

Another option for smaller spaces, is opting for a bench instead. It will tuck perfectly underneath the table and will create a lot more space in the room, for when you’re not using it. It’s also a perfect solution for when you are hosting larger parties, as more people can fit onto a bench. For a more casual look, benches are a great way to create a lot more space in a less formal style.

Bright colours will work well with glass tables, and in a small room they’ll enhance light. Round tables are not only very good choices for small spaces, but are also the most sociable option. You can keep a couple of foldable chairs stacked away in a cupboard ready for extra guests so you’ll always be ready to host.

It’s worth considering who your regular table guests are going to be too. Upholstered designs may not be ideal if you have kids or host them regularly. Smooth surfaces like plastic and wood are easier to wipe down and keep clean after spillages.

Also, consider what chairs may sit well with your table. A glass table design will go well with metallic chairs to give an industrial feel. They’ll also slot stylishly in with a wooden top table with metallic legs. If it’s more rustic or farmhouse dining table, vintage chair designs with spindle backs can finish that look. Minimalistic or Scandinavian-inspired tables pair excellently with streamlined modern and mid-century chairs.

Letting your table and chair sit on a rug is another stylish trick to accessorise the place well. Match your rug and table shapes for uniformity or mix it up if you see fit. Even in a tiny space, a circular table can become much more of a showpiece by placing it on a rug. It’s a superb way to add more colour and texture to your dining room too. Make sure there’s 24 inches (61cm) free each side so you (or guests) don’t trip as you get up from the table. We’ll give you another crucial tip with that too, don’t invest in any rugs that are too fluffy. They absorb stray crumbs and we don’t want to make any more housework for you.

Along with being a charming décor addition, a sideboard does wonders for organisation. Stash crockery, tableware and linen out of sight but close at hand. There are a variety of styles too. So, you can maintain your minimalist aesthetic with a gloss white design or keep up a rustic feel by choosing a warm-toned oak piece. Their tops are also prime for displaying ornaments, photos and flowers for finishing touch. The walls and ceilings can also support the look you are trying to achieve. Going for a contemporary feel? Try hanging modern artwork or prints. Industrial vibe? Try a copper or brass light fixture. Want to enhance the room’s light? Fix a mirror or two and it’ll brighten up where you eat and entertain.

By Thomas O’Toole

For more info on chairs and benches for the rest of your home, gain some inspiration with our buying guide…


… and start redesigning your home now!

Scroll To Top