How to Choose the Right Dining Chair: The Ultimate Dining Chair Guide

How to Choose the Right Dining Chair: The Ultimate Dining Chair Guide

Whether you love all things interiors or just simply need some advice on choosing the best seat for your dining room, you’ve come to the right place! Our Ultimate Dining Chair Buying Guide is your one stop shop for choosing the right dining chair for your home. We’ll explain key dining chair measurements, show you the benefits of the different styles of dining chairs available, and give you all the information you’ll need when it comes to care and cleaning. We’ve got so many great tips we want to share with you, so let’s jump straight in!

How to Measure a Dining Chair

When measuring a dining chair, there are a couple of key things you need to consider. This includes the size of your space, the size of your table and the comfort of you and your guests. A chair that is perfect for one table just might not be right for another. This is why it’s important to find a chair that suits you and your space. That said, here are the need to know dining chair measurements:


  1. Height. This is from the very top of the chair right down to the floor. This measurement will vary vastly from chair to chair so is important to check. A taller chair will give an overall more formal, enclosed look whereas chairs with lower backs will open up your dining space.
  2. Seat Width. This is the measurement of the seat from side to side. This will tell you how wide the chair is and dictate how many chairs you can fit around your table.
  3. Seat Height. This is the height of the chair from the floor up to the bottom of the seat. Very important measurement when it comes to seeing how well your chairs will fit under your choice of dining table.
  4. Depth. Seat depth is measured from the front of the seat to the back, so as far back as you can sit.
  5. Back Height. This is not the height of the whole seat but rather the height of the backrest. The chair style and support will differ greatly depending on the height of the seat back.
  6. Footprint. This measurement is how much floor space, or footprint, the seat occupies. Much like seat width, this will help you decide how many chairs you’ll be able to fit around your table.   

Did You Know?

To help determine seat depth, an anthropometric measurement (which is a measurement of the human body) called the “buttock popliteal length” is used. This is basically the horizontal length from the back most part of the buttocks to the back of the lower leg. Because of this, mass produced chairs, in schools and public places, for example, are typically 38 to 43 cm in depth. However, the depth of many dining chairs will be deeper than this to offer even more support and comfort.

The optimum seat height for a dining chair is when there is 26cm to 30cm between the top of the seat and the top of the dining table. If your chair is 46cm to 51cm from the floor to the top of the seat, it will fit well under a standard height table while allowing plenty of legroom. Don’t forget that chairs with a generous cushion might have a higher overall seat height, so you’ll need to allow room for the cushion to compress.

Top Tip: If you are after a chair that has enough lumbar support, a back height between 30cm and 40cm is ideal.

Some dining chairs will be wider at the bottom, such as our Clover, Mai and Serena dining chairs, so they will need more space around the table. It’s always best to check the measurements and if they aren’t available, just ask! Know your sizing before your delivery will take away the worry of whether the products will actually fit in your space.

How to Choose a Style of Dining Chair

With so many styles available, you can really be creative when it comes to choosing your own stylish seat. However, asking yourself the following four questions will focus your ideas and help narrow down your search:

How often will you use your dining chairs? – if your dining room is the social hub of your home and you’ll be using the chairs daily, you’ll want a material that’s hardwearing and easy to clean. Our chairs are fit for everyday use but cleaning and maintaining the material will always be a key point to consider.

How long will you be sitting on the chair for? – this will help you choose what shape and support the chair has. If you’re after that extra comfort factor during those long after dinner chats, a dining chair with a well-padded seat, high back or armrests will offer plenty of support when seated.

What is your budget? probably one of the biggest deciders will be your budget, so it’s best to have a rough idea of how much you’d like to spend on your dining chair seating. Materials such as real leather have an instant look and feel of quality. However, this does result in a slightly higher price tag. If a material is out of your price range there are always alternative options available. Faux leather, for example, will allow you to create the style and look you want without going over your budget.

How much space do you have? – if you’ve got an extending dining table where you don’t need extra seats out all of the time, or if you’re a little short on space, consider having a stackable dining chair so you can stack and store any additional chairs when they’re not in use.

Dining Chair Seat Shapes

Now you’ve got a better idea of how often you’ll use your dining chairs and the budget you’re working with, let’s take a look at the variety of different dining chair seat shapes that are available.

Dining Armchairs

Dining armchairs will create a really premium and comfortable feel around your dining table. What’s more, they are so easy to style no matter what your space. Don’t forget if you go for dining armchairs, you may need to double check the spacing. Make sure there is enough space for the chair to tuck in as the table top thickness will take up some of the space available for the armrest.


High Backed Dining Chairs

A high backed dining chair will create a really visually impactful yet elegant look round your dining table, alongside offering lots of support when seated. Our Iva Real Leather Dining Chairs, for example, have high backs and a gentle curve which is guaranteed to add style and comfort to any dining room setting.

Added Comfort

If you think plastic dining chairs are hard and uncomfortable, think again! Our collection of plastic dining chairs are ergonomically moulded for the most accommodating seat shape, and if you want that extra bit of comfort, chairs like the Ida Dining Chair also have a PU upholstered padded seat. When it comes to leather and faux leather dining chair seating, chairs with sumptuous padding like the Carlo Premium Leather Dining Chair or with a curved back like the Santo Dining Chair, all have subtle features that will enhance your dining experience.

Dining Chair Leg Frames

Like seat shape, there are a whole variety of dining chair leg frames to choose from. Consider the look you want to create and the comfort factor of the base frame to help you choose the best seat.

Sleigh Leg

Dining chairs with a sleigh leg frame are great for opening up the look and feel around your dining table. The legs themselves create an effortlessly cool and contemporary vibe alongside adding a lightness to the base of the seat. Typically finished in chrome or brushed metal, a sleigh leg dining chair can easily be coordinated with other metal elements on your dining table.


Dining chairs with a cantilever base will offer a gentle bounce when seated, along with a very contemporary design feature. The cantilever frame we use for our Form Dining Chairs and Dining Armchairs is made from a shaped steel rod which has then been reinforced with a solid metal inner thread. Light and easy to move, the chairs also offer an extra layer of frame support when seated.

Pedestal Legs

A pedestal four legged dining chair means that the legs are positioned to the centre of the seat, rather than the four corners. This subtle but really clever design feature gives you a bit more space around the base of the seat. 

How to Style Dining Chairs

Mix and Match

A mix and match dining setting might just be the answer if you’re stuck for choice. However, you can’t just throw any pieces together if you want to create a truly designer look. If you want to know how it’s done, why not take a look at our post How to Mix and Match Dining Room Furniture: The Mismatched Look (after you’ve finished reading here of course) for all the tips and tricks on how to create this stylish setting in your home. 

Dining Armchair Combinations

You can style a dining armchair one at either end of your table for a balanced setting. Or you can have them around the whole table for a really cosy and inviting space. Having both dining armchairs and dining chairs will give your dining set a hint of variation while also providing two seats that offer an extra bit of comfort and luxury. 

Colour Burst

Dining chairs are also a really easy and inexpensive way to introduce some colour to your dining space. Mix and match for a varied setting or go for all one colour for a bold statement look. Pairing colourful dining chairs alongside a clear glass table is great for showing off the coloured chairs from all angles.

The Do’s & Don’ts of Cleaning Dining Chairs:

Cleaning Fabric Dining Chairs

Do – wipe up any spills as soon as they appear by using a slightly dampened cloth. Only use specialised upholstery cleaning products as then you’ll know the product is safe to use on fabric chairs. To give your chairs an extra layer of protection, spray your fabric with a Scotchguard Fabric and Upholstery Protector. This will help to lock out water, prevent stains and make your fabric chairs even more durable.

Don’t- keep your fabric dining chairs in constant direct sunlight. This is because the material can potentially fade over time. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to rotate your chairs every now and then so they’re not always directly exposed. When cleaning, don’t spread moisture around the chair. Instead, do a spot clean to treat the affected area. Repeated dapping is far more beneficial than saturating the fabric.

Cleaning Real Leather Dining Chairs

Do – use an absorbent damp sponge or cloth to wipe the affected areas, being sure to dry the leather after cleaning. If you really want to give your leather dining chairs some TLC, invest in a leather maintenance kit. Then you can look after your leather before, during and after cleaning.

Don’t – use cleaning solvents or soaps on the leather and try not to place your leather chairs in direct sunlight as this can cause fading to some extent over time. Be careful of colour transfers from brand new jeans or heavily dyed items as this could potentially mark the leather.  

Cleaning Faux Leather Dining Chairs

Do – use a soft, damp microfiber cloth and a mild detergent like washing up liquid, applying a gentle amount of pressure in a circular motion.

Don’t –  use anything abrasive or scrub the surface as this will crack the faux leather rather than help to remove the mark. Make sure you don’t leave your faux leather chairs to air dry. Instead, use a dry cloth to remove any excess moisture.

Cleaning Plastic Dining Chairs

Do – use mild household cleaning sprays, furniture wipes, antibacterial sprays or even baby wipes on your plastic dining chairs.

Don’t – use abrasive materials like scourers or leave your plastic chairs outside. Also, keep your plastic dining chairs away from extreme sources of heat.

Cleaning Wood Dining Chairs

Do – use dish soap and a dishcloth to clean your wooden dining chairs. Keep wooden chairs out of direct sunlight as this can damage the look and texture of the wood finish.

Don’t –  let wooden chairs air dry but rather use a dry cloth to wipe over the surface. Don’t use anything abrasive to clean wooden dining chairs as this will scratch and damage the beautifully smooth finish.

Cleaning Painted Wood Dining Chairs

Do – use a damp soft cloth and wipe the surface evenly, rather than just the mark. Concentrated scrubbing will potentially damage the painted layer rather than help to remove the stain. Test any cleaning products on an area of the chair that is out of sight before using it seat.

Don’t – let a painted wood chair air dry or use a lot of water on the surface. If you dust your chairs frequently, you won’t have to use water to clean the chairs more often than needed.

Cleaning Chrome and Black Chrome Dining Chairs

Do –  wipe away any marks as soon as they appear. This is because the dirtier chrome gets before you deal with it the more difficult it becomes to clean. When cleaning, use soap and water on a soft cloth. If the mark still doesn’t go away, try using a splash of vinegar to give your cleaning that extra boost.

Don’t –  use abrasive cleaners on your chrome dining chairs as any scratches caused could potentially expose the material to the air and therefore cause rust.

Cleaning Brushed Metal Dining Chairs

Do – use stainless steel polish or lemon oil to buff a stainless steel surface. To do this, apply the polish to a lint free cloth and move in the direction of the metal’s grain. Then with a dry cloth, buff the surface again until it is dry. When cleaning, you can simply use some hot (not boiling) water and a cloth or sponge.

Don’t – use oven cleaners or any products that contain chloride on brushed stainless steel as this will damage the surface.

And That’s It!

Everything you need to know about choosing the right dining chair for your home. Now you’re armed and ready with all the information you could need, why not check out our website to take a look at some of the great dining chairs we have to offer.

If you would like to read up on some more furniture buying tips, you’re in luck. We also have blog posts on How to Choose the Right Bar Stool for Your Home and A How To Guide on Choosing Your Perfect Dining Bench, so you’ll have your home kitted out in sleek furniture pieces in no time.

Show Us Your Style!

We love seeing our furniture pieces styled in situ so when you’re dining chairs are set up and styled in your home, post a snap with #mydanetti for a chance to be featured on our Instagram and Facebook pages.  


Publish Date: August 2017 

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