By Chelsea Alves
The dining room is one of the most important rooms in a house and the one of the only places that joins everyone together. The dining room is meant for entertaining, whether you are hosting guests for a big celebration or having a quiet family dinner. The dining room chairs will be one of the first pieces of furniture that your guests will see and more importantly will be sitting in, so it is crucial to have a dining room that is both attractive in appearance and welcoming. If your current dining chairs are looking a little drab or you find them contrasting your kitchen furniture it may be time to consider making the splurge for a new set of dining chairs. With the thousands of options available for purchase, there are 5 things to consider before making your purchase to ensure you will be completely satisfied once you get your new chairs.
It may seem like a simple enough concept, however if you do not pick chairs that are the right height you may find yourself needing to either go through the hassle of returning multiple chairs or out of a lot of money. Be sure to measure your dining table prior to purchasing any chairs because this is will be the main factor in determining the seat height that will be necessary for your chairs. Most dining tables are between 28″ to 30″ high which will accommodate chair seat heights that are about 11″ shorter than that. Make sure that you take proper measurements of your potential dining chairs if shopping in a retail store or if you will be purchasing online look for the chair dimensions on the product page. If the dimensions are not listed be sure to ask the retailer to provide you with them.
If your dining table is raised or higher than average consider looking for counter or bar height stools that are adjustable to ensure you will have the ability to reach the table or will not be sitting too high above the table. Most dining chairs will not be able to accommodate dining tables that are higher than 31″ and will require stool seating.
The number of dining chairs necessary will mostly depend on how many people will typically be sitting at your dining table every night. It is also important to take into account how often you have guests over, if guests frequent your house it may be worth investing in an extra dining chair or two so you will not have to go through the effort of getting more in the future. By waiting to purchase additional chairs you have the risk of the chairs being out of stock or discontinued and no longer available for purchase. This leaves you with the problem of having to buy a new set of chairs or having to find something similar.
Your dining table is another key piece of furniture that will determine how many chairs will be able to fit around the table. Be sure to measure your dining table’s length prior to purchasing and then find out the overall width of the chairs to be certain that they will fit around the table. If your current dining chairs already fit comfortably around your dining table, this will be a good indication of how many new chairs you will need to purchase.
You can purchase dining chairs for as little as $10, however you can expect to get what you pay for. A typical dining room chair can cost anywhere from $100-$200 depending on the quality you are looking for. Additionally lower priced dining chairs are typically sold one way: one color, one fabric, no options. Depending on the upholstery desired for your chairs, this will also be an important factor in the price you will be paying for your chairs.
Where you purchase the chairs from will also determine the price you will pay. If you purchase from big box retailers you will typically be able to get a favorable price, however you will also be sacrificing quality for price. With specialty stores and home furniture dealerships you can expect to pay more than you would at a big brand store, however they will also carry much higher quality product that will last for years to come. Purchasing online is another convenient option which allows you to pick out exactly what you want from the comfort of your own home. Online pricing is generally very competitive allowing for cheaper pricing than you would find in specialty stores and products usually ship relatively quickly. Many internet retailers will also offer a volume discount when multiple chairs are purchased.
4. FINISH AND FABRIC
Wood Dining Chairs: Wood dining chairs can be found in a few different finishes or painted colors. Look for chip-resistant finishes which are sealed to protect the wood along with the underlying finish. Some manufacturers intentionally distress their finishes to provide a worn look that is in style right now. Look for a wood finish that will match and blend in with your current furniture or cabinetry for a more put together look.
Fabric Dining Chairs: There are plenty of fabricated dining chairs available in all different colors. Look for a fabric that will complement your home’s decor, and that you think will blend in nicely. If shopping online, ask the company to provide you with fabric samples of a few fabrics you think will blend in to ensure you do not pick a color that is too far off from your other decor. Some manufacturers even offer the ability to use your own fabric, commonly referred to as “COM” or “Customer’s Own Material.” Be wary when selecting fabric dining chairs as the kitchen is the place where the most spills happen, especially if you have small children that will be sitting in these chairs.
Leather: Most “leather” that you will find when searching for dining chairs will actually be a fabric-backed vinyl. Due to the extra time and cost required for real leather seating, the price of a dining chair will be about $50 to $100 more than a comparable vinyl but will also last longer and feel softer to sit on. Vinyl is prone to cracking and tearing more so than fabric or leather. The main benefit vinyl provides is being a significantly more affordable option to leather and looks has an almost identical appearance to leather, at a much cheaper price.
5. ARMS OR ARMLESS?
Dining chairs that will typically be used or sat in for long periods of time should typically include arms to increase comfort and decrease stress on your shoulders. If your floor space is limited, you may opt for armless dining chairs to conserve your space without leaving your kitchen looking too cluttered. Arms usually will tack on about 6 inches to the overall width of a single dining room chair.
Knowing what to look for and what to expect before you begin searching for your dining chairs will simplify your shopping experience. Remember to take your necessary measurements, photographs of the room the chairs will be going in, fabrics or wood samples you are trying to match with you or nearby prior to beginning your search. Have a reasonable budget amount in mind and do not be afraid to ask for discounts. The more you educate yourself before making a big purchase the more satisfied you will feel post purchase knowing that you got exactly what you were looking for.