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10 Dining Chair Styles & Designs Defined

10 dining chair styles & designs defined

You have several choices for mixing and matching types of dining chairs. Each one brings different options to the table. While the dining table is the main feature, the chairs complement the mood you want to set. But they aren’t cheap. That’s why it’s important to choose the right one for your decor and purpose.

Chair Styles

You should give careful thought to the style you choose. Your choice sets the mood. Think about your usual type of entertaining. Are they more formal affairs with a sit-down dinner? Or perhaps you prefer casual settings with a selection of tapas and informal conversations between mates. Strive to create a welcoming atmosphere for an inviting experience.

1. Classic Traditional

classic traditional dining chair

The classic traditional style oozes charm and pageantry. It holds the promise of an elegant setting for a meal. The furniture is often ornate with elaborate designs and patterns. It includes variations that have stood the test of time such as Queen Anne and Regency.

Dining chairs in this style often set a formal mood. Their detailed features create interest. Even a simple side chair can act as a focal point in a room.

2. French Provincial

french provincial dining chair

The French provincial style offers a less formal and often romantic feel to a room. The lines are soft with curves and simpler designs. It takes its origins from its departure from the formality of fancier styles.

The informal mood it creates encourages lingering around the table for a long chat. But it still holds a classy feel nevertheless. It’s a great compromise between the formality of classic traditional and the eclectic feel of modern or contemporary styles.

3. Mid Century

mid century dining chair

The mid-century style is all about setting its own course. The one rule is that there are no rules. You’ll find unique shapes and forms that are a stark departure from more traditional designs. It’s important to think about the mood it creates for your dining room.

Some may find it off-putting because it is so different. But it can also bring a carefree feel to a room.

4. Scandinavian

scandinavian dining chair

The Scandinavian style combines the unexpected lines of the mid-century design. Natural elements are added to the mix for contrast. In many ways, dining chairs act as statement pieces. The bold colours defy the winter cold. Materials that include wood add warmth and cosiness to a room.

Some may find this style bordering on the minimalist side. You won’t find the elaborate elements of the classic traditional and French provincial here. Every element has a distinct purpose. 

5. Industrial

industrial dining chair

Either you’ll love or dislike the industrial style. This design likes to skirt the edge between traditional and the unexpected. Rather than natural materials, you’ll see man-made ones such as metal. Lines are either soft or hard. The form may take different twists which adds interest.

Like the Scandinavian style, these pieces are often minimalist in design. It creates an openness that can lend itself well to a certain decor.

6. Contemporary

contemporary dining chair

The contemporary design attempts to upgrade traditional styles with updated features. It’s modern in that it tries to improve on what already exists. You’ll often see a lot of attention to detail. Small changes can make a big impact on furniture such as a simple dining chair.

The style reflects an efficient design. You won’t find elements that are superfluous. Everything has a purpose with no fluff.

Design Types

The style is just the beginning. Combined with the design, you have limitless options. Some lend themselves better to a certain look. But you’ll find fewer variations on the basic form. That’s simply because the chair has one distinct purpose—to help you enjoy the dining experience.

7. Side Chair

side chair

The side chair is the most common design you’ll see. Most options will follow this form. There are several reasons for this fact. It optimises the space between seatings at the table. A smaller footprint also means a more affordable cost. A line of elaborately designed chairs loses its impact unless contrasted with the simpler design of a side chair.

It has no arms. You’ll find both upholstered and upholstered variations. It appears in any style. In that sense, it’s a universal design.

8. Armchair


The armchair differs from the side chair with the inclusion of arm rests. That simple design element creates a more formal look no matter what the style. It designates a defined space. You’ll often see these chairs at the heads of a dining room table. The extra room they occupy makes them impractical for all the chairs.

9. Parson


The parson chair is the happy medium between the two. It has the informality of a side chair without the arms. It also holds the possibility of a more formal piece with a different type of fabric to create a specific mood. The overall impression is comfort. This is the chair you want to encourage lingering after a meal.

10. Upholstery

Upholstery on a dining chair opens up numerous possibilities. Your choice of a pattern can create either a formal or informal mood. It also allows you to create a comforting atmosphere with oversized padding. The conversations will last long after dinner has ended, with a comfy chair in which to sit.

But having an upholstered chair is only the beginning. Your choice of material or fabric makes just as much of a statement. Leather will give your dining chairs a luxurious feel with options for bonded, pure or vegan. You can opt for the comfort of velvet for softness that speaks volumes.

Linen upholstery will add a classic element to your dining room. The elegant look of 100 percent or Victorian linen cannot be beaten. You can soften its formality by choosing a neutral colour such as grey or mauve.

The mood you create in your dining room is an equation that combines the style, design and colour you choose. It provides the ideal starting point to create the best design for your space. Begin with deciding on the look you want before picking a dining chair style. The rest of your choices will come naturally.