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Holiday Edit: The Haus Guerin Guide to Dining Chairs

This week my Fall 2022 One Room Challenge hosted by Apartment Therapy is centered on chairs as I prep my Facebook Marketplace finds for their new look. Skip this heavy-hitting DIY and read on for my take for sourcing the best dining room chairs for your space.

Need to catch up? The beginning is always the best place to start

A Seat at the Table | When it comes to holiday hosting and chairs, guests can be like cats-if it fits, they sit. But your formal dining space should start at least start with formality, even if it degrades to uncles sitting at the kid table by the second helping. A few quick guidelines:

  • All chairs should be able to be pushed to the table, unimpeded (that includes the arms).

  • Most dining tables will fit four chairs. For rectangle chairs longer than 48", you should be able to add two more chairs. Bump the diameter to 60" for 6 chairs for a round table.

  • The average chair seat height is 18 inches tall while chair backs (the tip top of the chair) can be anywhere from 32-34 inches.

  • Tables are generally 30" tall. Keep your actual table height in mind when accounting for the arms of chairs!

Start with the Space

Spatial limitations will often dictate the style, number and options for dining room chair accommodations, but don't despair! Many styles can get you similar looks without arms (or with) and often brands will spotlight a similar look with different widths and depths. Once you have an idea of what sizes would best fit your layout, your style and your dimensions, there are lots of other considerations.

Go hard. . .Or soft?

Among the many things to consider when sourcing for dining room chairs is the upholstery (or lack thereof). Formal dining tends to be a lot less messier than everyday spaces so if there ever was a time to choose a less practical surface (here's looking at you boucle), the dining room is it. Current trends point towards light, bright and airy white cushions on wood frames but there really is no limit to the options in regards to fabric styles and patterns. That leads me to my very next bullet item:

Make it Pop!

Your seating is yet another opportunity to add personality to your space. In a neutral space, delight the eyes with a colorful pattern. If color isn't your style, give the eyes a visual tease with texture.

Add a Curve or Keep it Straight

Contribute to the architectural elements of your space by echoing its design elements. Fo Conversely, you can punch up the design by selecting a contrasting style that delights with a surprise. My dining room has several straight line elements (vertical panes in the large windows and in the oversized black cabinets). This is repeatedly complemented by curves in my design: the arched entry way, the round dining room table, and now with the gentle slopes of the dining room chairs I'm rehabbing for the space.

Consider the source

Admittedly I can't quit a beautifully crafted wood frame chair. That said, there are so many beautiful options for chairs. Rattan, cane, acrylic, split reed and metal frames have all enjoyed their time in the sun. Make a deliberate choice based on all the factors that you have considered above. Now go enjoy your seat at the table!

And if you made it this far, here's a look at this week's progress! Sourcing items are coming in for styling, I've made my fabric selections and I have finally started to sand the chairs, after weeks of putting it off. The yellowing polyurethane is coming off to reveal beautiful and soft blonde wood. I'm in heaven. See video of them here on Instagram.

It's nearly time to wrap this space and I cannot wait for you all to see it all come together!

Stick around to see how it progresses and go check out some of the awesome spaces my virtual friends are putting together too!


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