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What are Chiavari Chairs?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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Chiavari chairs are popular rental seating options for all kinds of special events, including weddings. They are also called banquet or ballroom chairs and are a typical staple product of event rental companies. This chair design is centuries old. Chiavari chairs are easily recognizable by their spindle frame construction and ladder-like back with a distinctive section of short, vertical spindles on the upper backrest. A double row of spindles adds detail to the chair's legs.

The original Chiavari chair, which was modified from a French design in 1807 when it was brought to Italy, had only one crossbar on the backrest and no spindles. The early Chiavari chairs were made of medium-toned woods. Today, Chiavari chairs are available in many different wood tones from nearly black to grainy and unfinished. Many event rental companies also have different medium-toned wooden chiavari chair types in mahogany stain, which is red-brown, and walnut, which is golden-brown. Black as well as white Chiavari chair colors are also available.

After wooden Chiavari chairs became prominent, other materials such as bamboo and metal started to be used to make the popular event seating. Metallic finishes include gold and silver tones. While gold Chiavari chair designs add elegant warmth to events such as weddings or banquets, silver versions give a cooler, modern accent.

The transparent acrylic Chiavari chair is ultra-modern. Even the seat is completely clear so the furniture piece has a very airy, sophisticated look. Although crystal Chiavari chairs are the most common acrylic type, pastel colors are also popular. These transparent colors include green, blue and pink. Since the transparent seat of the acrylic Chiavari chair type is one of its prime features, seat pads aren't often used on it.

On the other types of Chiavari chair, padded cushions are commonly used. Typically the cushions for Chiavari chairs have removable covers that can be washed. The padding is usually fairly thick foam for extra comfort. Ties or Velcro straps fasten the cushion at both sides of the front base of the backrest. Chiavari chair covers range from light to dark colors and most are solids rather than prints to make them more versatile to mix with special occasion design schemes.

In addition to smooth cushion covers, there are also embossed, elegant styles such as Damask. Sometimes, a rectangular sheath is added on the backrest. It may be sheer lace such as for a wedding. Other types of backrest sheath covers for Chiavari chairs are opaque and may include a sash that can be tied into a loose, flowing bow at the back of the chair.

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