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What is a Dining Chair?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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A dining chair is part of a dining room furniture set. A set of dining room chairs, often six or more, is arranged around a dining room table. Most dining rooms also include a cabinet to hold dishes, and some have a sideboard table to hold dishes of food during meals. A dining chair is often made from wood, but may also be wicker, metal, or plastic.

Plastic dining chairs are usually found in kitchens or in informally styled dining rooms. A plastic dining chair is often colorful and contemporary in design, but may be transparent, sometimes with bright chrome legs. The overall look of modern plastic dining chairs tends to be geometrical and smooth without much embellishment or detail. Outdoor patio furniture may include plastic and/or metal dining chairs that are even simpler in design and which may fold for storage.

Metal dining rooms chairs are fairly uncommon in formal dining rooms, but elegant wrought iron chairs are popular in some kitchens or in homes with a Mediterranean decor. Wrought iron dining chairs are often sold with a round glass topped matching table. Many of these metal dining sets can also be used outdoors on a covered patio or deck. A sweetheart chair features a wrought iron openwork back with a heart-shaped design. Sweetheart chairs usually have a round padded seat and are classically seen in old fashioned ice cream parlors.

A wicker dining chair may have a low or high back and usually has a padded seat cushion. Wicker dining chairs are usually sold in sets along with a glass topped wicker table. Wicker dining room furniture is popular in regions with year round warm weather as well as in homes with a tropical design theme. Wicker dining furniture may also suit summer vacation homes.

Wood dining chairs are the most common type and many varieties are available today. The most classic style of wood dining chair is probably the Parson's chair. Created at the Parson's School of Design in Paris, the Parson's chair has a slightly curved back and may be upholstered in plain or patterned woven fabric, leather or faux suede. The wooden legs are either exposed or covered with a fabric skirt. Camel back Parson's chairs have a bump on the top of the chair back while the roll top Parson's dining chair has a flat, slightly rolled edge.

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Discussion Comments
By Raynbow — On May 15, 2014

@ocelot60- Another way to avoid a room with mismatched wood is to purchase metal dining chairs. I think that these chairs give a home a modern, contemporary feel while still providing a pulled-together, classic look.

By Ocelot60 — On May 14, 2014

One good way to make sure that you get the best dining chairs for your home decor is to match the type of wooden chairs you choose to the woodwork in the room where you will be placing them. This creates a harmonious look because you won't have several different types of wood in one room.

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