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Types of Dining Chairs

Types of Dining Chairs

Dining chairs can really make or break a great dining room. Style, comfort, and functionality all come into play when choosing the right dining chairs for your space. Whether you're looking to mix it up with a collection of chair styles or you love the look of a uniform set, we have the best tips to guide you through the popular dining chair types, styles, and materials you'll likely come across as you shop.

dining chair styles

arm chair

Arm chairs typically feature a straight back with structured side features that support the arms as one rests in the seat. They are most commonly found at the head of a dining table and can be part of a matching furniture set or stand apart as unique accents.

side chair

Side chairs are armless dining chairs that are usually placed along the sides of a formal dining table, but in casual settings they will often make an appearance at the head and end of the table as well. They can either feature a solid wood, metal, or plastic construction and can feature an upholstered seat and back.

parsons chair

Parsons chairs are upholstered dining chairs that feature straight backs and an armless design. Whether tufted, smooth, patterned, or solid, parsons chairs offer versatile styling options as well as comfort. Their upholstery can range anywhere from linen to leather, so finding a style that works with your decor is easy.

dining chair materials


Whether you prefer a formal dining room or a casual setup, upholstered dining chairs offer comfort and style to any dining space. An upholstered chair can have its seat and back covered with fabric, often covering a cushioned material for extra comfort.


Simple and unadorned with upholstery, wooden dining chairs offer a timeless aesthetic. These classic chairs are typically placed in casual settings and come in a variety of chair-back styles, such as ladder-back, Windsor, and slat-back. From vintage distressed finishes to streamlined Mission styles, wooden chairs are probably the most versatile dining chair option available.


If you love a clean, modern look and out-of-the-box design aesthetic, metal dining chairs are your go-to choice. This contemporary furnishing comes in an array of painted finishes from bold colors to polished neutrals. The added benefit of coated metal dining chairs is they can go from indoor dining to al fresco events.


For a more sophisticated yet laidback dining room chair, consider leather upholstery. Whether bonded or faux, leather is an excellent and durable option for an upscale casual dining space. Often paired with both wooden and metal frames, leather can be a super versatile decorating option that complements a range of styles from Industrial to Rustic.

dining chair back styles


solid back

Solid-back dining chairs feature a chair back style with a solid construction and no cutouts, slats, or gaps. Whether ornate or streamlined, solid-back dining chairs offer firm back support and a sophisticated look. Parsons chairs are solid-back dining chairs that feature simple lines and comfortable support.


tufted back

Upholstered dining chairs that feature button tufting add a sense of luxury to a dining space. Tufted-back dining chairs come in a variety of shapes and ornate styles, but they all feature an upholstered back with button-tufted detailing that offers soft, cushioned back support.


open back

An open-back dining chair features a frame with a gap between the seat and back support. This design is a contemporary take on the traditional parsons dining chair. Open-back dining chairs come in both upholstered and non-upholstered styles with a range of unique cutout designs.


oval back

Whether your style swings in the Shabby Chic direction or you love the look of Traditional dining rooms, oval-back dining chairs offer a classic aesthetic that reinforces a traditional space and complements a contemporary one. Oval-back chairs range in styles from classic velvet upholstery over a wooden frame, to smooth bonded-leather with very few design details.


slat back

Slat-back dining chairs typically feature a wooden frame with vertical slats that make up the back. Two common styles of slat-back chairs include the traditional Windsor design that features a fanned-out slatted back, and Mission or Shaker style chairs that feature clean, straight vertical slats framed by two horizontal slats.

dining chair by style

cottage charm

For dining rooms that offer quaint, cottage-style design, vintage-inspired dining chairs are a great option. Distressed wooden frames set the stage for classic comfort, while plush upholstery and subtle design details like gentle curves and tufted chair backs keep the look casually cottage.

country farmhouse

If your dining room style leans a little more country, wooden dining chairs will be right up your alley. Dining chairs with wooden, wicker, or whitewashed metal frames are the perfect foundation for a farmhouse-friendly dining room. If upholstery is your thing, look for materials like linen or cotton in muted neutral tones.

coastal wicker

Up the coastal vibes of your dining room design with woven rattan dining chairs. From unfinished natural fibers to painted, distressed finishes, wicker dining chairs will enhance your dining space with the comfort and casual charm of coastal living.


If your style borders on Traditional and Contemporary, transitional-style chairs are the perfect match for your dining room. Parsons chairs are super versatile and tend to fall in the Transitional style category. Opt for fabric-upholstered parsons chairs in a color palette that complements your decor.