5 Things to Consider When Buying a Dining Chair

Breakfast nook with a round table and three wooden chairs with a rounded crest and arms in cherry at the table. A walnut sideboard is to the left with a bowl of oranges on top. The table is dressed with a white linen runner, black pitcher, herbs and dish ware.

Five things to consider when buying a dining chair


There’s a science to comfortable sitting. The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all for dining seating. For some, it comes in the form of an upholstered seat that perfectly matches a favorite rug or a hand-sculpted wooden seat that tucks neatly under the edge of the table, allowing for maximum use of the room before and after meals. And for others, it’s a bench that can be pulled from the entryway or living room to accommodate a few extra guests for a neighborhood supper.

Four spindle chair crests are beside wooden tables in a restaurant. There are white cloth napkins, sliver ware and water glasses on the table.



One of the best places to look when you begin to select your dining room seating is your table itself. What is the height of your table? With this measurement, selecting or customizing seating that will perfectly place you at the table will easily fall into place.


Most dining tables range in height from 28 to 31 inches. Many of our tables fit comfortably within this range at 30 inches high. Our dining chairs will average in height, from the top of the seat to the floor, from 17 to 21 inches high, leaving you with a distance of the seat to the tabletop ranging from 8 to 14 inches. The average person will find a distance from the seat to the tabletop around 10-12 inches the most comfortable.


A dining room wiht a white carpet and floor to ceiling windows that look out to a wooded lot. There is a square cherry dining table and four cherry dining chairs with solid backs around the table. On the table is a shallow dish with lemons and napkins. On the left wall there is a walnut hall table and a basket with blankets on the ground. There is a nautical piece of art that hangs on the wall above the hall table.

There are a few things to take into consideration with these measurements. First, what is the thickness of the tabletop itself, and if there is an apron around the table, how far does that extend toward the floor? Be sure to account for these measurements, especially if you select chairs with armrests.


Left: A dining room with a fireplace and white wall trim. The dining table is a boat top style in walnut and the chairs around the table have a white leather upholstered back and seat. there is a small cement vase on the table with a single stalk of eucalyptus.




The chair’s footprint is the width and depth of the chair. For some chairs, especially if they have a splayed or bowed leg, this measurement will include the furthest two reaching points of the legs.

When deciding on how many chairs you will have along the length of the table, it’s good to know the width of the chairs so you can be sure that there is room underneath without bumping into each other or the base of the table. If the chairs touch when tucked underneath, your guests can feel cramped.

Generally, allow 28 inches from the center of the seat to the next to comfortably accommodate most people or at least 2 inches between chairs. For chairs at the end of the table, allow 14 inches from the seat center to the end of the table.

Left: a wooden chair with arms and an upholstered back and seat. The back has Dalhov Ipcar themed upholstery and the seat is blue geometric patterns. To the right are swatches of brightly colored upholstery



Upholstered chairs offer a variety of ways for one to express their style. They can be a wonderful way to tie colorful elements of the room together or offer a neutral palette for the eyes to rest.

A few of our chairs, Aria and Harpswell, offer upholstered cushions for added comfort. The fabric selections range from fine leather, like our full-grain Riverside, ideal for heavy to medium use, and some of our most durable fabrics, like Knoll and Brentano.


Arm Chair or Side chair

Three chairs in a row. The first is a wooden side chair with a scalloped back rest and blue upholstery. The center chair is a wooden spindle chair and the rightside chair, is a scalloped back wooden chair with arms and a blue upholstered seat

Many of our chairs come as both side and arm chairs. If you prefer your chairs to slide fully under the tabletop, we recommend choosing a table design without an apron. Two of our favorite arm chairs that easily slide underneath our tables without an apron are the Harpswell Chair and the Eastward Chair. For a sleeker companion to an arm chair, our side chairs offer the same exquisite craftsmanship and style.


Another consideration when choosing chairs is the difference between the table height and the overall chair height. The overall height of your chair is measured from the top of the crest to the floor. How high is the crest of the chair in comparison to the top of the table? Unless you are selecting stools as your seating, you’ll want the crest of the chair to be roughly 1 inch to 2 inches higher than your tabletop, giving visual intrigue to your dining set.

Dining room with yellow walls and a full wall of windows behind a double pedestal table. Around the table are wooden chairs and a wooden spindle bench sits in front of the table. A cast iron candle chandelier hangs from the ceiling.

Alternative seating

Beyond the classic dining chair, you have options. Benches and stools offer an alternative to traditional seating and can be moved into another room when additional seating is required. Many of our benches and stools seamlessly pair with our dining tables and are customized to fit your dining situation.

Stools can easily slide underneath the table when they are not in use, and benches, like our Edo Bench, or Eastward Bench (below) can be moved into a living room or hallway, allowing for flexible use of your furniture when it is not needed at the dining room table.


A cherry trestle table with a vase of flowers is in the center of the table along with two spindle benches on either side of the table for seating. on the wall there are woven baskets and to the left of the table is a potted olive tree.

Do you still have questions? Call us.


When you begin to think about adding the perfect chair to your space, remember these basic guidelines; height, overall footprint, and upholstery. Know your style and know your space. With these guidelines in your back pocket and our team of knowledgeable salespeople willing to help you, the hardest part will be deciding which one to choose.



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