6 Tips for Buying Dining Room Chairs

Dining Room Table and Chairs

About 15 years ago we bought a new dining room table and chairs.  We couldn’t find exactly what we wanted and weren’t patient enough to wait, so we ended up with something we’ve never been happy with.  Someday . . .when we replace this set . . .we have a much better idea of what to look for, especially when it comes to chairs.  The truth is, choosing the table is the easy part.  It’s the chairs that are the challenge.

So if you’re in the market for a new dining room table and chairs, keep these tips in mind when looking at chairs.  Also remember that the chairs are the most important part of the purchase – NOT the table!

1.       Check the seat depth.  The chairs we purchased had such deep seats that when I sit on them (yes, I’m short), my feet don’t touch the floor.  So I sit on the edge of the chair and it annoys the heck out of my family when they’re trying to get behind me.  At the same time, I’ve sat on chairs that weren’t deep enough and the edge of the chair cut into my legs.  Also unpleasant.  So sit on the chairs and notice how the seat depth feels.

Dining room chair - front view

2.       Cushion or no.  In the past we had chairs without cushions and they were just fine.  For some reason, this time we chose chairs that had white upholstered seats.  Oh, did I mention that our kids were teenagers at the time.  You’d think teenagers would be old enough to be trusted with white upholstered dining room chairs, but if you’ve ever had teenagers, you probably know that isn’t the case.  I’ve replaced the covers TWICE in 15 years and they need it again (thanks to the grandkids this time).

So when purchasing your chairs, decide whether you want cushions.  Cushions are nice but not necessary.  And they will require special upkeep.  Besides the obvious spots and stains from food, they get snagged by buckles on little kid shoes and start to look shabby from constant use.  It’s not hard to replace them, but it can be a little expensive depending on the fabric you choose.

3.       Ornamentation.  Our chairs have carving on the top of the chair backs and a wrought iron inset for the back.  They’re really pretty.  But the carving is hard to clean and the wrought iron is constantly catching on our clothes.  Belt loops are the worst.  I can’t tell you how many times one of us tried to get up and were hooked to the chair by the belt loop on our pants.  So just be aware that ornamentation might be a pain.

4.       Parts that stick up.  Our chairs have a two inch piece of wood that sticks up from the top corner of each chair back.  They look good but are deadly.  All of us have whacked our elbows on them when clearing off or setting the table.  And it hurts.  My husband has been tempted multiple times to cut them off but he hasn’t so far.  So when choosing chairs, watch for chair parts that might be deadly.

5.       Chair weight.  I know this sounds dumb but we tend to move our chairs around a lot and our chairs weight about 1,000 pounds each.  Ok, not really, but they are really heavy and we all complain a lot when we’re moving them around.  We will definitely look for lighter chairs the next time around.

6.       Rungs connecting the chair legs.  My dining room chairs have rungs that connect the legs and that’s one of the few good things about them.  The rungs make the chairs sturdier.  But a lot of dining room chairs don’t have them.  The result is that you have no where to rest your foot when you’re sitting at the table talking.  And the chairs tend to be wobbly.

So the next time you’re choosing chairs, keep these six tips in mind so you don’t end up with chairs you hate!

How do you feel about your dining room chairs?

4 Reasons These Are The Most Horrible Chairs Ever Made!

 Have you ever purchased something big for your house and then realized you made a terrible mistake but it was too late?  We did that 12 years ago when we bought our dining room furniture and we’ve been paying the price ever since!

We are convinced that our chairs are the WORST chairs that have ever been made!  Ever!!!  How bad can a chair be, you ask?  Well, since you asked, let me tell you.

Here’s a picture of the chair:

At first glance it looks like a very nice chair.  However, there are some serious flaws that you obviously didn’t notice and nor did we or we would never have bought them!

Reason One.  Do you see that wooden section that sticks up at the top of the chair?  Do you know how many times we’ve all bumped our elbows on those innocent looking pieces of wood?  Too many times to count and it hurts!  Not only do we bump our elbows, but our clothes catch on them.  We seriously considered cutting them off but we haven’t – yet.

Reason Two.  Beautiful scroll work.  But it’s not so beautiful when you get your belt loop or your hair or other parts of your clothes hooked on it.  You try to get up and you’re stuck!

Reason Three.  When we bought the chairs, they had white seats.  White!  Really?  What were we thinking!!!  We had teenagers at the time.  It didn’t take long for those white seats to look really bad.  I recovered the chairs so now they’re okay.  However, I probably wouldn’t buy padded chairs if I had it to do over.  They require regular vacuuming and spot cleaning.

Reason Four.  And finally, the chairs are HUGE!  The seats are 20 inches wide at the widest part and 18 inches deep.  I’m too short to sit all the way back (if I do, my feet don’t touch the floor) so I always sit on the edge.  But the worse part is that the chairs weigh 26 pounds each!  I’m not exaggerating.  I actually weighed them today.  Now I know why they’re such a pain to move around.  Not only are they big but they’re heavy (I knew they were heavy – just not HOW heavy!).

So we’ve lived with these chairs for the last 12 years.  They are truly the most horrible chairs that exist.  Unfortunately, you often don’t know what you’re getting until you’re stuck with it!

But seriously, when you’re looking for a dining table and chairs, you might want to keep these things in mind:

  • Chair size
  • Maintenance Required (cleaning, vacuuming, recovering)
  • Possible parts that might cause injury or frustration

And maybe, just maybe, you should take your bathroom scale with you and weigh the chairs before you buy them!