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.
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?