black and white dining table and chairs

12 Dining Room Chair Styles

Originally contributed by • last updated 3/29/2021

Sven Brandsma

With so many dining room chair styles on the market, it's hard not to feel a little overwhelmed when designing one of the most important elements of your home — the dining room.

We're here to provide some answers with this ultimate dining room chair style guide to help you choose the perfect seating for your table!



Miles Upholstered Dining Arm Chair
Crate & Barrel

An armchair is just what it sounds like — a chair with arms. These chairs are typically found at either end of a dining table and are commonly differentiated from their side chair counterparts to reflect their importance as seating at the heads of a table.

Whether they're upholstered, leather, wood, or metal, armchairs can match the rest of the dining chairs around a table or they can be mismatched for an eclectic look that further distinguishes the head chairs from the surrounding seating.


Side Chair

Kori Upholstered Side Chair
All Modern

Much like the armchair, side chairs also have very literal names. Dubbed the side chair due to the fact that they reside on the sides of a dining table, these armless chairs are usually bought in sets so that the table appears cohesive.

This is often juxtaposed with armchairs at the heads of the table to create a contrast that can be as subtle or as dramatic as desired. 


Parsons Chair

Bouchard Upholstered Side Chair
Joss & Main

The Parsons chair gets its name from the place it was designed — the Parsons School of Design in Paris. The chair is best known for its clean, linear form and upholstered seats.

Parsons chairs are a classic staple at many dining tables, and even though they were designed armless, you can find plenty of Parsons armchairs all over the market to bring another layer of elegance to dinnertime.


Wingback Chair

Thayer Tufted Wingback
Pottery Barn

The wingback chair is another dining room chair style whose name perfectly describes its design. Wingback chairs feature wings that run along the sides of the backrest and are typically upholstered for an ultra-cozy look.

The chair also has a high back for another layer of comfort, which is arguably why the chair tends to be referred to as a fireside chair.


Windsor Chair

Modern Design Dining Chairs

The Windsor chair — named after Windsor, the English town it originated from — is the go-to chair for effortless charm. The chair's predominant feature is its arch back with verticals rods, but its spindle legs also contribute to the quaint design.

Windsors are typically crafted out of solid wood just like the modern Windsor chair pictured above, which takes a chic twist on the 18th Century style chair.

Those five chairs are the most popular styles, but there are, of course, variations of these designs that add plenty of character to any dining room. Below are a few common backrest styles to know about. 



Scottsbury Honey Brown Wood
The Home Depot

The vertical slats of a slat-back chair make a subtle resemblance to the classic Windsor chair. The chair is very linear and that gives off a simple yet modern appearance, which adds a touch of elegance to any dwelling.



Wesley Light Gray Fabric Dining Chair
The Home Depot

The keyhole back features a middle cutout that feels ultra-modern. Most keyhole back chairs are easy to spot due to their central square or rectangular hole, which exudes a contemporary aura.

The chair pictured above may not exactly follow this common characteristic. Rather, it's a Mid-Century spin on the traditional boxy look, and we're totally loving it!



Flash Furniture Wood Cross

Cross-back chairs feature two diagonal slats intersecting in the middle to create an ‘X’ shape. The design of this dining room chair style is one of the most open and airy that, although may appear quite simple, can still command the attention of any room.

These gorgeous chairs typically mesh with rustic homes that exude plenty of charm.



Tamela Industrial Dining Chair

The splat back chair has no shortage of character with a vertical strip placed in its center. Although the chair pictured above is of the modern era, the middle column on these chairs can range from a simple linear design to a swirling intricate pattern with grandiose flair.

Much like the different chair styles, there are plenty of materials dining chairs can be made of. But the most popular fall into four categories: metal, fabric, leather, and wood. Read on for a brief overview of each.



Ellis Metal Side Chair

Metal chairs are a popular choice among homeowners and designers alike for a number of reasons. For starters, metal chairs are super durable, resistant to humidity, and less susceptible to nicks and scratches when compared to wood and other materials.

These chairs are often sleek, modern, and exude an industrial feel to any room they reside in. In terms of cost, metal chairs are one of the less expensive options.




Let's face it, upholstered chairs tend to be much more comfortable than leather, metal, or wood. They radiate warmth and coziness like no other and are one of the best dining room chair styles that effortlessly incorporate color and texture.

You can use this to your advantage by either matching the fabric of your chairs to any color already accented in your space or by integrating an entirely different hue. However, this does come at a cost — typically a hefty price tag.



Evie Leather
West Elm

From Mid-Century to contemporary, leather has long been a popular choice for dining chairs. They may not be as comfortable as a cushioned, upholstered chair, but that doesn't make leather chairs any less appealing in a dining room.

Leather chairs may not always be the best option for families with children, but they are a good option for homeowners who want their dining chairs to make a statement, just like the one above does. It's so chic!



Lloyd Solid Wood
All Modern

If simplicity is what you're after when it comes to dining, then solid wood chairs may be your way to go. Although they tend to be one of the most expensive styles of dining chairs, they are built to last and are easy to repair if ever damaged.

Their durability makes these chairs a perfect choice for families with small kids prone to inevitable mishaps.

Solid wood chairs are made of a natural material meaning they are susceptible to unevenness as they expand and shrink due to humidity and cool temperatures. But none-the-less, wood chairs are a classic design that will never go out of style.