What You Need to Know About Dining Chairs, Dining Benches, and Bar Stools

by Jane K on April 1, 2021

Waveryly Modern Dining Bench

When it comes to decorating a dining room, seating is an incredibly important consideration. In today’s blog, the interior design experts at Star Furniture cover what you need to know about dining chairsdining benchesbar stools, and counter stools

Dining Chair Height

The ideal height of your chair depends on the height of the table. While traditional dining chairs tend to range from 18-23 inches high, counter-height chairs range from 24-26 inches. 

Dining Chair Types

When it comes to dining room chairs, there are two main chair types: side chairs and armchairs. Many dining sets feature a combination of the two, with armchairs being placed at the table ends and side chairs being placed along the sides of the table.

Dining Room Armchairs

Armchairs are a broad category of dining chairs defined by their armrests. This style of dining chair is often referred to as a host chair, as they’re frequently placed at both ends of a rectangular table. 

Dining Room Side Chairs

Side chair is a blanket term for more casual dining chairs that are traditionally placed along the sides of a table. Unlike armchairs, side chairs do not typically have armrests. 

Dining Chair Styles 

While there are two main types of dining chairs, there are a wide range of dining chair styles including everything from Parsons chairs to ladderback chairs. Here are some popular chair styles you may encounter when shopping for the perfect chair for your dining room. 

Parsons Dining Room Chairs

Parsons Dining Room Chair

(Pictured Above: Payton Parsons Dining Chair

Parsons chairs feature lean, simple lines, and an upholstered seat for added comfort. It gets its name from the Parsons School of Design in Paris and is an incredibly popular style of dining chair. While traditional Parsons chairs are armless and slipcovered, modern Parsons chairs tend to have more varied designs, which accentuate the minimalist features of the chairs.  

Wingback Dining Room Chairs 

Rhapsody Tufted Back Upholstered Wing Chair

(Pictured Above: Rhapsody Upholstered Wingback Chair) 

Wingback chairs are upholstered chairs with a high, solid back and angled sides, which give the chair its distinctive silhouette. Many, but not all wing chairs feature armrests, and they’re often used as host chairs at both ends of a dining table. While wingback chairs can be found in more traditional, formal dining rooms, depending on their design elements, they can easily work within a wide range of furniture styles.  

Windsor Dining Chairs 

Weatherford II Baylis Windsor Side Chair

(Pictured Above: Weatherford II Baylis Windsor Side Chair

Taking its inspiration from early English design, Windsor dining chairs feature a rounded back, vertical slats, and spindle legs. While the chair pictured above is armless, Windsor chairs sometimes come with armrests. Their antique, rustic look makes them especially popular in farmhouse dining rooms.   

Slat Back Dining Chairs 

(Pictured Above: Nook Wood Seat Slat Back Side Chair

Slat back dining chairs are defined by their evenly spaced, vertical slats, and they can come with or without armrests. While the seat is sometimes upholstered, slat back dining chairs are often crafted using solid and manufactured wood, making them incredibly versatile and family friendly. In fact, slat back chairs come in a wide range of interior design styles and are especially popular in contemporary dining rooms. 

Ladderback Dining Chairs

Palmer Ladderback Side Chair

(Pictured Above: Palmer Ladderback Side Chair

Alternatively, ladderback dining chairs are defined by their evenly spaced, horizontal slats. Like slat back chairs, these seats can come with or without armrests and upholstery, and they’re known predominantly for their sturdiness and versatility. Depending on the style of the ladderback, these dining chairs work great in modern, casual, and even traditional dining rooms. 

Dining Benches

Waveryly Modern Dining Bench

(Pictured Above: Waverly Rustic Dining Bench

Dining benches are an alternative to dining chairs that are often used on one or both sides of a rectangular dining table. They offer additional seating capacity, a minimalist appearance, versatility, and they’re more cost-effective than dining chairs. Dining benches may work best in modern, casual, and farmhouse styles, rather than traditional dining rooms. 

Bar Height vs. Counter Height 

Counter-height chairs and stools range from 24-26 inches, while bar height chairs and stools range from 28-30 inches tall. While counter-height and bar-height stools come in similar styles to the chairs listed above, there are some additional types of counter stools and bar stools to consider. 

Adjustable Bar Stools & Counter Stools 

Prima Pink & Gold Adjustable Stool

(Pictured Above: Prima Adjustable Stool

Adjustable stools come with a button or lever that allows the user to adjust the height of the stool. Because bars and counters are different heights, adjustable stools are quite versatile, and can be used at both counter-height and bar-height tables and counters. Plus, they’re easy to adjust for shorter or taller individuals. 

Backless Bar Stools & Counter Stools

Taylor Brown Cherry Backless Barstool

(Pictured Above: Taylor Brown Cherry Backless Stool

As their name suggests, backless bar and counter stools feature a seat but no back support. Backless stools work great in smaller rooms, as they have less bulk, provide less visual distraction, and can give the impression of more space. They can even last longer, as rotating them can prevent one-sided wear and tear. That said, no back support means that they can be uncomfortable to sit on for long periods of time, and they’re less safe for children.

Swivel Bar Stools & Counter Stools

Camille Blue Swivel Counter Stool

(Pictured Above: Camille Swivel Counter Stool

The defining characteristic of a swivel stool is its ability to turn up to 360 degrees using a swivel mechanism. The biggest perk of swivel stools is that this design features makes it much easier for people to get in and out of the chair. Plus, you can adjust where you’re facing to accommodate different activities. Swivel stools come in a wide range of styles, including backless and adjustable stools.  

Ready to start shopping for your dining room? Star Furniture has an impressive selection of dining room furniture. In the meantime, check out our interior design blog where we cover everything from how to decorate a small living room dining room combo to the 10 most common interior design mistakes and how to avoid them.

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