dining chair types

Dining Chair Types Explained

There are so many different dining chair types that it can be overwhelming to choose the right ones for your dining room or kitchen. While dining chairs and tables are sometimes sold as a set, you more often get to select the perfect chairs to match your table and set the tone for your mealtimes. 

Do you want a stately space for elegant dinner parties, or a relaxed setup where family members can grab a bite to eat between busy schedules? Do you want neutral dining chairs that let the table shine, or vibrant options that really stand out? Wood or upholstery? Modern or traditional? 

The possibilities for dining chairs are nearly endless, but there’s no need to stress. Read on as we explain some of the most popular dining chair types and common terms you’ll encounter when shopping for dining chairs, and find the chairs that are perfect for your space.

Basic Dining Chair Styles

Side chair: A side chair is the most traditional of dining chair types. This is the chair you’ll find in dining rooms everywhere around the world. A side chair describes pretty much any dining chair type without arms, from simple and plain to opulent and ornate. Many dining table sets feature only side chairs, as they slot in neatly next to each other and allow the most seats to fit around the table.

Side Chair

Armchair: If you want to add some variety to your table, you may opt to replace a few of your side chairs with armchairs. Obviously, this is a chair that is designed to match the side chair design but has the addition of arms. While you may choose to use armchairs as all of your dining table seating, it’s more likely that you will reserve these for the head of the table. 


Parsons chair: A Parsons chair is very similar to a side chair in that it does not have arms, but it specifically refers to a chair defined by clean lines and simple elegance, with plenty of cushioning on the seat and back for cosy comfort that maintains sophisticated appeal. A Parsons chair is upholstered, giving it room for a variety of options in colour and pattern. 

Parsons Chair

Carver chair: A type of armchair, carver chairs are a comfortable yet stylish option for the head of the table or for all your dining area seating. The arms are seamlessly connected to the back of the chair, creating a streamlined look. Carver chairs are traditionally made of wood, with woven seats, but modern carver chairs often come in upholstered varieties for extra cushioning. 

Carver Chair

Dining Chair Back Styles

Wingback: Cosy yet sophisticated, wingback chairs are one of the dining chair types that suit any dining area. Named for the ‘wings’ along the side of the chair, these dining chairs are ideal for the head of the table in a stately and elegant dining setup. 

Wingback Chair

Slat back: Perfect for rustic dining sets, this type of dining chair features a vertically slatted back, most often made of wood, and can have either a matching wooden seat or an upholstered, cushioned alternative. This practical chair is sturdy and great for a household with children. 

Slat back Chair

Ladder back: Like a slat back chair, ladder back chairs are great for traditional, relaxed dining setup. Narrow or wide horizontal slats give these chairs their name, and are usually made of wood but can be upholstered for extra comfort. 

Ladder back Chair

Cross back: Cross back or X-back chairs give your dining area a light and airy look thanks to their openness. Choose cross back dining chair types made of wood for traditional styling, or opt for cross back chairs made of metal or even plastic for a bold contemporary look. 

Cross back Chair

Dining Chair Base Styles

Cantilever: One of the most striking dining chair types for contemporary spaces, cantilever chairs eschew the traditional four-leg design in favour of an L-shape frame that makes the seat of the chair look like it is floating. The frame is usually metal, creating an ultra-modern look. 

Cantilever Chair

Sleigh: Sleigh leg dining chairs are great for an open look that adds space around your dining table. The legs on each side are connected at the base, evoking the look of sleigh runners and leaving the front and back of the chair base open.

Sleigh Chair

Pedestal: If space is at a premium in your dining area, pedestal legs can give everyone a bit more room to move. Instead of the four legs of the chair being positioned at the four corners of the seat, they are in the centre to add more room around the base of the seat. 

Pedestal Chair

Tulip: A single pedestal, usually with a wide, rounded foot, forms the base of this chair and creates a sleek look that is great for retro-inspired or modern dining rooms. If you have a kitchen island or high table and you want coordinating dining chairs and bar stools, you may consider this type. 

Tulip Chair

There are so many different dining chair types that we can only scratch the surface of all the options in the massive collection of dining chairs available at Corcoran’s. But we hope this offers an overview of some of the dining chair types you may not be familiar with, and gives you some ideas for the best chairs for your own kitchen or dining room. 

Shop dining chairs online now or visit our stores to see even more great chair options to pair with your dining table and enhance your mealtimes. And if you have any questions about the best chairs for your space or the other styles available, get in touch! Our furniture experts can help you choose the perfect dining chairs for your home. 

Lauren Mateer

Lauren Mateer

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