The Best Dining Chairs For Comfort And Practicality

Rejuvenate your tired table with our guide to the best contemporary dining chairs.

A father serves lunch to his family at the dining table in a modern open-plan kitchen

by Natalie Knowles |
Updated on

It's worth taking your time when buying dining chairs because dining tables are for more than just eating dinner. We sit up at the table to work on our laptops, help the kids with their homework, entertain guests, play board games and make big life plans. So, comfort is important. Dining chairs are not just for leaving piles of laundry on. Yes, they're very handy to stand on when a light bulb needs changing. And many a time they've been draped with a sheet to make a den.

For some reason, dining chairs seem like an afterthought to getting the dining table - they're such an invisible and yet integral piece of furniture. For anyone who's had to make do with deckchairs or collapsible chairs as they furnish their new home; you'll know the joy of sitting on a proper chair for the first time in ages.

Purchasing a dining table and chairs as a set is a great option if you want your furniture to be coordinated. Alternatively, you may be jumping on the mismatched chair or upcycling trend to furnish a room that's bursting with creativity. Sprucing up your dining room with new-look dining chairs is a great way to refresh your space and there are some fabulous designs out there, as demonstrated by Pinterest.

What to consider when buying dining chairs

If you want to make shopping for dining chairs easier then deciding on a dining chair set is your first step. But if you want to add a unique twist to your decor (and have the budget and time) consider the benefits of buying your dining chairs separately and specifically for the comfort and practicality they offer. We've chosen a range of chairs that are the best option for high-back chairs, dining chairs with arms, Scandi chairs and more. There are also other factors to consider such as the price, shape, style and size of each chair, and if you want a mismatched design. Find out A Modern Kitchen's verdict on the dining chair that offers the best balance of ergonomic support, functionality and flair below.

The best dining chairs

Best dining chairs for style

Getting our vote for style, this elegant dining chair has fabric upholstery with ribbed stitching detail. The seat depth is a comfy 46cm and the seat height is 46.5cm. Reviews have commented it's not too heavy and yet it is a sturdy chair for everyday use. It comes part assembled and Dunelm offer a 1-year guarantee.

Customer review: "Bought it on sale, it works well and is comfy to sit on. Took one star off because assembly for two chairs was more difficult. It was hard to get the screws in, but we managed by not using rings for three of the four screws. The chair is sturdy regardless."


  • Stylish
  • Comfortable foam padded seat


  • Expensive if you're buying several
  • Some reviews comment on difficulties putting the chair together because of missing screws

Best value dining chairs

Whether you're styling a dining room, open-plan kitchen or conservatory, these padded dining chairs, from MCC Direct, come in a range of colours so you can coordinate. They feature a solid back and plush padded seat for comfort. Hardwood legs, with anti-scratch nylon feet on the bottom of each leg, means your floor will be protected from damage. From floor to seat the height is 45.5cm - try measuring your legs while sitting on a chair to see how this compares.

Customer review: "Excellent value. Easy assembly and quite comfortable and smart looking."


  • Impressive style and quality for the price


  • Flat pack, some reviewers have found them a bit difficult to assemble

Best Scandi style dining chairs

The Torino chairs exude minimalist Scandi style with their simple spindle back design and tapered legs. They're self-assembly chairs, but generally easy to put together. The surface is wipe-clean, which is ideal for busy households. These versatile wooden chairs could be accessorised with seat cushions if you wanted to personalise them and make the seat a bit comfier.

Customer review: "We bought these chairs because we liked the traditional style. We also liked the good support for the back and the large seat. The chairs are very well made, and the grey colour gives them a modern contemporary look. We use them in our kitchen diner with a pine table which goes together very well."


  • Sturdy
  • Stylish
  • Classic design
  • Good value
  • Easy to put together


  • Painted finish in white may get scratched

Best dining chairs with arms

Choose from black or gold leg options and velvet or linen fabric in a range of colours to complement your décor. Designed with comfort in mind, this ergonomic dining chair has armrests, a slightly angled back and a padded seat.
There are anti-slip plastic end caps on the legs to prevent scratching your floor. Durable, stable and so stylish - a wonderful way to revamp a tired dining table and turn it into a feature.

Customer review: "This is such a comfortable chair. It feels like sitting on a cloud. Sturdy, comfortable and easy to build. Highly recommended."


  • Ergonomic
  • Upholstered back


  • Some reviews have commented that the seat loses its cushioning over time
  • Not intended for heavy use

Best durable dining chairs
Thomasin Side Chair
Price: £119.99 (was £129.99)

With smooth edges and stylish curves, these gorgeous Thomasin chairs combine fashion, form and function. The seat is a molded polypropylene shell that gives back support. The ergonomic design has smooth edges that look good and feel comfortable - great if you're going to be sitting on the chair for a long time. Solid wood legs with footpads protects your floor from marks. There's a wonderful range of colours to choose from - you could even mix and match. The chairs come partially assembled and they're easy to put together.

Customer review: "Well packaged, good product. Instructions not the best, although once I found a video tutorial, they were really quick and easy to assemble."


  • Classic design
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Ergonomic


  • None

Best popular dining chair

Featured on TV, this popular wood and rattan chair from Habitat features a traditional wishbone design. Sophisticated minimalism with a curved back to give you support. This elegant chair, though not cheap, would complement an oak table with understated elegance.


  • Timeless design
  • Made from quality materials
  • Lightweight


  • Impractical - the woven rattan seat may not be practical for households where the chair is going to get a lot of use
  • Definitely not a chair to stand on

Best dining chair for comfort

Nothings says comfort more than sitting in an armchair at the dinner table. An though this Santino dining chair isn't literally an armchair, it does feature an ergonomic back rest and perfectly-placed arm rests. A wonderful Scandinavian-inspired chair with gentle curves and an oiled wood finish.

Customer review: "Lovely looking chair. Probably more suitable for taller folk as the seat is higher than average."


  • Quality
  • Solid oak frame


  • Expensive
  • Measure your table first to ensure these will fit, as they are large chairs

Best dining chair for a bad back

This set of two cantilever dining chairs ticks so many boxes, especially if you are looking for a chair that will support your back. There's minimal assembly required, which is an important point if you struggle with mobility issues. In addition, the deep faux leather seats are padded and support both your lumbar and your back.

Customer review: "The chairs are the most comfortable dining chairs I’ve ever owned."


  • Comfortable
  • Sturdy
  • Stylish
  • Strong


  • Some reviews have commented that they are quite heavy to move around
  • Some chair sets have chairs with up to a 2cm height difference

Best high back dining chairs
Willow Modern Stylish Dining Chairs Set

Rrp: $189.99

Price: $149.99

Extraordinary dining chairs that are surprisingly well priced given their high spec and contemporary design. Their gravity-defying ergonomic design will support your back and lumbar. With their sexy curves, stitched detail lines on faux leather and half-moon chrome feet - these dining chairs express so much personality.

Customer review: "We bought four chairs in white to fit around our glass-top table in the kitchen. The chairs have made a dramatic difference to the room. They are very comfortable, and we like the stylish design. Very happy with the purchase and would highly recommend."


  • Stunning design and comfortable


  • Some reviews have commented on difficulty assembling the chairs

Best dining bench

This versatile faux leather dining bench has received glowing reviews for comfort, style, size and quality. It can even make a handy back-up sofa when you have extra guests around. Available in a good core range of colours, to complement most décor. Matching dining chairs are also available.

Customer review: "Great bench seat. Very comfy and fit perfectly under my dining table. Wipe clean and sturdy too. Such great value."


  • Easy to assemble
  • Wipe clean


  • None

Best collapsible dining chair

This attractive folding chair is lightweight and makes a lovely seat to offer the occasional extra dinner guest. The wood is beech and is a deceptively sturdy chair. Made in Italy, by a family-run company, this chair brings a bit of continental elegance to any small dining area.

Customer review: "I bought a couple of these chairs to use as spares for when I have a table full of people. They are very nice to look at and fine to sit on. I have put a small seat cushion on each so nobody will get up with crinkly legs."


  • Sturdy for a folding chair
  • Space-saving
  • No assembly required


  • Not for sitting on for long periods of time
  • Expensive for a single chair

Best stackable dining chairs

These metal stacking chairs are extremely strong and can hold up to 220kg. The natural wood seat is more comfortable to sit on than metal and adds a touch of elegance. If you want versatility, these are a super practical solution for extra dinner table seating.

Customer review: "Great looking good colour suit my homemade table fantastically. Easy to assemble. And surprisingly comfortable even without a cushion."


  • Good value for money


  • Metal frame can get scuffed

OUR VERDICT: Which is the best dining chair?

For a dining chair that's got your back, we choose the Thomasin Side Chair. This set of four contemporary dining chairs ticks all our boxes in terms of price, size, style, comfort and practicality. Whether you're furnishing a lounge, studio or dining room, the Thomasin chair is going to hit that sweet spot of comfort and style. Ideal for families, the seat is wipe-clean and not too sharp or heavy if it gets bumped into. It's evident from customer photos how the chairs effortlessly complement the different decor. At your next dinner party let the table talk be about the chairs you're sitting on.


What types of dining chairs are there?

In its simplest form, a dining chair that's known as a side chair is a basic seat with no arms. In addition, there is a style of seat called a Parsons chair that became popular in the 1930s. The Parsons chair embodies simple comfort and practicality and was made in reaction to the more ornate furniture of the time. There are many different backs, including wingback, ladderback, slat back, and Windsor chairs that have vertical slats. Interestingly, ladderback or Shaker-style chairs were designed to be hung when they're not in use, and dining chairs with armrests are becoming more popular. Finally, you might find that you are limited in space, in which instance, you may want to consider a bench, foldable or stackable seating solution.

What style of dining chairs should I buy?

The initial benefit of a dining chair is its visual appeal. A chair that's pleasing to the eye will enhance your living space. From rustic to industrial, retro to farmhouse style - there's a chair to suit your taste. You may prefer upholstered fabric seats, wicker for texture, or leather for durability. Accessorise simple wooden, metal or plastic chairs with cushions. It's all about contrast and coordination - do you want your dining set to match and blend with the décor or pop with colour and creativity? For a coordinated look, pick out one feature that's consistent in your room's furniture - for example everything could be natural wood. In contrast, shabby chic vibes come from mismatching materials and fabrics.

Secondly, consider how it's going to feel when you sit on the chair. It's got to be comfortable for you, your family and any guests that come round for dinner. Our levels of comfort are subjective. Some will prefer a hard wooden seat, whilst others will opt for a padded seat. Equally, some will prefer a high back for support, and some will want a chair with arms. There is, of course, no substitute for trying before you buy, and you'll find most styles of chairs in your local furniture store. But you are more likely to bag a bargain by shopping online.

What measurements are important when purchasing dining chairs?

To avoid disappointment, measure the height between the chair seat and the tabletop. On average, you need a 25cm gap for comfortable leg room. The distance between the table and your seat is important too. If you're buying chairs with arms, measure the height of the arms to know if they'll tuck under the table. The width and depth of the seat is also crucial for your comfort. If you're purchasing two, four, six even eight chairs in a set, measure the length of your table first and consider how they're going to fit around it. Think about the gap that's between each chair to make it comfortable for people sitting side-by-side. Finally, measure the height of the chair back as you may want support on your upper back as well as your lumbar.

What is the most durable material?

Leather is the most durable option for a cushioned dining chair, but it comes with a premium price tag. Consider faux leather options for this reason. For the frame of the chair, oak, teak, beech, birch and metal are robust.

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