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Shopping For Dining Chairs…Consider A Curved-Back Option (Wisdom From A Pro Stylist)

Shopping for dining chairs isn’t easy! There are SO many options where even the “most affordable” ones still add up to A LOT of money because you at least need four for most dining tables. But Emily discovered one easy way to narrow your search…The curved-back chair. There’s honestly no downside. They feel great to sit on, you can comfortably converse with the person next to you, AND they look great. Why do they look great, do you ask? Well, if you know us, you know we love to mix and match shapes (ie. you don’t want all squares or all curves in one space). What a curved-back chair does, especially for a rectangular table, is nicely contrast that shape. Your guests will ask you if you hired a designer! Isn’t that what we all really want?? But the truth is you are just smart and learned all this good design advice for free, here:) It’s all about visual interest baby (and comfort)!

Ceremonie Green Mohair Dining Chair

This green mohair dining chair from Crate & Barrel was an INSTANT love match for Emily and her sunroom. It’s also what really made her “team curved-back” dining chair after getting some real use out of them.

design by emily henderson and arciform | photo by kaitlin green | from: my favorite spot in the farmhouse: our sunroom reveal!

Sure, they are clearly beautiful, but more than that, they are so comfortable to sit in. And I can attest to that! I usually sit in that middle one on the right (my unofficial farmhouse sunroom work chair). So while this table is a pill shape and isn’t technically a rectangle, there are SO many other straight, graphic lines in this room. These chairs really soften the overall look. Then when you want to chat with the person next to you, that little curve gives you a really comfortable armrest. 10/10!

So in hopes of helping you find a functional AND beautiful dining chair. Here are our favorites online right now:

Sienna Boucle Dining Armchair

Let’s start out real strong with what looks (and is rated high) to be a beautiful and comfortable dining chair! The color is gorgeous and also comes in three other more neutral options. At $399 it’s not cheap (few good dining chairs are) but it is a stunner and a bestseller so that is saying something, right?! Also, it could easily be a great accent chair:)

Malin Whitewash Ash Wood Dining Chair

A modern take on the classic wishbone that I truly love. The light ash wood is so pretty with that natural flecked wool-blend fabric (which also looks very forgiving with spills). The curved back may not be upholstered but I’ve sat in wishbone chairs because and love how they feel. Originally, this chair was $349 but Crate & Barrel is having a Dining Room Event (aka a good sale) so right now this puppy is $279 each. Oh, and it’s made from sustainable wood!

Dame Dining Chair

Back to upholstered backs! If you know me you know I love this one. The scale of the tubular back is slim and chic but still looks substantial enough to be comfortable for maximum eating and conversation time around the dining table! While this cutie is $648 each, it’s a very special and unique chair. If you go to the product page and see it in people’s homes you’ll see what I mean.

Inesse Boucle Dining Chair

Modern and moody! This is the same fabric in a different color as the first one but this one is clearly more sleek and minimal. I also think the style and color are wildly versatile and can work with a ton of different home styles. This cutie comes in at $379 with a 4.6-star rating!

Mathilde Leather Dining Chair

What a vintage Shaker-inspired stunner. But I also feel like the design very much took cues from the Scandinavian vintage dining chairs we saw Em considering for the farmhouse. Honestly, it makes total sense since the style/vibe of Emily’s house is Scandinavian Farmhouse:) It’s also a beautiful dining chair that looks comfortable and is easy to clean up with that leather seat.

Carlyle Dining Chair

More leather and more modern shapes! This pricey ($995) but beautiful chair would elevate anyone’s home. It’s current yet timeless at the same time. I just think it’s the coolest.

Orion Luxe Dining Chair

I found an affordable AND colorful option at $100 a pop! Target came through with a simple, luxe, and fun dining chair. A gently curved back with a gentler piece tag. It also comes in cream and green however those colors seem to be sold out online but you can check back for them.

Lennox Karissa Dining Chair

Man, I love this one too! Very similar to Emily’s chairs but the wooden, darker, warmer version. Look at that joinery detail that says “modern” instead of “only farmhouse”. The seat also comes in a cream but I feel like this color is a bit more forgiving. Both are beautiful though. Love the options!

Solid Real Wood Leather Cushion Elbow Dining Chair

Another vintage-inspired piece that is made from real wood and is still only $269 (I know that is still a lot but it’s a great price for a piece like this). It also comes in a few different colors if you love the shape but want another tone.

Rimrow Dining Chair

I clearly needed to add in some other materials so rattan it is! This chair truly looks like it’s giving you a hug and how the seat is shaped also looks really comfortable. It comes in this natural color, black as well as white, and is $520 each. It would add not only that beautiful contrasting shape but also help you mix in another texture into your home!

Valissa Armchair

For this one, it’s a little less rattan and a little more cushion which is nice for you and your guests. It’s neutral but still interesting and again looks really comfortable chair! The price tag of $600 isn’t nothing but if you have the budget and want a beautiful chair, this could be it.

Lana Curved Back Dining Chair

Another far more affordable option at $130! No assembly is required and this sleek but rounded design is perfect for almost every home. It also comes in a light wood:)

Raleigh Dining Arm Chair

Yikes, I also love this one. You can lean back with extra cushion and comfort, the frame wood is kiln-dried which they say makes it sturdier, and it’s gorgeous. Not the cheapest but not the most expensive at $449.

Reid Wood Upholstered Dining Chair (Set of 2)

How good is that wood detail under the arms? It’s super simple but a nice touch. This one also comes in a handful of other colors and for two chairs it costs $750.

Frederique Cerused Natural Oak Wood Upholstered Dining Side Chair

This one might be cheating because calling this a curved-back dining chair is a stretch but look how COOL it is. The shape of the back is too good and that dark mauve color is just to die for. This chair comes in at $349.

That’s it for curved back chairs! More than anything I hope this helps you think about mixing shapes and profiles when designing a room. This is a great start if you are in the market.

Love you, mean it.

Opening Image Credits: Design by Emily Henderson and ARCIFORM | Photo by Kaitlin Green | From: My Favorite Spot In The Farmhouse: Our Sunroom Reveal!

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Roberta Davis
4 months ago

These are all beautiful and most of them look like they’d be comfortable to sit in for a couple of hours!

🥰 Rusty
4 months ago

LOVE that Shaker-inspired chair!!

4 months ago

These are all gorgeous and I love the idea… but what if you have a round or oval table? Is round on round too much of a good thing?

emily jane
4 months ago
Reply to  Kirsten

Hi Kirsten : ) Stipulating that I am a reader but not a designer: I have a round pedestal table paired with a vintage curved-back chair and I am quite fond of how well they snug up with each other -a particular benefit in a small space (though now that I think about it, I suppose my banquet offsets the roundness of the other dining nook ‘actors’. Hhhhhmmmm… Given how plentiful they are I wonder if anyone worries about having too many square and/or rectangle shapes..?).
Jess, even though I have an over-abundance of chairs on property, I quite enjoyed this round-up. Also, I have a delightful amount of anticipation building for your upcoming MOTO/s ; )

Cici Haus
4 months ago

I’m really struggling to understand the appeal of boucle generally, but especially in a dining chair. It’d be darn near impossible to clean? Plus it gets matted and gross, so I feel like nothing boucle would last? Can anyone attest to the longevity/practicalness of this trend?

4 months ago

Does anyone have any suggestions for chairs that hold up well for bigger bodies? These chairs are beautiful but I don’t see them holding up well for my husband who is 6’4” and over 200lbs, nor all of his extended family who are also taller/larger people. Or are there chairs that can easily fit people of all body sizes comfortably, from kids and my grandma who is under 5ft tall to my BIL who is over 6’6”? And people of various weights.

4 months ago
Reply to  Emily

As a plus size woman… I would say stay away from highly curved back chairs unless you can test in person. Especially the ones that have the posts coming down the front (like the first option). The posts can cut into the sides of your thighs, and if your back is wider than average than the curves of the arms poke into your sides. It really depends on the chair though, maybe the more expensive ones are larger. A lot of restaurants around me have chairs like the Lana listed above and I can’t sit in them comfortably.
The ones with a more gentle curve would be fine, but anything that approaches a half-circle is probably going to be tough for a larger person, unless you can test in person to make sure it is big enough. The ones in Emily’s sunroom or the Dame or Lennox above would probably be much more suited to a variety of sizes because the curve is much more gentle.

4 months ago
Reply to  Emily

But for chairs that fit various sizes, I would say my biggest tip is flat surfaces. I have several dining chairs that are the type that fold with metal hinges, and they are extremely sturdy. The seat is padded but its flat, no weird butt indents (bc if your butt isn’t the same size as the indents they don’t make it comfy haha). Same with the back, its cane so it’s also pretty flat. No arms definitely. I thrifted mine, but I just looked it up and the exact chair is “Stackmore French Cane-Back Folding Chair, Set of 2” from Walmart. I’m not suggesting that chair exactly, but I have found it to be incredibly sturdy, I think due to the folding hardware

4 months ago
Reply to  Mo

Thank you for all this Mo! It is super helpful and I have written a lot of your suggestions as a phone note so that I can remember it while out on the hunt. I appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences.
I may have to get a few of those chairs you have to keep on hand for when we have guests this holiday season.

karen robinson
4 months ago

So I have to weigh in here. I lived in mexico for many years where right angle chairs are the norm and they are famously uncomfortable for long, leisurely sits. While beautiful I would find Emily’s chairs very uncomfortable due to the strong right angle style. Gorgeous to look at but in my experience not conducive to “hanging out” at the table!!! k

4 months ago

So straight back if you have a round table??

Julie S
4 months ago

I like a gentle curve for sure, but not the stronger ones – I don’t like feeling confined at the edges in my chair, not to mention it makes it hard to slide in from the side (which is how I usually seem to go). My old Ikea Bernhard chairs fit the bill, plus they are leather and wipeable. I need a chair with a back that goes all the way down – chairs that are open in the lower region and a bar across the mid/upper back are so uncomfortable for me! I can’t relax. There are a lot of factors in finding great dining chairs, I guess.

4 months ago

We got our Arhaus Jagger side chairs (natural wood in the cary linen fabric) and LOVE LOVE them! So comfy and love the way they look. They were a splurge, but we hope to keep loving them for years to come.