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How to Choose the Perfect Dining Chair

Joanne Lee

Ever buy a dining chair online and upon it arriving in your home, discover that it simply does not work with your dining room and table! Here is a quick guide to shopping for dining chairs online and what to look for to make sure that what you receive will be perfect and make you party ready for that next fete!


Make sure to check the seat width, and the seat height, all the while comparing these measurements in relation to the size of your dining table. Average seat width can range from 16-24 inches - lots of options here. We suggest to pick a seat width no less than 17 inches and as a rule around the 20-24 inch mark for ultimate comfort. (Quick note that arms on chairs add about 1-3 inches on each side)

After checking the seat width, it's time to check the seat height. Average seat height is around 18-22 inches. Always allow 12 inches between the top of the seat and the top of your dining table so everyone has enough room to cross their legs without banging their knees. If buying a dining chair with arms, make sure to leave 7 inches between the chair arm and bottom of the table so that there is enough space for each diner to rest their arms comfortably on the chair.

Note that the above advice is based on regular dining tables with table heights of about 29-30 inches but you must always think of what will work in relation to what you have at home. If you have a huge dining table that would dwarf dining chairs with seat widths of 22 inches, size up! Provide each diner at your table at least 24-30 inches of space for themselves so that no one gets elbowed at dinnertime. 

Here are a few chairs that fit those exact dimensions:

Also, make sure that there is about 36 inches of space between the dining table and the wall behind it or any other piece of furniture. Just so that no one is made to squeeze in uncomfortably to get back in their seat. 


Make sure that it is easy to pull out the dining chair from the table. Chairs with back splats work great as there is space for your hand to pull the chair back using the back splat. Upholstered chairs on the other hand require a bit more effort which is why one would hope that it isn't incredibly heavy. 


We love contrasting styles at Dowel! Just check out our recent post on how it makes such a difference and ups the wow factor in your home. Just make sure that when you are buying something that is a contrasting style such as a modern dining table with traditional chairs - find an aspect of both that unite the combination such as color, leg silhouette, even a common pattern of sorts. 

To summarize the main points:

1. Seat width = 20-24 inches

2. Seat height = allow 12 inches between the top of the seat and the top of your dining table, always leave 7 inches between the top of the arms of the chair and the bottom of the table.

3. Make sure it is easy to move your dining chairs!

4. Make sure that your dining table does not dwarf your chairs or vice versa!