Ever notice how uncomfortable fast food restaurant chairs are?
I have, and do every time I visit (thankfully not often).
Why is this?
You know why.
They don’t want people staying long.
If they provided plush, comfortable dining chairs, people would stick around taking up seats. That’s not good for business.
There’s a saying in the restaurant business which goes “greet ’em, feed ’em and street ’em.”
Fast food places and many other restaurants including coffee shops do this in spades.
But let’s leave uncomfortable chairs to dining establishments.
When it comes to your dining room, while the table stands out, it’s your chairs that will make an impact.
I’m not talking just about the design of your chairs.
I’m talking about how comfortable they are.
Too many dining room chairs on the market are uncomfortable.
They’re small with not enough support. Spindly back and no arms like the following:
I’m a big guy. Sometimes I feel like if I move too much I’ll snap a leg.
I don’t understand this.
We should be comfortable while eating meals in our home. This is especially the case for guests.
I don’t want a recliner. I’m not going for the TV dinner effect at the dining table.
But I want a substantial chair with adequate padding. Strong arms. A high back.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
I can tell just by looking at the above example it’s sturdy, substantial, comfortable and looks good.
There’s even a touch of cushion on the arms.
That’s a chair you and your guests can enjoy sitting in for hours. There’s no need to “retire” to the living room.
If you don’t like the arms, here’s an example of a comfortable dining room chair without arms:
Form over function?
When shopping for dining room chairs or furniture in general, it’s hard not to choose form over function.
We want it to look great. We envision it in our homes.
We immediately assume as long as it looks good, it is good.
That mindset is not always the right mindset.
I’m not suggesting you forego style.
Instead, don’t ignore function.
When it comes to dining room chairs, comfort is paramount. It’s paramount for all seating unless a decorative chair.
Consider modern style furniture.
It can look cool, but lacks comfort.
check out these modern dining room chairs:
Or these (which are popular):
Neither of the above two modern chairs are terribly comfortable.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t comfortable modern dining chairs available. Check out:
People comment on our dining room chairs all the time
I’m not telling you this just because comfort is important to me.
I’m telling you this because of how many dinner guests comment about how comfortable and nice our dining room chairs are.
We have fabulous dining room chairs. I forgot to take a pic of them. They are just like these except not as fussy:
What’s very interesting is our dining room table is fabulous as well but not nearly as many people remark on it. It’s a refinished antique with pull-out leaves on both ends. Fully extended it accommodates 10 people (8 with our larger dining room chairs).
Which brings me up to common objections about investing in more comfortable dining room chairs.
Yes, larger, more comfortable dining room chairs cost more money. You don’t get a set of 4 for $300. You get one for $300. When you buy 6 or 8 or 10, you shell out $2K or more.
It’s an investment.
When it comes to furnishing your home, you need to pick and choose where you buy quality unless you’re loaded.
We’re not loaded but opted for excellent dining room furniture with no regrets.
Not enough space
We give up 2 chairs at our dining room table because of the larger chairs. If we crammed people in on narrow, flimsy chairs, our table/room can accommodate 10 people. With our chairs, it’s 8.
Does that cause problems sometimes?
Yes, it does, but we make due.
More often than not we don’t have more than 8 people around the table so the bigger, more comfortable chairs are better.
Good enough is not good enough
It’s too easy to settle for less when you fall in love with a design.
We’ve all been there. We see the perfect item from afar and envision it in our house. By that point, we’ve already purchased it in our minds. It’s a done deal. Yes, we sit it in or test it out, but that’s pro forma. We don’t care at that point. But that’s the point when you should care. You need to distance yourself from the instant emotional attachment and objectively assess comfort.
While bombing around on his bike, Nathan dreams up cool interior design article ideas for Homestratosphere.com. He loves penning the perfect introduction or clever description of a particular design. When not writing about design, he cycles, reads crime novels, barbecues (ribs are his specialty), entertains friends and hangs out with his beautiful wife and amazing kids.