The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

9 best dining chairs that are comfortable and stylish

We’ve found some beautifully designed furniture pieces that marry form and function with aplomb

Ali Howard
Thursday 27 May 2021 17:08
<p>The likes of Ikea and Oak Furnitureland have come out strong with their designs</p>

The likes of Ikea and Oak Furnitureland have come out strong with their designs

With indoor dinner parties back on the menu, now is the perfect time to refresh your dining room set-up. Just as important as choosing the right table to suit your space, a set of dining chairs has to suit the table, too.

It’s worth considering the number of guests your table will allow – whether you want to maximise on its dimensions by fitting in a row of slimline seats or go all out for comfort with armed dining chairs designed to sit back and relax, way beyond the dessert course.

Rarely will you be going for an odd number of chairs, so with this in mind, it’s often financially shrewd to buy in pairs. We’ve found a number of products handily sold as a duo.

Think about materials, too: a plush velvet might suit grown-up diners but where there are kids involved, you’d be wise to plump for wipe-clean fabrics such as leather or go for natural wood. With a clever ergonomic design, a wooden or plastic dining chair without the padding can be surprisingly comfy.

There are such rich pickings when it comes to contemporary seating and we’ve found some beautifully designed furniture pieces that marry form and function with aplomb. Here, we put our top chairs to the test.

Read more:

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

The best dining chairs for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Corrigan Studio Akers upholstered dining chairs, set of two: £169.99, Wayfair.co.uk
  • Best for retro charm – Nkuku Ukari dining chair, aged black: £195, Nkuku.com
  • Best for thoughtful design – George Oliver Greenhouse upholstered dining chair: £139.99, Wayfair.co.uk
  • Best for vintage lovers – Made Amalyn dining chairs, walnut and pine green velvet, set of 2: £229, Made.com
  • Best for an industrial refresh – Oak Furnitureland Brooklyn solid oak and metal dining chair: £180, Oakfurnitureland.co.uk
  • Best for bringing the outside in – Dunelm Pax rattan dining chairs, set of two: £169, Dunelm.com
  • Best for a clean, contemporary look – M&S Loft fabric dining chairs, set of two: £139, Marksandspencer.com
  • Best for accessible design – Ikea karljan chair: £35, Ikea.com
  • Best for comfort – Danetti Clover dark grey velvet dining chairs, set of two: £358, Danetti.com

Corrigan Studio Akers upholstered dining chairs, set of two

Best: Overall

With its sculpted, ergonomic shaping and its tan faux leather upholstery, the Akers dining chair – sold in a set of two – is not unlike a classic baseball glove. Needless to say, it offers a comfortable sit with ample back support. The PU leather is soft but durable and boasts attractive lines of fine stitching while the chair’s tapered and angled iron legs in black offer a chic mid-century aesthetic. This one’s great if you’re after a chair that envelops the sitter – but without the bulky armrests.

Nkuku ukari dining chair, aged black

Best: For retro charm

Recalling an old school classroom chair, Nkuku’s offering boasts instant retro charm. The compact dining chair comprises a sturdy iron frame and a padded seat and backrest upholstered in hand-crafted goat leather, which has been dyed using vegetable extract and tree bark.

Naturally, the leather – a by-product of the meat industry – is soft and rich and it promises to age beautifully. Simple but oh so effective, we loved this quietly unassuming piece. It’s as functional as it is effortlessly stylish.

Dunelm pax set of two rattan dining chairs

Best: For bringing the outside in

The indoor rattan trend has been around for a while – and it is still going strong – but this contemporary dining chair mixes in a slice of the industrial, which we love. Sold as a pair, the chair is crafted from natural cane with its intricately knotted slats forming the body of the piece, while its black metal base makes for an attractive contrast in materials.

More sturdy than it looks, the chair offers a comfy recline – look closely and you’ll see its gentle ergonomic curve. But of course, this one wouldn’t be complete without a sheepskin throw to really set it off.

George Oliver greenhouse upholstered dining chair

Best: Thoughtful design

This is a beautifully crafted piece of furniture that takes classic mid-century modern design as its starting point and gives it an unexpected contemporary twist. We loved the way the seat and backrest form one seemingly continuous line as if the chair has folded in on itself. Surprisingly, the slimline angled legs are made from a metal that’s coloured to match the warm, mid-toned wood. Upholstered in a smart office-like charcoal, the look pulls in different directions, and we loved the chair for that. It also offers back support where you need it, and a supportive frame for resting your elbows.

Made Amalyn dining chairs

Best: For vintage lovers

Upping the luxe on a mid-century design classic, the Amalyn dining chair, sold in a duo, playfully mixes styles and materials. The wonderfully deep curved backrest is crafted from engineered wood with rich walnut veneers; its frame is a sturdy iron with chic brass tips; while its soft seat is upholstered in recycled polyester velvet. It is a heady mix, both texturally and visually. The chair is compact but offers a big impact on the style front, and it won’t look out of place amongst true vintage pieces.

Oak Furnitureland Brooklyn natural solid oak and metal dining chair

Best: For an industrial refresh

Bringing an industrial look to the dining room, the Brooklyn chair is solid and stylish. It’s crafted from a dark aged effect metal and features an open frame, which gives it a lightness of form to counterbalance its hard-edged materials. We loved the stark contrast between the metal and the solid oak seat. The blond oak is finished in a natural protective wax that brings out the organic grain beautifully, knots and all. Enticingly, the price of this one is slashed by half if you buy a set with a complimentary table – and there are suitably industrial-chic options to choose from.

M&S loft fabric dining chairs, set of two

Best: For a clean, contemporary look

If you’re after smart modern seating that tucks in neatly under your dining table, M&S’s loft chair with its fuss-free shaping will appeal. Clean-lined, the chair has a subtle curve to the backrest, giving you great lower back support while its slightly upturned seat offers both comfort and a feeling of security.

The dining chair, complete with its tall angled legs in a beautiful pale beech, offers an elegant silhouette. This one’s also a compact space-saver, allowing you to fit more in around the table.

Ikea karljan chair

Best: Accessible design

Simple, stylish and affordable, we loved Ikea’s karljan chair with its cool utilitarian aesthetic. Designed by one Francis Cayouette, it is as much at home in the kitchen as it is in a casual dining room set-up. The chair boasts padding to both the seat cushion and backrest, which is perfectly angled for lumbar support – in other words, it’s more comfortable than it looks. The powder-coated steel frame is strong and sturdy while the woven upholstery fabric offers a pleasing visual texture. In turquoise, it brings a cheery colour pop, too.

Danetti clover dark grey velvet dining chair with stainless steel caps, set of two

Best: Comfort

Stylish and contemporary in plush velvet, this dining chair is as comfortable as it looks. It has a luxuriously deep seat cushion and a tall, curved backrest that offers great support while giving you a feeling of security – this one positively hugs. Mid-century inspired legs offset the soft material, these are jet black wood, finished with chic steel caps. We loved the way the void breaks up the otherwise bulky body, while the tapered and angled legs offer an elegant silhouette.

The verdict: Dining chairs

Ikea’s utilitarian karljan chair in turquoise offers incredible value for money – a striking design-led piece that’s enticingly purse-friendly. But, we loved Corrigan Studio’s akers upholstered dining chair for its homely (faux) leather look and its chic mid-century shaping. Winning points on both design and comfort, this is a chair that envelops the sitter, encouraging dinner guests to sit back, relax, and stay at the table for longer.

Voucher codes

For discounts on homeware, try the links below:

Looking for more ways to serve up dinner in style? Read our review of the best dining tables

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in