Upholstered dining chairs are a key part of the current trend for super-relaxed, super-comfortable spaces that you and your friends can spend hours in. They're padded, they're cushioned, they're soft to the touch, they invite you to turn your phone face down and focus on the people around you as you hunker in for a night of conversation.
Modern shapes and colors tend to be jewel bright, following interior design trends for organic curves and uplifting shades. Here are the 9 I've got my eye on, many of of which have been in my own virtual shopping baskets for a while - I just need to commit. Mix, match or buy as a complementing set - either way, get ready to settle in.
The 3 best 'head of table' upholstered chairs
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These upholstered dining chairs take up a touch more space than I'd feel comfortable with along the long edge of a dining table. But they're so beautiful, so modern and so comfy I'd happily make room at the head for them.
I see this as being the perfect 'head of table' chair - commanding but comfortable. The petroleum shade of the blue is soft enough to work in transitional-style dining rooms.
Just as enveloping, the air between the seat and back rest means this is perfect for small dining spaces - it won't be too obstructive. Also available in white boucle.
The monochrome design makes a striking impression - I'd imagine this paired with a soft oak table and a light grey or powder blue on the walls, so it really stands out.
The 3 best upholstered chairs to go along the long edge of the table
These slimline upholstered dining chairs are no less comfortable but can be easily tucked in alongside each other. I'm planning on buying a couple of the Jonathan Adler ones to mix into a more understated collection - why should your chairs have to match?!
You can always trust Jonathan Adler to know how and when to add some opulence. I like this sunshine-bright yellow, but the Rider chair also comes in blue, white and grey.
This sweet little cocktail chair plays into the Hollywood Regency design trend, looking back to the glamour of years gone by but in a fresh, contemporary color.
There's got to be something to be said for a stackable dining chair, especially when space is tight. The dark wood and white cushioned seat play into the everlasting Scandi trend.
The three best upholstered chairs on a budget
Of course, if you're buying a lot of dining chairs, their high price point soon adds up. I can't promise these won't break your bank - you know your finances better than me - but hopefully buying a few of them is an easier reach.
$132 for two
Coming in a pair, I like the modern/architectural shape of the seat back. Oddly like a baseball glove, but also one you can be enveloped in at the table.
$419.99 for 4
I've always been a sucker for anything mid-century and the elegantly shaped legs. Long and slim and pointed, this chair would look smart as a set, perhaps round a circular table.
$199.99 for two
See how the back slopes back at the perfect angle for reclining - just a little but not too much. The ideal shape for conversational seating.
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The editor of Livingetc, Pip Rich (formerly Pip McCormac) is a lifestyle journalist of almost 20 years experience working for some of the UK's biggest titles. As well as holding staff positions at Sunday Times Style, Red and Grazia he has written for the Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and ES Magazine. The host of Livingetc's podcast Home Truths, Pip has also published three books - his most recent, A New Leaf, was released in December 2021 and is about the homes of architects who have filled their spaces with houseplants. He has recently moved out of London - and a home that ELLE Decoration called one of the ten best small spaces in the world - to start a new renovation project in Somerset.
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