Rules to Buying the Right Dining Chair Set

By: John Garcia | Date Posted: February 11, 2022

Dining Chair Set: When it’s time to buy a new set of dining room chairs, you may think you have to find ones that match your current table. The truth is matching is outdated and complements it in style.

The chairs should enhance the space’s look and feel and provide comfort for those who are seated. So throw the old rules out and stick with these tips for finding the perfect set of dining room chairs.

Proportions are very important in choosing the right seating. You don’t want chairs that overwhelm or underwhelm the table. You also want your guest to sit at a level compatible with the table. That means taking plenty of measurements to get it right.

The distance from the tabletop to the floor for your standard dining table is 28 to 31 inches. A 30-inch table height is the most common. The distance from the floor to the top of the seat is usually 17 to 20 inches. That means the seat and tabletop should be separated anywhere between 8 to 14 inches.

Most diners find a distance of 10 to 12 inches to be the most comfortable, but that number varies based on the thickness of the tabletop, the size of the diner, and the length of the table’s apron.

Buying the Right Dining Chair Set

Buying Dining Chair Set

To find the perfect seat height-to-table height distance, pay close attention to your comfort level when you visit a restaurant. Stash a tiny measuring tape in your purse or pocket and take the measurements when you find a chair-to-table height ratio that suits you.

If there’s no apron on the table, start measuring from the bottom of the tabletop to the chair seat. There is an apron, measuring from the bottom of the apron to the chair seat.

If it’s an upholstered chair, keep in mind that they compress when you sit. When uncompressed, measure from the top of the upholstered seat to the floor. Then measure it again when it’s being sat in and add the difference to your perfect table-to-seat distance.

Proportions aren’t just about finding the right height; it’s about the width and depth of the chairs. The chairs need to easily slide under the table, and if they don’t, guests will be uncomfortable, and you risk damaging your table and chairs.

Any chairs placed at the ends of rectangular or oval dining tables shouldn’t bump the table legs when pushed in completely. The same is true of any chair used with square and roundtables.

Chairs placed on the long side of the tables shouldn’t bump into each other when you slide them underneath the table. They should also clear the table’s base or legs. When chair seats touch, guests feel cramped and awkwardly closed. That could seriously inhibit the interactions that take place at the table. The rule applies to roundtables also; two inches of space should be left between each chair.


Dining table

Arm and back heights are also important when making a final decision about which chairs you’ll use in your dining area. The tops of the arms shouldn’t brush or bump against the apron or bottom of the tabletop. Not only will the oversized arms keep guests from moving in close to the table, but the arms will be damaged over time.

Keep searching, and you’ll find the perfect set. 1StopBedrooms offers a wide range of chairs in different styles.

You also want to avoid squatty-looking chairs, so check the height of the chair’s back. The chair’s back should be taller than the tabletop by at least two inches.

In addition to selecting tables and chairs of similar scale, the two pieces have to complement one another. If the styles aren’t compatible, you will have a room that feels unconnected.

Selecting tables and chairs that share a common element typically ensures that they’ll complement each other. That common element is usually the color, the finish, or the level of formality in the room. Design elements like the legs or feet can also be the common element that ties the pieces together.

Dining table

Dining Chair Set

Keep your pairings simple, and don’t overthink them. If you have an antique mahogany pedestal dining table with a glowing French polish, it will not pair well with distressed oak, open-back chairs with gray upholstered seats. Metal chairs or basic chairs with wooden slats will not be the right fit for this table either.

A voluminous upholstered chair would be a better seating choice. And a farmhouse table would look better with distressed or metal chairs.

A Parsons-style chair is an upholstered slipper chair that has dining chair proportions. Many love it because of its simple lines that tend to work with most table styles. The formality level of this chair depends on the upholstery fabric used. These go well with antique and mid-century designs.


The Hitchcock chair is another favorite because of its versatility. Its painted finish fits with most wood-finished tables. It typically has a woven seat making it compatible with the casual style of a farm table. The chair can also be used in a formal design as the gold stenciling and traditional shape make it suitable for a formal table.

As with any set of rules, there are exceptions, and decorating has quite a few. Sometimes you can put something together that’s so outrageous that it works, so don’t limit yourself.

Come up with a vision board and play with different textures and styles. Mix and match until you find the combination that reflects your personality and functions well in your home.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and go with a multi-colored chair theme. Pull from the colors already in the space, and you won’t go wrong.

Thank you for reading!


John is the founder and chief editor of Homienjoy. With over 15 years of experience in the home improvement industry, John is passionate about helping homeowners confidently tackle their projects. Holding a civil engineering degree and working as a contractor, project manager, and consultant, John brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Homienjoy community.

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