If your sofa is the heart of your living room, then surely your dining table and chairs are the lungs of your dining space. Nothing breathes life into your home more than the pieces of furniture that bring loved ones together over a meal, whether it be a weeknight family dinner or entertaining your closest friends.
Breakfasts, brunches, lunches and dinners, each one of these creates a thumbnail-sized memory that, one the whole, makes up an extraordinarily large part of your life. It's important therefore, not just to love those people seated around your table, but to love the table - and the chairs! - they sit upon.
We've chased up the Curious Grace design experts and asked them their best advise on how to choose the perfect dining table and chairs for you. Covering everything from size, shape, colour and style, here's everything you need to know.
One of the biggest questions you'll need to consider when selecting your dining chairs is whether to opt for upholstered or plain timber.
"What chair you choose should depend on what you are trying to achieve with your dining space," says Curious Grace stylist Anoek Wielakker.
Anoek recommends observing your room and asking yourself the following questions: Are you starting with blank canvas, or are you working with other furniture already in place? If so, what is the feel of the rest of the room?
"If you're looking to add a bit of warmth and texture to your room, then I recommend going with upholstery if the room could do with a bit of softness.
Our Ena chair is gorgeous and comes in a range of colours that will suit many colour palettes.
"However, if sleek and minimal is more what you are after stick with straight timbers. Timber chairs tend to be popular with families with small children too - anything that's easy to wipe clean will make your life that little bit easier!
"We have beautiful options that incorporate both timber and fabric, which give rise to a contemporary feel that isn't to hard. One of my personal favourites is our Fawn chair, with webbing that is easy to keep clean and those sculptural legs, do I need to say more?!"
When it comes to choosing matching dining chairs for your table, the possibilities can be endlessly overwhelming. Do you go for a matching dining set, or create your own aesthetic and mix and match colours and materials.
"The main question I generally ask a customer looking for dining chairs is whether the table is the feature or the chairs, as this then opens up the discussion on finding the right chair for the table," says stylist Paul McQuillan.
"For example, if you're wanting the table to be a feature, then I would strongly suggest that they don't choose a dining chair with a too high back, as this then starts to compete for attention and distracts from the table itself.
"And this works the opposite way if the dining chairs are the main feature. Chairs for dining tables are on the same parameters as art I feel... subjective and very personal, so it's important to be true to your individual style preferences," he says.
"9 times out 10 what people are really seeking is comfort as the number one factor, so I highly suggest trying the chair in person before committing to the purchase.
"Here in Curious Grace, we have a vast selection of dining chairs that suit a wide range of tastes and styles, and we love it when people come in to our showrooms to try furniture out for themselves!"
Too Cool for Stool
If you're in need of some seating to accompany a breakfast bar, or else live in a small apartment where a dining table isn't an option, then stools are likely your best choice.
To ensure you come away with the right piece, first determine whether you need a bar stool or a counter stool. Yes, there is an important difference.
The average height of a counter stool is between 61cm - 66cm from floor to seat. This is your best option for a counter 91cm - 99cm in height. If however, your counter sits a little higher, say between 101cm and 106cm, then opt for a bar stool which typically averages between 71cm and 76cm. For a more detailed guide on choosing the right height stool click here.
Once you've got the size down pat, it's time to start thinking about aesthetics. Stools can be a fabulous way to add a splash of colour and personality into the space. Materials like rattan and fabric can add warmth and softness, while plain timbers and metal accents will keep the look sleek and minimal.
Our NOFU 646 bar stools combine natural ash wood with a beautifully upholstered seat, in a look that is both streamlined, Scandinavian and, thankfully, still incredibly comfortable. Available in a range of colours and fabrics, this is a great choice for so many spaces, and as an added bonus, it's easy to clean with a damp cloth so a perfect choice for families.
Sort out Your Shape
Square, rectangle, round...knowing which shape to choose for your dining space isn't always intuitive, so here's curious Grace stylist Emily O'Brien's best advice.
"When selecting a dining table, consider how you'd like the foot traffic to flow around the space. A round table can open up traffic flow in an open plan living space and the round shape can break up any angular features, softening the space by creating more flowing lines," she says. "It also creates a beautifully convivial atmosphere, as you can see everyone's friendly face when dining!
"When selecting a rectangular table consider the ways you like to dine and the space required. Always allow enough room for traffic flow and ease of chair space for comfort", Emily recommends.
"Avoid choosing a table too small for your space, as this will leave everyone elbow to elbow at the dinner table and create a feeling of cramped discomfort. Our beautiful Sipa Fold table is long and narrow for those tricky terrace homes with narrow spaces."
If you're looking for even more dining chair inspiration, take a look at our current 5 favourite dining chairs that will instantly update your entertaining area. Discover them here!
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