When I moved into my new apartment, I didn’t know what kind of couch I wanted or which rug to order. I had no lights or shades or layout in mind. But I knew, oddly enough, which dining chairs I had to have. I’d spotted them through a restaurant window on a cold night in Stockholm: petite spindle-back designs, simple but jet-black and bold. I found them online and ordered them the day I signed the lease. (They were, of course, from Ikea.) Seven months later, I still love them: They’re the only black items in a room of pale and white tones, and the contrast alone makes the whole space more interesting. (Especially since I still haven’t hung anything on the walls.)
Dining chairs tend to be an afterthought: It’s tempting to choose one you can sit on and call it a day. But with a slew of designs, materials, colors, and silhouettes on the market, chairs can have the potential to change the whole look of the dining area. Here are 14 chairs that’ll make an impact no matter your style (or budget).
This vintage-style option is a bit of a splurge, but it’s worth it for its hard-wearing, U.S.-made steel construction. It’s shown here in Sergeant Green; it also comes in White, Steel, Navy Blue, and Persimmon.
These black lacquered chairs look sharp in any space—and stack neatly away when not in use.
Article’s 1950s-inspired Svelti Chair comes in 10 cheerful colors, with or without arms, and works indoors and out. Spill something? Just wipe it down.
Here’s a barely-there chair that makes a statement. Bonus? It’s made in Italy.
A petite chair with a woven jute seat makes a charming addition when you have a dining area the size of a postage stamp.
The clean-lined Adde Chair gets some added intrigue from a perforated seat and back. It also happens to be Ikea’s second most affordable dining chair.
For traditionalists: This spindle-back chair evokes Shaker style with a bit of a modern twist.
Proof that folding chairs don’t have to be boring (and uncomfortable): These have soft, subtly geometric quilted seats. Each is crafted by hand in Minneapolis.
Add a pair of these classic bistro chairs to the breakfast nook for effortless French-cafe style.
For a timeless take on the caned-chair trend, consider this bentwood and chrome version.
Here’s a higher-priced option that I covet. Blu Dot’s super-sleek, powder-coated steel dining chair comes in 10 finishes, from slate (shown) to ochre and “sweetness” (a pale pink).
Clean lines meet a bit of femininity in this lightweight tubular chair. Order a few extra in case of dinner parties: They’re stackable.
This grid chair with a black leather seat is inspired by Harry Bertoia’s iconic 1952 design, at a far cheaper price than the real thing.
Every inch of these chairs is upholstered in sunny yellow fabric—cheery enough to make the price tag worth it.