Shopping for dining chairs can feel like a long, unending journey. Why is it so hard? Because you’re not just choosing one, but two, four, six or eight? Because you probably won’t get new ones for a decade? Or because now, after the government’s latest announcement, you’re going to be spending the best part of six months on it? That’s unless your work's HR has sent you a cheque to find that ever elusive thing: an attractive office chair. Lucky you, godspeed. Mine are old school Ercol and although I love their colour and shape, they really do feel like you’re sitting on the road. It’s a fact confirmed by guests at dinner parties who migrate to the squidgy sofa, the second the last knife and fork meet.
Ok, so comfort is important, but so is style. A good chair says a lot about you and your visual vocab, whether it’s antique and charmingly battered, or sleek in lacquered, bright blue steel. Think about your room as a whole. Could it benefit from a few, versatile flashes of colour or does it need pulling together with something more classic? Then consider the table your new chairs will be sat around. What’s its size and vibe? Big tables dwarf normal-sized chairs, so go bigger and bulkier. Arms are a real luxury, for both WFH and entertaining, but remember to check whether they fit under the table. By proxy of their shape, round-backed chairs work well with round tables, especially if you’re trying to maximise space - a gorgeous example is Hans Wegner’s cult wishbone chairs around a tulip tables with a marble top. For your bottom's benefit, upholstered chairs or those with cushions, like the two below from Neptune and OKA, are a soft, safe bet.
If you’re struggling to land on one (I don’t blame you), mix-and-match, but be careful you don’t veer into jumble sale territory. It’s avoidable simply by ensuring there’s one common denominator, be it shape, material or size. An old church chair next to a plastic bucket-bottomed Eames Eiffel… er, no.