Furniture Guides | Kitchen & Dining Chairs

A Guide to Folding Dining Chairs

If you love hosting parties and entertaining guests, folding chairs are an excellent option to expand your seating without permanently sacrificing your floor space. These marvels of engineering fold down to compact dimensions that allow you to store them in closets, under sofas and beds, or in the garage until you need them next.

Unfortunately, folding dining chairs are often overlooked due to the misconception that they are unstable or less attractive than regular dining chairs. However, with smart design and innovative engineering, they can make a beautiful and durable addition to your dining space. Here is our guide to choosing the ideal folding dining chairs for your space.

Vinyl Padded Folding Chair
Resin Folding Chair
Metal Plastic Folding Chair
Silver Folding Chair
Vintage Wood Folding Chair

Find the Right Shape and Design

The design elements of the folding chairs you select shouldreflect the style of your decor. Minimal dining roomsettings typically feature clean, sleek lines, whereas traditional dining chairs often have details which include a carved backrest and turned legs.

Although you may be unable to find folding chairs that exactly match your current dining room suite, coordinating models can blend seamlessly with your style to create a cohesive look.

Measure the seat and backrest height of your current dining room chairs to ensure that everyone is seated at a consistent and comfortable height for eating and conversation.

Examine the leg shape of folding dining chairs as they also vary compared with standard dining chairs. Instead of having angled legs connected to the seat base, some have legs that stick straight out and are reinforced with small metal bars. They are nearly indistinguishable from non-folding dining room chairs until you look very closely at the top of each leg, where you will find a small hinge.

Fruitwood Folding Chair
Fruitwood Folding Chair

Choosing Frame Materials

Due to durability concerns for folding mechanisms, folding chairs almost always have metal hinges or latches. However, the rest of the frame can be made of solid wood, manufactured wood (MDF), metal, or even high-density acrylic.

Some woods are much stronger than others, and if weight-bearing capacity is a concern, look for woods like ash and walnut instead of pine or cedar. Oak can vary widely in strength, depending on subspecies. However, the final weight limit for a chair also depends on the strength of the screws, nails, and hinges.

MDF, acrylic, and metal chairs are available in a broader range of colors than wood chairs. MDF can be just as strong as real wood but doesn't offer the same visual appeal. Acrylic is durable and easy to clean but generally has a lower weight limit than metal and wood folding chairs.

If you opt for metal folding chairs, heavy-gauge stainless steel is typically the strongest and has the benefit of corrosion resistance. However, the conventional silver finish may look out-of-place in a traditional dining room, so you can opt for powder-coated steel or painted frames that come in various colors.

Regardless of the material you choose, look at the product listings' weight limits,and choose one that can support taller and larger members of your extended family.

White Metal Folding Chair
White Metal Folding Chair

Selecting Upholstery Fabric Options

Not all folding dining room chairs have fabric on the seats or backs. Folding chairs without any material areeasier to clean, and they are comfortable enough for occasional use because most people only use them during holiday meals and special events. You can also find non-upholstered models that feature molded seats for better support and comfort.

Molded Seat Folding Chair
Molded Seat Folding Chair

However, upholstered folding chairs add refinement and class to any dining space and often blend more easily with your dining room suite. The most durable and kid-friendly fabrics are vinyl and leather, which resist stains and are easy to wipe down.

Gold Folding Chair
Wood Folding Chair
Wood Vinyl Folding Chair

Polyester, cotton, and linen also make good fabric for chairs. However, look for models that feature removable covers for easy machine washing. Silk is not recommended for dining room chairs because it is very easy to stain. Instead, look for a blended fabric that contains rayon for an attractive silk-like sheen.

Experiment with Colors and Prints

Coordinating the colors in your chairs and the rest of your dining room takes careful planning. Even if you only plan on using the folding dining chairs on special occasions, you'll want them to blend with the other furniture as much as possible.

Part of the reason why fabric seats are so popular on folding chairs is that they add a nice pop of contrast with the frame and can easily match the dining room wall colors. However, patterns are an even better way to add texture and visual interest to a room.

If you're going for a sleek minimalist look, you might choose to go for muted neutrals or even plain black and white. You can still use your chairs to add a bright pop of color in minimalist rooms, especially if you choose a primary color or another bright hue. The possibilities are infinite, especially if your existing furniture is mostly in neutrals that will coordinate with almost any chair color.

Farmhouse Dining Room Design
Rattan Wood Folding Chair
Red Folding Chair

Safety Considerations

A well-engineered folding chair is safe for everyday use when used within appropriate weight limits. However, users must make sure to properly secure any latches or metal arms that snap into place.

Some folding chairs don't have any latches because the legs' angle is designed to support the user's weight in a way that works naturally with gravity. Even if the legs aren't fully extended when someone sits down in the chair, the legs will extend into place instead of collapsing and causing injury.

However, folding chairs with straight legs should have a latch at the top that clicks into place to prevent one or more legs from folding under when fully extended. Make sure to closely examine the product specifications and images to ensure you know how to extend the legs properly.

Modern Dining Room Design
Modern Dining Room Design

Finding the Best Folding Chairs

Folding chairs are a great way to provide ample seating for a family get-together or holiday party. But to avoid the space appearing haphazard or cluttered, your folding chairs should blend with the other chairs in your dining suite.

Ensure your folding dining chairs have similar measurements to your standard chairs and that the weight capacity is sufficient for a wide range of body types. Look at the design elements, frame finish, and upholstery when choosing a folding chair set to ensure that you create a chic, cohesive aesthetic.

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