How to Choose Patio Dining Chairs

Homeowners these days are investing a lot of money in creating the ultimate outdoor living area. There are several ways you can explore to transform your outdoors into a livable space but adding more functionality to your patio is always recommended. Well, one key strategy towards that is buying the right patio dining chairs.

For those of you who anticipate gathering the family around every night for a cozy outdoor dinner, finding the right chairs is simply a must. There are many things to keep in mind as you shop for these chairs but no need to worry.

We will share a few tips to help you find the right chairs, including some practical steps on how to go about this.

How to Pick the Right Size for Patio Dining Chairs?

Size and space are two of the most important considerations when you’re buying furniture. Before you start shopping for the chairs, you may want to determine the size of the patio and the size of the dinner table that you will be putting in there. The size of the patio and the dining table determines how many chairs you will buy.

As a rule of thumb, it’s advisable to leave at least 30 inches between chairs as you set them up on the table. In that case, you will need to measure the entire perimeter of the table and divide it by 30 inches to decide how many chairs will be placed there.

Should You Choose Arm or Armless Patio Dining Chairs?

It’s also important to decide if you want arm or armless chairs. Chairs that feature arms tend to be relatively more comfortable compared to armless chairs. However, they may cost more. Chairs with arms are also classier and will easily stand out in your patio decor.

Armless chairs, on the other hand, are less bulky. But you may also decide to have a combination of both arm and armless chairs. Traditionally, people put armless chairs on the sides of the dining table and a single chair with arms at the head of the table, presumably for the family head.

What is the Best Height for Patio Dining Chairs?

The height of the patio dining chair will have a huge effect on the kind of comfort that it offers. The goal is to pick chairs that are tall enough to provide comfortable access to the table while still leaving enough legroom beneath the table.

A standard patio dining chair measures about 18 inches from the floor to the seat. A standard dining table, on the other hand, measures about 30 inches from the floor to the tabletop. Unless you have a taller or shorter dining table, consider buying 18-inch tall chairs.

If for some reason your table is taller than standard, it may be a good idea to buy custom based chairs that will be designed to perfectly suit the height of the table. You want to make sure that there’s at least 12 inches between the chair's seat and the bottom of the dining tabletop.

What Are the Best Materials for Patio Dining Chairs?

Patio dining chairs are constructed using a wide variety of materials. The most important thing is to pick materials that can withstand the specific weather conditions in your area. Outdoor furniture is exposed to many downsides including rust and corrosions, warping, mold, fading, and others. But different patio dining chair materials have benefits and drawbacks.

Here’s a breakdown of various materials and their pros and cons:

  • Wood

Wood is one of the most popular materials when it comes to patio dining chairs. Wood has a natural beauty that appeals to many people. It’s easier to customize as well. The biggest downside with wood is the fact that it doesn’t resist tough weather conditions well. For instance, wooden outdoor dining chairs may start to rot when exposed to moisture. They may also harbor mold and mildew.

Despite this, several types of woods are used to make outdoor furniture, including patio dining chairs. If you want durable wood that will last for years even under tough weather conditions, go for hardwoods. They may be relatively expensive but they deliver excellent value for money, especially because of their longevity.

Some of the most popular hardwoods used for outdoor furniture include Eucalyptus, ipe, white oak, and teak. Teak, in particular, is a very popular choice for outdoor wooden dining chairs. It’s highly durable, doesn’t warp, and does a better job at repelling water and moisture. This increases its longevity substantially.

Brown Acacia Solid Wood Patio Dining Chair With Cushion
Acacia Teak Solid Wood Patio Dining Chair With Polyester Blend Cushion
Acacia Wood Folding Patio Dining Chair
Teak Acacia Solid Wood Outdoor Patio Dining Chair With Polyester Blend Cream Cushion
White Acacia Solid Wood Patio Dining Chair
  • Metal

Typically, metal is the strongest and perhaps even the most durable material for patio dining chairs. The only challenge with metal chairs is comfort. However, they can be padded and upholstered to enhance comfort.

Another advantage of metal is the fact that the frames are very thin. This means they can be bent and crafted to create intricate shapes that enhance the overall appeal of the dining chairs. Although some metals are vulnerable to rust and corrosion, others like aluminum and stainless steel don’t corrode even when exposed to plenty of moisture.

Besides, stainless steel tends to be relatively heavier. Even though this may be an issue when you’re trying to move the chairs around, it can be a plus in keeping the chairs firmly on the ground during strong winds. Sadly, various metal dining chairs tend to retain heat and may become very hot during summer days. This may make them uncomfortable to use.

Other than that, metal is often the most recommended option for patio dining chairs. In addition to aluminum and stainless steel, you may also consider chairs made from wrought iron.

Midnight Gray Metal Aluminum Swivel Patio Dining Chair With Cushion
Gray Metal Aluminum Stacking Patio Dining Chair With Polyester Bblend Cushion
Gray Metal Rope Aluminum Sling Patio Dining Chair
Metal Aluminum Stacking Patio Dining Chair
Black Metal Iron Patio Dining Chair With Black Polyester Blend Cushion
Black Metal Patio Dining Chair With White Polyester Blend Cushion
  • Resin and Plastic

These manmade synthetic materials are traditionally very affordable. In fact, plastic patio dining chairs tend to be the cheapest in the market. They are very lightweight too so it should be easy to move them around. Plastic is also heat resistant and very easy to clean.

Plastic and resin are fade-resistant and won’t require any expensive sealants or paint to maintain their sleek and new look. The only challenge with plastic and resin is the fact that they don’t look as classy as other materials.

White Plastic Resin Polypropyle Patio Dining Chair
Black Plastic Resin Stacking Patio Dining Chair
Transparent Smoke Gray Plastic Resin Polypropylene Stacking Patio Dining Chair
Red Plastic Resin Polypropylene Stacking Patio Dining Chair
Plastic Resin Polypropylene Stacking Patio Dining Chair With Arms
  • Wicker

Wicker is a very common choice for outdoor furniture and you are more likely to come across patio dining chairs made from this material. Wicker has some amazing benefits. First, it’s weather-resistant and very durable. Wicker also has a certain unique appeal and elegant style that will add immense value to your patio decor.

The material is easy to clean and is relatively more natural compared to other materials with the exception of wood. The only challenge with wicker is that it’s very lightweight so it may not be able to resist heavy winds. But this can be sorted by using a heavier wooden or metal frame to support the wicker chairs.

Dark Coffee Wicker Rattan Patio Dining Chair With Polyester Blend Cushion
Brown Wicker Rattan Stacking Patio Dining Chair With White Polyester Blend Cushion
Wicker Rattan Stacking Patio Dining Chair
Brown Resin Wicker Rattan Patio Dining Chair With Polyester Foam Blend Cushion

How to Ensure Quality When Buying Patio Dining Chairs?

If you are going to invest money on patio dining chairs, it’s only fair to make sure you’re getting the best quality possible. The quality of chairs varies a lot based on their cost, the type of materials used to make them, and the overall style or design.

Despite this, there are several general factors that may help you determine the overall quality of the chairs before you buy. Here are some of them:

  • Make sure the chair is structurally sound. Move it around a few times and jiggle it a bit. The back, arms, and legs shouldn’t sway.
  • You may also want to run your hands through the surface of the chair to fully gauge its comfort. The seating area, in particular, should feel smooth and soft. If you detect any snags or splintering, then this may suggest that the chair is damaged or poorly constructed.
  • For those of you who are purchasing an antique or vintage chair, you need to test its strength too. Many people buy vintage chairs for their beauty and classic look. But they still need to have a sense of function. In that case, make sure they are strong enough to seat on and move around if needed.
  • Finally, test out the seat. Dining chairs can have a lot of décor value but at the end of the day, they are supposed to offer a comfortable seating area in your patio. Sitting comfort should, therefore, be a priority when you buy.

How to Pick the Right Style of Patio Dining Chairs?

As we have already noted above, patio dining chairs come in a wide variety of styles. From simple casual breakfast nooks to the more sophisticated formal dining sets, there’s a great variety of styles to consider.

Here are some simple tips that you can explore to pick the right style:

  • Focus on the finishing and the upholstery on the chair. A good rule would be to find chairs that have two distinct or unique types of finishing and one common unifying theme. For example, chairs that feature vintage leather upholstered seats combined with the natural elegance of solid wood finishing are perfect.
  • You may also need to differentiate between head and side chairs. Traditionally, you want to create some uniformity in side chairs. But make sure the head chair is different and classier for the best look.
  • It’s also important to match up the chairs with the dining table. However, if you’re not in a position to do this, at least make sure the table and the chairs complement each other. For those of you who want to buy different chair designs or style, you can consider using dining set covers to create some uniformity.
  • Finally, you may also accentuate your patio dining chairs with some throw and accent pillows. In most cases, bold colored pillows tend to combine well with neutrally finished chairs. The pillows will also be an ideal addition for chairs that have no fabric upholstery or padding such as metal or plastic chairs.

Buying quality patio dining chairs is never easy but if you have the right information, you should be able to easily make a decision. However, it all comes down to your own personal preferences and with the amazing variety of designs out there, you will find exactly what you’re looking for.

Foter Magazine is a premier architecture, decoration, interiors and design website. We inspire and guide you to make your home a more attractive place.


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