Dining chairs are like adjectives, adding detail

  • A beautiful dining room chair is a complement to a table and can set the tone for the room.

    A beautiful dining room chair is a complement to a table and can set the tone for the room. Stock Photo

By Joseph Pubillones
Posted11/28/2021 7:01 AM

Editor's note: Joseph Pubillones is taking some time off. This column originally published in 2018.

An elegant dinner party should be what we all live for. There is hardly any finer experience than being the guest of a gracious host, especially for dinner. And there is no greater opportunity for pomp and circumstance than in a dining room. Hands down, it is the one room of any home where rituals and protocol are at the forefront on any occasion.


Grand movies such as "Babette's Feast," "The Royal Tenenbaums" and even "Beatriz at Dinner" demonstrate the great drama that is possible in the atmosphere and conversation. Every piece of furniture is like the word of a sentence with its own specific role.

The dining table undoubtedly is the main subject of a dining room, capped with a sparkling chandelier, like a brooch perched on a dress -- shining and capturing light and bouncing it off all other refractory surfaces. So what are dining chairs?

Dining chairs are like adjectives, offering support to the subject, the dining table. Are all dining chairs the same, you may ask? Well, yes and no.

A dining chair is almost any chair of the appropriate height to pair with a dining table. There are side chairs and also armchairs. We are accustomed to most dining tables with side chairs, except in the occasion of a rectangular table, where armchairs can be placed on either end.

Of course, rules are meant to be broken: Side chairs are used all around a table, and armchairs also have been used around circular tables, and wingbacks and banquettes are also used in dining rooms. In reality, it all depends on the size of the table, the room and the chairs.

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When selecting a dining chair, consider the following three aspects: aesthetics, comfort and durability. A beautiful dining room chair is a complement to a table and can set the tone for the room.

Dining room chairs should, above all, be comfortable. Any dining room with uncomfortable chairs guarantees short-lived dinner parties.

Dining chairs are used every day, so they have to be well-built, and whatever fabrics or leather cover them has to be resilient to spots and stains. You don't have to be a child to have a food mishap at the table. Better to be safe than sorry -- so skip the silks and absorbent linens and cottons.

Chairs at a dining table should also be easy to handle, so that the chivalrous diner may aid the person next to him or her in getting seated. The best chairs always have some bit of a wood frame exposed, so that chairs can be pulled in and out of the table without touching the fabrics. Alternatively, fully upholstered chairs should have a small handle on the back for pulling a chair. Otherwise, all it takes is the smallest bit of cocktail sauce on a finger for your dining room to end up looking like a crime scene from an Agatha Christie novel.

While dining room chairs are not the focal point of a room, they do command attention -- and they demand your attention when selecting one.

• Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida.

© 2021, Creators Syndicate

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