Choosing the right seating for your dining room

The dining room plays many different roles in the modern home. It’s where we enjoy a good holiday feast, entertain our favorite guests and make plans for upcoming vacations. It might also be where you balance your checkbooks, help the kids with their homework or play a game or two. 

Central to the dining room is, of course, the dining table. At various points of the day and evening it becomes a hive of activity, so picking the perfect seating can be a challenge. Do you go with individual seats or a flexible bench – or maybe a mix of both?

Read on to discover the pros and cons of each so you can make the right choice for your dining room furniture.

Dining chairs – the pros

French Farmhouse dining set / French Farmhouse console table

If your tastes are more traditional, you might prefer to go for individual dining chairs. They’re also the perfect option if you happen to have any members of your household that like to energetically swing their legs or fidget. 

With dining chairs, you can slip in and out of individual chairs much more easily and cater for individual’s different comfort needs with extra cushions or different height backs to the chairs.

Dining chairs – the cons

Shay dining set / Shay hutch

However, there are a few downsides to individual chairs around a table that you might want to bear in mind. If space is an issue or if the number of people needing to use the table can increase a great deal, they might not be the best choice. Dining chairs do take up more room than benches and the number of people you can fit around your table will be limited to the number of chairs you have.

Smaller kids may struggle to get in and out of a heavier chair and of course, you can only sit one at a time so they may take up more room than they need to. It’s likely that having more chairs will increase the time it takes to vacuum too.

Dining benches – the pros

Brooklyn dining set / Brooklyn sideboard

Benches are a great option for people who want to maximize space. They’re super easy to tuck away under the table when they’re not needed and are the perfect solution for larger families with little people who don’t mind a cozy shuffle-up. Dining benches are also ideal for accommodating unexpected or extra guests at dinner parties. 

Benches are fun and informal and highly versatile. If you’re hosting a buffet, use them as an extra surface for your delicious dishes or for kids snacks. You can also move them to the edge of the room to display plants or even an aquarium.

Dining benches – the cons

Kemble dining table and chairs / Natural oak bench / Kemble hutch

Not everyone is going to love a chair without a back and even if the first hour with no spinal support goes OK, the second and third might not be quite so peachy. If you enjoy long, lingering dinners at the table rather than retiring to a lazy boy armchair, dining benches might not be for you.

So which should you choose?

Dorset dining table / Natural oak bench / Wave back chair / Kemble hutch / Mantis Light console table / Orrick coffee table

If you’re still undecided or would simply like to try both for size, then why not consider mixing and matching. You’ll get the best of both worlds and can always adapt your selection as your household changes or grows. 

You’ll save a great deal of space by opting for bench seating on the longer sides with a chair, or even two at each end. You could also consider individual dining seats on one side and a bench or two on the other. 

Like all interior design decisions, you need to choose the option that complements your space and household requirements best. Which will you choose for your dining room – chairs, benches or both? We’d love to hear from you.  Tweet us at @USAOakFurniture or tag us on Instagram using #OakFurnitureland.

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