PULL UP A CHAIR

We tend to spend many hours at our kitchen or dining room tables. In addition to where you take your meals, it is also a place to play board games, build jigsaw puzzles, and even work on a laptop. Since it is a place you can find yourself at for many hours, the chair you are sitting in will be comfortable. Dining chairs come in many options – different styles, shapes, armrests – so selecting the right one can be difficult. Here is info that will make it easier.

First, it is important to determine if you want all the chairs to match. The most common approach is to have an arrangement that includes one table and all the chairs that match or coordinate with the table. Another standard option is called head/side chair combination. This is when you have matching head chairs situated opposite each other, and different chairs on the side. The third option is an eclectic style, where the chairs are all different. If you prefer a boho or industrial-style décor, this is a great approach. You can also get a bench seating option, which is excellent, especially if you have children. This option offers a neat look, but is not comfortable for most adults, especially if you plan to sit for long periods.

Before you start looking at styles, it is critical to measure the size of your table. The biggest mistake you can make is not allowing enough space for arms and legs, resulting in everyone squished around the table. It would generally be best to allow 10 to 12 inches of leg space (between the top of the seat and underside of the table) and 2 to 3 feet of space for width per person. Since you will need to pull the chair out to access the table, allow two to three feet of space behind each chair.

If you prefer chairs with arms, add a few inches to the width allowance and measure your table's height. The arms will need to slide under the table. Consider and allow for any obstructions such as a table stabilizer bar. Allow approximately 7 inches between the top of the chair arms and the bottom of your table.

Most head/side chair combinations include a combination of chairs with arms and armless chairs. This is entirely a style and comfort preference. If you are looking for a more relaxed and uncluttered look, opt for chairs without arms. From a practical perspective, older guests prefer chairs with arms since they make it easier to get up from the chair.

Chairs are available in a variety of materials. Wood, rattan, plastic and metal are generally used for frames. If your dining or kitchen area is not in direct sunlight, any of the materials will work. Plastic and metal are easiest to clean. Rattan tends to get crumbs caught in the weave. Wood should be pre-treated for termites and other wood-eating insects. Metal should be powder or electrostatically coated to prevent rust.

Most people prefer padded seats on their dining or kitchen chairs. Good padding ensures you are not feeling the uncomfortable frame of the chair underneath. Upholstered chairs are popular because they add a more formal feeling to the room in addition to their comfort. If you have children or pets, a pattern or tighter weave cover is best since it hides dirt better. Avoid purchasing bonded leather, faux leather or "tacto piel," which is prone to crack and peel within six months. Chairs with this type of cover are often sold through big box stores and department stores at lower prices, but they fall apart. These are not a good spend of your hard-earned dollar.

If you are looking for additional features, such as casters, swivel and tilting chairs, they are not as easy to find in Mexico. Casters that have small wheels make it easier to push and pull chairs from the table. Swivel chairs have bases that allow you to turn without having to adjust your body. Tilting chairs are like comfortable office chairs in that they will enable you to adjust your back incline. Anything with mechanisms that allow you to move is prone to rust in our salty, ocean air environment, and often not covered under warranty.

When it comes to selecting your dining room or kitchen furniture, you no longer are limited to buying all the pieces as a set. You can pick out a table separate from the chairs or buy them all together. Most people find it easier to buy as a set since the designer already coordinates them.


Dining chairs come in numerous styles to match the most common décor themes. The most popular decor styles our customers purchase include contemporary, coastal, mid-century modern and traditional Mexican/hacienda style. Traditional Mexican/hacienda chairs are different from the other types in that the back is usually at a 90- degree angle. Most people find this to be uncomfortable.

Dining and kitchen chairs can run from about 3000 MXN (USD $150.00) to 10,000 MXN (USD $500.00) each. To ensure the chair is well-made, buy a brand you know. Recognized brands offer chairs that are structurally sound with no splinters or snags. Due to the volume they sell, they ensure their designs are solid to ensure minimal returns from dissatisfaction.

TIP! If you are looking for chairs or stools for your counter, measure your counter height before you shop. Many people make the mistake of purchasing bar stools or chairs instead of counter stools or chairs. Bar counters are between 40 and 44 inches high. Counters are usually about 36 inches tall. Since most bar chairs or stools cannot be simply cut down to size, you will end up with items you cannot use.

Sheryl Novak is considered the "Furniture Maven of Mexico." She owns SOLutions Mexico, the store for anyone looking for comfortable, stylish and long-lasting furniture. SOLutions Mexico offers international brands including LazyBoy, Ashley Furniture, Coaster Furniture, Palliser, LazyBoy Outdoor, American Drew, ZuoMod and more. www.solutionsmexico.com