Of all the household items I need to purchase for my house, I never thought that dining/kitchen chairs would be the most difficult. Without exaggerating, I’ve been searching for months. Why is it so very complicated? Here’s why:
1. The chairs must be aesthetically pleasing to me.
If this were the only criteria, I’d be done. But, alas, many of the chairs I think look beautiful, don’t necessarily feel beautiful once you actually sit on them. Or else they send shivers up my boys’ spine, making him feel like he’s been thrown back in time and is sitting in high school detention. I’m looking at YOU fiberglass shell chairs.
(I should note at this moment that I LOVE these chairs. As in, I abso-freaking-lutely ADORE them, and still harbour the hope that we’ll end up buying a mix of chairs for our dining room table, these included…though as a purist, I insist they be made of fiberglass and not plastic.)
2. The chairs must be well-constructed and sturdy.
We’ve sat in a lot of chairs over the last few months. And every single one of them has been subjected to the “wiggle test”…as in, sit down, and wiggle about. Does the chair feel solid? Does it feel like you might topple off it? Or that it might bust?
Alas, one of my most budget-friendly picks from IKEA failed the wiggle test.
(IKEA’s transparent Tobias chair was too wobbly and, according to the boy, too prone to scratches.)
It also means that the chair needs to look like it’s well-made. If we’re going to spend $300+ on a chair, it’s gotta look like it’s worth it. Though it was comfortable (and passed the wiggle test), the Calligaris Flair chair did not pass the “it looks like it’s worth it” test.
(Surprisingly, the Flair Chair‘s seat upholstery was rather cheap looking once we really examined it.)
3. The chairs must “fit” us.
In other words they need to be comfortable for both a 6-footer and a 5-footer…the length of our respective legs and bodies play a big role in how each chair “fits”. Unfortunately, what is comfortable for one of us can be pretty uncomfortable for the other. A chair back that reaches my shoulder can jab my boy in the middle of his back…or one that is deep enough to sit comfortably and support his thighs leaves my feet dangling like a kid.
(These vintage chairs from Antiquités Curiosités on Montreal’s Amherst street were beautiful….but just didn’t fit my boy’s long legs.)
Add all of these criteria up, and suddenly you’re rejecting chairs left, right, and centre….but not all of them. Our current front-runner is sohoConcept’s Patara chair:
It looks great; doesn’t look like a detention/school chair; passes the wiggle test; looks well-made; and mostly fits us both…it’s a touch tall for me, but as a shrimp I’m used to it and can totally live with it.
We’ve yet to pull the trigger, though, as they carry a pretty hefty price tag…here’s where my “mix and match” idea may come into play!0