Everyone Is Always So Shocked I Got This Fancy Cafe Chair Dupe for $130

published Apr 8, 2024
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West Elm Mella sofa in sitting room.
Credit: Margaret Rose Larson

There’s a small nook in my New York City apartment’s living room that’s big enough for a small round dining table, and it’s so nice to have somewhere to sit to eat that isn’t my sofa. In the fall, I worked with an upholsterer to create a beautiful custom dining bench that’s the star of this little corner in my home. However, I wanted to purchase some additional extra seating, too, so that things wouldn’t be too cramped when I have guests — usually just one person at a time — over for dinner or drinks. 

The solution? A single black bistro-style chair that I found on Amazon. Designed to look like a vintage Viennese coffeehouse chair, it doesn’t have the hefty price tag associated with an authentic designer piece. Originals cost around $500, but this version only set me back $130. For that price, you’re not really sacrificing quality either, since it’s 100% solid elm wood and fairly sturdy. 

Aside from the price, I chose this chair because I wanted something relatively compact (my floor space is limited), and I was drawn to its simple design with its elegantly curved backrest and vintage look. I knew it wouldn’t upstage the House of Hackney fabric I splurged on for my dining bench, particularly if I bought the black colorway. I find that the dark finish really goes with everything and doesn’t lean into any aesthetic. It could work equally well in an old-world European-inspired space or a more modern boho home. If you’re not into this color, though, you can choose one of the other two options, two natural-looking stains (note: Only the walnut is in stock right now). 

Credit: Sarah Lyon

The piece is comfortable for sitting and has held up quite well over the past couple of months — it really has made it so much easier to host. And when I have large get-togethers in the “gathering” area of my living room by the sofa, the chair is usable then too. At just 8 pounds, it’s easy to pick up and move throughout my space as needed, which is a major perk. 

Apartment living can be challenging. So many pieces that seem pretty and stylish are actually quite large in scale and would stick out like a sore thumb in a small space (or even worse, not be able to fit through the door in the first place!). A chair like this one is a safe bet for a small room but would shine in multiples in a larger space, too, if you wanted to outfit an entire dining or breakfast table with them. That makes this design a true winner in my book.