Are These Chairs the Most Versatile Dining Chairs Ever?

published Jul 26, 2020
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Hemnes bookshelf from IKEA in a dining room
Credit: Laura Fenton

For years, I was like Goldilocks when it came to dining chairs. I went through three different sets before finally settling on vintage Paul McCobb Planner Group chairs. They’re decidedly mid-century in their provenance, but really, they’re a riff on a classic spindle chair that could have been designed by the Shakers. I chose them because they are simple, sturdy, and comfortable, but I would also argue that this type of modern spindle chair is one of the most versatile dining chairs you can purchase. 

Today’s spindle chairs can easily go farmhouse or modern, depending on what table and linens you pair them with. They also have a knack for looking right at home in both casual and formal settings. Many are painted black, which both harks back to traditional Windsor chairs and creates a visually striking silhouette, but you can find them in a range of finishes or paint some in a rainbow of shades yourself, if you want to. If you’re looking to upgrade your dining table setup, consider these eight spindle chair contenders. They’re all made from solid wood, so they are built to last for years—and will likely still be in style for the long haul.

Credit: DWR

Salt Chair

Ton’s beech Ironica chair, sold by Design Within Reach as the “Salt Chair,” is an icon in its own right. The company has been selling this slender take on a spindle for more than a decade and currently stocks four finishes—white, grey, black and natural. This is one instance when DWR is more “within reach.” If you search for the Ironica from other retailers, you will find other colors but with higher price points.

Buy: Salt Chair, $150 from Design Within Reach

J77 Dining Chair

Hay is another European manufacturer that makes its own modern take on a spindle chair. Their J77 dining chair is a personal favorite, thanks to its stylish, lower-profile back. This design is part of Hay’s 2011 relaunch of furniture originally made for FDB, the Danish Consumers’ Co-operative Society in the 1940s, and it comes in a few different colors as well.

Buy: J77 Dining Chair, $188 from Finnish Design Shop

Magnolia Home Vermont Chimney Dining Side Chair

Of course Joanna Gaines, the queen of modern farmhouse style, has not one, but two, spindle chairs in her collection for Living Spaces. This particular style skews a little more on the rustic side and has just the right proportions for a smaller dining area or breakfast nook.

Buy: Magnolia Home Vermont Chimney Dining Side Chair, $149 from Living Spaces

Credit: IKEA

NORRARYD chair

IKEA discontinued their OLLE chair, which was my favorite of their spindle chairs and the perfect match to my son’s junior chair, but they do have an option in their current catalog. The NORRARYD chair, which comes in black and white, costs just $75, so it’s a great budget option, even if the OLLE was a little more sleek.

Buy: NORRARYD chair, $75.00 from IKEA

Credit: Joss & Main

Taylor Solid Wood Dining Chairs

Joss & Main sells many takes on a spindle chair, but the Taylor Solid Wood Dining Chair comes in an interesting two-tone colorway that sets it apart from many of the others on the market. These would be at home in any Scandi or farmhouse  modern decor scheme.

Buy: Taylor Solid Wood Dining Chair, $472.74 $222.00 for a set of 2 from Joss & Main

Credit: West Elm

Windsor Dining Chairs

West Elm’s Windsor Dining Chairs are a surprisingly affordable option at less than $100 apiece. These are a collaboration with the London-based designer Aaron Probyn. You’ll have to wait a little while for these, since like many of the brand’s furniture pieces, they’re backordered until October. If you order now though, you’ll have them well before hosting Thanksgiving (if that’s a possibility this year).

Buy: Windsor Dining Chairs, $199 $159.20 for a set of 2 from West Elm

Credit: Room & Board

Thatcher Chair

If American-made is important to you, the Thatcher Chair from Room & Board is a solid but expensive option. The back is slightly higher than most dining chairs, which creates a dramatic silhouette. Crafted from maple with mortise-and-tenon joints, you can consider this style an heirloom in the making.

Buy: Thatcher Chair, $379 from Room & Board

Credit: Wayfair

Spindle Solid Wood Windsor Back Side Chair

Want to make a bold move? Try this set of chairs finished in a shiny, electric shade of raspberry. They’re the perfect way to perk up a white tulip style table and can also work with blonde and mid-tone woods, too.

Buy: Spindle Solid Wood Windsor Back Side Chair, $355.40 $159.99 for a set of 2 from Wayfair