By Ande Waggener
If you’re designing a room in one of the current design styles that feature natural wood, you probably want to include wood chairs in your space. And if you do, you may be asking, “What are the different styles of wooden chairs?” After all, you’re a smart cookie, and you know the best decisions are the informed decisions.
Getting the styles of wooden chairs right in your room is critical to creating a coherent design scheme. If you think a wood chair is a wood chair is a wood chair, you could very easily find your wood chair styles clashing with your other furniture.
Here are seven common wood chair styles and what you need to know about them to decide whether or not they’re a fit for your home.
Mission Style Chairs
Mission style chairs feature one of the most distinctive chair back styles — so distinctive, in fact, that most people can spot a Mission style chair. The chair back is characterized by straight-edged vertical slats that have such a strong linear presence that they create a chair that manages to bridge the gap between traditional and modern styling. Because this chair style has two of its legs in the “old” camp and two of its legs in the “new” camp, it’s quite a versatile wood chair style. Not only does it work well as an occasional chair in living room décor, but it will also blend with many dining room table styles.
Windsor chairs are nearly as well-known as Mission style chairs. With a recognizable curved back embracing vertical spindles that are thick in the middle and narrower at each end, Windsor chairs are an early English style of wooden chair. Most Windsor chairs feature spindle legs as well. Whereas Mission style chairs have enough angular styling to slip into modern design, Windsor chairs can’t always make the trip into modern day. They fit better into country or cottage style décor. However, they can blend into a more modern casual décor style. In fact, because of their graceful, open styling, they work well in small casual dining rooms.
Ladderback chairs are traditional wood chairs that have evenly-spaced horizontal wooden slats up the back, hence the name, “ladderback.” Even though ladderback chairs have been around since the Middle Ages, they can still find a place in modern décor. The trick to merging this chair style into a transitional or contemporary room is choosing a ladderback chair with sleeker lines and materials than those used in the rougher, vintage chairs of this design. Because ladder back chairs have such exposed, relaxed styling, they work well for dining areas in open plan homes. However, they’re also just at home in more formal dining spaces.
Wooden kitchen chairs, also sometimes called school chairs, are simple wood chairs with shorter backs than the average wood chair. The slats in the back of a kitchen chair can be either vertical or horizontal, and the back can be either straight or slightly triangular. These chairs have a distinct country, casual feel, so they’re not going to be a great choice for a formal or ultra-modern space. Just because they’re called kitchen chairs, however, doesn’t mean they have to stay in the kitchen. They can make a perfectly fine dining room chair as well.
Queen Anne Chairs
Queen Anne chairs are one of several traditional wood chair types that have elaborate vertical slats, carved details, and curved legs. The other well-known styles similar to Queen Anne are Chippendale chairs and Regency chairs. These chairs date from the late 16th century, and they have an obviously formal air about them. Queen Anne chairs can either have arms or be armless. They often have upholstered seats. These chairs are pretty much one-trick ponies. They belong in formal or at least traditional spaces.
Modern Wood Chairs
Unlike the chair styles described above, modern wood chairs can’t be so easily summarized. Modern wood chairs can vary so widely in appearance that it’s impossible to characterize their details. They do, however, generally have three things in common:
- They’re made of curved or bent wood.
- They have an organic feel with a heavy emphasis on wood grain.
- They have a streamlined, supple look.
These chairs work best when combined with other modern décor elements. They can be eye-catching additions to living rooms as well as dining rooms.
Rustic Wood Chairs
Rustic wood chairs have a definitively hand-crafted look. Often made from finished or unfinished logs or unhewn wood, these chairs can vary as wildly in look and style as modern wood chairs, though they too share the organic feel. These chairs work best in rustic or country design styles. However, you can tone down their rough and tumble feel with more modern patterns and accessories.
These seven wood chair styles are by no means a complete list of all wood chair types available (such a list would almost need a book rather than an article). However, knowing the above styles should give you enough of a feel for wood chairs that you’ll be able to assess whether any wood chair is a good fit for your space.
Images used with permission, courtesy of www.shutterstock.com