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Fabric vs. Wood Dining Chairs: The Pros and Cons

Settler's Trestle Dining Set with Wooden & Fabric Chairs

When shopping for dining room chairs, there are many choices in style, material, and price. One common debate is whether to opt for upholstered dining chairs or to go with solid wood chairs. Here is our complete guide of Amish made dining chairs to help you decide which option is best for your dining area.

Pros of Fabric Dining Chairs


Upholstered dining chairs provide more comfort, creating the perfect setting for a leisurely dinner with family and friends. The most comfortable wooden dining chair will never match up to the softness of a fully upholstered dining chair.

Style & Color Options

Upholstery fabric options for dining chairs allow you to add colors, prints, and textures for any interior design style. Genuine leather or velvet dining chairs in classic, dark colors add timeless appeal to formal dining rooms. Opt for light, neutral fabrics with subtle texture in casual, farmhouse spaces. Many upholstered dining chairs also include nail heads, adding a decorative, metal accent in your choice of finish.

Versatile in Your Home

Unlike wood or metal options, upholstered chairs are a great accent in many other rooms. Add extra seats in the living room when you have guests. Create a reading corner in the bedroom or flanking the fireplace. Use them as stylish desk chairs in your home office.

Cons of Fabric Dining Chairs


The number one concern with fabric dining chairs is cleaning. Spills will happen, especially with little kids at the table. Look for fabric or leather options rated easy to clean, rather than requiring special cleaning solvents. Fabrics with some color variation in the pattern will also hide the occasional tough stain better than solid colors.


Another concern we often hear with our customers, is the question of durability. Our upholstered dining chairs are handcrafted locally by Amish artisans. This guarantees the same quality and attention to detail as our solid wood furniture. However, fabric is not indestructible, especially with kids and pets in the home.

To provide the highest quality in upholstered dining chairs, we start with a sturdy Maple wood frame. We use only solid pieces of high-density foam. Upholstery options include the Crypton home fabrics, an easy living performance collection. This is an excellent choice for high traffic areas like dining rooms.

You can reupholster a well-built fabric dining chair as time goes by. If your dog finally grows out of the chewing stage, a custom upholstery shop will be able to recover the chairs in new fabric. This is also an option if you grow tired of the fabric, or it starts showing wear and tear. Be aware though, because of the labor involved, reupholstering chairs is often more expensive than buying new chairs.


Upholstered dining chairs can be more expensive than wooden options, especially when using genuine leather hides. However, current design trends have created many multi-step finish colors for wood chairs, which evens out the price tags.

Pros of Wooden Dining Chairs

Sturdy & Durable

Amish craftsmen make our solid wood dining chairs to last for generations to come. The catalyzed conversion varnish used to finish the chairs is guaranteed to be waterproof, eliminating worry about occasional spills at dinner.

The only maintenance required is simply cleaning them regularly with a mild soap and water. Never use a polish or wood conditioner, which will leave a residue on the finish. With minimal care and cleaning, hardwood dining chairs will look good for many years.

Browse the wide variety of options in our chair gallery for inspiration. The Janka hardness scale rates Hickory wood at 1820 and Quartersawn White Oak at 1335. Wood types like those are especially tough in preventing knicks and dents from daily use and bumps into the base of the table.

Classic Styles

Wooden dining chairs are a classic style. Natural wood tones add warmth and richness to all decor styles, regardless of current design trends.

The wood and color selected for any chair style will dictate the overall feel. Choose from ladder back or X-back designs in a light, distressed finishes for modern farmhouse dining rooms. Traditional mission and craftsman designs shine in Quartersawn White Oak wood with Michael's Cherry stain. Rift sawn white oak with a light stain brings a mid-century modern appeal.

Surprisingly Comfortable

This is a comment we hear all the time. Everyone has sat in wooden chairs that looked good yet were horribly uncomfortable.

Our Amish kitchen chairs are built using steamed and bent slats in the back to provide support and comfort uncommon in wood chairs. As you browse our chair gallery, notice the profile of the backs. The lumbar support is built in, allowing your family to linger comfortably and catch up around the dining table.

To complement the design of the chair backs, you will notice a scoop in the seat profile as well. The combination of steam bent backs and scooped seats create surprisingly comfortable wood dining chairs.

Cons of Wooden Dining Chairs


No question - solid wood chairs are heavy. To minimize this, select a smaller chair style, or one without arms. Wood like Cherry or Maple is less dense, which also makes a lighter chair.

Too Much Wood Grain

In some cases, an Amish dining table with matching wood chairs can overwhelm the space with too much wood grain. This is especially true is small dining rooms or kitchens, where there may be wood cabinets, trim, doors, and floors.

For spaces with existing wood floors and cabinets, select your dining furniture wisely. Maple and Cherry wood have a smooth, subtle grain texture that contrasts nicely with the prominent grain of an Oak or Hickory floor.

Choose a dining set with a painted table base and chair frames to provide needed contrast to wood floors. This also works to highlight the wood grain on the tabletop and chair seats. Another way to create contrast is by adding an area rug underneath the table.

Creating the Perfect Dining Chairs for You

Many people mix and match fabric and wood chairs. Upholstered captain's chairs only at the ends of the table allow you set small children on the easier to clean wood seats. Choosing wood chairs with leather seats adds a touch of comfort without committing to fabric on a large scale. Fabric chairs with a wooden dining bench on one side of the table keeps the set from being overly formal.

Armed with the pros and cons of both dining chair styles, you can feel confident as you start shopping. Custom furniture allows you to decide which product features are important in your life.

Our sales and design team will be happy to provide a 3D drawing of your dining room, displaying your selected Amish made dining chairs. This also eliminates guesswork as to how the chairs will fit around the table. Contact us today for assistance in designing the perfect set of dining chairs for your space.