Traditionally, the chairs at either end of an oblong or rectangular dining table will have arms. Whereas the other chairs won’t. This is called carvers. The origin of this name is not entirely clear. Some believe it to come from John Carver, the first governor of the Plymouth colony.
Another theory (which is much more likely) is that the person who sits at the head of the table, would most likely have been the person to carve the meat. The arms add a sense of authority and formality to the dining suite, so this makes sense.
But, just because this is the most traditional style, doesn’t mean that your dining chairs have to be like this. Dining chairs have traditionally been made from wood. But they have become much more creative and diverse in recent years.
Dining chairs come in multiple different styles. Depending on the culture, different people dine on different types of furniture. Some cultures use stools, some use benches, some use a combination of the two, and some sit on the floor or on cushions.
So, while there are certain traditional styles that you might want to follow, there are no hard and fast rules. In some cases, all the dining chairs having arms can look great and very formal.
But for some homes, this won’t be suitable due to space. If any of the chairs have arms, then they might not all fit around the dining table.
If you don’t have a rectangular or oblong dining table, then this traditional dining style won’t be applicable. If you have a round dining table, the arms on chairs will most likely get in the way.
On a square table, they can look smart but might not be able to fit underneath the surface of the table.
Why do some dining chairs have arms?
As mentioned above, arms add a sense of authority to the top and bottom chairs of the table. But they are also practical. When getting up from a table, it’s much easier with arms on either side of you.
While it can add a sense of authority when used on only some of the chairs, it can have the opposite effect when all the chairs have arms.
If you enjoy hosting dinner parties, then chairs with arms can allow you to sit up at the table for longer. The best part of a dinner party is after the food is gone, and you’re sitting sipping wine and talking. Arms will allow you to slouch a little and relax.
Having arms on a dining chair also provides you with more personal space. This might not be great during big holiday dinners when you need to squeeze in as many people as possible. But it will be nicer for everyday meals when you want to have space to enjoy your food.
Depending on the material used for the chair, their formal or casual nature can change. For example, wooden chairs with arms are very traditional but leather or velvet chairs have a different aesthetic.
So, while different shaped chairs will have different effects on your dining room, it’s best to go with a style you prefer.
Do dining chairs have to fit under the table?
One of the reasons why people avoid carver dining chairs is because they sometimes don’t fit underneath the table. Whether someone is sitting in it or not.
Not everyone wants to be very close to the table when they eat, but it is definitely a practical need. When not in use, tucking the dining chairs underneath the table is a super useful space-saving measure.
When it comes to dining, there are a number of rules in every different culture. But as with having arms on dining chairs, there is no reason why your dining chairs have to fit under the table.
If you have found some beautiful dining chairs that don’t fit under your dining table, but are something that will look good in your home, then get them!
What makes a comfortable dining chair?
Generally speaking, dining chairs are usually the least comfortable chairs in a home. This is because they aren’t sat in for particularly long periods of time. And they need to be of a shape that allows you to sit up straight enough to eat your food.
The best type of dining chair is one that is well-cushioned. Traditional dining chairs will be made from wood and usually only have a cushioned seat. But, if you want to give your back proper support and feel more comfortable, it’s a good idea to have a cushioned back as well.
How much should you spend on dining chairs?
This is a subjective topic. If, for example, you only use your dining table for special occasions, then it’s best not to spend too much money. Although you might want expensive chairs for special occasions, it can be a waste of money for something that won’t be used much.
If you will be using the dining table for every meal, then you might need something on the higher end of your budget. The most important things to consider are comfort and style.
Fortunately, it is pretty easy to find incredibly unique and stylish dining chairs that aren’t too expensive. If you want something interesting but don’t want to spend a lot, check out some second-hand stores.
It’s also important to consider the cost of your dining table and how many chairs you will need. This will allow you to be proportional when it comes to buying dining chairs.
If you are interested in interior design and want a beautiful dining space, then spending upward of $100 or $200 on a dining chair might not seem like much.
But, for most homes that just need something that looks nice and is practical, spending more than $60 is not really necessary. If you aren’t sure what to get, it’s easy to find sets which include a table with matching chairs.