Wing chairs as dining chairs...anyone?

Kitch4meSeptember 1, 2014

I'm buying new furniture for my small FR, which needs to include dining for two. FR is open to kitchen.
My plan is to go with wing chairs as dining chairs to utilize for extra seating when necessary.
Does anyone use wing chairs for dining? I've been seeing them in magazines, but are they comfortable?
I'm including my furniture arrangement for opinions.
12.25. X 17.5

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I often wondered too if one can get close enough to the table to eat and be comfortable in the "captains" chairs especially the more luxurious ones I see. My only comment would be space. "Wing" says BIG to me. You said you have a small space. Do you want to give up the visual space a large backed chair would absorb?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 7:00AM
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I've wondered about this too. I pulled up one of my very old wing chairs to the DR table once and it fit but the seat was much lower than a Dining chair. Chalked it up to my WBC being so old that the seats were saggy and low.

Looking forward to seeing the responses that you get.

Good luck & great plan!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 7:30AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I've seen it done, but have never done it...they always look comfy to sit in but awkward to eat at as, not only might they not slide in all the way, but you have to sit up more to eat vs. rest back into the chair. Also, they look difficult to move around to get comfortable at a table.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 8:09AM
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Unless you get the commercial chairs, wing chairs are too low in the seat and too high in the arms.

Also, the arms get in the way of getting in and out of the chair ... not a problem as a chair because you have clear space in front of you, but with the table there you have to either pivot the chair or shove it back far enough to stand up between table and chair, then scooch it forward to the table.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 10:51AM
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Thanks for the replies!
You've hit on all my concerns- scale, comfort and my biggest concern, maneuverability.
I thought a chair with arms would be more comfortable for guests, but I am concerned about pushing the chairs in and out. I don't want to be annoyed every time we sit down to eat!
Maybe I should stick with parson chairs.


    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 2:00PM
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I would look at Ballard designs; they have similar chairs they show for dining. I would inquire as to whether they are the right height.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 9:15PM
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Thanks Mtn,
I've been looking online, but worried about not being able to try in person.
I'm not that confident with Ballards. My previous purchases have been so so.

I've been looking at Carrington Court, the Hemmingway chair. They say it works well as a dining chair. But again, concerned about not being able to try in person.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 10:47PM
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There are several wing-back inspired dining chairs that could be used. I'm (still) on the hunt for dining room chairs and have considered several of these.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 4:32PM
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I use regular living room type wing chairs.

1. Seat height. Upholsterer stuffed my seats with extra-firm, extra thick foam, and brought them up to the perfect height. This after I struggled to find a caster solution.

2. Table should be pedestal or pedestal-like. I can also use these chairs with a William and Mary-legged tavern table with breadboard ends. I've never tried using a table with an apron.

3. My chairs are fully padded and so heavy and do not draw up to the table as easily as dining chairs would. But I have no difficulty getting in and out of them.

4. Scale. They look big. I like the look.

Casters would have been the perfect solution, but I was advised against using them on these curved Queen Ann chair legs with small feet. I couldn't readily replace the leg with a straight leg. But that would have been the best alternative.

I wanted these, but couldn't get them:

Chairs before slips (and sheers, which GW advised me on)

I didn't have my camera ready on Dog Day, and Pink needs to show off:

Edited to add :
Check the depth.
These chairs are deeper than the ones sold as dining wing chairs. I was originally going to use them in the kitchen with the William and Mary table, but there wasn't enough room to pull them out to sit down:

This post was edited by jamies on Wed, Sep 3, 14 at 18:19

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 6:04PM
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Upholsterer also stuffed my seats but they were still not right height, so I ordered casters and he added them which gave the perfect height. Casters work well pulling chair in and out from table as well.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 6:43PM
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I use wing chairs in my kitchen table where we eat every night. They are very comfortable. They are just regular antique chairs that slide under the table. Table is normal height.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 8:04PM
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Pricklypear, I really like that first chair as an alternative. Did you see this online or were you able to try it out in person?

Jamies, thanks for the info!
The white slipcovered chairs and a round pedestal table is the look I'm after.
I thought I found my table at PB, but when I sat down the only place to put my feet was on the base :( cute pooch!

Patricia, I've been looking on CL for chairs with straight legs in case I needed to add casters. I'm glad to hear it worked for you!

Beagles, such a lovely DR! I'm excited to hear some positive responses!


    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 12:15AM
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kitch4me, my chairs are older. They have Chippendale legs. The upholsterer guy was carefully to drill slowly to prevent splitting wood and he reinforced them with clamps just for good measure.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 12:53AM
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Patricia, thank you for that information!
I do like the Chippendale legs and what's most common on CL.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 8:38AM
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I had 2 chairs made for our lake condo that have casters. They aren't 'wing' chairs but they do have small arms and a higher back and are very comfy. What I like is that they can be rolled into the living room for extra seating if needed. You might consider adding casters to whatever you decide to make them more mobile. My chairs have a skirt so the legs and casters aren't noticeable. Sorry I don't have a photo at the moment.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 9:24AM
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I have a couple leather wings that my DH had in his waiting room years ago. Just looked and there is no name but we had them made (picked leather) They are great at table and I use one at my desk (which is my GGma's old dining table)
Sitting at it now...
I would say if you like to lounge and lean back occasionally at table then go for the chairs. Get the seats stuffed firm and you should be fine. I have antique dining chairs with casters just on the front. They work great for moving around but still sit in one place when you are seating.
If you are more prim in your dining posture then a dining chair posing as a wing would be more appropriate.
When we have guests most want the wings...

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 9:46AM
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The three chairs I posted were from West Elm and the images should be clickable links to the product pages. I've tried the second two (same chair, different material) and loved them from both a comfort and style perspective. The first one is new and I haven't yet tried it, but I think I'd like to because it might work well for my dining room. (Ugh, why is it so difficult to find the right dining room chair?!) Maybe there's a West Elm somewhere near you?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 4:54PM
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I find regular wing chairs very uncomfortable as dining chairs.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 5:38PM
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I find regular wing chairs very uncomfortable as dining chairs.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 5:39PM
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Due to the fact that we have only a few dining chairs and often too many people, we roll over our slipper chairs from the living room to the dining table. They are uncomfortable to sit and eat on. The backs are too far back on the seats and the seats themselves are too slouchy.

That being said: I love the look as wing backs as dining chairs! But I think what jamies mentioned is important: the seats need to be firm and the right height. And make sure that the seat itself isn't too big. You want to be able to relax but not fall asleep!!

Let us know what you decide on!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 10:11PM
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Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences and opinions!
It's really helpful to hear what works and what to watch out for.
It needs to be more than just pretty :)

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 11:56PM
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I have these dining chairs in my living room (I went the opposite way).

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 1:06AM
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I use one of my two matching antique wing chairs regularly as a dining chair. Here's a really old photo preparing to host thanksgiving on our first year after the whole house reno. You can see that I brought the other wing chair from the LR to anchor the far end of the DR and add more seating.

My 8 y.o. son loves to sit on the near end in that chair. He sits up on his leg though to get higher on the chair, but he still looks too low. I sometimes sit there during dinner parties and find it uncomfortably low. Also, I can't sit upright easily as the chair is so deep I can't sit against the chair back. I try not to place guests there because of this.

I love the look of wings in a DR and only keep the wing there out of necessity. I don't really have enough room in my FR or LR for them after we reconfigured the rooms during the reno. Plus, I don't have enough dining chairs so this arrangement allows me to temporarily keep the wing chairs until I find a couple more matching antique dining chairs.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 2:38AM
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