Upholstered Dining Chairs in the Living Room: A review

For the last several months MWT and I have been looking for one+ new chairs for our living room. After more consideration than the situation demands, we decided to get two upholstered dining armchairs. Why? Well, they take up less room, and we haven't found any 'accent' living room chairs that measure up to the tailored styling of an upholstered dining chair.

Grayson Chair

However, just because we finally decided what kinds of chairs we want, doesn't mean the search since has been easy. Upholstered dining chairs are meant to be used at a table, so the seats are less deep and the backs are much straighter than a living room accent chair. These two points alone mean they're less comfy in a 'take a seat and let's have a chat' kind of way, if you know what I mean. 

So, after an exhaustive search and A LOT of test drives, here's our 411 on some of the more popular upholstered dining chairs from the national retailers we visited. 

First, Pottery Barn. Their Grayson Chair, pictured above, is nicely styled, but as far as comfort goes, we give it a thumbs down. The back is very straight, which, like I said, is great for sitting at the table but not so much for relaxing. At only 25" deep, you also feel like you should be sitting at a table while sitting in it!

As far as PB's Napa Chair, ditto on all points as above.

Napa Chair & Slipcovers

From PB, we went to Crate & Barrel, where we test drove the Miles ($399), 


and the Pullman ($359). As dining chairs, we would choose either of these over the PB versions as they're more comfortable, however, for using them in the living room...still not comfy.


C & B's Palmetto ($379), on the other hand, was more comfortable, but not the style for which we were looking.


From C & B, we headed over to Room & Board. There we zoned in on the Marie ($499). A beautiful chair and more comfortable than any of those similar we had tested. But....nope.

We loved the Ansel ($540). Although the comfy quotient was getting better, we still felt like we were missing a table parked in front of us.

And finally, Restoration Hardware. Here we tried the Hudson, which is available in a camel-back and straight-back versions ($329 - $389),

Hudson Parsons Upholstered Armchair Weathered Oak

and slipcovered versions ($399 - $479),

Hudson Parsons Slipcovered Armchair

and leather versions ($499).

Hudson Parsons Leather Armchair Weathered Oak

The Hudson was, hands down, the most comfortable of the bunch. The back is more angled, and the seat, which is 26" wide, and at 29" deep, has more room to wiggle, thereby finding your comfort zone. (In comparison, the Napa chair is only 20" wide at the front and 18" wide at the back and only 17.5" deep. The Grayson is 23.5" wide and 25" deep and the Ansel is 20" wide and 18" deep.)

So, what did we decide? Nothing, yet. But if we were to pull the trigger today, we'd go with Restoration Hardware's Hudson. However, KEEP IN MIND, as far as this assessment goes, what makes Restoration Hardware's selection better than the previous for living room use is what might also make them less desirable as dining chairs.

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DesigningMom on Nov 11, 2010:

The prices would have changed my mind, but then right now everything we spend on the house is actually on the house, literally, so that would hurt our budget. Someday we'll be ready to furniture shop. I just have to keep reminding myself that.

DIY Maven on Nov 11, 2010:

Sara--That's a lovely chair! Looks like the RH Hudson.

DM--Hubby hasn't tried the Hudson yet, but if he likes it, I'm about 90% sure we'll get two of them. Probably in leather.

Sara on Nov 11, 2010:

I just went through this search myself, but for actual dining chairs. We wanted to be able to sit comfortably at our dining table for 3-4 hrs. We ended up unexpectedly falling for a similar leather chair from...gasp...Raymour and Flanagan. With their sale last weekend, we got them for $300 a piece. Of all the chairs we tried---C&B, Pier 1, Pottery Barn, West Elm, etc...etc...these were the most comfortable and best bang for the buck. We got the Maxwell Captain's Chair, we had dinner in them for the first time last night and other than the farting sounds that threw us into fits of laughter from our jeans rubbing against the leather, they were extremely comfortable, and yes dinner lasted for 3 hours.

DesigningMom on Nov 11, 2010:

So at these prices have you changed your mind yet... back to an accent chair meant for the living room?

I am lovin' the Hudson camel back chair though.


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