Group 6 2 minutes Read

the dining chair dilemma

Lauren Zerbey

Apparently, the barstool dilemma was just a prelude to the dining chair dilemma. We thought we had this one figured out long ago, but no such luck.

Yes, just like 90% of you reading this, we wanted Eames side chairs. Even though I love the new colors that Herman Miller introduced this year, I just don’t like the plastic shell as much as the fiberglass. And the bases…well, I personally like the dowels but Kyle couldn’t get on board with the maple and black. (I’m sure the nice people at DWR found some entertainment in our discussion about the pros and cons of the different bases.) I wasn’t a big fan of the Eiffel base and overall, it would still be a big investment for something we weren’t 100% in love with. I’m completely envious of all those stories I’ve heard of people happening upon originals and you can be sure if that ever happens to us, we’d jump on it. But until the Eames karma rolls into Seattle, we need to find an alternative.

Last spring, we noticed this punchy (and affordable) yellow chair from West Elm. We haven’t ruled it out completely, but we are hesitant to buy something without trying it out. (C’mon West Elm, time to open in Seattle. You too CB2.) We’re also wary of getting something that can’t be pushed fully against the table. Small living = every inch counts. (Note: we’re keeping our solid beech table from IKEA for now. It just got a fresh sand and finish and looks great!)


I’ve also been eyeing these simple wood chairs from West Elm, but have the same worries about not being able to try them out first. Also, we have so much fir in the house now that we’re worried another wood species wouldn’t look right (though the chair does come in white too).

And then there’s Blu Dot’s version of the iconic bent plywood chair. We ordered a sample of the “ivory” and it really is too off-white for the bright white that is everywhere else. I do love the chair cozy accessory. Although I can totally hear my mom saying, “but you could make that!”. I know Mom, I know. Maybe this is the year I dust off the sewing machine and uh, learn how to use it. 

There’s also an upholstered version that comes in brown or black faux leather. I just got the brown sample in the mail today and even though it seems like a good option, we’re just not 100% sure. Blu Dot is having a 20% sale through November 8th, but the chairs would still be around $150 each after shipping. I also don’t think this version really works with the cozy colors. Maybe the wheat…maybe not. 

So here’s where we come full circle, back to the chairs we already own. We bought these standard IKEA upholstered chairs 6 1/2 years ago and made the mistake of buying beige slip covers. Seriously, what were we thinking? Even though I want a hard surface chair (light weight, easy to clean, visually minimal), we’re thinking about just buying new slip covers until we find something else. What do you think about this gray cover?

Are there any other chairs out there that we’ve totally overlooked?

As much as we want to make our house the vision that we have in our heads, I think we also have to realize that the best houses are those that evolve over time. And even though it’s been four years, it also feels like we just moved in.