Wood has long been the go-to material for dining room chairs, but it certainly isn’t the only option. Metal dining chairs are a unique and distinctive alternative, and have started to become popular not only in modern spaces, but also in very traditional ones, too. These sleek, gunmetal finished steel and aluminum chairs have an elegant contemporary feel, but are subtle enough in terms of design to blend well with a variety of different styles.
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Metal chairs are a natural pair for a very modern, industrial style kitchen. Restaurant inspired kitchens focus on simplicity and functionality, and tend to feature a lot of sleek stainless steel, so metal chairs are right at home, either up against a kitchen island bar or at a separate dining table. The smooth lines typically found on metal dining chairs also helps foster the clean, finished look that’s so desirable in a very minimalist contemporary design, and a simple brushed finish has just enough gloss and shine to add subtle texture and visual interest to a very simple space.
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Metal dining chairs and bar chairs also work incredibly well with a more rugged industrial/warehouse style, particularly when paired with concrete elements rather than stainless steel. This has a much grungier, edgier look than a chic minimalist modern style, and the chairs tend to have a more machine shop look and often slightly darker, gunmetal finishes. Here, metal chairs work well because they feel very sturdy and practical, but can give an older, converted space a more contemporary touch. Where metal-and-wood factory chairs would give a similar setting a more antique feel, a gunmetal chair has a very modern look.
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That said, metal dining chairs don’t have to be quite so aggressively modern, and actually can pair surprisingly well with a few very traditional styles. The kitchen above, for example, has a picture-perfect cottage feel, with gorgeous natural wood, textured fabrics, and lots of natural light. Here, the metal dining chairs feel more relaxed and casual, even homey. The simplicity of the classic Marais A chair’s design certainly helps, and the use of a galvanized rather than brushed or polished finish only adds to the charmingly rustic quality of the space.
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Conversely, metal dining chairs can add a surprisingly sophisticated touch to an upscale farmhouse design. A monochromatic gray-on-white decor has become a very popular choice for kitchens, dining rooms, and great rooms because most shades of gray feel very elegant without being too assertive, and stand out against white without being quite as high contrast as a black and white decor. Here, gunmetal gray chairs lend contrast to the predominantly white space, picking up the color in the table runner, artwork, and lighting fixture for a cohesive, monochromatic feel. Because the dark gray isn’t quite black and the whites are often off white, the room has a softer, more antique feel, while the consistency in terms of color makes the room feel unified and just a little bit formal, despite the use of fairly rustic elements.
Metal dining chairs with a more traditional design are perfect for a transitional space, since they combine a very contemporary material and finish with an iconic yet simplified traditional silhouette. In the petite dining area above, the traditional design of the metal chairs and the layers of color and pattern in the same color family give the space a subtle traditional feel, while the repetition of circular geometry (in the chair backs, tabletop, and pendant light) add a slightly more contemporary edge that makes the space feel clean and polished. The metal dining chairs don’t stand out as an assertive accent, but are an integral part of the balance and unity of the design.
Very modern metal dining chairs can also work in a transitional space when used as a counterbalance to more traditional elements. The dining room above is quite a traditional one, with antique hardwood floors, gorgeous wainscoting, a fireplace, and crown molding. But the simple metal chairs and minimalist dining table transform the space, giving it a much more contemporary air. The other, more transitional elements in the room balance out the two so the chairs don’t feel out of place, but instead make a fresh statement in a very traditional space.
What do you think of these metal dining chairs? What style do you think they pair best with? Let me know in the comments below!