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Furniture Guide: Types of Dining Chair Backs


An underestimated detail when furnishing your dining room is considering and curating what types of dining chairs to pair with the rest of your dining room furniture. While many dining chairs and other wood accent chairs can look similar, there are a few different iconic types of chair backs that can be found across different furniture styles. 


Learn the definitions of each type of chair back in this furniture guide and discover which is your favorite!

Types of Chair Backs

Types of Chair Backs: Slat Back

A slat back refers to a type of chair back which offers a rectilinear form and series of vertical slats to support one’s back. The slatted look is timeless and can be found in everything from traditional and rustic spaces to contemporary and casual dining rooms, depending on how the slats and other parts of the backrest are styled. 

*Pictured here is the Briar Fork Dining Chair, a timeless slat back dining chair with farmhouse appeal!

Briar Fork Side Chair

Types of Chair Backs: X-Back

An X-back refers to a type of chair back where the primary support is provided by two pieces of wood crossing over each other in an X-shaped design. These chairs are sometimes called "cross back chairs", and their X-shaped supports can be styled for both modern and rustic spaces. Rustic X-back chairs are often simple and straight while modern X-back chairs tend to show more curves.

Belle Manor Chair


Types of Chair Backs: Windsor Back

A Windsor back chair, sometimes called a "spindle back chair", features turned spindle supports arranged into a timeless round bow shape. Traditionally, this chair back style achieved its iconic look from an interesting steam bending process used by expert furniture makers. True Windsor Chairs also traditionally feature turned or spindle armrests as well as turned or spindle flared legs. 

*Below, the Manchester Side Chair is an example of this traditional dining chair type. 

Manchester Dining Chair

Types of Chair Backs: Splat Back

A splat back refers to a type of chair back that features a central, vertically-aligned support element. Splat backrests can come in many different shapes and designs so long as there is some sort of central structure to provide back support. Often incorporating the themes of different furniture periods, splat back chairs can range from traditional to contemporary. A well known example of a splat back chair is called a "fiddle back chair", where the central support element is carved to resemble the shape of a violin.


*The District Dining Chair, pictured here, is a slat back dining chair with an updated take on a classic look. 


The District Chair

Types of Chair Backs: Parsons

A Parsons chair has a solid back with no arms and upholstery which traditionally covers both the backrest and the seat. Parsons chairs are usually padded, and they often instill a high-end or sophisticated aesthetic. Even though they were designed only a few decades ago with strong minimalist influences, Parsons chairs are actually quite versatile and can work in spaces ranging from modern to mid-century.

*Parsons chairs like The Edge Parsons Dining Chair are great because they can work in both modern and transitional settings depending on the design!

The Edge Chair


Types of Chair Backs: Ladder Back

A ladder back chair features a series of horizontal cross-rails which connect the backing posts and provide support, and they often resemble the rungs of a ladder. Though they are commonly designed for traditional and rustic spaces, ladder backrests can actually be found across all interior design styles - plus they're also a popular on counter height benches and bar stools!

*Find more like the Interlude Ladder Back Dining Chair in our dining chair collection or our farmhouse collection!


Interlude Ladderback


We hope you enjoyed our guide on the different dining chair back styles you're likely to find the next time you go furniture shopping! And remember - our new and improved Furniture Glossary has even helpful information on types of dining room furniture, general furniture terminology, and information about today’s popular interior design styles, so be sure to check it out to learn more!