Atlantic Shopping / Inspiration-and-advice / Bentwood Dining Chairs

Bentwood Dining Chairs

By Philippa Baker, 30th July, 2013

Full of history, bentwood dining chairs can be trusted to make a memorable impression in any environment. Crafted using methods dating back to the 19th century, these classic designs marry the demure with the decadent, and as a result continue to draw in customers and commercial interest alike. Yet whilst prized for their classic look, they’ve evolved over time using modern manufacturing methods - along with pairings with other contemporary materials - to produce a stunning collection of innovative designs.

Bentwood Bonbon Dining Chairs in Dining Room

Candy Chair

How Did It Originate?

When you think of bentwood dining chairs, you’ll no doubt picture the archetypal bistro model found in continental cafés and delicatessens. The iconic shape was pioneered by the illustrious Michael Thonet, achieved through a meticulous process that unearthed the malleable side of wood through a process of steam-heating, wetting and moulding by hand. Beech was typically used due to its close grain, enabling it to bend more easily to produce a stunning range of chairs with graceful curves unseen in furniture design at the time. These could then be given an alternate coloured finish, such as oak or walnut.

Delicate yet durable items that have endured from the 19th century through to the present day, classic bentwood designs are still widely used thanks to their elegant European aesthetic and nostalgic retro flair.


Bentwood Chairs in French Bistro

How It's Used in Modern Design

Nevertheless it’s not just about what has gone before, but about where chair design is going. Whilst inspired by the traditional bentwood designs of the past, modern methods using highly malleable plywood have made a myriad of striking new shapes possible.

In recent years the furniture industry has witnessed the evolution of chair design, developing from charming 19th century models to trendy 21st century versions much more suited to the demands of modern living. Paired with other contemporary materials such as metal legs or upholstered seat pads, they deliver highly ergonomic whilst effortlessly stylish pieces of furniture.


Manufacturing Bentwood Dining Chairs


A prime example is our Grafton Dining Chair (pictured below), immensely popular thanks to its skilful bentwood craftsmanship. Elegantly curving round the body for all-encompassing support, its wide rounded seat boasts a tasteful walnut finish and comfortable cushioning beneath fabric upholstery.

Similarly, the bentwood seat of the Marcus (pictured below) encircles the body for a secure and snug feel, all wrapped in fashionable fabric for a softer touch. Set on four trendy curved legs, these taper gracefully to the floor providing a strong yet stylish base.

There is also our cool Candy Chair (pictured below). With a fabulously funky vibe thanks to its array of bold colours, its seat is crafted from a single piece of wood that is ergonomically sculpted to the natural shape of the body.

You can see these three stylish bentwood chairs below:

Why Choose Bentwood?

Whether made using old or new manufacturing processes, bentwood softens the angular qualities often associated with wooden dining chairs. Its rounded curves are visually appealing and ideal for adding visual texture to any setting. Contrasting with clean straight lines and angular cabinetry, it can create a dynamic layered look. Or vice versa, it can be paired with similar circular structures to create a chic retro ambience.

Often favoured by those opposed to the cold or clinical aesthetic created by an abundance of metal furniture, modern bentwood chairs still exhibit a contemporary styling, yet their use of natural materials mean they exude a lovely organic look. Another advantage is that the polished surfaces of the curves catch the light beautifully, creating an attractive warm sheen unattainable with metal alternatives.


Bentwood Bistro Chairs and Bar Stools

From classic bentwood to funky ABS, there's a chair for everyone in our great range. To get started, click the button below to browse the full collection.


Related Articles

Materials Used in Chairs

From ABS to wood to leather, find out what our chairs are made of..

Read More

Metal Dining Chairs

Browse our collection of chrome, brushed steel and satin dining chairs..

Read More

Stunning Dining Chairs to Match Your Table

We show you how to choose the perfect dining chairs for your dining table..

Read More

Buying Guides

Email to a Friend