Style Guide: Bistro Chairs
European sidewalks gave us bistro chairs, but this classic furniture style is seen in homes around the world. Pick a fave from our roundup
Becky Harris June 3, 2012
Houzz Contributor. Hi there! I live in a 1920s cottage in Atlanta that I'll describe as "collected." I got into design via Landscape Architecture, which I studied at the University of Virginia. I've been writing about design online for quite a few years over at Hatch: The Design Public Blog.
Houzz Contributor. Hi there! I live in a 1920s cottage in Atlanta that I'll describe... More
If you're looking for stylish dining chairs, take a virtual trip over to European bistros and cafés. The bistro chairs designed there have been ruling this category for more than 150 years. We've featured articles on a few of our favorites in the past, but I thought I'd make it easy and lasso them into one group so that you can choose a favorite. If you can't narrow it down to one, that's just fine; each of the following styles is so versatile that just about any mixed and matched collection is smashing.
Bentwood chairs. Designed by Michael Thonet back in the 1850s, these chairs reign as the granddaddies of bistro chairs. Their gorgeous curves and sturdy functionality make them a home and restaurant staple that never goes out of style. There are many different iterations of the bentwood chair, some by Thonet and a plethora of imitations. The one you see above is the Bentwood Chair with Arch Brace.
This variation on the original bentwood chair is the Era chair. Reproductions are available in natural wood and in an array of bright colors. It is available with a caned or solid seat.
Classic folding French bistro chairs are light and portable, and can fold up for storage or be carried out to the terrace or garden with ease. Blogger Maria of Dreamy Whites uses them as the ideal seating to fit in with her Scandinavian/shabby chic aesthetic.
The armchair version is a sturdier and more comfortable version, and it has rustic French farm appeal. These chairs (available at bistrosets.com) have a similar look.
The Marais A Chair. Designed by French metalworker Xavier Pauchard back in the 1930s, this chair's classic industrial style has never been more popular.
While the galvanized metal in gunmetal gray has big industrial appeal, the bright colors it comes in are very appealing.
The Praque chair. This industrial chair brings in more flair, with a few extra curves and a lighter silhouette.
Let's pause for a little folding bistro/Marais mashup. The mix of wood and metal ties this dining area together beautifully.
Woven French bistro chairs. Observe the chairs in their natural habitat, on the sidewalks of Collioure, France.
Once woven from Nile river reeds, the chairs are most commonly composed of rattan and rilsan today.
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