The dining area is the social hub of the home – This is where we come together with family and friends, accompanied by plenty of our favourite food and drinks of course! So, it’s pretty important to choose a set up that you’re happy with. Choosing a dining table you love is one thing, choosing chairs to go with this, is just as important. If you’re struggling to decide between a more modern or traditional feel in your dining area, the following guide is here to help you out. We look in detail at the contemporary vs rustic dining chairs that you might look to choose from, in order to help you narrow down your style preferences (Spoiler alert: You absolutely can have the best of both worlds!)

What Are The Characteristics Of Contemporary Dining Chairs?

If you’re erring more towards the contemporary side of things, we totally get it. Innovative shaping, a blend of textures and colours, with oomphs of effortless-stylish impact are just a few of the main characteristics that define contemporary dining chairs. They stray from the more ‘traditional’ dining chair, incorporating different fabrics, wood and shaping, all wrapped up in a simple yet statement design. Perfect for subtle decor schemes or experimental visions, the following contemporary designs work perfectly as mix and match dining chairs, or as part of a coherent colour scheme.


The cupped back design of these contemporary dining chairs is perfect for breathing shape and personality into your living space, whilst creating a supportive setup for eating and drinking in comfort. Built by an eco-based factory in Northern Italy using sustainable timber only, the bases are made from oak finished hardwood. Add some texture with a tactile mink fabric finish, or choose the Burnham dining chair in sleek navy blue, nickel or pebble wool blend fabric, all with a choice of natural wood or black legs. These chairs are part of completely new dining chair ranges, produced exactly to our specifications, so we’re rightly thrilled to now release them into peoples’ homes. 

Burnham dining chairs in navy blue with black legs placed on a wooden floor
close of of textured mink finish of Burnham dining chair


The Selwood collection is another favourite among our contemporary dining chairs and also completely fresh to Inside Out Living. Presenting almost endless personalisation options, our Selwood contemporary dining chairs are perfect for pairing with a number of dining tables. An elegant, angular design is complemented by plump upholstered cushioning to ensure that comfort is by no means compromised in the name of visual appearance. The natural shade oak, or dark oak legs perfectly offset the fabric which is available in a choice of mushroom, silver, slate, linen or denim, which is one of our favourite picks for urban decor schemes. The personalisation is something we were really keen to offer, allowing people to find their perfect seat pairing.

pair of Selwood dining chairs in mushroom with dark wood legs placed on a wooden floor
Selwood dining chairs in denim with natural wood legs placed on a wooden floor

Modern Farmhouse Ladder Back

If you’re struggling to decide between contemporary vs rustic dining chairs, in many ways, you get the best of both worlds with the Modern Farmhouse ladder back chair. The classic ladder back design is offset by a modern muted putty shade that perfectly complements the rest of the Modern Farmhouse collection. The understated tone makes them ideal for mixing and matching, creating a neutral backdrop for throwing in some bolder colours. The Modern Farmhouse dining chair is also available with a fabric seat or with a more traditional feeling chevron back design, for creating a more relaxed vibe, and for adding a hint of texture to the room. 

Modern Farmhouse Ladder Back dining chairs placed on a wooden floor
Modern Farmhouse ladder back dining chairs with fabric seats placed on a wooden floor


The distinctive name of these contemporary dining chairs speak to post-modernism and so you can imagine their ability to deliver on innovative style. A cupped seat design with an angular finish is uniquely complemented by powder metal legs that are splayed artistically outwards. The fabric seat features a faint crosshatch design, and the seat benefits from a swivel mechanism which is perfect for providing flexibility at busy social occasions. Available in dark grey or light grey, the matching opportunities for the Gaudi are countless, however one of our favourite pairings is with the Urban range. 

Urban dining table set with Gaudi dining chairs in an urban style room with exposed brick walls
Close up of Gaudi dining chair in Light Grey on pale stone floor

What Are The Characteristics Of Rustic Dining Chairs?

Whilst we love experiential style, sometimes traditional is best. If you already own a traditional dining table, you may be looking to lean into this further with chairs of a similar vein. Alternatively, you may be looking to offset a contemporary dining table with more rustic mix and match dining chairs or vice versa – the choice is entirely yours!  ‘Rustic’ can mean heavy, wooden frames that create a statement in their own right, or a shabby chic farmhouse feel, in neutral tones with a textured finish. You can get more of an idea of this from a few of our rustic picks below.

White & Grey Chevron Back

Capturing the timeless pastoral feel of country chic decor, these rustic dining chairs feature a chevron design back that adds an elegant touch of detail, whilst providing comfortable support. The oak finished hardwood has been painted a vibrant true white that compliments any home decor, whether that’s more traditional or modern designs. The perfect choice for mixing and matching, or creating a sleek neutral scheme, this White & Grey chevron design is also available with the added option of a fabric seat pad for enhanced comfort when enjoying meals with loved ones. 

close up of chevron back detail on White & Grey chevron dining chair
White & Grey chevron dining chairs places on a wooden floor

Modern Farmhouse Chevron Back

If you’re looking for a slightly more rustic version of the Modern Farmhouse ladder back dining chair, then the Modern Farmhouse dining chair with chevron back is an ideal choice. The chevron back adds a wonderful level of detailing, painted with a putty tone to match the rest of the Farmhouse range. The fabric cushion version adds an extra layer of comfort and is made using long-lasting synthetic fabric. Timeless in style, these rustic dining chairs are equally suited to everyday meals with the family as they are to formal dinner parties. Create your ideal dining setting, whether overly modern or traditional, with these satisfyingly neutral chairs. After all it’s all about how you style them in your vision.

Modern Farmhouse chevron back dining chairs placed on a wooden floor
Modern Farmhouse chevron back dining chairs on a wooden floor


The mahogany frame with carved detailing makes the Atlantic dining chair a highly traditional choice for the home. A deep cushion seat with high back design makes this chair unrivalled in comfort and support, perfect for everyday use, as well as providing comfy seating options for guests. These rustic dining chairs are available in a neutral grey colour or blue grey option, with the latter being a great choice if you’re looking to combine modern and traditional style into your dining table and chairs. 

The Atlantic dining chair in neutral grey placed next to Atlantic dining table
The Atlantic Extending Dining Table Set in Blue Grey placed in front of a large window

Both contemporary and rustic dining chairs have their own benefits and appeal. You don’t necessarily need to choose between a contemporary or rustic decor scheme. In fact, we’d actively recommend playing around with more traditional and modern dining furniture options. That’s why our dining tables and chairs can be purchased individually, or as a set to allow more flexibility for our customers. For more guidance on creating your dream dining space with IOL, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. 



Beautiful tips, hints, news and trends from Inside Out Living

Sign up to our newsletter for £10 off

We'll email you a voucher worth £10 off your first order over £50, excludes sale items. Cannot be used with any other sale, offer or discount. By subscribing you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. Offer only valid for new subscribers.

We'll email you a voucher worth £10 off your first order over £50, excludes sale items. Cannot be used with any other sale, offer or discount. By subscribing you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. Offer only valid for new subscribers.