Finding a Place to Sit

It was the legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright who put it most eloquently:  “Dining is and always was a great artistic opportunity.”  One piece of furniture that often gets overlooked in a home is the dining chair.  Most people will go out, buy a table, and the chairs come with it.  No muss, no fuss.  However, in many of these prefabricated sets for sale, usually the chairs aren’t the most optimal option by feng shui guidelines.  In fact, at times they can be downright uncomfortable or ugly.  To add some more artistic opportunity to one’s dining room, here are my suggested specifications for getting the right kind of dining chair:

  1. You need to like the chair!  If one doesn’t like the shape, size, color, etc. of the dining chair in question, it will never be used.  Or on the rare occasions when the chair is used, negative feelings will arise.  It should be something stylish that reflects one’s own personal taste.
  2. The chair should be comfortable.  No one likes to sit in discomfort.  The chair should have  a comfy seat.  Upholstered seating rarely has this problem, but some wood, plastic and metal seating can cause inadequate relaxation.  A quick way to fix this issue is to add a seat cushion.
  3. The chair needs a solid back.  In feng shui folklore, it was believed that one’s enemies could stab you much easier if there were openings in the back of the chair. While I may not necessary follow that line of thinking, I do believe in back support.  The more solid the back of any seating, the better the reinforcement.  Also, having a solid chair back can make the occupant of the chair feel much more secure and at ease than sitting on a stool or ladder-back chair.
  4. Choose comforting materials.  Generally, a chair should ideally be constructed of wood, or upholstered in some way.  While there are some exceptions to this rule, I find these are the best choices.  Keep the weight of the chair not too heavy.  Avoid getting white or cream-colored chairs, as these tend to get dirty much faster than their darker counterparts  – especially if there are children, pets, or unruly people in the home.

Now, where does one find a nice chair?  A good quality dining chair can be somewhat expensive.  I would first suggesting acquiring chairs from estates sales, Craigslist, or consignment stores.   One can find much better quality of a chair for far less money.   As always, use your best judgement.  (All of my dining chairs I’ve either purchased at gently used thrift stores, or have been given to me by friends)  As for buying new, I’ve comprised a collection of some the best dining chairs currently available, all of which are under $80.00 each (excluding shipping and taxes) that are ideal feng shui selections:

The Harry from Ikea is a standard classic, at the affordable price of $49.99 each.  The cover can be removed easily for washing, or one can cover it in the fabric of their choice.  This chair is comfy and lightweight.

From Overstock.com we have the Classic Parson Red and Gold Damask Chair.  Each individual chair sells for $76.09, and is upholstered in a rich red and gold paisley design.  This chair would bring a wonderful fire and earth element to any dining area.  One reason I love Overstock.com is their shipping prices.  No matter how large or small the order, the total shipping is only $2.95.

The Decor Dining Chairs also from Overstock.com come in three different upholstery options.  However, I did not care for the third one, so I only posted the two I liked.  The first is a contemporary red striped pattern, adding passion and fire to any room  on the left.  On the right, we have flowers covering a chocolate background.  This would bring a beautiful earth and wood element to a space.  Either of these options are sold in pairs for $135.00, plus the $2.95 shipping fee.

For a more masculine feel, this set of two Black Walnut Dining Chairs, offered by Coaster Home Furnishings runs at $127.00.  The warm walnut hues add a dramatic richness to any environment.  These are available at Amazon.com, and I believe are eligible for free shipping.

This set of two Cappuccino Finish Dining Chairs, also by Coaster Home Furnishings are priced at $66.67.  Although these chairs do not have a completely solid back, they are mostly solid, which provides more security and stability to the chair’s occupant than say a chair with many more open areas.  This specific style and type of chair is available all over the internet from various distributors.  I found the Amazon.com price to be the best, but it does not include free shipping.

From Baxton Studio we have the Spain Dark Brown Modern Dining Chairs.  A pair of these elegantly refined chairs is $148.00 from Amazon, with free shipping.  I like the taupe microfiber as the upholstery, which adds a tactile, nurturing earth element to the dining experience.

Target.com is currently having a furniture sale.  Of the many offering of dining chairs there, I really like the Oval Back Chair.   The oval shape and the gray/dark blue of the fabric brings water and metal to the party in high elemental fashion.  A pair of these beauties sells for $139.99.

But how many chairs do I purchase?  Well, that is entirely up to you.   If one has a circular or oval table, any amount of chairs will work.  If one has a square or rectangular table, the number of dining chairs should be an even number.  As for chairs having arms or not, that is also entirely up to one’s own taste.   In most formal dining rooms, the seating at the ends of the table will have arms, while the ones flanking the sides will not.  For more information about selecting a prosperous dining table, take a look at my article here:  https://fengshuifoodie.com/2012/04/22/how-to-choose-a-dining-table/   If you don’t currently have the right kind of seating, don’t worry – chair covers and seat cushions can go a long way in improving the energy quality of a space, and make the seating much more desirable.  Having the correct dining chairs and table in your environment will bring further prosperity to one’s dining experience.

How to Choose a Dining Table

Once upon a time, in an age before the term TV Dinner was coined, people actually had most of their meals in a room devoted to dining:  The Dining Room.   Can you imagine that?  All kidding aside, due to our fast-paced modern world, most of us rarely have time to sit down with our loved ones around a large table and catch up over food at home.  The Dining Room in feng shui is one of the most important rooms in the home that often gets overlooked.  For example, most condos and apartments do not have a separate dining room, but a dining area or breakfast nook.  Not having a separate dining area is neither good or bad, it’s what one does with the dining space that is important.

There are many aspects to the dining room that need attention, but the one we’re going to look at today is the star attraction of any dining room – the dining table.  A round or oval table is considered to be the best by feng shui guidelines, as the smooth flow of the curves can be relaxing to the diner.  Square and rectangular are tables are not as good; the harsh corners can affect how people interact within the space negatively.  Also, children (and some adults) can bump into the sharp corners, causing pain.   Two ways to fix the “harsh corners” would be to select a table with softened or rounded edges.  The other way is to put a tablecloth on the table.

In feng shui, we generally like  some open space in the middle of each room or area.  One of the few exceptions to this is in the dining room.  The table should be placed within the direct center of the room (or close to it) with enough space for each guest to move from seating to standing position around the table and not bump into anything.  If you have more of an open floor plan with a dining area rather than a separate room, try looking for a light source – such as a chandelier or ceiling light.  The table would then be placed underneath it, with the light over the center of the table.  Enclosed dining rooms should have a light source as well; this can help in finding the best location for the table.

Below are some examples of the best tables I could find currently for purchase, and all of them are under $250.00 (shipping and taxes excluded).

The Svalbo table from Ikea is an excellent choice.  Although it is more rectangular in shape, the corners have been completely rounded, making it more harmonious for any room.  Also, it comes in unfinished pine, which can be left as is, or finished to one’s desire.  Four sturdy legs support the table top, and an extra leaf is included, so the table may accommodate four to six people.

Another Ikea option is the Liatorp.  Curves abound in this charming white table that can easily blend into most environments.   A pedestal base acts as support, with an extra leaf for additional table space, altering the circle to more of an oval.  Both of the pieces above are available at Ikea.com.

Amazon Tables 01

Amazon.com also has a few choice selections.  From International Concepts comes their Dual Drop Leaf Table (left).  Ideal for apartments, this little table has two leaves that fold down, as well as softened edges all around.  The item also comes unfinished.   The Light Oak Dining Table (right) from Winsome Wood is also a great piece.  In addition to the two drop leaves, the legs fold inward, making it perfect to store away if need be.

Another example is the Brannan Pedestal Dining Table by Coaster.  The elegant curves and ideal size make this a classic table for any home.  Available in Cappuccino (pictured) or Dark Oak.

And for those who are in need of extra storage space, the Cottage Drop Leaf Table by TMS comes with two large square shelves in the support base of this round table.   The shelving here would be an ideal storage space for table linens or pottery.  All four of the above mentioned tables can be found at Amazon.com

Home and Living.com is an excellent online source for furniture, and they offer free shipping for most of their items.  The Rich Cappuccino Table is an excellent choice if one is looking for a more oval table with a contemporary feel.  And, for those who want a more rectangular table, The Cappuccino Finish Dining Table (below) is another prime selection, with its softened corners and beautiful finish.

I have perhaps neglected the most important thing when selecting a good dining table.  It’s important that you like your selection.  If you purchase a dining table that you’re not thrilled about, chances are you will rarely use the table.  Stay on the lookout for my article on how to select the best dining chair, which will be posted shortly.