365 Objects Of Design

Five Best Folding Chairs

20th November 2018
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Because sometimes, at this time of year, you might have extra people round the dining table. Or the odd unexpected guest. Or you normally have only two people at the table and suddenly there are six. And who’s got room to store chairs all over the place? In the past I’ve had them doubling up as bedside tables, lurking on the landing or staying at the table but filled with a mountain of paperwork that I moved off the table and didn’t want to look at any more. Until someone needed to sit down.

flapps folding chair by ambivalenz

flapps folding chair by ambivalenz available at Clippings for £288

So in the spirit of small spaces and big organisation I thought we would look at folding chairs today. Always useful for reasons you might never even realise until you are faced with the need for one. We don’t have any it turns out. And on Sunday evening, at 9pm, the 15yo threw a massive hissy strop because he needed to examine the folding mechanism for a project for his DT GCSE, which he will now clearly fail because we, his parents, just don’t care. We didn’t anticipate the need for a folding chair as part of his coursework and we have failed him which means, in turn, he will fail his exams, he will not be able to do the A levels he wants so he can’t go to art school and basically never mind King Richard and for want of a nail a kingdom was lost… it’s a case of for want of a folding chair a life was ruined. Shattered.

flapps folding chair from clippings

flapps folding chair from clippings

You have been warned. You thought you might need one in case Uncle Bill, who turned up for coffee and decided to stay for lunch, needed to sit down. Turns out it is much more crucial than that.

Now, aside from using them in other rooms, the joy of the folding chair is that you can store it under the bed, or even behind the door so it’s a really useful bit of furniture. I’m going to show you a range of them because if you have a divan or storage bed you probably won’t be able to slide a chair underneath it. So the first one is designed to look good and even double up as a piece of art. So yes it’s expensive but it’s clever too. This would be great for a studio flat or teenager’s bedroom, which they often want to resembled bedsits (until years later when they actually have to live in one) but may not have room for an extra chair all the time. The range also comes with matching folding shelves too.

folding chairs by seletti via Amara

folding chairs by seletti via Amara

Now the next one is much cheaper at £52 but much more fun. If you are going to have a temporary chair then you can be a little bolder as they won’t be seen all the time. These would also work at a child’s or teenager’s desk on the basis of a couple of hours a night so they don’t need – and may not have room for – a full office chair. I’m really quite tempted to have one of these out on a permanent basis. Which one would you choose? I like the egg if you had a small kitchen where there was room for a table and two small chairs that could be folded away. You could definitely hang these on the wall as pop art too.

seletti folding chair via Amara for £52 each

seletti folding chair via Amara for £52 each

Now for something a little more classic in design which can be stored in fairly flat stacks so it doesn’t take up too much room. I rather like the graduated colours of wood here. Designed by David Irwin, the Narin is beautifully made with turned legs and a proper curved backrest. This is a folding chair for people who don’t want to have folding chairs – or who may need to sit on them for a little longer and require more comfort.

case furniture narin folding chair via nest at £299

case furniture narin folding chair via nest at £299

I should point out that I’m not deliberately looking for the most expensive, but am assuming you can find your own cheap folders from Habitat and Argos and have chosen to focus on chairs which are a little more design-led and, hopefully, show you things and designers you may not have come across before.

aviva magis folding chair

aviva magis folding chair

This was designed in 1979 and has recently been put back into production. It’s currently on sale at Nest for £172.90 instead of £247 (November 2018) but you can also get a version with arms for £356 at twentytwentyone which, again, isn’t temporary chair price, but is more –  clever chair you can use all the time but fold away if necessary. It also comes in a range of colours including pink, green and coral as well as natural wood and black.

And finally I’m cheating. Because there are four folding chairs here and a narrow bench. Because those were the best of the folding chairs and I rather like this bench and thought that since it’s narrow it might work round a table instead of bulky chairs but that you could perhaps keep it generally in a hall or even at the end of the bed. It’s not for everyone but it might be a solution for some. So I’ve included it. Also, I rather like it.

lenox dining bench from westelm for £399

lenox dining bench from westelm for £399

And there we have it. Hopefully some dining dilemmas solved there. I do really like the Seletti I have to say and then the Narin, what about you?





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  • Velvet 20th November 2018 at 10:38 pm

    Some of them are quite funky! I don’t really fancy having too many chairs around but having a spare folding chair or two might not be a bad idea…after all!

  • Annie 20th November 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Loving the comfier options, at the moment all my spare chairs are in bedrooms to artfully drape clothes etc (haha!) but it is amazing how many chairs you need when two families turn up with all the children in the world. Just need to stockpile some high chairs as well for such eventualities… Loving the bench too!

  • Elaine Gwynne-Thomas 20th November 2018 at 1:44 pm

    The story of your 15 year old made me laugh. The impossible plight of parents!
    I don’t need any more chairs, but kind of wish I did, love the pop art ones!

  • hng23 20th November 2018 at 1:35 pm

    I find the folding chairs with the cheerful marijuana leaf pattern amusing. How times have changed!

  • Jude 20th November 2018 at 12:43 pm

    I bought four wooden folding chairs from Habitat in 1984 at the extortionate price of £20 each, very similar to the aviva magis folding chair. My daughter was still using them until a year ago and only one had started to fall apart. This was after continual daily use. I must say that I rather like the Narin chairs.

  • Karen Joseph 20th November 2018 at 8:59 am

    Still laughing at the 15yo hissy strop 🤣 We have two 15yos and seem to fail them on a regular basis. So glad we are not alone. I do love the flapps chair and shelves – they would be really practical as well as looking great in a teenager’s room, if only they deserved them. Seletti would be my favourite just for me.

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