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Got guests coming to dine at your place over the holidays, but nowhere for them to sit? Time to invest in some folding chairs. While the very words may conjure up images of ugly, utilitarian metal chairs reminiscent of a suburban PTA meeting, there are plenty of models out there that don't sacrifice style for utility. Plus, any furniture that folds (and is easily stored away) is a New Yorker's dream.
These Flex One Folding Chairs (four for $78) are wider-than-your-average folding chairs, which means they may feel more comfortable, plus the mesh back means that they're breathable (so no sweaty backs come summertime). A New Yorker who entertains a lot told us these are the (only) way to go.
Leave it to Ikea to create a seriously affordable chair that's also designed well. One Brick editor (cough, me, cough) has these particular Gunde folding chairs ($7.50 apiece), six of which fit nicely in our (decently sized) hallway closet. These aren't the most comfortable seats in the world, but they do the trick for the length of a holiday meal.
New York City-based boutique Gracious Home's Manhattan Folding Chairs ($55.98) are made of steel and leather upholstery, which makes them more comfortable and durable than your average folding chair. They come in a bunch of different colors, but the design above is the most economical.
This Crate and Barrel Spare Black Folding Wood Dining Chair ($42) is sleek enough that it would likely go with most tables and chairs (great if you're going for a seamless aesthetic). It also comes in white and gray and is both foldable and stackable.
According to one New Yorker (and mother) who entertains nearly weekly, the Cosco Oversized Upholstered Metal Folding Chair (29.99) "is super comfortable, the opening in the back is small enough that my kids don't fall through, and the cushion is higher than our regular dining chairs," making for very comfortable eating.
Anthropologie carries several Terai Folding Chairs ($150 to $198 apiece) with beautiful handmade upholstery (in different patterns) and wood frames with a natural finish. Sure, they're pricey, but they're just about the prettiest folding chairs we've seen. We don't think we'd ever stash them away if we had them.
Just win the lottery and having people over to celebrate? We suggest buying these MK99200 folding chairs from Design Within Reach ($880; chair cushion: $155). Created by Danish designer Mogens Koch, they pay homage to the classic director's chair, and are made of solid Danish beech wood and canvas. These are seriously in a class of their own.
Assuming you want your folding chairs to take up as little space as possible when they're not being used, it's hard to do better than the Flux Chair ($149), which is made from durable plastic and folds down like origami into a flat square. It's available in a bunch of bright shades, too. The design is unusual, sure, but that may just suit your fancy.
These Ballard Designs St. Germain folding chairs ($109) are perfect if you're looking for folding chairs that don't look temporary. They're sturdy, plus they're only 13 inches wide, so if you're hoping to squeeze a lot of people into a small space, these could be good options.
These Frontgate Shield-Back folding chairs ($199 for two) look the most like formal dining chairs, so if your style is more formal/old-fashioned, these might be worth buying.
If modern is more your style, may we recommend these? We're suckers for anything Lucite, so we love this chair from Gracious Home ($129), which is, unsurprisingly, one of the store's most popular.