Chiavari Chairs – An Introduction & Brief History 

Chiavari chairs are named for the Italian city of origin. This town, located between Genoa and the Cinque Terre, began producing these chairs at the beginning of the 19th century and it was here where the Descalzi brothers opened their famous furniture workshop in 1795.  In 1807, Gaetano Descalzi designed a light, elegant, yet solid, cherrywood chair known as the chair “Chiavarine”.  

The Chiavari chair quickly jumped from the dining room to the ballroom and became the classic wedding chair. This little chair has come a long way since 1800’s — Chiavaris have become the most popular choice for elegant, special event seating due to their use at large-scale formal events such as the Oscars and high-profile celebrity weddings.   

Chiavari chairs have been featured at events such as White House State Dinners, The Academy Awards, Emmy’s and Grammy’s Galas, on popular TV shows like Dancing with the Stars and to weddings all over the country, even weddings such as that of Jackie-O and JFK.  

The Chiavari has inspired its share of designers and several versions now exist.  And these days, customers have more choices than ever with the introduction of resin in addition to natural wood Chiavari chairs.   

Not published in LIFE. John and Jackie Kennedy on their wedding day, Newport, R.I., Sept. 12, 1953.

Choosing Chiavari Chairs for your Wedding

While event chairs are unlikely to be the main focus of wedding planning, what bride wouldn’t love to seat her guests in a perfect event chair?  Today there are so many options available and these chairs are one of the most highly requested chairs of all.  

Although brides have certainly helped fuel the demand for these chairs because of their appearance, the real success of the Chiavari chairs is due to the design.  Not only are the chairs stylish, they are comfortable, and their design lends itself to a variety of events from casual chic to semi formal or formal.  It’s easy to see why this sturdy and dependable chair has become the workhorse of event chairs.  

Event planners, catering and staff also like them because they are lightweight, easy to carry, set up and put away.  When it comes time to move the chairs, the cushion is removed and the chairs are stacked and easily transported.  Party rental companies, hotels, and wedding venues all buy Chiavari chairs for the reasons listed above.  

Most of all though, their clients want them!  The Chiavari Chair is a sophisticated, stylish, and sturdy chair that is elegant and affordable!  

Deciding between Natural Hardwood or Resin Chiavari Chairs?  

Each different product has its benefits which should be considered along with the application of the chair.  

Natural Wood Chiavari Chair

The Natural Wood Chiavari Chair has a warm feel and is easy to refinish if necessary.  Wood has it’s exterior painted the correct color, so any future scratches will remove the paint and show the natural wood color underneath but personally, I love the warmth of natural wood, especially for home use.  If you want a natural or brown wood color, you will want to order natural wood.  

Resin Chiavari Chair

The Resin Chiavari Chair is ideal for weddings, banquets and special events from casual to the most elegant. Constructed of ultra-strong resin and polycarbonate, this chair is very lightweight, yet extremely strong and wobble-free. The color of the frame is the same all the way through, so you don’t have to worry about cosmetic nicks and scratches ruining the appearance. It’s UV treated to help prevent fading and discoloration. No re-painting or staining is ever needed; your chairs will look great for years to come. 

So Many Choices

There are many colors to choose from for dining height chairs in either resin or wood.  Kid’s chairs and cocktail height chairs are also available.  Scroll down to see a variety of Chiavari chair colors, finishes and  decorating ideas.

Dressing your Chiavari Chairs — Accessories and More!

There are a variety of options and styles depending on your preference, budget, and level of formality.

Here’s where you can get creative with the color and style of cushion, and decision to choose covers, sashes, bows, or other decor for your chairs.  

So many ways to decorate: Fun, feminine, whimsical or rustic?

Decorating with Ribbons and Yarn

DIY Design with Ribbons and Yarn, or Burlap and Lace

Burlap and Lace

DIY with handmade signs

DYI with creative fabric decor

Rustic Burlap

Burlap Sash and DIY Projects with Burlap:

Famous Chiavari Chairs

Scroll down to see what Gucci has come up with for $2,600 per chair.  That’s not a typo, these are not the “affordable” version but fun to look nevertheless!

Gucci Decor Chairs

Gucci Chiavari chair with embroidered tiger. $2,600

Famous Places where Chiavari Chairs were selected: 


Elvis Presley Mansion


DANCING WITH THE STARS – “Episode 2304” – One of the biggest shows “Dancing with the Stars” has ever put on will unfold on the ballroom floor, as the 11 remaining celebrities perform big spectacle dances for Cirque du Soleil(r) night, on “Dancing with the Stars,” live, MONDAY, OCTOBER 3 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless)

Gold or Silver Chiavari?  

Warm or Cool?  Resin or Wood?  Questions to ask to help choose the best color for your event:

  1. Are you wearing silver, white or gold shoes?  
  2. What color are your linens or charger plates?  
  3. Will your event be formal or informal, indoor or outdoor?  
  4. What color goes best with the venue, setting, and theme?
  5. Are you wanting to go with a “warm” or a “cool” color theme?  

If the event is outdoor at a vineyard, winery or ranch and you are surrounded by warm and natural colors, you might choose a matte finish gold or a natural colored wood chair to compliment the natural colored surroundings of your venue.  

  • If you are doing an indoor event, and your linens are a natural, tan or gold, gold chairs will likely be your best choice.  
  • If you are seaside, on the sand or near the ocean surrounded by blue water, you might prefer silver or white chairs.
  • Silver chairs typically go well with cooler colors such as blue, gray, pewter, lilac and violet.  

These are just guidelines and suggestions.  Bottom line is personal preference! 

Whether you’re going for a Monochromatic look, matching your chair color to your decor or you’re contrasting dark chairs with light colored table linens or visa versa, the first step is choosing your colors.  

  • Which chair color fits in best with your overall color scheme?  
  • Do you want to match seat cushions to your event chairs or compliment the chairs with a contrasting color?  
  • If you prefer, you can color coordinate the seat cushion with your event linens for an exact match.


Indoor or Outdoor:  Gold Chiavari chairs are not exclusively reserved for formal gala dinners in fancy ballrooms.    

Here you can see gold chairs being chosen above for a more casually elegant event with bare tables, table runners and napkins. I personally love this look and the formal yet relaxed look below with the white tablecloth and natural colored overlay.  

In both these settings, the gold chairs look warm and inviting without looking overly ornate.  I love them both because I can imagine guests feeling relaxed, comfortable, and happy sitting at these tables and as a host or event planner, that is always my goal.  

Gold Chiavari Chairs

Gold Chiavari chairs add “instant warmth” to any event.

  • Above, the dramatic lighting and elaborate floral arrangements work to create a stunning formal event.  
  • The shimmering Champagne table linens with bronze seat cushions create a fabulous formal evening tablescape.
  • Below, a lighter and brighter variation, is perfect for an elegant afternoon brunch or lunch reception.  

Gold Chiavari Chairs – The Knot


Silver Chiavari Chairs

Blue and Violet Linens are shown being paired with Silver Chairs for those preferring a cool color theme. 

Chiavari Chairs vs Standard Banquet Chairs

We all want to add a special touch to our events.  Adding a special touch might be choosing Chiavari chairs over folding chairs, it might be choosing special linens or decor — the choices are endless.  While choices are endless, in most cases, budgets are not so we must decide what is most important and choose wisely.  

We have talked about and shown examples of when to choose Chiavari chairs.  

Here are occasions when it might be best to use Folding or Standard Banquet Chairs:

  • When they are included with your venue for no additional charge 
  • For casual or relaxed events, BBQ’s, backyard picnics, garden, ranch, or park settings
  • When you’d rather save money on chairs and spend the extra money on something else.
  • For large events when the cost difference per chair and number of chairs you need is too great. 

Here’s a link to the Chiavari chair colors and styles available.

Here are some of the quality chair cushions available and others can be made to order available upon request.

Your thoughts are welcome in the comment section below.  Please feel free to share and repost.  Thank you!