Since Toddler L – then named Baby L – started weaning at six months old, we’ve tried to view mealtimes as one of the most important parts of the day. This has meant, where possible, ensuring that the majority of meals are eaten at the dining table and as a family. In a time where there’s an increasing emphasis on virtual communication, we’re quite keen to keep mealtimes as face-to-face family time as Toddler L gets older. It may be old-fashioned and a touch idyllic, but that’s the plan.
I may be stating the obvious, but it’s pretty difficult to eat meals at the table if you don’t have a few key things, namely a table, chairs and a high chair for the toddler. When we moved into our house five and a bit years ago, we bought a cheap dining set – this has done the job, but we’ve always been pretty unhappy with the uncomfortable, hard chairs. We’ve wanted to upgrade to leather dining chairs but haven’t really been able to justify the cost of buying new chairs when the old ones still fulfil their purpose.
However, blogging does come with its perks. When Lakeland Furniture – the UK’s leading supplier of bar stools, dining chairs and office chairs – got in touch to ask if we wanted to review some items of furniture, I jumped at the chance to upgrade our crap dining chairs to something a bit more luxurious. Below, you’ll find my review of the four Chelsea Black Dining Chairs that we were sent for review:
The product is described as:
The Black Chelsea is a high back dining chair with a delightful scroll top giving it that additional touch of elegant styling. Made with a solid wooden frame, foam padding and upholstery of bicast leather, the Black Chelsea dining chair is practical and good looking.
The wooden frame establishes the outline, starting at the beautiful scrolled top, with its graceful curve running from the top of the high back down through the back legs to the floor. Each leg is fitted with an invisible nylon stop to prevent any scratches to your floor.
The seat and back are well padded to create comfort and support. They are covered in bicast leather which is soft, tough, hard wearing and easy to maintain. A short leather skirt continues down from the sides of the seat as an additional style detail. Vertical stitching on the rear of the seat emphasises the height of the back.
The shining black bicast leather combine with the light coloured wooden legs to make the Black Chelsea an impressive chair that captures the desire for natural materials delivered with exceptional chic. Features include:
- Height 102cm
- Height To Seat 45cm
- Width 43cm
- Depth 49cm
- Bicast Leather
- Solid Wood Frame
- Oak Effect Legs
- Drop Skirt Sides
- Fully Foam Padded
- UK Fire Retardant Foam
- Some Self Assembly Required
The chairs arrived in two large boxes – each box contained the bits for two chairs. On taking the components out of the box, I quickly sussed out that each chair was made up of one back rest, one seat pad, two legs and a number of bolts and washers.
I had a quick look at the instructions and everything looked simple enough. The first step was to take off the Velcro cover which attaches underneath the seat pad – this allow you to access the holes which mean you can bolt the seat pad and back rest together using an Allen key, five bolts and five washers. Remember the washers – I may have forgotten to use them to start with…
The next step was to attach the two front legs. These simply slot into a gap at the front of the chair, then you use two bolts and two washers in each leg to secure them in place. The final step is to put the Velcro cover back onto the bottom of the seat in order to hide the inner workings of the chair. It probably took 15 minutes per chair to fully assemble, so it wasn’t a particularly labour intensive process – although I obviously pretended it was more difficult than it actually was in order to win some brownie points with the missus.
Apart from my own stupidity at forgetting to add the washers on the first chair and the fact that I had a toddler trying to be helpful, I didn’t encounter any problems with assembling the chairs. All components were present and everything slotted in where it should have done, resulting in four attractive, comfortable and solid leather dining chairs.
My only gripe with assembly was that the Allen key, bolts and washers were covered in an oil or lubricant, which made my hands filthy as soon as I touched them. I guess this was done to help with screwing things together, but it resulted in a bit of mess and meant marks were transferred from my fingers to the chairs – although these did wipe off afterwards.
I did notice a couple of minor defects with the chairs though. For instance, one of the Velcro covers which attach under the chairs had a slight rip and the oak effect on one of the legs had split. Although slightly annoying, neither of these were big enough for me to consider contacting, returning or replacing them – the oak effect stuck back on the chair with a bit of super glue and the rip is hidden underneath the seat, so all was fine. As I say, a bit annoying and disapointing for new items, but hardly the end of the world.
The previous dining chairs we had came as a set with the table, so weren’t the best quality. Saying they were uncomfortable is putting it pretty lightly. They obviously did the job, but I wouldn’t say sitting at the table was a particularly enjoyable experience – this was something we were always wary about when friends or family sat at the table. The seats were barely padded and gave little relief to your arse or back, so we rarely sat at the table for extended periods of time.
The faux leather dining chairs are completely different to our old chairs though. As you can see from the comparison photos below, they are chunkier and heavily padded, which make them a pleasure to sit on – I imagine this is what the Queen feels like when she sits on her throne.
The funny thing though is that their actual footprint is quite similar to that of their predecessors, but side-by-side, it does look a bit like before and after photos for a hardcore weightlifting exercise programme. The new chairs are slightly taller, wider, higher and deeper, but most importantly, they work well with our dining table and all fit comfortably underneath, even with Toddler L’s Stokke Tripp Trapp highchair.
Another thing I like about the chairs is that they are very easy to clean. Life with a toddler can be messy – food, snot, dribble and unknown stains are part and parcel of parenthood. The faux leather material of the chair though means that marks and spills can easily be cleaned up. If liquid is spilt on the chair, it tends to just stay there rather than soak in, and if there’s a stain, this can easily be wiped off with a damp cloth or wet wipe.
The leather dining chairs are available from Lakeland Furniture where they are currently on sale at £39.99 each, but usually RRP at £49.99. This looks to be a really competitive price for a great quality and comfortable dining chair. A quick Google suggests that this is at the lower end of the price range, with other similarly looking faux leather chairs being priced at £50, £55 and £60.
Assembly of the chairs was pretty easy – everything slotted together and each chair took about 15 minutes – they are comfy, well made, look nice and are good value for money. The only slight negative was a little rip to the Velcro lining under the chair and a bit of the wood effect on the leg which had splintered, however I can live with these minor flaws as they were hidden / repairable.
We’re really happy with these faux leather dining chairs from Lakeland Furniture and would definitely recommend them to others. They are a huge improvement on our previous chairs and actually make sitting at the table an enjoyable experience rather than some kind of uncomfortable torture as we’d been used to for five years.
All in all, a definite upgrade on what we’re used to and a nice addition to our living room.
The DADventurer Star Rating
4.5 out of 5
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N.B. This review was written by me (Dave) and represents my honest opinion of the product. The leather dining chairs were sent to me by Lakeland Furniture with the purpose of writing an honest product review in exchange for the product.
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