I am all about sharing real-life scenarios, examples, and interior design advice to help. An area of interior design that doesn’t get discussed often enough is choosing seating for those of us that are on the average, or larger, size and being open to the options available. Sometimes seating feels flimsy and for those on the larger side, may not always feel supported with just any chair, from any vendor.

Recently, a member of my Interior Design Facebook Group asked what they should be looking for when choosing a dining chair for those on the “fluffier” side. While a lot of members had helpful and considerate suggestions for them, it’s important to consider the right specifications.

I started my career in commercial interior design and considering the right specifications for each use was a crucial part of getting the design right. Now when I work with clients, I’m always thinking about how each space is used, and want to be sure their space performs well over time. When sourcing seating, I tap into my commercial interior design experience and I’m always looking at the weight capacities of individual chairs. I check if the ratings are appropriate based on how the chairs will be used.

Let’s have a look at some of the specifications you need to consider in order to choose a dining chair that will support you!


Weight Capacities


We love because it has a 300lbs capacity! It looks stylish and is comfortable too.

Firstly, weight capacities. 

Every piece of furniture should have a maximum weight capacity limit and this should be disclosed in the item’s description or specifications. 

There is an important caveat to this though! The weight capacities listed on seating are based on what level the vendor is willing to test to (more on this shortly). They are specified based on the level of testing they are putting the furniture through, so just because a chair tested and passed a weight capacity up to 300lbs, it might actually support more.

One tip when shopping is look for seating that is suitable for commercial spaces. These products are likely to have been tested more so than standard ones, and a weight capacity limit should be specified. 

Many online retailers now have contract-grade furniture available, but always make sure to check the individual furniture specifications to check the weight limits.

The best bet for chairs that will support higher weight capacities will be hospitality-grade seating, seating for healthcare, senior living, and other specialties.


It’s important to choose a dining chair that has been designed for commercial environments as they have been through more vigorous testing. They will also have a weight limit specified on the product specifications.


BIFMA Testing


Another great option is this sleek ! Fully upholstered and with a weight limit of 325 lbs, it is ideal for many homes.

The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association has put a series of common standards for desk, table, and chair products meant for use in commercial environments. These standards look at the durability, structural performance, and safety of commercial furniture.

The BIFMA tests are a series of advanced furniture testing and are a great way to determine whether a piece is suitable for commercial environments where they need to cater to lots of people with different body types.

Tests include checking the armrest capabilities, weight, and structural makeup of the furniture.

If you select a BIFMA tested piece of furniture for your home, you can be assured that the piece has performed extremely well on these tests and will be strong enough for any size.


Dining Chair Design


There are some dining chair designs that work better for all body types than others.

For a comfortable dining chair, you should look for one that doesn’t have arms as this will allow for someone of any size to have a comfortable seat. Arms on dining chairs can often feel restrictive for those of a larger size, so you could combine armless and armed dining chairs in your design.

The legs of dining chairs can also impact how sturdy the chair feels. I would recommend avoiding any chairs that have thin or tapered legs, as these can feel flimsy.


Choose a dining chair that doesn’t have arms, to ensure you accommodate people of all shapes and sizes!


Other Specifications to Consider


If in doubt, choose a dining chair that is made from a metal structure to ensure the best possible construction has a metal structure and can take up to 400 lbs!

Bariatric is another search term you may want to consider. Many of these will have steel-reinforced frames which will better support more weight and prevent bowing.

Bariatric furniture has been specifically designed to be wider than standard pieces, and some can even support those of up to 500 lbs!




Above all, it’s important that you choose something that will suit you and your family’s needs. Choose furniture that is hospitality or commercial grade to ensure there are high weight limits. Always check furniture specifications in detail, and reach out to retailers if the information isn’t clear!

If a vendor has some conflicting information on their products, they may have tested their seating but didn’t actually pass. This is why you should look for BIFMA-approved or certified testing.