Modern bar and restaurant furniture is often quite a bit more expensive than traditional designs on the market. The choice that has become available in recent years is quite bewildering with chrome steel with brightly lacquered timber and even plastic frames widely put to use often in the most striking colours and finishes. While the number of styles and designs may be very high, often the price is high too!

Traditional bar furniture has not increased in price so much over the past decade, possibly because the main demand has moved away from this area as many traditional pubs either close or evolve into more modern dining or drinking venues seeking a new and often younger clientele ready and able to spend more money on an evening out.

One style of chairs that seems to have bucked this trend are leather dining chairs which while ticking all the 'modern' style boxes, has actually fallen in price over the previous few years. This is largely due to the cost of the raw materials for the leather dining chairs falling as the methods of leather production improved and became more efficient. Many factories in the far east, especially in China were established in the latter part of the 1990's to make use of the new cheaper leather products that had become available. Among these are 'bycast leather' which is made by applying a polyurethane coating to a natural leather hide that has been split in two to double the usable resource. The hide is impressed with a grain by putting it through a roller under great pressure. As the grain is artificially applied it is possible to make leather material with a wide variety of grains by simply changing the roller that is used. Leather dining chairs using bycast leather have a somewhat glossier surface look that the very best 'topgrain' leathers but have the advantage of great longevity and scuff resistance and better resistance to fading under sunlight. Bycast leather dining chairs are also easier to clean since the polyurethane coating does not allow dirt to become ingrained and can be easily wiped clean. The cost tends to span between £40 and £60 depending on the style of chair which compares extremely favourable to top grain leather dining chairs which tend to start at £90 or £100. Of course if your budget does not extend to £40 you can find cheaper chairs made in 'Faux leather' which uses woven fabric material which is coated with polyurethane. One of the best quality UK manufacturers of Faux leather is Context Fabrics in Gateshead. Their range of Faux leathers offers a very large choice of colours and faux leather styles many of which are difficult to distinguish from real leather.

There are many furniture companies marketing leather dining chairs in the UK and a search of Google or other search engines will bring up plenty of choices. When checking out the chairs on their website it is difficult to judge the quality of the product as all you can see at this stage is a photo and often brief description. You may find a company that is close enough to visit but even then there is no guarantee that the chairs that you wish to buy will last the course.

The best way to be sure that the chair frames will not loosen over time is to find a company that has it's chairs independently tested. There are a number of quality testing companies for furniture in the UK, the most well known being FIRA (the Furniture Industry Research

Association) and SATRA (the Shoe and Allied Trades Research Association). These companies will test products for suitability of use in domestic, contract and severe contract settings. These tests are expensive (about £700 per chair), so if the company you are thinking of buying from has had their leather dining chairs tested at one of these testing houses it is a fair bet that the quality will be good.

If you can't find a supplier with this kind of accreditation then a few well chosen questions will give you some protection from a costly purchase over the long run. As previously mentioned, many of these chairs are now being imported from factories in the far east, predominantly Malaysia and China. Most of these factories use modern machinery and are manned by competent and well trained managers and workers. Many of them are capable of producing 10,000 plus leather dining chairs each month for sale in Europe, Canada and the USA and know that quality assurance is vital to maintaining these sales. But they must use the timber that is available locally if they are to keep their prices down and some timbers are better suited to this kind of chair production than others. To make the chairs look more elegant the manufacturers usually do not have extra stretchers between the legs so the joints where legs and the seat frames meet are quite stressed as people move the chair while seated. Often these joints are simple mortice and tenons or butt jointed with dowels. These kind of joints are adequate if birchwood or ashwood is used but will work loose in a relatively short time if a softer wood like rubberwood is used. All these timbers are available in China and Malaysia with rubberwood by far the cheaper of the three, so it is often tempting for manufacturers to use this wood to reduce the cost of their raw materials. So ask the company you wish to buy from what the frames are made of and be suspicious if they can't readily answer. Another important question to ask is whether the leather material and foam filling meet the UK fire retardancy standards. Ask for copies of the certificates in advance if possible and certainly ensure they are supplied with the delivery. Ask what guarantee period the company offers and exactly what it covers.

The best looking tables to complement leather dining chairs are simple wooden styles. It is best not to go for too much decoration or turning on the legs because the chairs stylish look is effected by simple lines and gently tapering legs. The 'Shaker' style of table looks very attractive when combined with this type of chair. These tables are available without great expense and although their design is not complicated their construction is designed for long term use which is what we all need in these difficult times!

About the author: James K. Johnson is a freelance author who has the vast knowledge in designing of leather dining chairs and leather sofa. For more information he suggests you to visit: