Windsor Chair: A Timeless Beauty

The Windsor chair is a classic beauty and worthy of a seat at any dining table. This style of chair originated in England during the 18th century and was widely popular during the revolutionary period of America.  Windsor chairs were first used in gardens and were typically painted green and left to weather outside. Eventually they moved indoors and I like to think that they were a staple at most Thanksgiving tables in Colonial homes.  (This post contains affiliate links – see my privacy policy.)

The Windsor Chair. A classic piece of furniture perfect for any home.Photo by Bret Franks Construction, Inc.

The Windsor chair was first produced in this country in the Philadelphia region. It’s rumored that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence while sitting in one of these timeless beauties.

Windsor Chair in a Traditional Living RoomPhoto by Vincent Greene Architects

In the image below, you see the fan-back Windsor chair with a shield-shaped seat. Smaller than the high-back Windsor, these were typically sold in sets of six to be used as side chairs.

Windsor Chairs in Dining RoomPhoto by GIL WALSH INTERIORS

A beautiful powder blue gives spindle-back chairs a coastal vibe … a perfect complement to the ocean view outside.

Beach Style Dining RoomPhoto by Martha’s Vineyard Interior Design

If you don’t want an entire set of Windsors, cozy one up to a charming breakfast banquette.

Windsor Chair joins a charming breakfast nookPhoto by Uncommon Ranch

The Windsor chair makes a great seat at any dining table. They’re comfortable and I think that’s party due to the fact that the seat is typically larger with just the right slant to it.

Cozy Dining RoomPhoto by Frederick + Frederick Architects

A group of classic bow-back chairs gather round a sunny dining table. You can see how the curves of the chair seat mimics the shape of the human posterior. Maybe they knew more about ergonomics back in Colonial times than we give them credit for.

Traditional Dining Room with Windsor ChairsPhoto by Catalano Architects

A modern take on the fan-back Windsor chair populates a Scandinavian dining space.

Scandinavian Style Dining RoomPhoto by ANNA CARIN Design

Mustard-painted chairs carry their weight in this colorful home. I’ve seen dining rooms where each Windsor chair was painted a different color. The effect was actually quite charming.

Rustic Dining Room with Colorful Windsor ChairsPhoto by David Gillett Design

I shared this dining room in one of my Sunday home tours. Black is a popular color for Windsor chairs.

Farmhouse Dining Room feature the Windsor ChairPhoto by Tim Cuppett Architects

Shorter fan-backs take on a cottage vibe with white paint. This breakfast nook proves Windsor chairs aren’t restricted to Early American decorating styles.

Scandinavian Style Dining RoomPhoto by Terrat Elms Interior Design

Of course, the classic Windsor chair does look elegant and stylish in a rustic country setting. My first set of Windsors were similar to this dining set. I had two high-backs at the ends of the table, with bow-backs for side chairs.

Early American Dining RoomPhoto by Vincent Greene Architects

Of that dining set, I have one lone Windsor chair remaining and I hope to keep it for years to come.

Flea market finds decorate a circa 1875 farmhouse

Browse through the lookbook below for beautiful chairs to add to your home. Simple scroll through left and right and click each photo for the shopping source.

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  1. Alas, no Windsors here, but I love the style. Esp the high backs with arms.
    Early American/Colonial/Primitive is my thing, though my house currently doesn’t really
    show this. Country Sampler is my fave mag!

  2. I love Windsor Chairs. I have 6 fan back Windsors around my dining room farm table. Also , I have 2 bow back Windsors. Absolutely love them!!

  3. I have no Windsor chairs but have 6 or 7 signed Robinson chairs, a chair maker form Rochester, NY, which are lovely also.

  4. I have loved Windsor chairs for years even though I have hanged chairs in my kitchen.I have Hitchcock chairs at my table now
    I have a high back comb chair sitting in my living room with the seat full of large coffee table books and I have a bow back windsor chair for home office chair and have another bow back chair in guest bedroom. My rooms are small and I have these chairs crowed in my rooms for safe keeping since I love them so much.

  5. Interesting history that they were once left outside to weather… We would not do that with these gems today! When you think about it back then they did not have the powder coated aluminum n Teflon sprayed etc pieces like we do these days. I would love to see a blog from you some day of pics of outdoor furniture like what they had a hundred yrs ago. I think generally indoor furniture they hauled outside as needed. I do feel like I got a 2 for 1 today thou as there are lots of nice light fixtures here too! Fun one is the one you talk about the seats being wider n a good slant!

  6. Yes. I have 2. One is a handmade sack back. I think it’s called or maybe bow back and the other is I’m not really sure the type I picked up at a thrift store cheap. I use the both in out small living room for side chairs. They are usually the first to be taken hen we have company. I just love them.

  7. I love these posts that you do about a particular piece of furniture or collectable. I have 6 cream Windsor side chairs that I bought new and love them around my large pine table. I also have collected 2 old ones – one is dark wood with arms that I bought at an antique store years ago and another I bought at a yard sale for a fabulous price that is old and painted a cream color with green showing beneath that. It’s my absolute favorite chair!

  8. I had six Eathan Allen Windsors, 2 with arms and 4 without, purchased new in approx 1970, along with the matching trestle dining table. I used all of them for many years, raising my 2 children to adulthood, at which time they all were wobbly, a couple broken. I put 4 of them, along with the table, in storage when I moved to smaller quarters, then gave both the chairs and the table to my daughter when she moved to a large home of her own. She still has the four 49 year old chairs in her “stash” of pieces waiting to be restored, and I am still using the table that I reclaimed from her many years ago. I know when finally restored, they will be just as beautiful and relevant as they were nearly 50 years ago.

  9. I was blessed by my second sweet Dad ( my amazing birth Dad passed into Glory on my 23rd birthday) with two beautiful black fan-back Windsors about 20 years ago. He bought them from an elderly woman who had “had them forever.” My taste runs eclectically antique, traditional, French Country, “Deb G”, and their elegant styling has ALWAYS fit right in!
    Your posts are equally wonderful. Thanks 😇

  10. Windsor chairs are a wonderful chair to have and wish i had at least one, but i don’t maybe someday. Thanks i enjoyed learning some history about them.

  11. I have a dining set with “birdcage” windsor chairs. They are the most comfortable dining chairs I’ve ever used!

  12. Wow – this could not be more timely! I have been agonizing over what chairs to use in our dining room and the picture with the black tall host chair and lower back side chairs had the trumpets sounding when I clicked on it! Now to find a source. Thank you for your constantly inspirational blogs. I look forward to having my coffee with you each morning.

    1. Not sure where you are located. If you are anywhere near Lancaster PA check out Matin’s furniture in Epharta, Pa. They have several styles and everything is custom. You can get various woods, paints and even the height. We brought furniture there 22 years ago, beautiful. We are getting a new dining set with Windsor chairs.

  13. I have 2 arm and 4 side Windsor chairs I purchased from Restoration Hardware in RED! They are beautiful and beautifully made, but our old bones are needing more padding. I have gone through so many chair pads through the years and I see in your photos just regular pillows on the chairs. I am thinking I should just buy a bunch of pretty, whimsical pillows and put one or two on each chair and everyone can sit on one and use the other for a back cushion. Hmmmm… Eureka! 🙂

  14. I have four fan back Windsor chairs made by D. R. Dimes. I’m currently using them in my dinning room. But after finding out how much they’re worth, not sure if I want to use them everyday now!

  15. I found an unusual Windsor at a church sale for $7. I have searched the internet but can’t find any similar. First, it has a very thick seat. Second, it is a comb back with vertical supports on the back. The legs are smooth and not turned narrower at the top and thicker toward the feet. It looks primitive! And it is very very heavy. I would love to get feedback if possible!

  16. I have two Windsor chairs, with arms, I found curbside! I’ll never forget the brakes screeching, as I came to an abrupt halt and backed up to pack them in the back of my car. My then teen granddaughter was mortified that I was actually picking up someone’s garbage! I couldn’t pass them up, just sitting there, in great condition, in their beautiful, natural, maple, finish. All I did was clean them and they are the most comfortable chairs! I have one in my living room, to use for extra seating, and the other in my guest room. I have thought many times about painting them black, but I hesitate, especially after seeing how expensive they are.
    I wonder what you and your followers would do. Would love some feedback. Thank you for a very interesting and informative post.