Why You're Seeing Those Industrial Metal Chairs Everywhere (& Why You Should Get Them)

Well-appointed and durable seating is always in demand. Especially outdoor furniture, which can suffer a lot of wear and weather damage. You may have, in fact, spotted a familiar metal chair seen again and again both indoors and out, recognizable for its signature curves, metal construction, and simple design. From charming French bistros to chic industrial workspaces, these galvanized metal chairs are often a go-to choice for stylish and sturdy seats that come in a variety of colors suitable for all manner of aesthetics. With the rise of industrial chic design trends, this particular design is also being found more and more in the interiors and yards of private homes. If you're looking for compact and durable chairs for any space in your home, these sleek metal chairs may be a great solution.

Most of these chairs are a variation of an original French design (known as Tolix chairs) trademarked by designer and sheet-metal heir Xavier Pauchard, who created the first galvanized steel seat in 1934. Pauchard was looking for a way to make a durable but lightweight chair perfect for outdoor dining, where other kinds of chairs were often subject to dirt, moisture, decay, insects, and rust. Almost immediately, the design began cropping up in outdoor restaurants, resorts, and other public spaces.

Benefits of Tolix-style chairs

There are many reasons these chairs remain so popular to this day. They are usually created without a lot of seams or breakpoints, meaning they tend to stay together much longer than other seating, even with a lot of use. At the same time, they are also lightweight and easy to stack or move, which makes them perfect for dining and public gathering applications. They are also effortless to sanitize and keep clean. When used outdoors, most are conducive to surface drying and draining very quickly after rain due to holes in the seat. 

The chairs' design is endlessly flexible, making them perfect for a variety of locales and aesthetics. Part of their popularity rests in their simplicity, which looks both vintage and modern at the same time. Therefore, they look as much at home in vintage diners and cafes as they do in contemporary and modern spaces with sleek and clean lines.

Why you need them in your home

If you love the look of Tolix-style chairs or are looking for great, durable seating options in or outside your home, these chairs may be the perfect fit. The Tolix company in France still sells the chairs for around $200 to $300 each, though you can find duplicates and similar alternative designs for much less from places like restaurant supply vendors and Amazon. Use them for your outdoor patio to revamp your space, or get some for indoors, where they make great stackable and storable extra seating. They are available with arms or without, with more luxe versions often boasting a wider seat and base. You can also find Tolix-style designs in both higher and lower stool versions, perfect for creating that in-style industrial aesthetic with the ultimate vintage décor charm.

Some of the downsides of these chairs may include discomfort when sitting for long periods, which may have initially been part of their draw. Slight discomfort could deter patrons from staying too long at tables, which ensured a brisk turnover of customers. The original Tolix design today combats this by including a wooden seat atop the metal that adds a bit of natural material and a more forgiving surface for your back and behind. You can also add a stylish cushion or two for pattern, texture, and comfort at home.