What Is A Spanish Style Chair

by THAT Painter Lady

My love for the Spanish Style is never ending… I do love to mix my styles with a bit of old Italy, but generally I’m a Spanish Hacienda Style Girl.

I’ve always loved the look of Spanish style chairs and would love to add them to my dining room table. I have the typical “Old English” style chairs that I purchased online. They do the job, but my dream is to someday have traditional Spanish carved chairs around the table.

Not being one to hunt for what “someone else” thinks is a good style for my Hacienda style decorating – I turn to some old books from the early 1900’s help me research what is truly the “original” Spanish look.


This chair which is covered with Spanish carved leather, the legs are turned, and the foot is not a scroll, but a distinct style which has very generally received the name of Spanish foot.

The carved front brace is what is most distinctive about this chair… I’m just not sure it’s comfortable when you can’t “tuck” your feet back under the seat of a chair.

This chair is a fine example of the English adaptation of the Spanish chair. Instead of the leather, the back is cane of an unusually fine quality, and the framework of the back, although
not carved, is relieved of bareness by its beautiful curves. The wood is English walnut.

The front legs and supports for the arms have lost some small parts which complete their graceful shape, and the feet, though greatly worn, are recognizable as Spanish. The carved
front brace follows in general outline the curves of the back.

I’m not a huge fan of cane chairs – I’d rather have leather or fabric. This style with arms would work for the head and foot of the table.

We now come to what will be called the Transition Period, where Flemish, Spanish, and Dutch styles combined in one way or another, and show very clearly the change from the cane chairs to the cabriole-legged Dutch chairs. The chairs pictured below bring us to what we may suppose were the last surviving forms of the Spanish and Flemish style chairs.

The legs and bracing are still the same in outline, but greatly simplified. No carving remains except a few lines above the back, and the seat was originally cane. The outlines of the back and feet suggest the Spanish style.

The chair pictured on the right is my favorite for my simple taste. It has just enough leather, nail heads, turned legs and Spanish feet to suit me… and armless is really the way to go for dining – don’t you think?

The chair on the right has Spanish feet, but has the Dutch back, which is the pattern elaborated and adapted through the almost countless variations of the Chippendale period.

Now that I know what I’m looking for… I went on the hunt for chairs that would come close. I know I can’t afford antiques (and they are usually rickety anyway).

These chairs are similar to the ones I have:

You can see that they do have a Spanish foot by they are to English for my taste… and that white upholstery is a nightmare to keep clean. I’m going to recover mine often if I can’t find replacements.

Black Leather and Cherry Wood Chairs

These black leather with nailhead trim chairs are not the style I want at all… they are more formal than my rustic hacienda style.

Charles II Side Chair

I love this chair – I’m always drawn to this style in the store… but I know it would look ridiculous in my home.  I’m not this “upper crust”. 😉

Nailhead Trim Chairs

I could live with these chairs… If I can find them without arms. I don’t mind arms for the head and foot but I want to fit 4 chairs down each side of the table and arms just add to the bulk.

I wish these chairs had Spanish feet.. but I like the nail head trim (not the black vinyl seat – but it should be easy to keep clean). If I can’t have “tooled” leather then I’d like a rustic leather look… but these are micro-fiber. They aren’t that expensive for a set of two… the “without arms” style is probably even cheaper. I could afford to have them recovered in something that resembled tooled leather and be very happy.

I’m still on the hunt for the perfect chairs… I’ll live with what I have for now.

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