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What are Some Types of Dinette Set?

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  • Written By: Cathy Rogers
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2016
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A dinette set is a small table and set of matching chairs generally used in a small space or alcove. The origin of the term is American, circa 1925-30, by combining the words dine and the suffix -ette, indicating small in size. Dinette sets were especially popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Chair legs and table edges were often made of chrome. The chair seats in a dinette set were often covered in vinyl print designs and the tabletops were made of Formica®, a brand of laminate.

Formica® was very trendy, used in both kitchen and bath counter tops, as well as for table tops. The furniture style during this time period is often referred to as Scandinavian Contemporary or Danish Modern style. In addition to use of chrome, many dinette set pieces incorporated natural wood.

The style was utilitarian and sleek, utilizing simple designs, straight lines, and little embellishment. The style proved durable and many retro pieces are still available in good condition. Influences of this style are still important in modern furniture choices. These pieces are now prized once again as retro furniture.

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Furniture from previous decades, such as during the depression, was not built for comfort. When the dinette set and other similar furniture appeared, comfort was “in” and almost all areas were upholstered. Often the chair backs were rounded and the table itself was usually round or oval in shape. An approximate selling price for a chrome dinette set in 1961 would be around $40 (US Dollars USD). A new set with this retro look would likely cost ten or more times as much currently. Original versions are also available online and in antique furniture stores.

Other furniture pieces during the era of the dinette set were also simple in design. A typical cabinet would be box like in shape and contain two simple panel doors with drawers below. Even the hardware was clean and simplistic, often a half-sphere shape of metal. Other trendy items of the era included kidney shaped glass coffee or cocktail tables.

Tulip chairs were also popular. Designed in 1956 by Eero Saarinen, the chair had a plastic base, upholstered seat and no arm rests. The Arco® lamp, now considered a classic in modern lamps, was designed in 1962. It is a modern, metal floor lamp with an arched appearance, designed to provide overhead lighting without ceiling suspension.

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