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What Is a Dish Chair?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

A dish chair is a piece of furniture that is very similar to a papasan chair: the seat itself is round and scooped for comfort, and it is almost always cushioned and upholstered. Unlike a papasan chair, which features a round seat that sits in an upright frame, the dish chair often features a folding metal base that makes transportation and storage much easier. The materials used to construct the chair are different from the materials used to make a papasan chair as well, and the aesthetics of this type of chair is usually more modern.

Papasan chair frames are usually made from rattan or wicker that can be stained in much the same way wood is stained. A dish chair, however, usually features a lightweight and durable metal frame with independent legs; the frame of a papasan chair is usually round and is more base-like than leg-like. The legs of the dish chair are hinged at one pivot point to allow them to fold into each other; this allows a person to easily pick up the chair and move it, or store it in a tight space like a closet. Papasan chairs are usually not foldable and take up a fair amount of space, even when stored.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The cushion used for a papasan chair is often very similar to that used for a dish chair, and in many cases, the two are interchangeable. The cushion is round and usually fairly thick for comfort, and it is set into the chair's frame so that the center of the cushion pushes downward. The edges of the circular cushion hug the edge of the frame, providing a sitting surface as well as a head rest. The person sitting in the chair is somewhat enveloped in the cushion because of this shape. Some dish chair models feature cushions that are secured to the frame so the cushion does not fall out when the unit is being moved or stored; papasan chair cushions are usually not secured to the frame, though they can be tied to the frame to prevent excess movement.

In many cases, the angle of the dish chair seat can be adjusted for different sitting positions. This is possible on a papasan chair as well, and many other features and functions of the two chairs are similar because the dish chair is derived from the older chair design.

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      Woman holding a book