The 4 Best Bistro Chairs Vs. Knock Offs

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A comparison of the classic Serena & Lily Bistro Chairs Vs. Knock Offs

Bistro chairs are one of the biggest trends to hit home decor in recent years! Open a magazine, get on Pinterest, or take a stroll down any big box furniture store – French bistro chairs and woven stools are trending.

black round table bistro chairs

Via: Better Homes & Gardens

Bistro Chairs Taking Over

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I got to see this for my own eyes in Paris last fall. The Parisian sidewalks are packed with colorful chairs. The chairs are made of durable rattan or aluminum, lightweight and sturdy; a perfect match for a sidewalk cafe.

bistro chairs outside Paris Cafe

via: Petite Suitcase

A Parisian Trend Hitting American Kitchens 

Serena & Lily came on the scene bringing this chic Parisian trend into American kitchens first in 2012, with their Riviera line of French bistro chairs, stools and benches. Before that time, if you were looking for this look in America you were hard-pressed to find one, short of booking a flight to France!

Fast forward to 2020, and it’s clear that Serena & Lily’s reinvented bistro chairs have caught on here. Bistro stools and rattan chairs knock offs are now in the big box stores as well.

French bistro chairbistro stools at kitchen counter

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Can You Leave Rattan Furniture and Chairs Outside?

Don’t fall for the misconception that bistro chairs (or rattan furniture in general) is indoor/outdoor! Unless made from different materials that specify weatherproof, rattan needs to be taken indoors or covered at night. 

Serena & Lily’s Cafe Chair: The Riviera 

When Serena & Lily began making their Riviera chairs and stools, they used rattan just like the original. For the seat, they used woven rattan and plastic. This translates to durability but more importantly for me… KID FRIENDLY!

bistro chair at a desk

white downing table with bistro chairs in a kitchen

Our kitchen table | spindle chairsend chairs | light

Will The Real Bistro Chair Please Stand up? Knock-Offs + More Affordable Chairs

The biggest distinction you will find with almost all knock offs is they are not actually rattan! This will be why you can find such a large price difference.

Below I am sharing both rattan and aluminum bistro chairs.

The Knock Off Aluminum Bistro Stools / Chairs

I took photos of the Safaviah stool to use as an example.bistro chair from Serena and lily and a knock off
The Safavieh barstool here is bar height but counter height is an option too.

The legs on the Safavieh are aluminum (meaning its more weather friendly). They are probably fine to be used outdoors but are best kept in a covered area to prevent fading, warping, etc. 

The price is nice, on the Safavieh counter stool from Overstock – and plenty of Safavieh chairs as well.

Aluminum Bistro Knock Off Chairs Can Be Found:

Real Rattan Bistro Stools & Chairs

pinterest image with 2 bistro chairs


Which Bistro Chairs To Buy? The 4 Favs

If you want to bring these outside to your patio and don’t want to spend a lot? By all means- scoop up one of the knock offs above.

For the kitchen however, I prefer any of the options above made out of real rattan. The color is much softer and prettier – and I have yet to see any real rattan bistro chairs that rival Serena & Lily chairs in design.

They offer three main styles:

  1. The original Riviera. Their classic, best-selling design, and the chairs and stools I have in my kitchen! These include their bistro side chairs, bistro counter stools, and their more affordable backless stools. They also make a banquette bench bistro style– fun and unexpected on one side of the table.
  2. Sunwashed. The sunwashed cafe chairs are all the same bistro chairs and stools but in softer hues reminiscent of the ocean. Think natural, navy, light blue, and a soft gray. Perfect for switching things up, or beach house hues!
  3. Outdoor. They now offer bistro outdoor chairs and stools that are truly outdoor chairs! Created in a powder coated aluminum frame- they are made to repel water, resist mildew, and can stand “extreme sun, heat, and rain without fading”.  If you are looking for an upscale chair that is not cheap and can sit outdoors in all types of weather and not be covered, this is the route I would take. 
  4. Children’s Line. Everything mini is even more adorable, right? Yes! Their kids’ line of furniture offers bistro kids chairs in a few different styles and a little bistro play table

On this graphic, I rounded up some cute favorites. It is clickable! Just tap each item to shop!

The Original Classic

The Sunwashed

For The Outdoor

How cute is this playroom scene???

play table with kids bistro chairs

Image Via: Serena & Lily Kids Tables and Chairs

4 bistro chairs in a kitchen

via: @Sarahbakerphotos on Instagram

gray bistro chairs at table

Via: Decor Pad

backless stools at an island in kitchen

Via: Decor Pad

bistro chairs around a white dinning table

Image Via: Lemon Stripes

4 bistro stools in a white kitchen

Photo via: Life On Cedar Lane

outdoor bistro chairs on a deck with flowersVia: Camille Styles

Not long ago before investing in the bistro stools with the back, we had the little backless stools. I liked that my kids could get in and out of them easily, and the price is more affordable.  I did not find them tippy for the kids. Go here to see more real life photos of our Riviera backless counter stools in our home!

Tour Our Playroom

game table with a puzzle on it as part of playroom decor

Read about our backless counter stools here
3 kids on backless riviera stools

Read about how I decorated for spring in our home

living room and kitchen with brass high end lighting

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