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.
Bistro Chairs Taking Over
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These trendy Parisian chairs themselves are nothing new – the cafe chairs we are seeing everywhere now have been wildly popular in France for decades!
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.
via: Petite Suitcase
A Parisian Trend Hitting American Kitchens
Serena & Lily came on the scene early, 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.
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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!
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.
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.
Aluminum Bistro Knock Off Chairs Can Be Found:
- Amazon 2 stackable chairs
- World Market 2 bistro chairs
- Wayfair 2 stackable chairs
- Overstock bistro chairs
- Colorful bistro chairs at Wafair
Real Rattan Bistro Stools & Chairs
- Serena & Lily
- Pottery Barn Parisian chair
- Amazon Kouboo (a great knock off coastal decor brand)
- William Sonoma Home Bistro Chair
- Joss & Main
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:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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
For The Outdoor
The Childrens’ Line
How cute is this playroom scene???
Image Via: Serena & Lily Kids Tables and Chairs
Via: Decor Pad
Via: Decor Pad
Image Via: Lemon Stripes
Photo via: Life On Cedar Lane
Via: 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!
Read about our backless counter stools here
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