The 4 Best Bistro Chairs Vs. Knock Offs

Sharing is caring!

A comparison of the classic Serena & Lily Bistro Chairs Vs. The Copycats

Bistro chairs are one of the biggest trends to hit home decor in recent years! Open a magazine, get on Pinterest, or just about any interior design blog – French bistro chairs and stools are trending.

black round table bistro chairs

Via: Better Homes & Gardens

Bistro Chairs Taking Over

Affiliate links for your shopping convenience may be used in this post, at no cost to you. I love to hear from my readers – feel free to drop me a comment or email. I hope you find the information and the photos helpful!

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 on our trip to Paris last fall. The Parisian sidewalks are packed with colorful bistro chairs, back to back, in front of every cafe and shop. The chairs are made of durable rattan, lightweight and sturdy, making them 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 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 a bistro chair in America you were hard-pressed to find one, short of booking a flight to France!

Their Riviera line of bistro chairs retained the chic details of the originals from Paris, and it quickly started a hot trend here. Casual but upscale, sophisticated but low key – the chairs went with all kinds of design styles.

Fast forward to 2020, and it’s clear that Serena & Lily’s reinvented bistro chairs have caught on in America. Their Riviera chairs are now all over blog land and the design world. 

French bistro chairbistro stools at kitchen counter

Scroll to shop:

Should Bistro Chairs Be Used Outside?

Don’t fall for the misconception that regular bistro chairs made from rattan are outdoor chairs – although rattan is sturdy enough to withstand a mild sunny day, it needs to be taken indoors or covered at night. Unless of course, the chair is made from different materials that specify it is weatherproof.

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 / end chairs / light

My bistro chairs from Serena and Lily have a relaxed, low maintenance feel that lend themselves to all types of styles.

Will The Real Bistro Chair Please Stand up? Knock-Offs and Imitations

Although Serena & Lily was on the forefront with their cafe chairs trending in America – imitations mimicking their bistro chairs are now available from various retailers, like Wayfair, Target, Anthropologie, even Restoration Hardware. Not always made out of rattan, the copy cats come in aluminum, synthetic or sometimes other cheaper materials, with (sometimes) cheaper price tags as well. 

The Safaviah Bistro Stool (bought at Target and Overstock) is an imitation that came along not long ago. I took photos of it up close to compare it to our own Riviera stools. bistro chair from Serena and lily and a knock off
The most obvious distinction is that the Safevieh barstool is bar height, while my Riviera stool is counter height. The legs on the Safavieh are aluminum, while the Riviera counter stool legs are crafted out of rattan. The legs on the Safavieh bar stools have dark yellow tones.

The Safavieh stools are said to be weather resistant bistro stools and advised to be covered when not in use and kept out of direct sunlight. I take this to mean they are probably fine to be used outdoors but are best kept in a covered area to prevent fading, warping, etc.

pinterest image with 2 bistro chairs

Restoration Hardware jumped on the train too, with their version of the bistro stool. Have you seen them? Not long ago they began offering copycat bistro stools and chairs, almost identical to the original Riviera line. 

Which Bistro Chairs To Buy? The 4 Favs

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know I love a good quality dupe- but in this case, I prefer Serena & Lily’s Riviera line of bistro seating. I have yet to see any bistro chairs that rival them in quality or design, and this is what is giving these chairs staying power in the design world.  They are just as popular today as they were when they first arrived on the scene! 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 chairs (side chairs and armchairs), 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 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- these chairs are not rattan. They are made to repel water, resist mildew, and can stand “extreme sun, heat, and rain without fading”. These chairs are the perfect piece to class up a patio. If you are looking for a chair that will sit outdoor in all types of weather and not be covered, this is the route I would take. We currently do not have furniture yet for our patio and I have my eye on these…
  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

The Childrens’ Line

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

Pin Now To Read Again Later:

pinterest image that says 4 best kind of bistro chairs