Ballard Designs Shiloh Spool Chair Review of this striped chair

Ballard Designs Shiloh Spool Chairs

^ Sorry for the quality of these photos! I snapped them right as the delivery crew arrived to pick them up. Killin’ it over here. ;)

I’m having a lot of fun reviewing the furniture we’ve been buying for the house! I won’t lie: furnishing a home isn’t easy, and it can be frustrating and overwhelming when you thought you’d love something but it ends up not working for the space. Is anyone else completely daunted by furniture returns? 🙈 I am! I suppose it’s because it’s just one more thing to add to my to-do list when I’d hoped that the purchase would help me check something off said list. For example: “Pick out and buy chairs for the living room.” Check!

…Or not. 😭

This is precisely what happened with the Ballard Designs Shiloh Spool Chairs I ordered, haha. I spent weeks looking at spindle chairs, and considered a ton of ’em: the ones from Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, Birch Lane, Birch Lane (again), Serena & Lily, and One Kings Lane, just to name a few. And I eventually settled on the Shiloh chairs because of how traditional and customizable they were.

I went with walnut wood and the navy “Vintage Ticking Stripe” material, thinking that it was a classic combo that would go with pretty much everything over the years. But when the chairs arrived, my heart sank. The wood looked nothing like what it looked like online; it looked black, which really didn’t go with the feel of the room. :( At first, I said to myself, “Okay. I could learn to love these!” And I did try to do so over the next couple of weeks. But it didn’t work. 😂 In the end, I called Ballard, and they happily refunded me and sent an awesome crew to come and get the chairs. (The company really is amazing!) But lesson learned: don’t rely on photos when ordering furniture off the internet. It’s almost always best to order samples and swatches. Of course, I knew this… but I think I was just trying to get stuff DONE and didn’t want to draw out the furnishing process any longer. (Make me feel better and tell me you’ve done this, too? Oy. Sleep deprivation does not make for good decision-making.)

Despite the fiasco with the walnut wood, though, I still ADORE the chairs and intend on buying them again. (Probably this weekend because Ballard is having a LBW sale!) This time, though, I did my due diligence and ordered swatches. It turns out that the pecan wood was the look I was going for, as it’s still a dark but not black in appearance. And we’re leaning towards “Garrison Linen Navy,” as the navy ticking stripe was a whole lot more white than we’d anticipated and it made us nervous with the girls.

Thoughts on Garrison Linen Navy?!

Oh my gosh. This post has totally become a stream-of-consciousness journal entry. 😜 But here’s my thinking: I really want something that will work with the space throughout the year. I love decorating for the seasons and holidays, and don’t want to have to switch out the chairs during Christmas, for example, simply because the pattern doesn’t work with plaid. (And we ALL know the deep love I have for plaid!) I think Garrison Linen Navy will work for winter, spring, summer and fall… but please tell me if you have other suggestions. I feel like I’ve looked at the material choices so many times that at this point, I need an outsider’s opinion to bring me back down to earth. ;)

Other than wood + material color, a few things you should know about the chairs:

They’re beautifully made:

The quality is off the charts. I had zero complaints here! The chairs themselves are crafted in North Carolina, and feature tongue and groove “joinery.” You know how people say “they don’t make furniture like they used to”? This is the exception. Amazing. They’re like antiques but in perfect condition.

They’re wonderfully comfortable:

Mitch is the biggest critic when it comes to furniture comfort, and these chairs passed the Mitch Test. They have deep seats made of cushiony poly-foam, and they’re big but not overwhelmingly big. (37 1/2″H X 29″W X 34 1/2″D) Mitch is six feet tall, and he opted for the Spool chair every night when we had them in our living room!

They take months to arrive:

They take about two to three months to arrive, which is a LONG time. But I do think it’s worth it. So much so that I’m going to order them again (in pecan!) and wait until November to have them. ;)

They require spot-cleaning:

As you can see from the photos, you can’t remove the fabric from the chair or cushions and machine-wash it.  (You could, however, probably bring the seat and back cushions in to be dry-cleaned, as they are removable.) But keep this in mind when selecting materials, especially if you have kids or pets. I’d kill for cream-colored fabric, for instance, but that would last about one day in our household.

They’re fully customizable:

They’re available in six wood colors and in over 200 materials, and you can apparently supply your own fabric, too, which is kind of crazy! I’m very interested in doing this with Ralph Lauren fabric… but to be honest, I’m not sure I have the energy to go through with it, haha. Garrison Navy seems like an easier choice. It goes without saying (after my long-winded introduction) that I HIGHLY recommend ordering swatches to avoid the mistake that I made with the walnut wood/ticking stripe material. (Also take note that “Walnut” is much, much darker than it appears online.) But if you take the time to do that, I’m fully confident that you’ll end up with chairs that you love!

They make a statement:

I can’t tell you how many people walked into the house and commented on the chairs. They’re eye-catchers, for sure!

That’s about it! But if you have questions, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them!

this is the chair for Ballard Designs Shiloh Spool Chair Review
a striped seat
fabric options for Ballard Designs Shiloh Spool Chair Review

^ Swatches! So important.

Other spindle chairs I considered:

More spindle chairs: