By Ande Waggener
Wondering how to use a chair styles guide? Here’s the deal: after you select your perfect sofa style for your living room or your perfect bed style for your bedroom, odds are you’re going to want an accent chair or two. A chair styles guide will help you choose the accent chair that best matches your space. Use it to acquaint yourself with what various chair styles look like and how they might (or might not) blend with your design personality.
Here’s a chair styles guide for seven of the most common accent chair styles.
The club chair first appeared on the chair scene in the early 1700s. Named “club” chairs because of their frequent use in gentlemen’s clubs, these chairs were and still are roomy, cushy chairs with deep seats and rolled arms. An original version of the chair, the Chesterfield club chair, was the model for one of the most popular iterations of this chair: the leather club chair with the tufted back.
This type of accent chair can play well with both living room and bedroom furniture. It also can be included in formal or casual décor. More formal club chairs will have leather upholstery; casual club chairs frequently have bright or patterned fabric upholstery.
Club chairs do well in furniture groupings. However, they’re also stylish enough to stand alone. A club chair paired with a small table creates a cozy getaway spot in any room.
Wingback chairs, also called wing chairs and sometimes referred to as grandfather chairs, are traditional chairs that date to the latter part of the seventeenth century. Named because of the side “wings” on the top of the back of the chair, this type of chair is an excellent snoozing chair. In fact, the wings were originally designed to support a drowsy head. The wings were also designed to protect the snoozer from cold drafts. In other words, the chair is about as close to a cocoon as civilized human beings can get into.
Often spotted in dens and offices, as well as in living rooms, wingback chairs have so much size and height that they can be an ideal partner for a large sofa. They can also balance out tall shelving or cabinetry in a space.
Wingback chairs are generally thought of as traditional chairs. However, modern furniture designers have updated the vintage look of the chair. More angular lines and pronounced wings give this type of chair a more current look.
The Directoire furniture style originated in the latter part of the 18th century. Shifting away from elegant Louis XVI furniture, Directoire styling was much simpler and more flowing. Modern versions of this chair style are characterized by the swooping curve that extends from the front of the chair up all the way up to the top of the chair back. The chair’s fluid appearance makes it a beautiful addition to nearly all design styles. Relatively light in visual weight, it’s a good choice for smaller spaces. These chairs create smart, conversational pairings in both bedrooms and living rooms.
Jean-Michel Frank Style Chairs
Furniture designer Jean-Michel Frank’s minimalist styling created this type of armchair in the late 1800s and early 1900s. A juxtaposition of looks, this style combines a sharp angular aesthetic with a padded, roomy feel. The Frank style chair is understated and businesslike in appearance, but its function is all about comfort.
If you want a space that feels tidy, unadorned, and linear, but you also want a chair to linger in, the Frank style chair could be just right for you. This chair works well with other square-edged furniture pieces. However, to avoid a harsh look, it’s a good idea to use a soft upholstery to balance the chair’s sharp lines.
Knoll Lounge Chairs
Florence Knoll introduced her lounge chair in the 1950s. Restrained and modest, this type of chair has a contemporary, geometric silhouette. The Knoll lounge chair is an armless chair with a sofa-like feel. It generally has a button-tufted back, and its metal or wood legs are exposed.
Clearly modern, this type of chair is a good choice for today’s rooms. Because it’s such a compact and orderly style, it provides a fine balance for an overstuffed sofa.
Mid-century Modern Chairs
The Mid-century modern design style includes a distinctive array of armchairs. Distinguishable by their uncluttered lines and heavy emphasis on function leading form, Mid-century modern chairs are sleek and sculptural. Upholstered in either fabric or leather, this type of chair often sits on metal legs.
This type of chair can almost act like furniture art in your room. If you have an empty corner that needs something eye-grabbing, a Mid-century modern chair could be just what you need. Instead of filling a corner with accents, you can fill it with a functional piece of furniture.
Occasional chairs are exactly what their name suggests … they’re chairs that are occasionally used. A catch-all category that covers pretty much any style of lightweight, easy-to-move chair, occasional chairs are small, often armless but not always, chairs that are heavy on style and light on comfort.
Intended to be looked at a lot and sat upon rarely, occasional chairs can be quite handy. In terms of flair, they can provide a look-at-me design moment in a room, or they can provide balance to other furniture. In terms of function, they can hang out unobtrusively most of the time and be called into service for extra seating at a moment’s notice.
If you have a sofa grouping that’s throwing a room out of balance, and you don’t have space for an easy chair, an occasional chair or two could be just what you need to complete the room’s look.
And there you have it: a chair styles guide that can help you pick just the right accent chair for your room. Even though this guide covers just a few of the myriad chair styles available, hopefully, it has familiarized you with some of the features to look for when you’re choosing an accent chair to fit your décor.
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