Chairs are the most common, ubiquitous piece of furniture in modern society. They are incredibly versatile, simultaneously beautiful and utilitarian, can be swapped out or moved around in a pinch and oftentimes can be the singular item that completely pulls a room together. But even something as common and humble as the chair still excites us with the endless possibilities for design it presents.
Types of Chairs
Before we start, let’s go over just a few of the most basic and common types of chairs
- Slipper Chair – An armless, smaller scale, low-slung chair often used in bedrooms. When it first appeared in the 18th century, this chair was often found in women’s bedrooms as seating for when women would put on their shoes, or slippers, as they were then called, hence the name.
- Wingback Chair – A large-scaled, high-backed arm chair with a distinctive silhouette of protruding “wings” that slightly shelter and protect the sitter. First designed in the 1600s, these chairs were meant to be placed in front of fireplaces while the added wings helped keep away cold drafts from the windows. The design of them has remained unchanged for centuries.
- Club Chair – A roomy armchair often upholstered in leather with a deep seat and large cushioned arms that envelope the sitter in comfort. Originally called “fauteuil confortable”, or the “comfortable armchair,” the name “club” may have originated from this chair’s use in gentleman’s clubs.
- Swivel Chair – The first swivel chair is said to have been invented by Thomas Jefferson and is purported to be the chair in which he drafted the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Swivel chairs are great for filling space where you need added flexibility, such as an office or nursery, but they work well in living rooms as they allow many people to sit in different conversation arrangements.
The term ‘statement’ describes any chair that has a strong shape, size or fabric, or simple put, any chair that stands out amongst your other furniture. Statement chairs can be placed anywhere in your home that you want to have a WOW moment, but they look particularly gorgeous in front of windows, in entryways, bedrooms and in sitting rooms.
- Fabric – Fabric choices can be so overwhelming when there’s so many colors, patterns and materials to choose from, but there’s hardly a better way to show off your personal style than with beautiful fabric. Keep it classic and neutral or go bold and vibrant.
- Arms – Slipper chairs are commonly used as accent chairs because of their low profile, elegant shape and armless design, but the arms of a chair can greatly enhance the design style of your home. Arm style range from paneled, pleated, sock, saddle, ruched, pad, paris club, modern english, key, shelter, track, track with nails, modern tuxedo, modern slope or modern scroll, just to name a few.
- Legs – There are so many options of legs to choose from and they’re also one of the easiest items to swap out if you change your mind or design style. If your style is modern or contemporary, choose a plain leg. For traditional styles, opt for carved or turned legs and for added vintage charm look for legs with casters on them.
- Additional Details – The design is in the details, is it not? Chairs have so many options for added details like piping, skirting, bouillon fringe, tassels, tufting, channels, decorative nailhead trim and more! The options are pretty much endless when it comes to adding interest, depth and style to accent chairs.
Do Accent Chairs Need to Match?
Simply put, no, they don’t NEED to match. Whether or not you opt to style your home with a matching set of chairs or a hodgepodge of mix-and-match furniture is up to your personal design style. Some designers believe if two chairs are paired right next to one another they should match, while chairs placed at opposite ends of the room do not need to match. There is no right or wrong decision here, it’s simply a matter of taste.