Our guide to accent chairs, featuring seven design experts, offers advice on types of accent chairs, chair placement, and where to purchase them.
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Our guide to accent chairs, featuring seven design experts, offers advice on types of accent chairs, chair placement, and where to purchase them.
While it’s true that any chair can act as an accent chair, there are many a few select types of chair known to pack the punch that an accent chair brings to any space. Lucinda Loya puts it well when she says that “an accent chair can be any size, shape, or color, but typically should represent interest by way of color, pattern, and style.”
We consulted our team of experts to create a guide with 14 accent chair types that add stylistic depth and visual interest to your space.
A swivel chair is a practical, and often more compact, chair that creates visual interest through its unique shape. Jameelah Watkins and Ebonee Clark define a swivel chair as “a chair with a central base that allows it to spin 360 degrees,” and add that swivel accent chairs come in various silhouettes, but are commonly seen in a barrel shape.
Swivel chairs can be found in a variety of colors, patterns, and styles that range from modern to retro. As the name suggests, swivel chairs are practical due to their ability to spin— allowing those who use them to easily adjust their positioning. Place a swivel chair in an area with more than one coffee table or ottoman for ultimate ease.
Club chairs are an easy way to cultivate an oversized, comfortable look in any space. Commonly leather or upholstered, club chairs “are known to have an oversized design,” says Watkins and Clark.
Use a club chair to indicate that the space is intended to serve as a comfortable corner or seating area, while creating visual interest through color and texture. Many choose to pair a club chair with a stack of books for an easy reading nook.
The classic wingback chair is “an armchair who’s back is significantly taller than an average armchair,” according to Watkins and Clark. Wingback chairs are also known as “fireside chairs,” because they were traditionally placed facing the fireplace to block the cold winds from blowing into the person sitting in the chair.
Wingback chairs are often upholstered in velvet or other luxurious fabrics, and tend to be quite comfortable, says Karen Rohr. Add a wingback chair to your space to create interest through the chair’s unique lines and textured upholstery. Additionally, wingback chairs signal that a space is meant for hunkering down with a good book.
A barrel chair is shaped just as you’d think: in the shape of a barrel. Barrel chairs are “fully upholstered chairs with a rounded back,” according to Watkins and Clark, and bring a unique shape to any space.
Many place barrel chairs in pairs due to their unique symmetrical design that brings a sense of evenness to any corner.
The above Barrel Back Dining Chair has a simple and sleek silhouette. Danielle Walish recommends using it as an accent chair or dining chair, as its unique, playful pattern is sure to draw the eye.
Originating in France, a bergère chair is “an armchair with an exposed wood frame and wood legs,” according to Watkins and Clark. The iconic rounded back and padded armrests evokes a sense of grandeur adored by Parisian royalty back in the day. Bergère chairs typically evoke a classic sensibility, and can be used to create a space with a traditional feel.
Pair two bergère chairs together to bring symmetry to your space, or use one chair to create an elegant corner or reading area. Some choose to place a bergère chair in an unexpected hallway or entryway to add a unique silhouette to a space in need of interest.
An unexpected accent chair that isn’t a chair at all– but a stool. “When stools are used as accent chairs, they’re often bright and unexpected, with bold patterns and fun colors,” says Jessica Harris. “This can be a great way to liven up your space and bring a smile to your guests’ faces.”
Additionally, stools are a great way to add visual interest to even the smallest corner, as they tend to be compact in size and easy to move around if more seating is needed.
The modern egg chair evokes a playful feel in your space. “Named for their unique rounded shape that covers the head of the person in them, they’re typically partially or fully suspended, creating a modern and inviting look,” says Jessica Harris.
From rattan to metal, egg chairs are made from a variety of materials and include seat cushions within the interior. Suspended egg chairs sway side to side, which brings an element of childlike glee to any space.
Fun, retro, and classy, mid-century modern accent chairs “are typically a simple, classic design in a bright shade that adds a pop of color to your space,” says Jessica Harris. Mid-century modern chairs follow the mid-century design aesthetic that originated in the United States during the 1950s and 60s.
As the design aesthetic placed an emphasis on clean, simple lines that evoke a sense of calm, adding a mid-century modern accent chair will surely add to that vibe. Pair the chair with a mid-century modern sofa in the living room, or mid-century modern furniture in the bedroom to further cultivate the design aesthetic.
The above mid-century modern accent chair from Maiden Home features a minimalist, clean profile and sleek design. “Though the deep seat and generous recline deem it a casual lounge chair,” says Grace Hoffend.
Create a sense of comfort in your space by adding a recliner. “The right recliner can offer both comfort and elegance,” says Jessica Harris. “While sophisticated recliners tend to be in neutral colors, their large and overly padded shape will catch people’s eye when they’re looking for a comfortable spot to sit back and relax.”
A recliner makes for the perfect living room chair or accent chair in a reading nook. However, recliners do need a bit more space due to the fact that they, well, recline.
"Recliners are popular but tricky, because they take up a lot of space in the room. Make sure if you get one, you leave plenty of walking space around it when it is reclined, and ensure you aren't going to bang it into the wall behind it," explains Lisa Modica. "If you are close to the wall, get a wall recliner that won't require a ton of extra space behind it."
Read more: The 10 Best Reclining Sofas Online Right Now
A timeless accent chair known for its comfy armrests, armchairs “are typically upholstered in fabric or leather and have exposed legs,” according to Karen Rohr. Accent armchairs are available in a variety of design aesthetics, from classic to modern. No matter the vibe of your space, you’re sure to find an armchair that’ll fit right in.
Originally designed in the 18th century as a practical bedroom chair to sit on as you put on your slippers, slipper chairs have grown in popularity— and are now placed throughout the home.
Great in small, narrow spaces, slipper chairs are low to the ground with a streamlined design. Slipper chairs are designed to be armless, and are typically available in a solid upholstery. While there are many advantages to slipper chairs, they’re not the chair to use if you’re looking to create a relaxed lounge space. Due to their small footprint, slipper chairs work well in the bedroom, as originally intended, or in an entryway or foyer.
The above Petite Slipper Chair is arranged best as a pair, and is the “quintessential accent to finish any living space,” according to Danielle Walish.
With a high back and arms, tuxedo chairs add glam to any space. Tuxedo chairs work well in pairs (or even as a loveseat!) and have a sleek, tailored frame. Many enjoy the unique shape tuxedo chairs bring to any space, and choose to pair them with other living room furniture.
Additionally, tuxedo chairs are available with a variety of unique features, such as fun prints and patterns that add a pop of color. Some are even able to recline.
A Chesterfield chair is a really specific but popular type of accent chair. "It's defined by deep button tufting and having the back be the same height or close to the same height as the arms. It usually also has nailhead trim. The deeper the button tufting, the more likely that it is a quality piece," explains Lisa Modica. "The depth of the tuft indicates whether they simply sewed a button on the outside and pulled the upholstery in a bit to tuft, or if they actually took the time to sew the button tuft through the padding as it should be."
A chair-and-a-half is an oversized chair — bigger than a normal accent chair but not quite as wide as a loveseat. They work really well in larger living rooms, reading nooks or bedrooms.
"A chair-and-a-half only really works either in a large room, or in place of where a lot of people might put a loveseat. They are BIG armchairs, but they are great for curling up in or for parents that cuddle on a chair with their kids or pets," says Lisa Modica.
“Bedrooms might not be the first space you think of for an accent chair, but you and I know that clothes will be tossed somewhere,” says Susann Eva Goerg. While accent chairs are not primarily designed as a drop-off zone, they do keep stray clothing off the floor while working double duty as a seating area.
Additionally, accent chairs are often the perfect solution for bedrooms with challenging layouts, allowing you to design an awkward corner into a snug, dedicated place to zone out while making the room feel complete.
“And if you have that extra space to create a rest-and-relaxation area in your bedroom, away from the noise, a set of comfortable accent chairs is an excellent choice,” says Goerg.
Jameelah Watkins and Ebonee Clark added, “accent chairs in bedrooms are commonly used for getting dressed or reading,” as they give you an alternative to using your bed for, well, everything.
Living room accent chairs make for bonus seating when that extra guest comes over, and often makes a seating area feel complete. However, if you’re concerned about mixing and matching an accent chair with your sofa, “you can easily tie it in with other pieces of furniture by using matching throw pillows on both the chair and your other pieces,” says Jessica Harris.
In addition to providing extra seating, accent chairs create visual interest in any living room. “They offer the opportunity to balance the furniture placement and a change of scenery while moving around the living room,” says Susann Eva Goerg. “And, comfort is often vital when you wind down after a long day.”
There are many options when thinking about placing an accent chair (or chairs!) in the dining room. “Perhaps the end chairs of your dining room table are accents creating more importance for the host or hostess,” suggests Mark Culter.
Jessica Harris adds that “when incorporating an accent chair in your dining room, it’s helpful to purchase two similar or identical chairs and place them on opposite sides of the dining table. This will make your furniture set more unique, while keeping your table symmetrical.”
A great way to utilize an accent chair in your home is by placing it somewhere unexpected. This makes use of corners, nooks, and crannies previously ignored, or can create a bit of intrigue in areas walked right past. For example, the above accent chair, placed below a painting in a transitional area, makes use of a hard-to-use space while emphasizing the painting above it. The combination also is a bit ironic, as the woman in the painting is seated on a chair with a similar color palette.
“An accent chair may be placed in the most unexpected spaces to draw attention in any room. Look for unique characteristics that work with your aesthetic and think outside the box when placing one in a desired location,” says Lucinda Loya. “A single chair can be quite alluring, and can also be considered for nontraditional use, such as a side table.”
Grace Hoffend recommends placing accent chairs in unexpected spots such as the empty corner in an open-concept space. “Chairs create a welcoming feel and are the perfect way to spice up small spaces you might be wasting,” she says.
Interior Define offers a variety of accent chairs, with the ability to customize them to better fit your space. “I love that they offer many customized options for fabrics,” says Karen Rohr. “You can choose from various colors and patterns to create the perfect look for your space.” Rohr also values the quality of their product, and feels confident that they’ll stand the test of time.
From funky three legged accent chairs and chairs with statement fabrics to classic armchairs, Maiden Home offers a wide range of chairs that fit a variety of styles. Choose from unique fabrics and leathers to customize your chair to fit your home, and get inspired by Maiden Home’s on-site styling.
For modern accent chairs, be sure to check out Burrow. “Whether you’re looking for a statement piece or a straightforward seat to complete your space, Burrow is an excellent source,” says Karen Rohr.
Burrow offers a selection that includes minimalist designs in a variety of solid colors, with the ability to pair multiple pieces together to create a set.
Specializing in industrial and contemporary designs, Industry West offers a wide range of products perfect for any space in your home. “Best of all, the prices are unbeatable,” says Karen Rohr.
Look to Industry West for accent chairs in funky designs and styling. The brand designs chairs with unique shapes and silhouettes that range from overstuffed to lounge chairs with dramatic lines.
If you’re looking to add a funky or bold touch to your home with an accent chair, take a look at Anthropologie. No, it’s not just a clothing store!
“The chairs come in many colors, patterns, and fabrics, so you’re sure to find one that fits your taste and aesthetic,” says Karen Rohr. “So whether you’re looking for an eye-catching conversation piece or a comfortable place to relax, Anthropologie is the perfect place to start your search.”
Additionally, Rohr recommends reading the comments and reviews before purchasing a piece.
One of the most popular home furnishing stores on the Internet, Wayfair offers an enormous selection of accent chairs at competitive prices. You’ll also find plenty of pieces ready to ship so you won’t be waiting long for a new side chair.
“They have a huge range of styles to choose from, so you’re sure to find something that’ll suit your taste,” says Rohr.
A great source of contemporary furniture and home decor, Joss & Main has a wide selection of accent chairs. “I love that they have a range of options, and their prices are very reasonable,” says Rohr.
Take a look at Joss & Main for styles that range from traditional to modern in a variety of colors. The brand is able to capture each iconic silhouette to create accent chairs available in a range of colors and upholstery.
For unique vintage pieces, be sure to check out 1stDibs or Chairish. “The most unique and playful accent chairs can be found on these sites,” says Lucinda Loya, “as you may find a one-off or fixer upper with loads of personality.”
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