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Accent Chairs: A Little Goes a Long Way

by Morgan Spencer

Have you ever finished decorating a room and stood back, only to realize that it still needed something more to polish things off? In many cases, that “something more” is an accent chair.

Typically purchased alone or in a set of two, accent chairs add focal points of interest to a room and help tie the decor together. The chairs come in various shapes, styles, fabrics, and colors.

When you have two or more accent chairs in the same room, they can be matched in shape, style, and color – or not, as you prefer. Some people may choose the same chair shape and style in different colors. Others may choose different chair shapes in complementary colors and styles.

Common Accent Chair Shapes

Accent chairs in front of stylish fireplace

1. Armchairs

Sold regularly since about 1830, the armchair remains the most popular accent chair style. They are made to be comfortable to sit in, with built-in armrests.

Armchairs are often paired with a sofa in the same style, color, and fabric. However, they can also be purchased separately and in a different style, color, or material.

2. Balloon Chair

Framed balloon chairs are hung from the ceiling. This shape features a rounded back and a deep seat and is manufactured from various materials.

3. Barrel Chair

Barrel accent chair

The back piece of a barrel chair wraps around to create the two arms. The back is usually curved, although it can be rectangular as long as it’s one continuous piece that forms the armrests.

Like slipper chairs, barrel chairs are small and sit low. The one-piece back and armrests make these chairs comfortable to curl up in.

4. Chesterfield Chair

Chesterfield chairs feature a wide outer frame with arms that curve downward in a tucked-under design. Often, they also include a tufted inner back.

Originally from England, Chesterfield chairs have been manufactured for about 200 years. They add elegance and even a touch of glam to any decor.

5. Club Chair

Club chairs are roomy, comfortable, and often oversized. Traditional club chairs have armrests, although armless styles are also available.

Club chairs feature deep-set, plush seating. Initially found in gentlemen’s clubs (hence the name), they are often upholstered in leather, although fabric upholstery is also used.

6. Convertible Chair

Convertible chairs are another name for sleeper chairs or chairs designed for conversion into a bed. Typically, a convertible chair has a wooden frame for strength, removable cushions, and a removable backrest.

Due to their extra functionality, these chairs are a perfect choice for small spaces. They come in various styles, including contemporary, traditional, and bohemian.

7. Egg Chair

Woman sitting in egg chairs

Egg chairs are known for their distinctive curved layout. These accent chairs usually have two parts: an oval outer frame with separate inside cushions that attach to the armrests. Some are designed to hang from the ceiling.

A popular style in egg chairs pairs a rattan outer layer with plush cushions. Rattan egg chairs first gained popularity in the 1960s.

8. Oversized Chair

Oversized chairs are a catch-all name for padded accent chairs that are larger than a recliner or standard chair but smaller than a loveseat or sofa. Most have thick, overstuffed seating while others may include a footrest, and some have matching pillows.

These chairs come in various styles and upholstery materials, including cotton, leatherette, and synthetic fabrics.

9. Papasan Chair

Similar to egg chairs but sitting lower and broader, Papasan chairs feature a sturdy (typically rattan) frame with a cozy, rounded inside cushion. They were trendy in the early 70s and remain popular today.

Because they are cozy to sit in and don’t take up a lot of space, Papasan chairs are a frequent choice for dorm rooms. However, they fit in with multiple decor styles.

10. Parsons Chair

Of all accent chair shapes, Parsons chairs are the easiest to pair with almost any decor style. They are compact and fit in nearly any space. The armless Parsons chair has a tall back that is usually fully upholstered.

Parsons chairs were created in the 1930s by Parsons School of Design students. They are commonly used as dining chairs, although they are appropriate for just about every room in the house.

11. Slipper Chair

Slipper chairs are armless, upholstered chairs that sit close to the floor due to their short legs. No, they don’t look like a shoe! Initially used in women’s dressing rooms in the 18th century, slipper chairs get their name from upper-class Victorian women putting on silk slippers while sitting in them.

12. Wingback Chair

Pair of wingback chairs

Wingback chairs have been used in formal rooms and libraries for centuries. This classic style features a tall back with winged sides.

Wingback chairs are often used next to a desk or fireplace. Although designed for formal use, a creative selection of fabric and color can make the wingback shape appropriate for several different decor styles.

Accent Chair Takeaways

There are several types of accent chairs, but the main takeaways to consider include:

  • Choose a chair that matches the style of the room. For example, club chairs look right at home in a room with oversized, wood and leather-upholstered furniture.
  • Find a chair that is proportional to your couch, with a compatible height.
  • Is the chair for reading, lounging, or mainly just for decorative purposes? This can affect the shape you choose. If intended to be more than just lovely to look at, select a shape known for comfort, such as an armchair, Papasan, or wingback.
  • One accent chair may be all you need. You probably don’t want to use two chairs if the room already has plenty of furniture.
  • When choosing a color, match the other furniture in your room or choose a complementary color.

Get Cozy!

Obviously, there are several accent chairs to choose from and those are just the types—wait until you get to the fabric and color choices! But not worries; Westco Home Furnishings can help you choose the perfect accent chair to give your room a polished finish. Call or come by today!