Accent chairs, or “side” chairs, are single-seat chairs added to spaces to provide additional seating and to create eye-catching focal points in a room. Rooms that are cleverly designed use accent chairs to draw the eye's attention and invite the viewer deeper into the space. Choosing an accent chair to complete your space, however, can be a completely overwhelming experience, with accent chair options available in thousands of style, color, size, and fabric options. It’s important to get it right, though, or you’ll end up with a chair you absolutely resent.
There are a few things to consider when searching for the perfect accent chair. You’ll need to determine the purpose of the chair, the style of the room, the color and upholstery of the chair, and the size of the space in which the chair will be placed. Narrowing down your decisions to these four categories can help you determine the perfect accent chair for your room. Let’s dive deeper into these categories and explore accent chairs together.
WHAT IS THE ACCENT CHAIR’S PURPOSE?
At Whom Home, we’re pretty set on things serving a specific purpose, even if that purpose is simply to bring you joy. When it comes to accent chairs, we feel their design and placement should be intentional and purposeful, whether it's a comfy leather chair next to a bookcase, a tufted swivel chair in the home office, or a solid wood chaise lounge chair with velvet upholstery and nailhead trim just to serve as a focal piece in an otherwise muted living space. The first consideration to make when considering an accent chair is to determine the reason for which you need it.
Some reasons are obvious, and some are less obvious; maybe you are in desperate need of additional seating, maybe your living room furniture is missing just that certain something, or maybe you have a book nook and need an comfortable chair that begs you to come curl up with your favorite piece of literature.
Determining what kind of purpose your accent armchair will have can help you rule out a plethora of chairs that won’t work. For instance, if you plan to use your accent chair as a place you’ll spend a lot of time reading or accessing media, you will want to focus on comfort, and you’ll likely eliminate armless slipper chairs that have straight backs, or chairs with metal frames and non-cushioned seats, and opt for a comfier chair with armrests and a shape that hugs you, like a wingback chair, club chair, or barrel chair, with plush back cushions. If the sole purpose of your chair is to draw attention upward to a piece of art, the comfort of the chair won’t matter nearly as much as the styling like some faux fur or button tufting.
STYLE OF YOUR ROOM
The style of your room will be a huge determining factor in deciding the type of accent chair you choose. If you have a formal living room, an art-deco styled polyester fabric recliner will look horribly out of place. If your entire room vibes of relaxation, a faux leather accent chair with a wood frame and rolled arms reminiscent of a chesterfield side chair will leave everyone wondering how that ended up in your home.
If you aren't sure what the best chair style is going to be for you, you could always try one of our swatch kits. You can sample more than 50 different kinds of fabric to see what fits best in your home.
That said, accent chairs tend to be very style specific. It is fairly easy to coordinate an accent chair to your room based on style alone, but this is wrought with problems.
Even though a chair fits stylistically, it can utterly fail in functionality. These two factors must be considered alongside one another for the best fit option.
It should be noted that styles can definitely be mixed and matched, but some style types go together about as well as peanut butter and pickles. Ultimately, the space is yours to create and design, and if your heart is telling you it looks right, then it’s probably right for you.
COLOR AND UPHOLSTERY OF YOUR ACCENT CHAIR
Obviously, color is going to be a major factor in deciding on your accent chair. You can find the perfect chair that meets your form, functionality, and stylistic standards, but if it isn’t available in a color that coordinates with the existing shade pallet of your space, it’s not a good fit. As such, it’s a good idea to search for accent chairs that are available in a plethora of colors instead of getting your heart set on a particular style that is only available in navy blue, espresso, or dark grey, which are all common, but very specific tones that fare better as part of a set like dining chairs going with a dining table.
Of note is that a wood finish is almost always a great fit for any room. If you can’t decide on a color, a wood finish is not only a great way to check this requirement off your list, it’s also a way to bring the outside in and provide a natural look to any space, even if it's just wood legs. Conversely, if you have a space that is comprised mostly of neutrals, a bright accent chair in a color like teal can provide a pop of color that changes the entire dynamic of the room in a way that is refreshing and inviting.
When we talk about upholstery, we’re talking about the fabric your accent chair is crafted from. This can be leather, tweed, cotton, microfiber, or a blend of fibers. When considering the fabric options for your accent chair, you also need to think about complementary textures. If the other seat cushions and furniture pieces in the room are already heavy with texture (perhaps you have a leather sofa atop a shag rug) then you should consider choosing an accent chair that has a smooth, supple texture and tapered legs. If you are sitting in an accent chair atop flooring like tile, wood, or cement, a chair that has more texture (like boucle knit) and a deep seat is going to add depth to your room.
SIZE AND SPACE OF YOUR ROOM
The size of your room and the availability of space for an accent chair are options that are crucial when shopping. Although an accent chair by nature is intended to draw attention to a space and create a focal point, choosing a chair that is too small or too large will draw negative attention and make your space seem off-balanced, especially in a small space.
When considering room size and space, it’s important to remember that a small chair still has great depth; no matter how small a chair may appear, it will still protrude from its space, and anyone who sits in it will also add to that protrusion into space. In other words, if you have a chair placed in a high traffic area of your home, you run the risk of someone tripping over the legs of the chair or the legs of the guest sitting upon it.
If you have honed in on a particular chair, measure the total square footage of its footprint and use painter’s tape to outline that square onto the floor space where you plan to place it. Make sure all the corners are clear and it fits how you expect it to, especially if you're planning on adding an accent table to go with it.
Selecting a beautiful accent chair is an easy way to add style and create a visually appealing spot in any room. Much more than just an extra place to sit, an accent chair can pull a room’s design together entirely. Although accent chairs are plentiful and available in numerous styles and color options, selecting the perfect one is an easy task if you follow a few simple rules and listen to your instincts about what feels right in your particular space.