When it comes to seating, there’s often a pretty wide divide between chairs that are comfortable and chairs that look cool. This isn’t always the case, of course, but by and large the chair you love to sit in probably isn’t going to be the focal point of your living or entertaining space. The good news is, even one very stylish accent chair can make up for that outrageously comfortable, spectacularly frumpy sofa. In fact, having one accent chair in a large living space (or even a bathroom) is a perfect way to distract the eye from any of the room’s shortcomings. It’s also an excellent way to express your own personal flair and design sensibilities if you know what to look for, even if you aren’t ready for a really wild decor.
One of the simplest and most obvious ways to go about finding a statement chair is to look for a chair with a unique upholstery. If your sofa and recliner are done in solids, even a chair with simple stripes will stand out. Of course, the sky is the limit when it comes to the patterns available – not just the traditional stripes, checks, and polka dots, but everything from floral and paisley prints to colorful modern abstracts. Brocade fabrics will add a more traditional feel to your space, while bold colors (even solid colors!) can help liven up a neutral space. You can even find accent chairs covered with everything from the Union Jack to handwritten French script. And because it’s only a single piece of furniture, the pattern can be as bold, colorful, or busy as you please – it’s meant to draw attention, but the limited size and space taken up by a single chair won’t overwhelm the space. In this sense, accent chairs are really a great chance to let your design flag fly, and embrace the style you weren’t quite sure you could pull off on a whole-room scale.
Of course, bold colors and wild patterns aren’t for everyone. If you prefer a more neutral decor, one way to add a little extra style is with accent chairs that have a unique shape. If you have largely contemporary furniture, adding a simple wingback chair can be all the difference you need – the style will stand out by contrast, and add a touch of elegance even to a modern decor. But there are plenty of unusually shaped accent chairs out there, from fainting sofas to petite French-inspired benches with an odd number of thin, spindly legs or even retro pod chairs. Now, granted, odd shaped chairs aren’t always the most comfortable, but again, that’s sort of the point – these are chairs you can sit in, but that you don’t have to – they’re secondary to your main sofa or even your favorite recliner. But even a simple chair done in a unique shape, like this gorgeous Kavita armchair, can be delightfully eye-catching.
Wear And Tear
This might seem like an odd feature (especially if you’re looking to avoid the frump factor), but roughing up an accent chair a little can actually add a lot of personality to the design. Again, this really only works when it’s a single piece of furniture in a whole room, but a little wear and tear can turn a relatively generic accent chair into something genuinely artistic and interesting to look at. Maybe this will sound silly, but I can’t help but think of that armchair from The Matrix – you know, the red chair Morpheus sits in? It’s been beaten up, down, and all around a future dystopia, but for all that, it’s memorable, which is exactly what you want out of a statement chair. This Winchester chair is no Morpheus chair, but the same basic idea still applies – the industrial, grunge look of the slightly raggedy, roughed up denim is its own stylish force, and definitely sets a tone for the rest of the room. This also works well with antique wingback chairs, with a little or a lot of wear-through on the painted wood parts, or, for a sun room, weather worn wrought iron or wicker accent chairs are a great way to bring an outdoorsy feel inside.
One of the wildest choices (pun intended) you can make for an accent chair is animal print. The conventional ones are zebra stripes and cheetah or leopard print, but you can find statement chairs in just about any animal-themed material – croc leather, shark or ray skin, tiger print, cow hide, or (my personal favorite) giraffe print. These can range from downright safari like (with all the leather and mahogany you’d expect from a hunting lounge) to a lot more modern than you might expect. Textured leather accents are particularly coming into vogue on just about every type of furniture, and giraffe print in particular works well in a lot of colors you wouldn’t ever find on a giraffe to make a slightly abstract, slightly familiar pattern. Wild animal prints are bold and daring and not for the weak of heart, but are a great way to spice up a neutral decor without making a big pattern or upholstery commitment.
Sheer Sass Factor
Of course, the best way to choose an accent chair to showcase your own personal style and add a designer flair to any old living space is to simply go with your gut. If you see a chair that catches your eye and realize you can’t live without it, well, that’s probably a good bet. Whether it’s something done with a bold color, made out of a unique material, or just has that secret something that appeals to you, the best accent chairs are ones you know right on sight. For me, that might be these antique replicas made out of bright, glossy, colorful polyresin, but for you, it could be just about anything. It’s important to make sure that the accent chair you choose suits the room you want to put it in. A good accent chair will stand out without looking out of place – which can be a surprisingly fine line depending on how sharp the contrast between the chair and your existing decor. After all, the point is to get a chair that expresses your style without a big change – you won’t want to end up redecorating around your new favorite chair!
But what are you looking for in an accent chair?