Whether you're in a big suburban family home or a small downtown apartment, traditional or modern, you need a place to sit! If you're in the market for a living room chair, Pamela Davidson gave us the low down on a few of the classics that never seem out of place in any mix.
- French; Louis XV (designed around 1725) A.k.a. 'shepherdess chair'
- Emphasis on comfort, cozy and warm, overstuffed cushions, wide proportions, padded elbow rests; exposed wood frame
- Great in pairs or on its own, substantial comfort but doesn't take up too much space. Classic choice in formal setting but also looks great in a contemporary interior or covered in unexpected, bold upholstery. Trend to painting woodwork black or white.
- Can find these anywhere, various price points
- Also French - Cameo shaped back (round or oval) late 18th century, Louis XVI
- Architectural, straight, tapered, fluted legs, w/ arms or armless
- Enduring style - Formal setting, dining rooms, living room side chairs, great extra/ occasional seating, add elegant seating to a smaller living room.
- Ghost Cameo - Modern interpretation designed by Philippe Starck - (French again!)
- Acrylic, transparent, Great for small spaces, opens space, lets light and eye line through
- Surprisingly comfortable for desk or extra seating, design statement
Wing chair (fireside chairs)
- Also from the 1700s. Popular in USA and England.
- Upholstered w/ large "wings" enclosing head and body
- A.k.a. bergere confessionale; the occupant is hidden from view
- Protection from drafts, design trapped heat from a fireplace, or shielded a lady's delicate skin from the heat of the fire.
- Modern versions - the classic style has evolved - some add funky fabrics, boldly paint the legs and upholster chair brightly. Some versions have squared the form of the wings to make it more graphic, geometric and contemporary.
- Club chair refers to chairs that were typical of the 19th century English gentlemen's clubs, usually posh places, men would get together with other men, relax with drink & cigar, read the paper, avoid home and family!
- Art deco club chairs (from the 20s and 30s were popular in Paris and in Hollywood movies of the era depicting glam comfort
- Leather is quintessential material - durable, warm, comfortable, traditionally dark brown or black
- Small, armless, high-backed, short-legged upholstered chair.
- Traditionally used in bedrooms but fantastic for smaller living rooms because don't block view to the rest of the room. Can gang them to increase seating. Because there are no arms, don't take up a lot of visual space. Great for perching, great for parties. Great near a fireplace as they don't block the view of the fire.
- Eco version - everGreen collection 100 percent Wool, natural latex Cnd made
- Slipper chairs can be simple and tailored like above or feminine and pretty.
- A long history! Date back to Napoleon; French designed a reclining camp cot so Napoleon could sit upright, recline with feet elevated & folded out for sleeping
- Norwegian Stressless chair original design 1971, has features that support lumbar, head support & spine alignment. This JAZZ model, designed in '08, two sizes, separate tilting foot stool b/c everyone's legs are a different length. Mr. de Boer: founder of DeBoer's Furniture was actually part of the think tank' that designed this piece. Endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association and has a 25 year warranty!
These are all classic chairs - but these designs work in all interiors from traditional formal to cool contemporary and have gone through so many evolutions. They are great mixed and matched and paired with a wide range of furniture. Great investments. Great decorating standards. Timeless.
All chairs from DeBoers, recliner by Stressless, available at DeBoers
Still images from Style at Home magazine
Modern wing chair image - Mitchell Gold Bob Williams