An accent chair is a great way to fill out a living room, family room, den, or bedroom. By choosing an accent chair carefully, you’re not merely adding the functionality of more seating to the room; you’re also bringing balance to the living space, incorporating a pop of color and plenty of personality, and developing the profile and style of the space.
Purchasing any piece of quality furniture is an investment. Below are some of the most important considerations when choosing an accent chair for a room in your home. Also, for more advice about selecting the right furniture, take a look at our piece on buying furniture you’ll be happy with.
Consider the chair’s purpose and location.
If it’s in a room where it will be sat in frequently—like the family room where everyone watches TV—it should be sturdy, durable, and very comfortable, and could even include an ottoman; something like Heywood-Wakefield’s Margaret Collection Club Chair and Ottoman might be perfect. But if the accent chair is more for decorative purposes or for completing a room that doesn’t get daily use (e.g., a formal living room or guest bedroom), you can get away with something lighter and perhaps more stylish than practical.
Pay attention to the size and setup of the space the chair will occupy.
An accent chair shouldn’t make the room feel smaller or cluttered. If it doesn’t have to fill much space, or if it’s immediately surrounded by bulky furniture or a lot of decorative items, choose a smaller chair with negative space. On the other hand, if there’s significant space to fill or the area is minimally occupied, a bigger, more solid piece will work better; too small or too insubstantial a chair might even look silly.
Choose a style, color, and pattern that complements the rest of the room.
If the entire room is furnished and decorated in one style, one piece of furniture in a different style is likely to look out of place. Otherwise, go with something that meshes with everything else. Of course, you also need to match colors. Don’t go with the dominant color in the room or the same color as the other furniture, though. An accent chair—like an accent wall, throw pillows, an area rug, or other accenting features—is an opportunity to enliven the space with a pop of different color.
Pick the right material and upholstery.
The material of the chair frame and upholstery (if there is any) have great effects on the character that an accent chair adds to the room, how well it complement the other furniture and décor, and how resilient it is. A plastic chair creates a very different feel from a leather chair. Also, consider how used—and maybe abused, if you have kids, pets, or a really sloppy spouse—the chair will be. For the record, we believe strongly in the benefits of buying solid wood furniture.