In the world of interior design, accent chairs reign supreme for multiple reasons, the least of which is that they provide the much-needed extra seating we’re all looking for. Beyond that, accent chairs are a way to break free from all the decor “rules” we tend to adhere to, allowing us to have a little fun in our spaces.
“Accent chairs are a great opportunity to add design interest to a room, through their shape, color and texture,” says Stephanie Brown of the Vancouver, Canada-based firm Stephanie Brown Inc. “Whether it’s just one accent chair or a couple, you can branch out from your comfort zone that often applies to larger pieces like sofas.” More to love: “They help fill a space that appears empty or awkward while being versatile because they can be moved around easily as needed,” says interior designer Jill Croka, head of the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Jill Croka Designs.
Adds Maiden Home’s senior interior design specialist Hannah Rice, “If you’re looking to achieve a particular aesthetic, accent chairs can move you in that direction without making the commitment of a larger, central piece like a sofa.” Perfect for the noncommittal types out there!
Next up is figuring out which accent chair is best for your space — and unsurprisingly, size matters most. “The first step is to make sure the scale of the chair works. If you have a floor plan showing everything drawn to scale, that’s great, but if you don’t, perhaps tape out the size of the chair on your floor to ensure it isn’t too large or too small for the space, and then ascertain how its size feels with your other pieces,” advises Brown. Interior designer Amber Lewis, who recently launched her Simple Pleasures With Amber Lewis for Anthropologie collection, agrees, noting, “You want to enter the space and not be distracted by the wrong size chair.”
Adds Alexandra Davin, co-founder of Davin Interiors and Clairrow, an online interior design school, “Don’t forget about proportion — you want to make sure the chair is complementary to the space itself and the other furniture in the room. For example, don’t force a huge lounge chair next to a tiny drinks table in a small studio apartment.”
Once you’ve landed on the best size for your chair, it’s time to home in on material, shape and color. “Just like any selection in your design scheme, the accent chair should complement the style and color of the room while maintaining its own character or identity,” says Davin. “I like to compare a design scheme to a group of friends — everyone has their own role and their own personality, but there’s a sense of unity and harmony within the whole. An accent chair might be a more bold, focal point in the space, but it should still feel unified with the other design aspects.”
Lest we forget, we also have to keep comfort in mind. That’s right — we’re going to actually want to sit and maybe even relax a little in this chair! “The most important thing to consider is whether or not the chair is comfortable,” says Benjamin Reynaert, creative director at Interior Define and contributing editor at Domino. “Sit in any chair you’re looking for in person if possible. And, if you can’t, order a swatch or watch a ‘sit video’ like the many we feature on Interior Define. If you don’t love how the chair feels, there’s no point in owning it!”
The overarching theme we heard from pretty much every designer we spoke to, however, was that there aren’t any rules when it comes to finding the perfect accent chair, and given its supporting role in your design scheme and its relatively diminutive size, it’s a safe place to take a risk. “Juxtaposition is what makes rooms interesting to me, so play up the differences when it comes to materials. Mix different wood tones, metal finishes and upholstery colors,” says Reynaert.
Adds Hillary Stamm of the Manhattan Beach, California-based HMS Interiors, “I always like to tell people, the accent chair can be the jewelry of the space. Too often, homeowners make the easy mistake of playing it safe and matching their chair with their couch. Don’t forget we want variety in design, and this is what elevates the space. Your space is not going to have that wow factor if you don’t introduce different elements into the design.”
Well, there you have it, folks — now it’s officially time to start shopping. To get you on your way, we’ve corralled a slew of designer-picked accent chair options below.
Swivel accent chairs
From $899 at West Elm
A bestseller for West Elm, this chair oozes comfort with its wide and low-slung seat. “I love how the Cozy Swivel Chair from West Elm is both on-trend and suitable for many design styles from modern eclectic to midcentury to glam,” says Brown. “It comes in an array of great fabrics, making it super easy to tie in with an existing color palette
$1,145 at Interior Define
A modern take on the swivel, Interior Define’s Lawson chair comes in more than 100 fabric options — from rich-hued velvets to neutral linens — but our favorite part is its dramatic roundness, which ensures that it is extra comfy. Says Reynaert, “The Lawson Swivel Chair is like a giant hug. Its sculptural shape is not only super comfortable, it adds a curvaceous line to any room, and its wide stance pairs nicely with larger sofas and sectionals in family spaces. Best of all, swivel chairs can float in a space and break up larger rooms, since guests can swivel back and forth and be a part of different seating and conversation areas.”
More to know: “It’s a great price for a chair with customizable options,” Davin adds. “You could do a luxurious velvet in a moody art deco space or go for a totally modern look with a neutral knit fabric.”
$699 $469.99 at Wayfair
An instant statement-maker, the velvet barrel chair comes in more than a dozen colors — and it has a 4.6-star rating to boot. “The Guernsey style nods to art deco-inspired design with velvets, curves, gold accents and eccentric shapes,” says Rebecca Breslin, senior design manager for Wayfair Professional. “We’ve seen an uptick in these open silhouetted upholstered chairs, which feel sophisticated with a bit of an unexpected twist.”
$499.99 at World Market
Streamlined and chock-full of 180-degree swivel, this chair is perfect for anyone who’ll actually be sitting in it 24/7. Why? As a result of its feather-filled composition, the chair is ultra comfortable! Available in cream or navy upholstery, this simple and stately chair will fit seamlessly into your room’s design scheme.
From $1,199 at West Elm
Did we mention that we’re not mad at swivel chairs? Offering 360 degrees of movement and eye contact for anyone who sits in them, swivel chairs are a great way to keep everyone engaged without constantly moving chairs around. And Shaolin Low, founder of the Honolulu-based Studio Shaolin, loves the Porto from West Elm. “This is great for outdoor, which usually means they are great for kids indoor. The mix of wood, rope and the cream fabric is very much on-trend, and it is also easy to pair with a lot of different types of decor.”
Oversized accent chairs
$659.99 at Wayfair
Ultrawide and boasting a retro design, this chair is sure to be a standout wherever it lands in your home. “Midcentury accent chairs are timeless, with beautifully structured silhouettes, rich tones, tufting and rolled pillows,” says Wayfair Professional’s Breslin. “We’re seeing these styles in saturated hues, from gold and navy, to emerald, and rust.” Another even wider option can be found here.
$799 $695 at Albany Park
We’ve reviewed this chair ourselves and can attest that its dense but soft cushions and oversized seat make for the best reading spot ever — seriously, it can fit a parent and two kiddos with ease. If you’ve got the space, our best advice is to splurge on the matching ottoman, which then creates a movable chaise-esque seating space. More to know: Available in eight colors and fabrics and two leg materials (wood or gold), the chair is 41 inches wide and also comes in the Ẹkáàbọ̀, a truly gorgeous pattern, if you want a scene-stealer!
Farmhouse accent chairs
$548 $448 at Serena & Lily
Rattan is making a serious comeback, and Serena & Lily is one of the best purveyors of the trend, as evidenced by this classic yet coastal chic chair, which comes in natural and navy stains. “If you have a creamy couch, introduce texture and contrast into your home by selecting a chair with wicker, such as this Venice Rattan Chair,” says Stamm. Want to spend a bit less? Check out this option from Urban Outfitters, which rings in at 150 bucks cheaper.
$1,298 at Anthropologie
This beautiful chair from Amber Lewis’ Anthropologie collab is a winner for sure — we love the natural linen cushions, leather accents and open-grained oak frame, not to mention that it is modern and cozy all at once. “An accent chair should play upon the overall palette of your space, making sure all of the furniture in the room stays cohesive,” Lewis says. Something tells us the Caillen will do just that. And if you’re looking for a bolder choice, check out the chair’s velvet version here.
$1,498 $1,198 at Serena & Lily
“I love the casual, beachy vibe of the Georgica Lounge Chair from Serena & Lily,” says Brown. “It’s perfect for adding some warmth and texture to a room grouping that perhaps has a lot of fabric textures going on.” While we love the luxury that comes with this option, a lookalike is available at Target for a fraction of the price, perfect for anyone looking to score this look on a bargain.
$1,495 at Interior Define
“Every room should have something tall and something low,” says Reynaert. “The high back design of the Palmer is not only extra supportive and functional for reading (or Netflix bingeing!), but its height adds a necessary foil to spaces with lower-slung sofas and low media consoles. The ever so slightly rolled arm adds another layer of comfort and visual interest too.” We love the eight leather colors to choose from, and that the legs come in three finishes.
Armless accent chairs
$599 at Pottery Barn
Calling all minimalists! The Shay Woven Leather Accent Chair from Pottery Barn has all the right details: a metal base, beautiful caramel-hued leather and an eye-catching basket weave. “This chair is just really versatile. It could work in an array of casual living room settings, from beachy to more rustic, even industrial loft-style. Throw a creamy sheepskin on it to make it a little cozier and more styled,” says Brown.
$240 at Target
Perfect for small spaces, this armless slipper chair from Justina Blakeney’s collab with Target is sure to be an eye-catcher. Available in mustard yellow and light blue, the chair certainly leans into Stamm’s mantra that the accent chair should be the “jewelry of your space.”
Small space accent chairs
$499 at Urban Outfitters
Boasting strong sculptural lines, this tripod-shaped chair from Urban Outfitters comes in eight hues and patterns, including a mossy velvet, a creamy boucle and a cow print. “Is your couch a cozy white linen fabric? Then your accent chair can be a deep dark velvet like this chair from Urban Outfitters. Take risks in your space!” suggests Stamm.
$548 $398 at Serena & Lily
A whimsical addition to any room, this Serena & Lily stunner has spawned a thousand lookalikes, but we’re still partial to the incredible craftsmanship and beauty of the original. Available in a white or natural stain, the chair is crafted from hand-bent rattan. “Hanging chairs add a playful element to a room, and this one has a slim profile that makes it ideal for tight corners or awkward spaces,” Croka says.
$698 at Anthropologie
“Tight on space but want a conversation starter? Choose this one, with its gorgeous artisanal embroidery details,” says Anthropologie’s general merchandising manager of furniture, home decor and decorative textiles, Louie Higaki. At just 26 inches wide, this is an accent chair that is perfect for the nooks and crannies of your home. (Another Anthro stunner we can’t take our eyes off of is this All Roads Shaina Petite Accent Chair!)
$300 at Target
Petite in size, these ultra-cozy chairs from Shea McGee’s Target collab are perfect for pairing — and their affordable price makes it easy to do so! Available in cream and gray linen and a cream and tan Sherpa material, the Elroy falls in line with Davin’s mantra that an accent chair should balance the vibe of the room while also being able to stand on its own.
$945 at Interior Define
With more than 100 fabric options and three leg stains, the Hammond is about as customizable as accent chairs come. Croka loves it in the “spa” performance plush velvet, saying, “A chair with a classic shape in a modern color can elevate a design and pairs well with transitional decor styles.”