Whether it’s a rugged leather club chair or a mid-century modern Eames lounger, an accent chair is an easy and very functional way to infuse style into any room. At first glance, it may seem easy to choose an accent chair. However once you delve into the world of chic seating, the endless options can become overwhelming. To help you choose the perfect ‘seatmate’, we asked our expert sellers and buyers on what to look for when buying a vintage accent chair.

70's inspired orange velvet tufted accent chair with chrome base.

Orange Tufted Velvet & Chrome Chairs

Before you go shopping…

“Many times people make the mistake of buying a piece of furniture because they love it, but taking measurements prior to buying a large piece of furniture is very important.”—Modern Retro Finds, seller on Chairish

Matching Pink Settee Chairs in Home Entryway with ornate wood side board and painted wallpaper.

Source: Tom Scheerer Decorates

What measurements should you be taking?
  • “It’s important to know the dimensions of the room as a whole, not just the corner where the chair will go. It’s good to know the depth and width of the space so you don’t end up with a chair that bangs against the wall when you lean back. You also want to make sure there’s room for a footstool should you want one.”—Crissy, buyer at Chairish
  • “Know what seat height, arm height, and back height would fit in the space.” —Cat, buyer at Chairish
Pair of Brown Leather Lounge Chairs With With Fur Throw Blankets on Chairish.

Source: Domaine

What kind of style should you go for? Trendy? Classic?

  • “A Barcelona and a French Bergere Chairs are 2 of my favorite timeless chairs.” —Parker Kennedy, sellers on Chairish
  • “It depends on what the chair will be used for… If no one is ever going to sit in it for more than 10 minutes at a time, go for a trendy, less pricey chair that you love for its look alone. If it’s a chair you’ll likely end up using every day, go for comfort and try to invest in a classic shape that you’ll never tire of.” —Whitney, buyer at Chairish
  • “I’m not big on spending a lot of money on trends, so I believe in finding a classic and investing in a great piece. However, there’s nothing wrong with getting a chair in your price range that makes you happy and fills your needs.”—Crissy, buyer at Chairish
  • “Buying cheap means just that–  it’s cheap (unless you find a good deal in a quality piece). Classic is always the way to go! It doesn’t have to be super expensive, but it should be well made and classic.” —Modern Retro Finds, seller on Chairish
  • “I’m a sucker for any accent chair that’s turquoise, wood, or chrome.” —Cat, buyer at Chairish
Pair of Blue Velvet Accent Lounge Chairs Next to Black Leather Bench.

Source: House to Home

What key things should you look for in an accent chair? Are there certain chairs that are more timeless than others?

  • “First and foremost, try and buy an accent chair with great bones. That way, if you ever get tired of a certain upholstery, you can always change it out and you will still love the shape and feel of the piece.” —Whitney, buyer at Chairish
  • “I think it’s amazing that you can still find so many different styles of rocking chairs, whether they’re antique or new.  It’s hard to imagine a more timeless chair.  With that said, I don’t own one anymore, but it always fits into any room!  I also think the wing chair has stood the test of time.  It can be a very traditional addition to a room or you can recover it with a quilt or really unique fabric and you have something much more original and eclectic.”—Crissy, buyer at Chairish
  • “Shapes and simple design are always a plus.” —Modern Retro Finds, seller on Chairish
Yellow Accent Chairs with Matching Ottoman In Living Room with Pop Art

Source: Sandra Benhamou

Knoll Bertoia Side Chair White

Is an accent chair the first or last thing to buy when designing a room?

  • “When designing a living room, the sofa and coffee table should be the first things to purchase. I find that when the right sofa and table are in place, it’s easier to find the perfect lounge chairs/side tables lamps/mirror/art.” —Modern Retro Finds, seller on Chairish
  • “Some designers I’ve worked with start with a carpet, wallpaper, or wall color and then layer with furniture pieces to pick up on accent colors. Other start with one piece of furniture the homeowner loves and works around it. I think it depends on the project.” —Cat, buyer at Chairish
  • “If you’re in love with the upholstery, theme, or shape of an accent chair, it can be a great jumping off point from which to start conceptualizing the rest of the room. I always start a room with whatever piece I love most, and work outward.” —Whitney, buyer at Chairish
  • “An accent chair shouldn’t be the last thing you buy to complete a room, but I do think you have the most flexibility with an accent chair.  It could be a great jumping off point if you find the perfect chair, so I think it’s more a matter of each person’s choice.” —Crissy, buyer at Chairish
  • “For a dining room and a den/living room, you should have the chairs in the top 5 things to work around when starting a room.” —Parker Kennedy, sellers on Chairish
Pair of White Accent Lounge Chairs in Contemporary Modern Living Room on Chairish.

Source: Zana

And of course… 

“Buy quality and buy from a place that takes returns, You have to be able to see your furniture in its space. If it’s fabulous then buy it anyway. You can always sell it on Chairish if it doesn’t work.” —Erin Lane Estate, seller on Chairish

Pair of Navy Blue Statement Armchairs in Living Room with Hanging Nude Photographs.

Source: Domaine

July 1, 2014

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