GETTING TO KNOW YOUR VINTAGE CHAIR OPTIONS
If Goldilocks is any indication, choosing a vintage chair is no simple task. So much more than just a place to sit, the ideal vintage chair is an ode to both form and function—beautiful to look at; comfortable enough to pass an afternoon in.
And then there’s the matter of choosing the right vintage chair for the room. While vintage accent chairs work brilliantly in living rooms, they can sometimes feel too insubstantial for bedrooms. And likewise, not every living room is the prime spot for a vintage rocking chair.
To help narrow down the best options for your space, we’ve outlined the most common vintage and used chair options you’ll find on the market and the best ways to use them.
Inclusive of chairs like slipper chairs, bergères, and sling chairs, vintage accent chairs are generally shapely chairs intended for light to medium use. To use, place a pair of vintage accent chairs across from a sofa to balance it out, or use one at the head of a dining table. Alternatively, you might consider trying a swivel accent chair in a lounge-like space like a den, bar, or glamorous-themed bedroom. No matter your need, make sure you pay some mind to your used accent chair’s upholstery fabric. Because accent chairs aren’t generally the stars of a room (hence that accent in their title), feel empowered to choose a dramatic textile in a look-at-me hue.
If you need a chair that allows you to sink back and relax (and maybe enjoy a cocktail or two), try a vintage club chair. A term typically used to describe chairs with a deep seat and a high back and arms, a vintage club chair offers up the promise of total relaxation. Because of their masculine overtones, we love the idea of using a vintage leather club chair in a lodge-inspired space or a cabin, but when upholstered in a bright white or beige-colored linen, a vintage club chair can be a perfect fit for a bedroom or nursery too. In either event, opt for a vintage club chair with an ottoman for maximum comfort.
Can a vintage dining chair make the meal? With no offense to the cook, we certainly think so! When it comes to used dining chairs, most feature an armless silhouette with a straight-back. Some favored styles include Windsor dining chairs and Mid-Century Modern dining chairs. For households where evening-spanning dinner parties are the norm, you might consider purchasing vintage dining chairs with padded seats. Just remember that if you do opt for upholstered dining chairs that spills are a concern, so choose easy-to-clean fabrics like vinyl or leather. Similarly, you might also consider investing in vintage dining chair slipcovers.
While nothing prevents you from using a vintage dining chair as an office chair (a trend which we love, by the way), a vintage office chair is tailor-made for offering both style and ergonomic comfort. If you routinely work from home, try a vintage office chair with features like a padded frame, swivel mechanism. While the padded seat will work to make all-day sitting a pleasure, the swivel feature and wheels will allow you to seamlessly transition from task to task. However; if you merely need a used office chair to kick it with a writing desk, you might try a vintage desk chair. Most often featuring stationary legs and no other bells or whistles, vintage desk chairs are ideal when your needs don’t extend beyond dashing off the occasional note or grocery list.
Yes, they’re most often associated with nurseries, but a vintage rocking chair will also shine in a living room, bedroom, or even on a patio. If you’re not decorating a baby’s room, opt out of the upholstered gliders and instead try a Mid-Century Modern or Scandinavian rocking chair. The exact opposite of lullaby-like, these sculptural chairs will make an undeniable statement. Alternatively, if you favor a plain wood rocking chair, help it appear like a cohesive part of the room by draping it with a sheepskin or wooly blanket. Lastly, if you’re decorating a patio, look for fiberglass, cast iron, or bamboo rocking chairs that can be adorned with vinyl cushions in the summer months.
CHOOSING THE BEST MATERIAL FOR YOUR VINTAGE CHAIR
When you’re shopping for a vintage chair, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by materials. While it’s fairly easy to reconcile with a wood or metal table, vintage chairs are going to be receiving a good deal of use, meaning that you’ll want a material that can stand up to more than just a little general wear and tear. To help, we’ve broken down some of the most common vintage chair materials. If you’re in a bind about what to choose, allow some basic care tips help you make the call.
WOOD – Ideal for dining chairs and desk chairs, wood chairs certainly aren’t the most comfortable of chairs, but they are remarkably easy to care for. To clean up after spills, simply wipe them down. If nicks or gouges appear, a vintage wood chair can be sanded, the gouges filled, and then the entire chair re-stained. But due to the elbow grease involved, it’s best to consider this a spruce best saved for special occasions.
FABRIC – While nothing invites you to curl up and stay awhile like a vintage upholstered chair, fabric chairs are notorious for showing their age. Susceptible not only dirt and staining, but also rips also tears, fabric chairs be downright headache inducing. To ensure your fabric chair stays looking its best, avoid fabrics like cotton which are porous and easy to snag. Instead, try velvets, wools, mohairs, and machine-washable Belgian linens.
LEATHER – Although it sometimes carries a reputation of being precious, leather chairs are extremely durable. While some swear by conditioners, a spritz of Windex will actually do wonder to clean up spills.