Getting to Know Your Vintage Seating Options
When it comes to vintage seating, a fabulous vintage sofa, accent chair, or ottoman can make taking a seat feel positively liberating. Chic and storied, vintage seating is perfect for curating a look that feels confidently collected; the exact opposite of sterile and cold.
Yet deciding on perfect secondhand seating can be a challenge, as options are boundless. To help, we’ve created the used seating guide, below. In it, we’ve outlined all the options to consider when looking for vintage seating, be it a vintage club chair, rocker, sofa, or chaise.
It probably goes without saying the we have major chair love. With a silhouette that isn’t as commanding as a sofa, vintage chairs are ideal for personalizing a room with color and pattern, while posing no threat of taking it hostage. Below are some of the most common types of vintage chairs, along with call-outs to some of our favorite used seating makers.
Yes, our middle school teachers told us that slouching wasn’t becoming too, but a vintage club chair positively embraces it, and every once and a while we say, go for it. Featuring a roomy, box-like silhouette, vintage club chairs are perfect for anchoring large-scale furniture pieces like credenzas or sofas. They also do fine work in a graciously-sized bedroom or office, crafting an intimate conversation nook.
Hands-down, one of our favorite vintage club chair designers is Milo Baughman. Baughman polished the club chair’s masculine corners and married the design with color-drunk velvets. The result is vintage seating the perfectly panders to feminine offices and living rooms with boudoir undertones. Similarly, we love the work of Brazilian designer Percival Lafer, who worked with a hefty Mid-Century club chair silhouette and outfitted it in plump cushions and organic materials like deliciously whipped leather and rosewood.
Nothing sets the stage for a family meal quite like a family of vintage dining chairs. Straight-backed, yet often marvelously sculptural, vintage dining chairs are best paired with dining tables that don’t mind being upstaged!
Among the most dramatic vintage dining chair we can think of is Warren Planter’s Platner Dining Chair. Featuring a striated pedestal base and a sculpted, basket-like seat, this is a mod dining chair that will upgrade any dinner to Pan Am First Class and beyond. Those in need of a chair with a lower profile will love Arne Jacobsen’s Series 7 Chair for Fritz Hansen. Also known as the Butterfly Chair, this chair features a simple, winged-shape that was intended to maximally support the human form. Use these chairs as a complement to virtually any modern table.
For those who think rocking chairs are just sweet lullabies for the nursery, think again. From the chic club chair glider (which has no visible rockers) to the sculptural marvels of Charles Hollis Jones and Selig (which trade in mere ski-glide rockers for a frame composed of nothing but oversized, oval-shaped arms), vintage rockers are always up for a little exercise in redefining.
But for the ultimate melding of classic rocker and avant-garde style, try a Thonet rocker. Thonet was founded in the 1830s by Michael Thonet, who made it a lifelong goal to turn wood into a pliable material. When the riddle was finally solved, the Thonet chair came into being. The Thonet rocker features languid, cursive-like arms that turn from arms into rockers. At once granny chic and boho, it seriously enraptures.
With the exception of maybe a king-size bed, a sofa is likely to be the largest piece of furniture in your home. Meaning? Make it a knock-out. Not to air our biases, but we think most vintage sofas are.
If the word “sectional” fills you with a sense of overblown dread—those bread loaf-looking cushions! Those car-interior colored leathers!—let us introduce you to the master of the tailored sectional sofa: Harvey Probber. Featuring the kind of Mid-Century brevity the 1950s and 60s were known for, Harvey Probber sectionals are glamorously understated, featuring kicky U-shapes and neat tufting. Many are also modular, allowing them to be rearranged should the style doldrums hit.
Think of a vintage chaise as therapy for the home. A magnificent way to offset a sofa or pair of chairs, the vintage chaise lays it all out there: showcasing sculptural forms and inarguable elegance.
Among our favorite chaises is Edward Wormley’s “Listen to Me” Chaise. It may beg to be listened to, but we feel inclined to give this chair props for listening to us. A mod, flexing platform appears to almost be floating thanks to four pencil legs. Simultaneously exuding class and positivity, it seriously delights us.