How to Choose Accent Chairs for Your Living Room

How to Choose Accent Chairs for Your Living Room

Interior Design
Decoration and Design
How To
By Mateos Glen Hayes May 21, 2022

Accent chairs might seem like a relic of the past, but they’re actually still quite a popular design choice for many a living room in many a home throughout North America. Once one starts to read a bit into them it isn’t hard to see why. Accent chairs can be quite stylish and beautiful, particularly if you choose the higher-end models that are manufactured to the highest quality, and perfectly suitable as living room chairs.

Accent chairs are designed to add personality and well, accenting, to a living room space. Accent chairs achieve this through an eye-catching design that functions to embellish your living room with some texture, color, and unique visual patterns. There is all manner of accent chair upholstery designs out there for virtually every living room interior design you can think of.

While it is true that accent chairs are most suited for a traditional living room interior design with a conservative layout, this doesn’t mean you can’t break the mold and shake things up a bit. An accent chair can also be quite a tasteful addition to all sorts of other living room styles from minimalist ones to glitzy art deco styles.

In truth, virtually any living room setup that’s aching for a dash of color and charm will benefit from a living room accent chair or two. Plus, there’s always the undeniable benefit that comes with adding extra seating to your living room setup that is especially handy when guests come calling. Of course, we aren’t born interior designers, and you might want some pointers on how to make the best choice. If so, you’ve come to the right place.

What Are Accent Chairs For?

Transform one of your accent chairs into a focal point.

Transform one of your accent chairs into a focal point.

Put simply, accent chairs are armchairs that all come in a similar basic design and are meant to evoke the premier style of traditional living rooms of the Victorian era and the like. They are a form of centerpiece furniture that is designed to draw the room and the interior design together and provide an accent for your furniture layout.

Usually, accent chairs are made of wood and come with four legs and a premier upholstery that is well stitched and decorated with a patina of various patterns and colors.  

Are Accent Chairs Necessary?

Accent chairs work just as fine in bedrooms too.

Accent chairs work just as fine in bedrooms too.

At the end of the day, the answer to this question is going to depend heavily on what exactly you want to get out of your living room design. If you are just going for something that is strictly utilitarian, i.e. basic furniture layouts and meant for functionality over style, an accent chair isn’t really necessary.

Sometimes the simplest design is the best and in that case, you don’t really have to be concerned with neat patterns and bright colors. However, those that want their living room to be a bit more special will find the accent chair to be absolutely essential for tying the overall interior design of the living room together.   

Should An Accent Chair Match The Sofa? 

Accent chairs contrast quite nicely with other furniture, so matching shouldn’t be a problem.

Accent chairs contrast quite nicely with other furniture, so matching shouldn’t be a problem.

This ultimately depends on your layout and on your own personal tastes. If you put an accent chair next to your sofa it may be a good idea to have the design of the accent chair echo the design of the sofa. This doesn’t mean the two have to be uniform - although a matching suite can look quite smart - but it does mean that they should have similar design motives in the form of similar colors, patterns, stitching, cushion designs, etc.

The perfect side chairs for a living room are armless accent chairs because they can be designed so that they act as an extension of a sofa or loveseat. In this way, simply sliding the accent chair alongside the sofa acts to elongate your sofa, a perfect solution for when your favorite guests come to pay you a visit. For this kind of setup, an accent chair design that matches your existing sofa design will be the most ideal for maintaining aesthetic continuity. 

Guidelines For Choosing The Perfect Accent Chairs

Armless accent chairs generally have the smallest profile.

Armless accent chairs generally have the smallest profile.

Alas, there is a bit more to consider when it comes to choosing the perfect accent armchair for your fancy living room. Specifically, you’ll need to consider which type of accent chair you want to add. In general, there are three different variants to choose from. 

Sculptural Chair

These are perhaps the most unique of the variants and are definitely the most visually interesting. Sculptural chairs are perfect for lounging because they are purpose-made for that exact purpose. Their shape is meant to conform with your body as you lay back. Mid-century modern living room accent chairs make perfect statement pieces as well. Assuming what you need most in your living room is a beautiful focal point, this is just the ticket as the sculptural chair is both practical and looks good at the same time. 

Standard Armchair

This is the standard design that you could also refer to as ‘classic’ or ‘Victorian’. Put simply, it is a straightforward armchair design that has thin armrests and a more restrained design in general. These types of accent chairs are usually the ones that stand out the least, and as such are best suited for a design where uniformity is the main goal.

Retro designs accord the space a timeless quality.

Retro designs accord the space a timeless quality.

The old-fashioned look of the standard armchair can actually give your living room a timeless quality as well, especially if it is paired with more minimalist fixtures and pieces of furniture. This is thanks to the standard accent chair’s ability to add texture and dimension to the space.  

Armless Chair 

This is the more ‘minimalist’ of the three designs as it is lacking in the armrests that the other two configurations usually have. What this means is that the armless accent chair loses some practicality but it gains some style points and design advantages in the process.

Specifically, an armless accent chair will usually have a less obtrusive profile and therefore a smaller footprint than other armchair designs. What this means is that the ‘armless armchair’ is especially at home in a modern rustic design where everything is meant to be as sleek and unobtrusive as possible. Armless chairs sometimes will come in brighter colors as well, allowing the design to really crackle and pop. The armless design also makes these the perfect side chairs for a living room

Most Popular and Unique Accent Chair Styles 

You don’t have to settle for a standard accent chair design.

You don’t have to settle for a standard accent chair design.

Truth be told there are so many unique accent chair designs out there that it would not be possible to cover all of them in a single article. That being said, there are a few that especially stand out and are noted for their ability to work with nearly any living room layout. This means that there is something for everybody, which is always a major asset in a time when personalization and customization are two important qualities we increasingly expect as consumers. 

Vintage Wood 

This can also be called a Boho accent chair and is light on the upholstery but heavy on the wood. It is usually constructed of premium heavy wood such as mahogany ensuring that it lasts a long time. This kind of curved-wishbone accent chair is meant to be a call-back to the curvy shapes that dominated interior design during the 1960s.

They are basically the precursor to the minimalist design that took hold in the coming decades, meaning they have a timeless quality today, especially in certain neutral-colored setups. If you are going to get this kind of construction, you might as well get two Boho accent chairs to allow the curviness to play off the two pieces of furniture. 

Barcelona Chair 

This is a perfect example of the armless accent chair. It's eye-catching, stylish, and very comfy. And it's a good job that it is so nice to sit on because the design was originally created with royalty in mind. Today, this type of accent chair is not limited to the richest customers and can be quite at home in your palatial living room or home office alike. Plus there’s no denying that the leather accent chair (and leather armchairs in general) gives the living room a quite premium feel that is perfectly complemented by the stainless steel legs.  

Ottoman Combo 

This one is one of the true classics so it’s no surprise that it makes it to the list. Indeed, there are a few more well-known living room power combos and that’s hardly surprising. The armchair and a fancy ottoman go together like cookies with milk. They just belong together and work to augment the comfort of even the most standard living room setup.


Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes