Sitting Pretty: Chairs for Every Room

Rethink the couch combo in your living room. Most spaces are missing the right chairs!

Studio 5 Design Contributor Lauren Oviatt breaks down four chair styles and how to work them in your rooms.

Thinking of redesigning a space in your home for springtime? Tossing out that old sofa and looking for a new piece? Let’s get you out of the rut of rushing straight to the matching sofa and loveseat. Whenever possible I ALWAYS try to push clients out of the ‘I want a large sectional’ or ‘how about a sofa and a loveseat’ mentality. Great for seating capacity, but BORING! Your kiddos and their friends might love to pile on a sofa together but adults tend to like their own seat and appreciate the “sit” of a chair. When scaled appropriately, chairs are very inviting and many prefer a chair to a sofa when choosing a seat. Chairs also invite a break in stagnant seating groupings and offer flexibility in room rearranging. Not to mention they give you the opportunity to introduce interesting fabrics and different shapes into the space. Chairs, more than one, are a must in any space I design. Here are four of my favorite styles. Let me tell you how I use them and what rooms and spaces these chairs fit best.

CLUB CHAIR – has generous arms, typically a box-y shape with wide proportions.

Great for a family room area where comfort is key. Love this in a grouping of four (four facing each other for a conversation area) or to be paired with a sofa or sectional. The scale matches up well with larger spaces where you need the furniture to fill up the area. Style is traditional but goes really well in contemporary or transitional spaces based on what covers it.

BOUDOIR CHAIR (ENGLISH ARM CHAIR) – smaller scale, a chair that hugs you. Rounded, English arm and higher back for lounging

This chair is great anywhere, but has smaller, more feminine features that are suitable for bedrooms, small sitting areas and secondary spaces. The seat is still comfortable for a man even though it appears tight. Notice how you pet your arms as you’re sitting? Ahhh. Rolled English arm, nailhead detail and rolled back denote more of a feminine, traditional feel.

WING CHAIR – larger in scale, have a higher back (at least 38″) and curved sides that create more drama in a room.

I love wing chairs as a statement chair in a family room or den. They elevate the horizontal plane that plagues a room full of otherwise standard height furniture. This chair is like putting a great necklace on – it will instantly get noticed and serves to enhance the overall aesthetic of a room.

SLIPPER CHAIRS – armless chairs with little detail and a low back

Small in scale, low seat height, but generous enough to give comfort. These chairs are best seen in pairs and are great filler chairs where you might want to increase your seating capacity but don’t have room for more club chairs. These chairs can flank a table or buffet and easily be pulled away for extra seating. Everyone should have a pair of slipper chairs – they can go anywhere and p.s. they’re always really cute due to their diminutive features.

Lauren Oviatt is a designer with Oviatt Design, 826 West Shepard Lane, Farmington.

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