What is an accent chair? | Whom home

You've got the sofa. You've got the area rug. You've even got some cool art pieces on display next to your French country coffee table. Still, when you see those Pinterest-perfect pads online, you can't help but feel like your living space is missing something.

If you haven't put your finger on it yet, we're here to solve the conundrum for you. The final piece of the puzzle — the glorious item that will make your friends say "Wow!" when they walk into your living room — is the accent chair.

No, it’s not a chair that speaks to you in French (but if you find such a thing, please call us immediately.) An accent chair is simply a piece of furniture that contrasts with, or “accents,” the rest of your furniture in a room. It's intentional. It experiments with materials and shapes. Basically, it’s a focal point meant to grab your attention and make everyone aware of just how much style you have. It’s like virtue signaling, but with home décor.

Accent chairs come in many flavors — comfy and plush, for instance, or purely decorative. They can come with track arms, rolled arms or just armless altogether. Ultimately, the thing that defines an accent chair is its personality. This one piece will bring the room to life, standing out compared to your sofa and other living room chairs. It's the art that's not on your walls, the chair-y on top, so to speak (sorry, we had to). 

Maybe you're the suave and debonair type who prefers an accent lounge chair — either a leather chair or a club chair. Or maybe you have more timeless tastes and would prefer a wingback chair type or a luxurious, diamond tufted Chesterfield. For those with a flair for a modern chair or 21st century modern style, you may prefer something with a sleek, metal frame or a slipper chair with tapered wood legs and no-hassle lines.

Whatever type fits your vibe, there are certain chair features to look for. Usually, an accent chair will be a special color, pattern or texture when compared to the rest of the room, or it will have a distinctive construction and shape. It is meant to draw the eye and serve as a complement to your other furniture. As with any living room furniture purchase, you will want to make sure your chair has a quality, inner wood frame, preferably corner blocked for stability. Verify that the weight capacity will be suitable for your purposes and also consider how you will keep the item clean. 

Certain fabrics have easier upkeep than others. For instance, microfiber, while plush and fancy-sounding, is actually an incredibly durable fabric due to its water repellent nature. An aniline leather chair can also be resilient, depending on usage, as natural wear and oils from the skin create a beautiful patina over time. Unfortunately, it also absorbs liquids and spills, so if you like the look, but dread the mess, a faux leather may be a better option. Color-wise, it's generally best to avoid accent chairs in white or light colors if you know they will get heavy use or if you have young kids or pets. 

Since its purpose is primarily aesthetic, an accent chair should ideally make a statement in the context of your other furniture and decor. It might be the fun pop of pink velvet upholstery in an otherwise neutral room. It could be a sleek, minimalist chaise lounge beside your traditional couch. Or it might even be the one solid wood side chair asserting itself among the upholstery. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what statement it makes; just make sure your type of accent chair says it confidently. Go bold or go home.

And just because an accent chair is stylish, it doesn't mean it can't be a comfy seating area, too. Maybe you'll want to curl up on a deep seat recliner accent armchair with button tufting. Or it could be an all-enveloping barrel chair in a glam teal color, inspiring you to finish a good book. Even a rattan rocking chair with some soft shearling as a seat cushion could make a stylish and cozy addition to your reading nook. Don't forget an ottoman as a convenient accessory. 

Can you have more than one accent chair in the same room? Of course! Just don’t overdo it, especially in a small space. Stick to ones that match each other or at least incorporate the same themes, and don’t add more than one type of accent per group of furniture. Having too many different styles in one area will confuse the overall feel. When in doubt, keep it simple. 

Can stools be accent chairs? Yes! Whatever your heart desires. Just keep in mind that a backrest offers extra comfort.

Try to avoid office chairs or anything overly clinical. But that's not to say that you can't have accent chairs in your workplace or home office. Tub chairs make elegant office furniture and even come in swivel chair varieties for convenience. Nailhead trim is also a classy embellishment that commands authority in an office setting.

Normally, an accent chair in a living room setting is placed to the side of, or across from, the couch, but you can place two matching accents on one side or even one on either side. There is also the option of moving your accent chair to a corner or adjacent wall for a subtler effect.

Try styling your living room with pillows and back cushions in the same fabric or color as the accent chair but placing them on the sofa and other non-matching pieces. That way, you can riff on a particular motif and tie it into the rest of the area without getting too matchy-matchy. You can also experiment with slipcovers in different colors and fabrics if you get bored with a single look.

So now that you understand the world of accent chairs, get one of your own and show off your personality. With their distinctive character, they can make you feel like a real-life grown-up — or the fun-loving kid you’ve missed. In a nutshell, they are reflections of you. The more unique the better, and the more you will love your living room space.

Find the perfect one with Whom Home. Happy accenting!