Choosing between upholstered chair types might seem simple at first, until you realize how many options there are. I thought I’d be able to quickly pick one out, and then 10 styles later, I discovered that I hadn’t even seen all the types yet!
My goal in this article is to familiarize you with the different kinds of upholstered chairs – in terms of material, pattern, color, and design – and to help you decide which type will fit right into your design and which won’t.
19 Upholstered Chair Types
If you don’t want to read about all the types of upholstered chairs and want my recommendation on the best one, get a wingback chair. They’re supportive, comfortable, and look elegant in homes. Personally, I’d get a matching set to really elevate a room.
Before diving into all of the chair options, here’s quick overview list:
- Wingback Chair
- Tub Chair
- Fauteuil Chair
- Bergere Chair
- Club Chair
- Chesterfield Chair
- The Morris Chair
- Cogswell Chair
- Eames Lounge Chair
- Chaise Longue
- Farthingale Chair
- Fiddleback Chair
- Occasional Chair
- Lawson Armchair
- Rocking Chair
The wingback chair was first designed to be used in front of a fireplace. Although the style first originated in France, the most popular versions of the wingback chairs were developed in England during the 17th century, where the cold winters made the roaring fireplace the gathering place for the entire house.
The wingback chairs are characterized by a tall back and side panels that spread like wings on either side, which were meant to protect you from a draft or contain the heat from the fire in the chair.
This kind of upholstered chair has arms that curve around the back and attach to the base, giving it the shape of a classic roll-rim tub. The tub chair can be upholstered with a wide range of materials including leather, for an upgraded price.
They are mostly used in dens, libraries, studies, and living rooms.
Fauteuil (pronounced as foe-toy) means armchair in French and refers to the antique upholstered armchairs with open sides. The arms of the fauteuil chair were over-upholstered to match the seat and back.
The style was created during the late 17th century near the end of Louis XIV’s reign and remained popular in the 1900s. The modern versions are lighter, ornate, and graceful.
The Bergere chair is an enclosed French armchair with an upholstered back and armrests with padding. The seat frame is heavily upholstered with a tailored seat, though the rest of the wood framing is visible.
The wood used in the framing can be painted, gilded, or polished to show off its natural color. This type of chair style is still very popular today.
The slipper chairs are a category of low, armless upholstered chair types. Slipper chairs sit around 15 inches from the ground compared to normal chairs, which are 17 to 19 inches off the ground.
The first versions of the slipper chair became popular in the 18th century and experienced a revival in the 20th century. The slipper chair has since become a common go-to option.
A recliner is one of the most comfortable types of chairs. These chairs can be adjusted with the help of a lever to either stay upright or reclined with a kick-out footrest. Many recliners have a high back so that you can fully rest your upper body when the chair is reclined.
This is one of the most popular chairs for reading or watching movies. They are not an armless upholstered chair, which makes them a great option.
These chairs are called club chairs because this style of chair was used in exclusive gentlemen’s clubs during the mid-19th century in London.
Club chairs are characterized by low back and heavy armrests. These chairs were typically upholstered in leather, though the style is outdated. These days, the club chair can be found in various fabrics as well.
The Chesterfield design is one of the world’s most recognizable chair and sofa designs. Several sofa brands sell this chair today. Although not officially documented, it is said the design was first commissioned by Lord Philip Stanhope, the fourth Earl of Chesterfield in the 18th century, which is allegedly how it got its name.
The Chesterfield chair is defined by quilted upholsters decorated with buttons. Their style is a mix of club chairs and wing chairs, and these chairs are typically covered in leather.
The Morris Chair
The Morris Chair is a high, deep-seating armchair equipped with cushions for the seat and back. It also has an adjustable reclining back and slatted sides or bow arms.
The chair was named after designer William Morris, who was a figurehead for the Arts and Crafts Movement during the late 19th to early 20th century. The design was copied by several other artisans during the period and is believed to be the precursor for modern-day recliners.
The Cogswell chair has a marked silhouette with a sloping back and armrests with open space underneath. They typically have cabriole front legs as well.
These chairs offer a lot of comfort and are popularly used in living rooms and dens.
Eames Lounge Chair
Eames lounge chairs have been in high demand since 1956, when they were first featured in the Arlene Francis Show. Charles and Ray Eames created this modern, comfortable armchair with leather and molded plywood.
The chair also has a low seat permanently tilted at a recline, and the seat swivels on an aluminum base.
Though not a typical seat, the ottoman is a small stool that was created in the 18th century Ottoman Empire. It was later broken down into smaller pieces for individual use. These days, the ottoman comes in a wide variety of designs.
The curved ottoman has a curved front with a flat back and is designed to fit with an upholstered seat. The French Ottoman is a more elaborate version, featuring ornate woodwork designed to match the sofas.
The snuggler, also known as a chair and a half, is an extra-large upholstered furniture piece that is just wide enough for two people to cuddle in. It is larger than a regular armchair but smaller than a settee. The width of the chair makes it great for curling up or lounging.
The snuggler comes in various styles and may contain a wide back and loose cushions for the seat and back. It may also have a fixed back with a loose seat.
Chaise longue means “long chair” in French and is a relaxing and luxurious piece of furniture that allows you to stretch your full body on top of it without needing a footrest. Many people mistakenly call it a “chaise lounge” because it is used for lounging.
Some variations include the fainting couch and the day bed.
The Farthingale chair is a small compact chair originally designed for women in the late 16th century. A wide cushioned and upholstered seat defines this chair and has no arms. The backrest may or not be upholstered, but the leg frames are bare and straight.
An interesting fact about this chair was that it was designed to accommodate hooped skirts that were fashionable during that time.
The iconic fiddleback chairs were created during the early 19th-century design movement and the First French Empire periods. These chairs consist of an upholstered seat, and the middle section of the seatback is carved in the shape of a fiddle.
These days, fiddleback chairs are more popularly used as dining chairs.
Occasional chairs or accent chairs, as their name suggests, are only used occasionally. This chair is usually used as an extra chair when you have guests over and provides a dramatic, decorative value rather than a functional one most of the time.
They are usually lightweight and armless, which makes it easy for them to be moved from room to room.
The Lawson style has a very low arm compared to the back of the chair, and it can either be angular or rolled in shape. The style is simple, classic, and elegant, and it can be covered in various fabrics, from suede to leather to linen.
The rocking chair also comes in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and sizes. Some have arms, others are armless. Some are upholstered, while others are made of a cushion. However, the common factor is that they are almost always made of wood and are mounted on curved rockers.
A newer version of the rocking chair consists of a stationary pedestal with a suspended chair that moves, which is safer if you have crawling babies and pets in your home.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Upholstered Chairs?
Upholstered chairs are a category of seating furniture designed for comfort and aesthetic appeal. A padded or cushioned seat, backrest, and, in some cases, armrests characterize them. The padding is covered in various materials, including fabric, leather, vinyl, and suede. This upholstery improves the chair’s comfort while also adding style and texture.
What Are Different Styles of Chairs?
Chairs come in various styles to suit various purposes and interior design preferences. Common styles include armchairs with armrests for added comfort, simple and upright dining chairs for dining tables, lounge chairs renowned for their laid-back and comfortable armchair style, and accent chairs that stand out with unusual shapes and designs.
What Are Upholstered Chairs Made Of?
Upholstered chairs are supported structurally by a sturdy frame typically made of wood or metal. The padding and upholstery materials can differ greatly.
Common options include foam for cushioning and fabric, leather, or synthetic materials for the upholstery cover. The materials used are determined by factors such as comfort, durability, and style preferences.
Are Upholstered Chairs Good?
Yes, upholstered chairs are considered good choices for several reasons. For starters, their plush padding and cushioning make them extremely comfortable.
Second, they are available in various styles and upholstery options, allowing you to tailor them to your specific needs.
Finally, because of their comfort and style, they can be used in a variety of settings, including homes, offices, restaurants, and hotels.
Why Is It Called Upholstered?
The term “upholstered” refers to the process of covering furniture with padding, fabric, or other materials. Upholstery is a process that serves both functional and aesthetic purposes. It adds a layer of cushioning for comfort while also improving the chair’s appearance. “Upholstered” means “furnished with padding and fabric or upholstery material.”
Upholstered chairs are a stylish and versatile addition to any home. They offer benefits like comfort, style, and adaptability. Think about your needs and your home’s style when picking an upholstered chair. These chairs come in different materials; choose one that’s long-lasting and simple to clean. With proper care, upholstered chairs can last for many years.