There are so many different types of chairs that come in so many styles, sizes and prices, we would need a textbook-size amount of space to cover them all, so we’ve selected 10 of the most popular styles on today’s market that are trendy and popular.
Accessorize your home or office with the 10 types of chairs we profile in this review and you’ll always have a comfy place to sit.
Each chair style is accompanied by a couple of pictures to get an idea of how they look.
Table of Contents
1. Accent chair
Perhaps the best way to describe an accent chair is to compare this piece of furniture to a chameleon. It adapts seamlessly to any setting, but not necessarily because it matches the room’s colors, style or functionality.
Some accent chairs are chosen specifically to provide a room with a touch of contrast or a focal point. At other times, they match everything else in the room. Usually belonging to the upholstered furniture class, accent chairs can be large or small, but they’re often “sculptural” in nature so they add a touch of drama and extra seating to any room setting.
2. Bergère chair
Love decorating with a European flair? Add at least one Bergère chair to your decorating scheme. This French-inspired furnishing is rooted in the past, introduced to 17th Century society by French nobility who first commissioned furniture makers to craft a chair meeting these criteria: it must be unique, elegant and comfortable.
You can identify the Bergère style chair by its exposed wood frame, upholstered back and seat, but seat cushions aren’t always attached. These chairs fit into living rooms but they’re especially appropriate for bedrooms paired with matching ottomans. Looking to decorate your home like a palace on the budget of a chambermaid? You could achieve that aim with this chair.
3. Fauteuil chair
While we’re on the subject of French-inspired furniture, we’d like to introduce a cousin of the Bergère chair: The Fauteuil.
This ornate, upholstered chair always features elegant textile upholstery and the easiest way to identify it is to look for this armchair’s open sides.
The upholstered touches—seat, arm pads and back—may or may not be attached. Usually crafted of wood, this chair’s frame will always be exposed, so if you find a chair that doesn’t exhibit this feature, you may not be looking at a Fauteuil chair.
On the other hand, if you spot cabriole rather than straight legs, this is a good clue that you’ve properly identified this chair’s pedigree.
4. Rocking chair
The French may insist elegant chair design is their exclusive domain, but America gets credit for the rocking chair.
Furniture historians speculate that the child’s rocking horse or cradle inspired the first design, but Benjamin Franklin gets full credit for its invention around 1710.
Functional, simple and equally at home in baby’s nursery or on a front porch, rocking chairs have evolved from a one-style-fits-all look to variations that include the Windsor, Boston, Bentwood and Adirondack.
Style identification is based on the way slats, curves and embellishments are shaped. Credited with helping moms get babies to sleep, rocking chairs also provide comfort to those seeking the calming, therapeutic tempo that soothes the mind and the body.
5. Chesterfield chair
The Chesterfield chair is an adaptation of the Chesterfield sofa, but even historians argue about this ornate chair’s origins.
The Earl of Chesterfield may have inspired the name, but rumor favors the chair being commissioned by Lord Philip Stanhope, the 4th Earl (1694-1773) of Chesterfield.
Choose your favorite if you like regaling your guests with history behind your furnishings. How can you detect a true Chesterfield? Look for low club-styling that takes its lead from the sofa plus beefy scroll arms that are the same height as the chair back.
Most often studded with buttons or tufted, Chesterfield chairs are frequently made of leather, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find them covered in velvet, traditional textiles or even mink!
6. Dining chair
According to the Old Testament, chairs were reserved for Pharaohs and kings, serving as thrones rather than seating. Commoners dined on floor mats until societies realized that eating on the ground introduced dirt into foods being served. Stools are thought to be precursors to dining chairs but once backs were added, space became the biggest design factor.
Fitting six or 12 chairs beneath a tabletop required skillful planning. For centuries, wood was used exclusively in the manufacture of dining chairs and it still remains a favorite framing material, though metals and plastics have become equally popular. Available in every furnishing style and period under the sun, not every decorator insists that their dining room chairs match each other. You may follow that trend if you love to change things up.
7. Adirondack chair
The original design of the Adirondack chair is credited to Massachusetts native Thomas Lee who spent summers in Westport, New York in the heart of this mountainous area.
Lee dropped out of Harvard Law school to devote himself to nature and creating a chair that suited the region’s rugged terrain. Fortunately, Lee’s family was wealthy and could support him because it took him three years to perfect his chair’s iconic shape, armrests, high back silhouette and slanted seat.
Lee’s final version was sturdy, balanced and comfortable and shoppers snapped them up once they hit the market because they fit where other chairs wouldn’t: On flat surfaces, sandy beaches and hilly terrain. The Adirondack chair has stood the test of time and come to personify the quintessential “lawn chair,” whether crafted of wood, plastic or molded materials.
8. Chaise longue chair
Egyptologists have found evidence of chaise longue chairs circa 3100 to 2890 BC. The earliest chairs were made of palm fronds woven with cords or rawhide, but over time, frames were made of ivory and ebony.
Popular with Romans, Greeks and the French, chaise longues served as throne-room recliners for royalty and relaxation benches for pregnant women, reaching their apex in Victorian England where every woman of means required one for her boudoir.
Contemporary lifestyles literally pushed these chairs out of the house, which is why chaise longues are now usually relegated to patios, around pools and in other outdoor settings. They come in a wide range of materials and prices. If you’ve got a pool or patio frequented by family and friends, you likely own some of these already.
9. Deck chair
What’s the difference between a chaise longue and a deck chair? Not much, say furniture historians, though to be fair, deck chairs are designed to be used as seating on boat decks, whether that craft happens to be small cruiser or the Titanic.
Based on an Egyptian seat that’s considered the first folding chair design, deck chairs became popular in the 17th Century when there was a need for collapsible chairs that could be set up so witnesses could watch executions.
The deck chair received a makeover when John Thomas Moore filed for a patent in 1886 and marketed them to boat owners and folks in need of portable seating to watch lawn tennis matches. Whether made of webbing, canvas or textiles, today’s deck chair remains a popular shopping choice for anyone seeking to furnish their boats with collapsible chairs that can be stowed when not in use. Far as we can tell, they’re no longer used for witnessing executions.
10. Office chair
Mind if we credit the Industrial Revolution with the advent of and need for office chairs? After all, until the world began to conduct business on a large scale, people worked at home or built careers in retail, where workers were encouraged to do everything but sit down.
A mid-19th century invention, the first office chair was made around 1840 by explorer Charles Darwin who put wheels on the feet of one of his chairs so he could move around more adroitly.
As workplaces evolved, it became evident that office workers would need places to sit to process paperwork, but don’t kid yourself into thinking that bosses took pity on workers with sedentary jobs. In fact, time-motion studies proved that clerical employees are more productive if they stay seated rather than standing.
Like fashion, office furnishings became the darling of designers eager to match chairs to decorating schemes. In 1976 the ergonomic office chair was introduced, but the trend toward home offices is likely the biggest reason this style of chair remains so diverse and popular.