5 Easy Tips for Decorating With Accent Chairs

In this post: 5 things to look for when decorating with accent chairs. Whether you want a set or just one, this guide to buying accent chairs will help you choose!

navy blue accent chair in living room

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When decorating a living space, many elements are involved. Sofas, chairs, tables, rugs, soft furnishings, etc. This post concentrates on chairs, which can be broken down into two categories: comfortable arm chairs (that are used for lounging) and accent chairs. Accent chairs are usually smaller than the other furniture in a room. They are substantially smaller than a lounge chair or wing chair. They fit nicely in a corner or in a grouping around a table. Generally, an accent chair isn’t meant to be used for long periods of time. Comfort is a consideration, of course, but size and scale are important as well. Decorating with accent chairs fills empty corners, and fills in empty spaces in conversation areas. 

The wide tufted slipper chair pictured above is no longer available. I found this armless accent chair that’s very similar in a lovely shade of beige. I also love this navy accent chair. This swoop arm accent chair is also a great choice and is available in over 30 patterns.

Here are a few things to consider when you are decorating with accent chairs. By focusing on these details, you can choose pieces that add interest and charm to any room.

Take my spring home tour for simple decor ideas that will freshen your home and welcome the season. Features fresh flowers and easy farmhouse touches.

Tips for Decorating with Accent Chairs

Arms or Not?

A good choice for an accent chair is a “slipper chair.” Slipper chairs (my personal favorite) are armless and sit lower to the ground. They were originally used in bedrooms for ladies to sit and slip on their shoes. They have definitely left the bedroom and are now found in main living areas. A set of slipper chairs is perfect for flanking a fireplace or a large piece of furniture. One or two slipper accent chairs can add a touch of the unexpected to any space.

Fabric

Chair fabric is the perfect place to insert some of your personal style. Choose a favorite color or pattern…or stay neutral so the chair(s) can move around your house. I purchased the chair below for one of our guest bedrooms, and it could literally go in any room of our home.

Tufting

The one thing that will take an accent chair up a level (or two) is tufting. Tufting is achieved by attaching buttons through an upholstered piece and pulling the thread tight. This results in “tufts,” or indentations in the back or seat of a chair. Tufting sometimes (but not always)  bumps the price of a chair up a bit, but the texture it adds is definitely worth it. A tufted accent chair is perfect for any style decor.

tufted chair in living room with neutral pillow

Get the ivory button tufted wing chair pictured above.

Piping

Piping on an accent chair adds a finishing touch. It is a trim applied to the seams of a chair, usually around the edges of seats, arms, and backs. Piping can be highlighted even more when it’s made in a complimentary color. It pops off the main color and adds interest and depth to an accent chair.

Leg Style

Most smaller accent chairs have exposed legs. Choosing a leg style that reflects your own personal style is the best route to go. If you like modern or contemporary furniture, choose a sleek and plain leg. For traditional style, a carved or turned leg would work well. Some accent chairs even come with casters which add a lovely, vintage touch.

pair of tufted chairs in living room with fall decor

Do Accent Chairs Need to Match?

There is no simple answer to this question, because it’s a matter of taste. Personally, a matching set of anything makes me smile. I love symmetry, and a matching set of chairs can quickly add it to any room. One instance where accent chairs would not have to match is if they are being used on opposite corners of a room. If the chairs are separated, there is no reason they have to match. If the chairs are side-by-side, or in a corner, my opinion is that it’s best that they match. 

When it’s time to buy!

Buying accent chairs can be can be fun, and it doesn’t have to break the bank. I’ve purchased two sets of accent chairs online, and nothing could be easier or more convenient. Both sets came fully assembled except for the legs…which I attached in just a few minutes. Find some good choices below for buying accent chairs online.

Click the image below for more information!

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32 Comments

  1. I think the gray and ivory tweed chair is a perfect chair that looks as if it takes up very little space but has arms and tufting so it appears to be comfy too!
    Sometimes when you go to find a piece of furniture you can be uncertain what the exact name of the item might be so your description of an accent chair was very helpful.
    In order to look up the accent chair with spindles, I’ve always just googled “spindle chair”..thank goodness that did help me find what I was looking for:0)
    Thanks Ann!

  2. Anne Marie says:

    This information is great – I needed this!

  3. C. Gresham says:

    Most of the chairs pictured have arms and could definitely be used for relaxing. That contradicts the statement you used as a descriptor for accent chairs. I am a little confused. Do I have accent chairs in my home? C.G.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hello! What I meant was that accent chairs aren’t large, nor are they cushy. When I think of relaxing in a chair, I picture a big chair with thick cushions, or a recliner. Thanks for your comment!

  4. Rachel Frampton says:

    I recently moved into my new apartment, and I’m so excited to change its interiors and add some furniture of my liking. I think placing an accent chair into my living room will be a great idea. I like your suggestion of choosing a leg style of the chair that reflects my style. I wonder where I can purchase some good quality furniture.

  5. Andrea Boylin says:

    Any tips on the height of the back of the chair related to the height of what it sits next to? We have a high mantel that goes across the length of one end of the living room. Accent chairs seem too short.

  6. I’ve just started looking for a pair of chairs for my living room and this is a great round up! I especially like the Verona chair and the gray tufted style. I loved the blue and white pillows with tassels in one of the photos. Did you make those? If not, could you share the source? Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Oh yes!! I have 2 accent chairs in our living room that are matching. At one point they were placed separately across from one another. They are armless linen chairs with tufted backs. Currently, they are pushed together so that they resemble a settee. Either way they are wonderful and I can’t imagine not having them. They came from Wayfair years ago!!

  8. Susan Cecere says:

    I love your blog, I learn so much. I have a slipper chair in my bedroom, which I use when dressing. My aunt loves muffins and can not go a day without one for breakfast. Fortunately I have all the ingredients in hand, I am going to make them right away. My aunt will love them and be a nice surprise when I get her up.

  9. I purchased 4 small beautiful blue velvet upholstery in the seats, wood chairs, with wood carved backs, two with crosses and two others with details, hard to describe, but small and exquisitely designed at a yard sale. They had been in the this family for generations and I was thrilled to find them. The rich blue brocade upholstery is in perfect condition and I placed one at my kitchen desk, one at my other desk, one in my master bathroom and one on my master bedroom. What treasures. Would you believe $50 for all four! I think she realized how excited I was about them that she knew I would care for them.

  10. Accent chairs can make a room. Enjoying your creative use and designer eye, great read!

  11. I just found a royal blue vintage high end consignment accent chair with silver piping and I’m in love! Piping can really accent an accent chair!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I agree…and enjoy your chair!

  12. I’ve been looking for something to fill an empty space in my living room for under $300 and an accent chair is exactly that!

  13. These are all great tips, and I agree I love the slipper style of chair. The armless chairs feel so freeing and more open.

  14. I’m not one for patterns, but I do love a pop of color that really adds uniqueness to a room. Accent chairs are definitely a great way to accomplish that. I will have to check out some slipper chairs!

  15. I’m partial to neutral-toned accent chairs. Helps to be able to make any room look nicer when I have people over.

  16. My mom has been looking for a new accent chair for almost two whole years. I am definitely going to pass along these awesome tips to her, thank you!

  17. My husband loves plain rooms and I love lots of color. Accent chairs is actually exactly how we meet in the middle!

  18. I had no idea so much consideration went into picking an accent chair! I love all of the row 3 ones.

  19. Debra Matcovich says:

    I don’t know how to buy chairs on line. I see such beautiful ones, but I need to sit on them. When I was looking for a comfy chair for my bedroom, I sat in so many of them before I made my purchase.

  20. I could really use an accent chair in my room! Viyet seems to have so many great options, definitely checking them out!

  21. These are some amazing options! I have an antique chair that I found years ago in my living room and it absolutely ties the room together. I love to see what vintage sellers find and have available before I buy anything new.

  22. Great tips, and I love your accent chairs, they look beautiful in the room.

  23. Victoria Hoerchler says:

    Hi! Love your informative articles. The accent chair very helpful. It is something I will keep in mind when purchasing this type of furniture. Thank you, Victoria H

  24. Thanks for the tips. Very helpful and informative.

  25. Deb Pemberton says:

    Ann,
    Thank you for having such an informative blog that has a variety of subjects. Love the chair information. Your blog is my go-to for the variety that you offer. Another great post!

  26. I definitely think color is everything, I would love to have accent chairs that are a vibrant beautiful color!

  27. Another wonderful post! I love your style and always look forward to the expert tips you share. Your home is so lovely!

  28. Great post! I wish you’d do something similar with swivel rockers. I need two of them so I position for either conversation or TV watching w/o moving the entire chair. They are totally difficult to find. When I search I come up with a lot of nursery gliders, which I think might be too small in scale for a living room. Any tips??

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Yes I bet swivel rockers are hard to find. I do think that nursery rockers have come a long way. They are so comfortable now and some are full-size chairs. If you find one in the color you like, it might be worth a try! I know Pottery Barn Kids has a great selection. They have good sales too.

    2. I have a swivel rocker that is very comfortable made by Ethan Allen. I’m not sure if they still have the exact style.