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What is an accent chair and how to choose the right one for your space

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Ed Hawes
wingback accent chair

Functional, stylish and statement-making, accent chairs can give your space an instant refresh. Not only will it provide extra seating for you or any guests, but it can also be a decorative item that will help complete the look of the room. 

Whether you want an accent chair for the living room, hallway, bedroom, home office or dining room, a lot of factors will need to be taken into consideration when it comes to choosing the perfect piece. From sumptuous velvet to cosy linen, plain or patterned, neutral or bright, the options are endless, and it can be a tricky task. 

We’ve put together this complete guide to accent chairs and will explore the best colours, styles and fabric to help you choose the right one for your space.

What is an Accent Chair?

Accent chairs, or side chairs as they’re sometimes also known, are decorative pieces of furniture that can really stand out in a room. Aside from extra seating, they’re mainly used to create a visual point of difference. For rooms that are cleverly designed and well thought out, accent chairs will draw the eye’s attention and offer a welcoming and inviting atmosphere.

You may see interior designers or enthusiasts choosing accent chairs in a different colour, shape, style of material than other pieces of furniture in the room. But, they are still able to contrast the other pieces perfectly and tie everything together. Achieving this isn’t easy but, once you get it right it’ll be worth all the extra effort.

How to Choose an Accent Chair?

Choosing an accent chair will depend entirely on the current decor of your room. For example, if you have a fairly neutral living room, choose an accent chair in a bolder colour to brighten it up and immediately draw people’s attention to it. Or, if the other sofas or armchairs in your room are made from leather, choose a faux fur chair to soften the look. It’s all about creating an aesthetically pleasing balance. 

Accent Chair Styles

There is a multitude of different accent chair styles, many of which are similar to the different armchair styles. So, it may take some time to find the perfect one. Here are some of the most popular accent chair styles:

Mid-Century Accent Chair

With smooth, approachable lines and a streamlined design, mid-century accent chairs are comfortable, functional and perfect for smaller spaces. This retro style is extremely popular with no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Modern Accent Chair

Modern accent chairs are usually armless with a simple yet eye-catching design. Sleek and uncluttered, modern styles typically focuses on clean lines, minimalism and natural materials. However, they can be spruced up by using a bold colour or fun print.

modern black accent chair

Sculptural Accent Chair

Sculptural or luxury accent chairs are an eye-catching statement that offers a luxurious feel. But, they are more made for their artistic aesthetic rather than function. These types of chairs are designed to be a focal point and are very popular in modern homes.

Best Colours for Accent Chairs

Before choosing a colour for your accent chair, first, look around your current room and assess the colour palette. Here, you should be able to identify any recurring colours such as grey sofas, curtains and lampshades. Then, you’ll want to look at the secondary colours in the room, this could be some wall art, cushions, plant pots, a rug or any other decorative item. If the colour already exists in splashes around the room, then choosing an accent chair to match will be easy and still make an impact without looking out of place.

Of course, if you want to go bolder, then choose clashing colours. If you have blue sofas then choose a bright red accent chair that people can’t help but look at. Or, if you have a dark, neutral colour scheme such as grey, choosing a stark white armchair will add some depth and lightness to the space. 

Adding pops of colour such as green, blue, orange, pink and yellow will help to create a refreshing and inviting space and completely transform the dynamic of the room in the best way possible.

Materials and Fabrics for Accent Chairs

When considering the materials and fabric options for your accent chair, again, think about what you already have in the space. If there are several different fabrics and textures already, choose something smooth and supple like leather to balance it out. Or, if you want to add some plush warmth to the space, then you can’t go wrong with a velvet accent chair - which is often scratch resistant too!


accent chair bedroom inspiration

It’s also important to consider your lifestyle when choosing the fabric. Do you have children or pets that will likely use the accent chair? Then you’ll no doubt need a stain-resistant fabric similar to our Model 03 easy-clean linen.

How to Choose a Comfortable Accent Chair

Just like choosing a comfortable sofa, choosing a comfortable accent chair is crucial for a relaxing and calming space. If the accent chair you’re buying has arms, make sure they’re sturdy and padded if that’s preferred. You’ll also need to think about the filling of the accent chair, foam and fibre are the most popular types of filling, but feather is also a luxurious option. 

The shape and size of your accent chair can make a big difference when it comes to how comfortable it is. Anything artistic or sculptural probably won’t be the most comfortable to sit on - especially if compared to a wingback style accent chair which will envelop you in its snugness.

If possible, try to test different styles of accent chairs by visiting the stores to sit on them and see which ones you like. But, if you’re buying online then make sure you carry out thorough research on the material, quality, filling and size so you can pick the best and most comfortable accent chair possible.

How to Choose an Accent Chair for Small Spaces

If you’re buying an accent chair or armchair for a small space, it’s vitally important you get the chair dimensions just right. First, measure the space where you’d ideally like the chair to go. Once you have the measurements, you can then choose a chair with the correct height, width and depth. Accent chairs are a great way to maximise space in a smaller home to make every corner usable. And, if you choose a chair that can also double up as a storage solution, then it’s a win-win situation.  

Top tip: Having an accent chair that is raised off the floor by short legs will also give the illusion of space and make the area look lighter and less bulky. Plus, it makes it much easier to clean under too. 

wingback accent chair


How to Style an Accent Chair and Pair it With Your Sofas?

Styling an accent chair can be a daunting task. You’ll want the chair to stand out without being overbearing and make sure it pairs well with other pieces in the room too. Luckily there are several ways to style and pair your accent chair.


As mentioned above, choose contrasting colours for depth or choose a monochromatic look. You can even choose clashing colours if you want to be really bold and it’ll suit the overall style of your room. Pick out other, smaller decorative items in the room to match the colour of the accent chair too, and you’ll instantly have a cohesive look.


Make sure the scale aligns with your sofas and other furniture. Ideally, the sofa and accent chair should be of a similar proportion and fit the scale of the room. It shouldn’t look too big or too small and out of place. Otherwise, there will always be something visually off about the space.

Pattern and Textures

If your curtains, for example, have a swirling pattern to them, you can match this to the accent chair to tie it all together without it being too much. Or, if your room is quite plain, this is your perfect opportunity to have some fun and get a bold pattern that will stand out. For textures, if you already have heavy textures in the room, keep the accent chair smooth and simple.


Remember to always bear in the mind the overall style of your room and what you’re trying to emanate. If you’re going for a glamorous look then a velvet accent chair will fit in perfectly. Or, if you’re wanting something darker and edifier, then leather will be your best friend. 

Shop our stunning range of accent armchairs in a range of different styles, colours and fabrics to suit your home.

Also, read our handy armchair buying guide, which features some helpful buying and styling tips.

Armchairs Ottomans

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