The perfect nook for napping, chatting, tucking up your tootsies with a cuppa or ‘resting’ your clothing, the occasional chair is the ultimate in versatile furniture pieces. It’s comfy in multiple rooms in your home from your boudoir to the office, entryway and lounge.
By definition, an occasional chair is a (somewhat) transportable chair that’s used less frequently. Substantial but light, it can float between rooms without too much effort. It accents, even transforms, your aesthetic.
Here are five tips to guide you through the art of occasional seating.
DEFINE ITS USE
Identify your expectations for this piece. Do you want it to be able to move from room to room easily or will it realistically serve just one purpose? Are you thinking office, dining, lounge, or bedroom – or a combination? Is indoor/outdoor functionality important? These questions will dictate the style that’s right for you.
If you’re looking for flexibility, a slipper chair (a chair without arms) is a great option. It serves as a chic extension of your wardrobe, an understated entryway chair or a handy storage spot in your bathroom to house your guest towels. But are you prepared for it to make its living room debut? Occasional chairs are perfect for pulling out when you entertain large groups. If wining and dining is your bag, opt for an adaptable design.
If you’re a lover of literature (we’re talking Tolstoy to trashy mags), that spot in the dappled sun will most likely be your armchair’s forever home. If your chair is not going to move (much), prioritise plush over portable.
Having a clear idea of what purpose this piece will serve will help you to make the right decision for the long term.
ASSESS YOUR SPACE
Transparent or open-framed chairs like a Replica Louis VIII Ghost Chair or the Amalfi Graphix Metal Occasional Chair also enhance the sense of space. Ottomans and poufs (though not strictly occasional seating!) are also a great space-saving options. Where space is no concern, you’re spoilt for choice. Indulge your taste – from historic high-back to boxy and ball-shaped, plush velvet to rattan…
ACCENT OR COMPLIMENT?
Take a good look at your space and analyse its aesthetic. Is your design landscape holistic or eclectic? Whether your look is crisp contemporary, French provincial or a fusion of the two, you want to enhance what’s already working in your home.
Do you want a chair that makes a statement? Or one that plays a supporting role in your existing scheme?
In eclectic spaces, a bold occasional chair can add charm or a touch of history. A plush armchair amidst urban industrial furnishings, polished concrete and distressed wood injects a touch of stately elegance. Equally where your sofa or rug is the hero in your space, an understated neutral piece provides the perfect balance.
Unless you are splashing out on a complete refurbishment, you’ll be working with an existing colour scheme. Look with new eyes. Identifying an alternative accent colour can revitalise your entire aesthetic without costing a bomb.
In neutral spaces, combine creams with natural fibres and metallics for subtle highlights. Exploit graduations within your theme for luxe sophistication – explore the fifty shades of grey…
Being brave can pay off. However if your look is Old-English-aged-leather-library and you’re considering a scarlet red wingback armchair, you’ll need to support this within the rest of your decor. Throw cushions or a rug that echoes your accent colour(s) help to endorse a look-at-me chair.
ADD TEXTURED INTEREST
Finally, think about the materials you are merging within your space. A design-scape rich in texture and patina is more visually interesting.
Mid-century mod lines can be softened with a soft cable-knit or alpaca throw, while animal hide poufs and stools add drama to an urban-industrial style. Natural fibres, distressed wood, leather and iron and natural fibres all contribute unique personality to your aesthetic.
Feature images via from left: rdeco.gr, thewrongsideofsane.wordpress.com and domesticnotions.blogspot.com.