Furnishing

The most eye-catching armchairs

Sira Huwiler-Flamm

For years, large three-piece suites were the style-defining feature of every living room – now they are well and truly out. Instead, delicate sofas and armchairs are making a comeback – and can be combined boldly in any way you like. Eight types of chair and their advantages.

A lounge chair in an ocher tone with a metal base and a comfortable bucket seat stands in the middle of a light-flooded room with high windows. In the background, a racing bike can be seen beneath the large window facade.
© Getty Images / Westend61

In this article

1. The lounge chair: an unconventional eye-catcher

Have you been to that cool bar in the city center that has such comfortable, eye-catching armchairs? Whatever the city, restaurants, bars and hotels are increasingly opting for individual furnishings. And armchairs – whether with original velvet upholstery, in modern, creative or individual shapes – define the whole style of the establishment.

Lounge armchairs usually have low backs but a striking design – be it due to their shape, material or a particularly flashy color. Anything goes, from a royal throne to a club chair in art deco style or a futuristic round capsule. Cocktail armchairs in the typical 1950s design are particularly trendy. Beanbags also fit in with the worldwide hip industrial style – they are not quite chairs but serve the same purpose and look wonderfully unconventional and unorthodox.

2. The rocking chair: like a seesaw floating on the clouds

A rocking chair on the veranda – the symbol of a happy old age. With its soft upholstery, this retro piece of furniture hasn’t gone out of fashion at all, but can often be found in modern living rooms.

Runners turn the chair into a gentle seesaw that is good for body, mind and soul. A number of studies have shown that swinging calms people, stimulates their sense of balance and can even relieve back pain. Researchers from the University of Geneva also found out in 2011 that even adults sleep better and deeper thanks to swinging movements – just like babies being rocked.

3. The wing chair: a retro-touch for the reading corner

The wing chair is the absolute classic among armchairs. It is not only reminiscent of the days when granddad used to read the newspaper while smoking a pipe in his wing chair – but is also fully back in fashion.

With its high back and side rests, the wing chair is a cozy retreat for individualists. Its shell shape offers a feeling of security. Light-colored versions or designs with floral, striped or checked patterns look good in country style rooms. Dark models with heavy velvety fabrics represent a real eye-catching feature in the reading corner.

A young woman has made herself comfortable for reading in a light blue wing chair with a sheepskin throw.

A wing chair does not have to look rustic at all. As well as being comfortable, it is an all-rounder chair that offers a cozy retreat for bookworms and individualists.

4. The Chesterfield chair: the stylish classic

With greasy metal rivets, heavy real leather, and traces of wear and tear if possible: that’s the Chesterfield armchair. The British design classic gets its name from the Earl of Chesterfield. This is because in the late 18th century, the British nobleman and politician Philip Dormer Stanhope, the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, is said to have commissioned this collection of seating furniture. There are others who claim to have designed the famous Chesterfield upholstered furniture. However, as legend has it, Stanhope requested the design of a comfortable piece of seating furniture in which it would be possible to sit upright without wrinkling your clothing too much.

Since the seat is usually low while the back is straight, you tend to sit upright in a Chesterfield armchair instead of sinking into it. Even today, you can still find the sweeping and sturdily designed leather chair with button stitching everywhere – even antique, used and worn pieces are still very popular: shabby is chic! Modern alternatives tend to have grooves in the upholstered backrests as well as buttons.

5. The folding chair: a hidden guest bed

Armchairs don’t take up much more space than regular chairs – but offer much more comfort. If you have a small apartment and would still like to have a guest bed ready for overnight visitors, you can fall back on a folding armchair, for example.

With a few simple steps, a Recamier couch can be converted into a bed for one person. Foldable versions are available in modern square shapes, but there are also round and cozy models, so that you can’t guess the furniture’s hidden function.

6. The reclining chair: relax and make yourself comfortable

Reclining or television chairs are particularly softly upholstered. They are often made of extra-soft genuine leather and come with an additional stool or a fold-out backrest for tired feet. The backrest is so high that you can comfortably rest your head while binge-watching the latest series. The armrests are also softly upholstered.

If you prefer lying rather than sitting down, a reclining lounger could be the right choice. Thanks to its delicate, curved shape, it adjusts to the natural forms of the human body.

A reclining chair with a modern curved shape in dark brown leather is located in front of a fireplace. In front of it is a matching stool that can be used as a footrest or side table.

Modern reclining chairs come in curved shapes and are available with a matching stool that can be used as a footrest or side table.

7. The high-tech armchair: wellness meets gaming fun

There are numerous reclining or television chairs available for technology enthusiasts. Some even offer high-tech functions. The most comfortable version is probably the massage chair. Air currents, air cushions, kneading balls and rollers that have been built in under the upholstery imitate the pleasant movements of a masseur according to selectable massage programs – and create a wellness area in the living room.

Technical functions such as backrests that are adjustable by remote control are simpler and less expensive. For gamers, there are also special gaming chairs, which feature Bluetooth-capable audio systems and speakers in the headrest and subwoofers or vibration systems in the backrest or seat: action guaranteed.

8. The chaise longue

The chaise longue (French: long chair) is a cross between an armchair and a sofa. But since it was originally designed as a piece of seating and reclining furniture for one person, it still deserves a mention here. Chaise longues with a raised head end, invented in France, became popular in the rococo period. Even today they are still available in various designs – from classic, curved and playful to angular and modern.

Similar models with two armrests and a longer seat are often referred to today as XXL armchairs. Here, too, a person can sit comfortably with outstretched legs and spend several cozy hours relaxing.

Conclusion: something for every taste

Small sofas and armchairs can be combined boldly in any way you like in modern homes. For a cozy feel, you can opt for reclining, rocking or wing chairs; if you are more practically minded, you can choose folding chairs and upholstered seats with technical functions that offer real added value in the home.

Other alternatives that may be a little less cozy, because design comes first, are chaise longues, Chesterfield furniture and lounge chairs. The latter are the most versatile when it comes to shapes, colors and finishes, and offer the right piece for every style of interior design. Goodbye three-piece suite, hello unique individual furnishings!

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