Chairs have existed for centuries—although, believe it or not, they were traditionally used to symbolise authority or higher community standing (ironic as that is). Although chairs are nowadays synonymous with stools or (park) benches (which, in addition to [treasure] chests, were the commonplace seating options), the original authoritative connotations carry over to words and phrases such as ‘chairman’ or ‘chair of the board’. (Ever been to university? If you have, you’ll notice that the head of a unit of study is often called a ‘Unit Chair’.)

Come forward a few centuries and you’ll find that chairs are commonplace. In fact, they are an integral part of almost every room in the contemporary living space. There are upholstered designs specifically for the living room. There are slimmer, more wooden designs made for kitchen and dining areas (the former of which are variants on a traditional stool). There are chairs for the computer or study, which fall halfway plush and firm. You can even offset bedrooms and bathrooms with a single accent chair.

Whatever decor you have on display, there’s likely a chair to match it. Sit back and relax in that chair you’re almost definitely sitting in (if you’re not lying back in a bed), and read about three types of chairs that can make your decor sparkle.

Occasional Chairs

Occasional chairs (often going hand-in-hand with accent chairs) don’t have a set design. Armed or armless, wooden or upholstered—these chairs set themselves apart from the rest. By their nature, are unique and never presented as part of a set. They are intended to offset your room by drawing attention to a focal point. Occasional chairs are great for when you’re entertaining guests. So long as the space is used correctly, they can also be a nice touch for the bedroom or bathroom.

This grey Bondi Chair makes a great occasional chair. It simultaneously stands out and blends in with the wall/decor. Image: 1825 Interiors

Side Chairs

Like occasional chairs, side chairs don’t have a specific mold, although they are usually armless and—especially in cases of living room use—upholstered. As the name suggests, side chairs are designed for the outskirts of your living room or dining table. They border the room (or table) with an understated design—whether they’re made from wood, plastic, or metal.


This grey Enzo Dining Chair could be used to accentuate your dining table at either end. Image: 1825 Interiors

These chairs are great if you require additional seating. They’re also small enough to fill those little pockets of awkward living room space. Despite their understated design, they could also make great accent pieces to border either end of your dining table. The variation in design speaks to the authoritative traditions of chairs: ‘head of the table’, anyone?


Who doesn’t love a good recliner chair? Usually made from leather, recliners are designed with one thing in mind: comfort. They are often equipped with retractable footrests—so you can put your feet up as you read, watch TV, or even take a nap. Despite their single-toned appearance, recliner chairs are among one of the most luxurious chairs around. These are usually shaded in neutrals, so choose one that will match your walls or subtly offset your living room decor.