Accent Chair Buying Guide

The right accent chair can be a stylish, practical addition to your decor. This accent chair buying guide outlines the different types and features to consider when making a purchase.

Accent Chairs 101

Accent chairs add variety and flair to your living areas, and supply extra seating when needed. Styles range from simple to luxurious. A well-placed accent chair draws the eye and inspires creative tension in a way that enhances a room's overall decor. If a room has mostly straight lines, then a single chair with rounded edges, like a club chair or chaise lounge, can add contrast and energy. Consider a stuffed armchair with a wood frame to complement a traditional decor theme. Many modern accent chairs have flowing metal frames well suited to contemporary decor schemes. The role of the accent chair is to indulge your personal taste and tell visitors a non-verbal story that inspires conversation. 

Types of Accent Chairs


Club Chair

Exclusive men’s clubs are long gone, but the classic club chair lives on as an ideal place to read and relax at home. Designed with high arms and a low back, club chairs are traditionally finished in luxurious, eye-catching leather. They’re a great way to add an old-world accent to a family room or den. The club chair’s relatively small footprint makes it suitable for purchasing in pairs for placement on either side of a coffee table. Modern club chairs feature overstuffed cushions and printed fabrics. When combined with an ottoman, a club chair can be just as comfortable as a recliner while occupying less space.

Swivel Chair

Your lower back is the big winner when you choose a swivel chair. Typically upholstered in leather or fabric, swivel chairs offer the modest footprint of a club chair with the added benefit of a rotating base. You can always enjoy the best angle for watching TV or intimate conversation by turning your chair instead of twisting your spine. Some swivel chairs feature tub- or club-style designs that hide their swivel mechanisms. Others have exposed pedestals and bases made of wood or metal for a more contemporary look.

Chaise Lounge

There are two basic types of chaise lounges: couch style and lounge chair style. Couch style chaise lounges have flat sitting surfaces and often feature stylized backs and armrests. This model of chaise lounge often has a wood frame and is well appointed with turned legs and leather upholstery. Chair style models resemble reclining beds and typically have a contoured sitting surface to elevate the knees for added comfort. An overstuffed chair style chaise lounge with a synthetic cover can be an upholstered playground for your children, or a soft landing spot for you and your significant other after a long day.

Rocking Chair

A traditional or gliding rocker is a must-have item in every nursery room. New moms know the benefits of keeping a well-cushioned rocking chair beside the crib or in a corner of the nursery for nights when baby is restless. When your child gets older, you can move a handsome wood rocker to the family room for a conversation piece and occasional chair. Rockers with separate cushions tend to be lighter and easier to maintain. Choose a sliding or gliding rocking chair if you prefer to slide back forth and rock at the same time.


Any chair with armrests qualifies as an armchair, and your selection is practically endless. The type of armrest distinguishes one armchair style from another and provides a strong hint as to how the chair is best used. Overstuffed, rolled armrests offer generous arm support for passive relaxation. Wider, square-top armrests provide a flat surface on which to rest a coffee mug, serving dish or remote control. Square-back easy chairs generally offer the widest armrests. Armchairs with bent wood, metal or tubular steel armrests are true accent pieces that emphasize style over comfort.  

Wing Chair

This variation on the armchair or easy chair dates back centuries but never gets old. The distinctive "wings" that extend forward from the chair's back on either side of your head were originally intended to protect against chilly drafts and fireplace sparks. Contemporary wing chairs come in a multitude of eye-catching patterns and designs while retaining the characteristic wing design. Tasteful retooling of the traditional shape has helped the wing chair remain a popular and attractive style to accent any room.

Tub Chair

Tub chairs tend to be deeper than they are wide and are somewhat barrel-shaped with wraparound arms. These chairs occupy a relatively small footprint and were originally designed to provide comfortable seating in small spaces. Available in leather or fabric and with or without legs, they can complement any design setting from relaxed to formal. Modern versions of the tub chair often feature thick upholstery and some have swivel mechanisms. Crafted, wood-frame tub chairs can accent a dining area and serve as extra seating at the table.


If you require a chair that's bigger than a single chair and smaller than a loveseat, you should consider a chair-and-a-half. This unusual chair style is an appealing option for small rooms or as extra seating in larger rooms with an existing couch and chair. A chair-and-a-half is ideal for cuddling with a child or furry friend, or curling up with a good book. Look for a model with a matching footstool for added comfort and style.

Cuddler Chair

With its low back and encircling arms, a cuddler chair somewhat resembles a loveseat-sized tub chair. Most models are round or oval, making them great for corners, while some are rectangular. You'll enjoy curling up with your loved one on the cuddler chair's thick upholstery and cozy fabric. The cushy sides will envelop you both like big, soft hugging arms. Cuddler chairs typically have loose back cushions that you can arrange for a custom fit. A cuddler chair can sub for a loveseat or sofa in small rooms or be used in combination with other furniture in a larger space.

Captain’s Chair

You don’t have to live on a houseboat to own a captain’s chair. The name only refers to the maritime origins of the design. A captain's chair is typically made of wood and has a spindle back and saddle seat. Some captain’s chairs have upholstered seats and armrests and feature nail-head detailing in keeping with the nautical theme. The masculine lines of a captain’s chair can accent a den or provide additional seating in a games room or bar area.

Accent Chair Buying Tips:

• Go with a bolder style or pattern for added visual impact
• A pair of matching accent chairs can add symmetry to a room
• Choose thicker upholstery if the chair will be used heavily
• Uniquely shaped or ultra-modern chairs add contrast and visual appeal
• Select easy-care fabrics for high traffic, family and media rooms
• A chaise lounge or recliner fits a low-traffic area where you like to nap or read

Accent Chair Features

Upholstery +

Leather is a popular covering for all kinds of accent chairs, but only genuine leather is made from tanned hide. Check the product specs to confirm. Bonded or synthetic leather is easier on the budget but will show wear more quickly. Stain-resistant synthetic fabrics are recommended for high-traffic areas and busy, young families. Woven natural fibres are attractive and durable but are best suited to formal living rooms, away from food and activity areas.

Frames +

Most traditional accent chairs have wood frames, and the best wood frames are made from kiln-dried hardwood. A quality frame has strong joints that are glued, dowelled and screwed. In larger chairs especially, the corners should be further supported with reinforcing blocks. Frames made from softwood are more affordable but tend to wear down more quickly. Metal and plastic are often used to construct lightweight, modern or sculptural chairs. Accent chairs based on abstract or extreme designs may appear flimsy but can, in fact, be quite reliable.

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Accent Chair Maintenance Tips:

• Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for care and maintenance
• Use a slipcover to protect delicate upholstery or refresh worn chairs
• Use only leather-specific products to clean leather-upholstered chairs
• Use a lint roller or brush to remove pet hair from fabric upholstery
• Routinely vacuum to remove dust and debris
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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