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You're pleased with your colour scheme, you're happy with the sofa and cushions, but your living room is still lacking something… sound familiar? Let us introduce you some transformative living room accent chair ideas. Accent chairs are one of the most underrated style additions any living room can have!
These one-off chairs are a great way to add the finishing touch to your scheme and add a personal touch, whether it's with a stand-out colour or pattern, or a contrasting shape that immediately draws your eye.
Not only that, but they're highly versatile, too. Need extra seating for guests? Perhaps you could do with your chair moved to another room for a special occasion? And the likelihood is that even if you change your sofa or decor, your accent chair will live on long after.
Living room accent chair ideas
This transformative piece of furniture can be used to add colour, texture, pattern and indulge your love for interior design, so whether you choose a contrasting style or something more subtle, make sure you take your time and put some thought into the type of accent chair that will work best for you and your living room.
So, how do you go about picking one, we hear you ask? What should you be looking for when it comes to your accent chair and what models are most popular? To help you decide, we've created a round-up of ideas to give your living room a style boost and have you picking out your perfect living room accent chair in no time.
1. Make a statement with a bold accent shade
What's the first thing that catches your eye when you look at this living room? If it's the accent chair then that's a sign to indulge in your favourite colour. There are so many beautiful colours to choose from when it comes to upholstered furniture, but if you're not sure about going for one that's bright or bold with your sofa, an accent chair will allow you to trial it out first without the big spend.
'The great thing about an accent chair is that you can go as big and bold with the colour as you like,' says Charlie Marshall, founder of Loaf. 'Make a statement with brighter fabrics that really pack a punch.'
2. Compliment an existing colour scheme
Look at the colour scheme in your living room and choose either a lighter or darker tone of the same colour. In this purple living room idea, a darker shade has been used on the sofa and rug, while the accent chair is in a vibrant fuchsia pink and the walls painted a dusky mauve – all varying shades of the same palette. The fact that it's in touchy-feely velvet just adds to it's luxurious appearance.
3. Design a symmetrical layout
Wondering how to arrange your living room furniture? Don't for a minute think that your accent chair needs to be tucked into a corner – instead, move your furniture away from the walls and create a central seating spot. Placing your accent chair opposite your sofa creates a neat, almost formal appearance, while adding a square chest or coffee table next to the chair gives it the length needed to create a symmetrical effect.
4. Incorporate different materials
Rather than trying to make your accent chair match your sofa, you could choose one that's very obviously different, not only in shape but materials, too. By doing so you'll make it a standout piece in its own right and create a much more interesting scheme.
A plump traditional-style sofa in blue cotton fabric is the staple in this subtle blue sofa living room idea, while the accent chair, with its modern Scandic-look timber frame and rich, tactile leather seat is a very different style. Whereas the sofa has rounded arms and fabric slip covers, the leather chair has lengthy angular lines and a minimal air to it.
The thing that keeps them working well together is that the colour and materials have been continued through to the rest of the decor, from the wood elements on the coffee table, to the brown frames and rustic-look wallpaper with its blue and orange tint.
5. Go for a pair of accent chairs
Remember that symmetrical look we were talking about earlier? It's the same principal here, but this time two matching accent chairs face the sofa, rather than one, echoing its width and creating balance. Although the materials are different on both the sofa and chairs, the two are similar in that they both feature very curvy, rounded shapes and are all neutral colours.
While the sofa is a lush velvet, the two accent chairs are a beautiful on-trend teddy-bear bouclé and in our opinion are the type of chairs that you won't want to leave, such is their comfortable hug-you tub shape.
Buy now: Nest chair in Malham Ivory, £599, Sofology (opens in new tab)
6. Create a quiet reading spot
Prefer to keep your accent chair separate? Then make a dedicated spot for reading, relaxing or working in your living room with a small side table and lamp next to it. Opting for a striking pattern or colour gives you that visual stop-and-stare moment and, of course, you'll want to ensure it's comfortable – the type of chair that invites you to pause and take a pew, whether it's to make a call, enjoy a spot in the sun by a window, or even catch 40 winks!
Buy now: Zambia accent chair in leopard and black combination, £449, DFS (opens in new tab)
7. Make it match
Now as much as we've been telling you to pick a contrasting accent chair, there's also room for those that prefer their furniture to match. You don't have to go for the exact same range as your sofa, but picking a chair in the same fabric and with matching colour legs will help the two sit harmoniously within your scheme, meaning you can allow your eye to be drawn to your accessories and decor instead.
The accent chair here is in the same light grey fabric with blonde wood legs, but the differences lie with the button back and longer leg frame. Siting it to the side of your sofa creates a snug layout that is brightened with pretty cushions in floral, geometric and botanical prints, and a coral and eau de Nil colour scheme.
8. Pair an accent chair with a matching footstool
There's nothing to say your accent chair has to be a standalone piece – find one with a matching footstool and you've got yourself a nice little living room set with added comfort to put your feet up on.
You'll notice the check fabric used on this accent chair works perfectly within this earthy living room, with the colours echoed in the cushions and throw, and the pattern carried through to the footstool.
9. Go for tone-on-tone colour
Take inspiration from your living room walls when it comes to picking a colour for your accent chair. Choosing a material that's a shade lighter or darker than your paint or wallpaper colour will create a colour gradient that you can easily add to with other accessories, for a harmonious living room scheme.
Another touch, when going for a tone-on-tone design like this is to keep your chair cushions the same colour – think blue-on-blue-on-blue. It's not for everyone, but if you love a colour, why not maximise it?
10. Neutrals can still add interest
Neutrals have really come into their own in the last few years, with new materials and textures making furniture pieces just as interesting as their brighter-coloured counterparts. If you're opting for an accent chair that's not bold in colour, but still want it to add something extra to your scheme, choose a design that has an interesting fabric or shape.
A woven design with separate back and seat on a rich dark wood frame is certainly striking enough, but when paired with similar materials for the rug, side table and even the overhead light shade, it becomes part of a group of objects that enhance and complement each other.
What is an accent chair?
An accent chair is essentially an armchair or occasional chair that sits additionally to the sofa in a living room or family room. Whether a single statement chair or a pair, accent chairs are there to provide extra seating.
'A really good armchair that will last for years still needs to have a solid timber frame' says Charlie Marshall, founder of Loaf (opens in new tab). 'Of course, there are all sorts of widgets and rubbers out there (particularly on some of the high-end Italian models), which allow things like armchair arms to flex and bend, but I think the main principles of what makes a human being comfortable remain the same.'
'The one very significant thing I would say has changed as a result of our new living habits is the composition of the fabrics people now want,' Charlie continues. 'Ten years ago, it was all about being natural. Now, while fabrics still need to look and feel gorgeous, they also need to be as spill-proof as possible. Dinners in front of the TV can be a wonderful thing in moderation (family meals at the kitchen table are important, too!), so people increasingly want wipeable fabrics that are good for mucky-pups both young and old alike. There are now a range of really lovely polyesters out there that are very popular – we personally have these in our home and think they’re ace.'
Where do you put an accent chair in the living room?
'If you are lucky enough to have space for two sofas in your living room then swapping out the second sofa for two accent chairs will create a feeling of additional space' suggests Ideal Home's Nicky Phillips. 'This is due to seeing more floor and space around them, thus making the room feel more airy.'
'In a space that has enough room for some additional seating but not enough room for an additional sofa, then choosing a single accent chair is perfect - for example in a bay window or in front of a bi-fold door. Don't be tempted to push accent chairs into the corner of a living room, position them around a coffee table or close to a fireplace.'
Can you have just one accent chair?
'Yes, although symmetry in a living room looks smart and stylish, a lot of rooms just wouldn't have the space for two' says Nicky. 'The addition of an accent chair is a great way to bring in a pop of colour or an alternative texture to a scheme. If you are using a single accent chair between two facing sofas then keep the chair at a right angle, but if you have an accent chair adjacent to a single sofa then angle it slightly, either towards the sofa, fireplace or TV!'.
Laurie Davidson is a professional stylist, writer and content creator, who lives and breathes interiors. Having worked for some of the UK’s leading interior magazines, styled homes up and down the country and produced sets for TV shows, adverts and top brands, it’s safe to say Laurie has had a pretty exciting career. Find her on Instagram at @lifeofaninteriorstylist or over at lauriedavidson.co.uk
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