When looking for home decor inspiration, there’s a good chance you’ve seen some impressive seating options on architecture and design blogs and magazines. Adding chairs to the space isn’t just a practical option; they’re also a way to add personality. Here are the most sought-after designer chair styles you need to know, ranging from functional pieces of art to seating that revolutionized the furniture industry.
Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman
Considered by many to be one of the “most significant designs of the 20th century,” the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman was designed by renowned industrial designers (and spouses), Charles and Ray Eames for the Herman Miller company, and first released in 1956. Their goal was to create a chair that captured the look of a well-worn baseball mitt. In continuous production since its launch, each chair is assembled by hand and is available in an assortment of wood finishes, upholsteries and sizes. It’s the perfect addition to a living room or home office.
Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, Herman Miller, From $7,495.
You could refer to the Barcelona Chair as a throne since it was originally created for the king and queen of Spain. Designed by German-American architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, for the royal duo as part of the German Pavilion at Barcelona’s 1929 International Exposition, it is upholstered with a single Spinneybeck cowhide over a hand-buffed, polished chrome frame. With the exception of a 16-year break, the chair has been in production since 1929. Add it to your rec room, living room or a reading nook in your bedroom.
Barcelona Chair, Design Within Reach, $9,970.
Tulip Arm Chair
The Tulip Arm Chair was born in the 1950s from Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen’s passionate dislike for chairs with legs. Taking from his training as a sculptor, Saarinen collaborated with Knoll’s design development group to transform his structural plastic shapes into the iconic piece of furniture that is still beloved to this day. With a pedestal base, molded frame and colourfully upholstered seat cushions, the Tulip can be used for dining chairs or accent seating in almost any room.
Tulip Arm Chair, Knoll, From $2,085 USD.
Womb Chair and Ottoman
Eero Saarinen makes a second appearance here with the Womb Chair, which was created in 1946 at the request of Florence Knoll. Designed to be supportive and feel like a warm embrace, or as Knoll requested, “like a basket full of pillows,” it has a simple structure with indented armrests and movable cushions that allow you to lounge, slouch or sit upright. It’s an ergonomic, comfortable and durable chair that would fit into nearly every room in your home.
Womb Chair, Rove Concepts, From $1,299.
Eames Molded Plastic Side Chair
Another iconic piece of furniture from Charles and Ray Eames, this molded plastic side chair was first seen as a prototype in the Museum of Modern Art’s 1948 competition for low-cost furniture design, and has been in production ever since. Designed for functionality, it has an inviting waterfall seat edge that reduces pressure on your thighs. Found everywhere from homes and offices to restaurants and bars around the world, Herman Miller now offers the Eames Molded Plastic Side Chair in recyclable plastic or with post-industrial recycled plastic.
Eames Molded Plastic Side Chair, Design Within Reach, From $495.
Flag Halyard Chair
A modern industrial-style piece that was designed in 1950, the Flag Halyard Chair features a solid stainless steel frame and textured flag line fabric. From the mind of Danish designer, Hans J. Wegner, the idea first came to him while at the beach, and that influence can be seen in the chair’s low, wide-set frame that allows you to sit comfortably in a reclined position but still be able to see everything going on around you. The finishing touches are a sheepskin throw and a down-filled headrest.
Flag Halyard Chair, Rove Concepts, From $1,891.
Havana Leather Chair
A newer addition to the list of sought-after designer chairs, the best-selling Havana Leather Chair from Anthropologie has a five-star rating. Made with supple leather upholstery, buckled arm rests, and a beech hardwood frame and legs accented with brass, it has a modern boho feel. It’s a comfortable, durable and stylish addition to your home or office.
Havana Leather Chair, Anthropologie, $1,498 USD.
Papa Bear Chair
Hans J. Wegner makes another appearance with his Papa Bear Chair, an icon of mid-century furniture design. Released in 1951 as the Teddy Bear Chair, it was one of the first fully-upholstered chairs of the post-war period with paw-like armrests that gave it the playful name. It’s elegant yet comfortable, with a design inspired by nature and organic shapes. An original Papa Bear Chair fetches prices upwards of $10,000 but you can find reproductions at lower price points.
Papa Bear Chair, Eternity Modern, From $1,569.
Marcel Breuer was an apprentice at the Bauhaus art school in Dessau, Germany when he began experimenting with bent tubular steel. Inspired by the De Stjil art movement and the frame of a bicycle, Breuer designed the Wassily Chair, originally released as the Model B3 chair, in the late 1920s. At one time, it was available in both a folding and non-folding version, and the steel frame had fabric straps that were pulled taut with the use of springs. In continuous production since the 1950s, it’s an equally welcome addition to a board room or a lounge area at home.
Wassily Chair, Knoll, From $2,831 USD.
Hans J. Wegner is also responsible for the Wishbone Chair, which debuted in 1949. Inspired by portraits of Danish merchants sitting in Ming Dynasty-style chairs, Wegner created a series of chairs that included the CH-24, or Wishbone, that’s been in production with Carl Hansen & Son since 1950. Wegner trained as a cabinetmaker which is evident in the chair’s solid wood frame. The seat is made from hand woven paper cord, and a wraparound backrest supports the arms. It’s an excellent option for a dining chair, living room or home office.
Wishbone Chair, Design Within Reach, From $795.
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