We have a lovely wide bay window at The Barn that’s just crying out for two occasional chairs. What do I mean by occasional? Well these will be accents in the room rather than everyday seating. They need to look amazing but still be comfortable. They’re chairs to read the newspaper in on a Sunday morning, to curl up in with a book sometimes, to perch on sipping coffee out of oversized cups while the sun comes up.
Occasional chairs can also be a design statement, picking up an accent colour in a room and running with it into a different texture or pattern. For me, an occasional chair needs to be stunning – beautiful from all angles and just a little bit different. Here’s some of the lovely pieces that are whetting my appetite at the moment and would add instant glamour to any space.
These stunning craftsmen-made and Chinese inspired wooden chairs from Shimu would look absolutely stunning in The Barn. The (left to right) Crossed Armchair is based on a classic Chinese horseshoe armchair but in a more colonial style. The Horseshoe chair was traditionally reserved for the most important visitors or members of a Chinese household and features a dragon carved in relief on the backrest. The Yoke Armchair was one of the first to appear in China, he name ‘Yoke-back’ refering to the shape of the curved headrest which was also thought to resemble the winged hats of Chinese mandarins of the Ming dynasty.
A simple chair design can be brought to life with a stunning print or a sumptious textured fabric. This 1950s Metro chair from Delcor with a statement print by Christian Lecroix would look amazing in a starkly coloured apartment. Velvet adds a touch of glamour to the Otley chair which is handcrafted in Yorkshire by Spink & Edgar and uses the natural fibres grown on the company’s farm.
Button back chairs can look stunning in a traditional setting or to add a quirkiness to a modern room. I’ve fallen for these three – the Claridge Linen, Camden and Camel Richard button back chairs from Black Orchid Interiors…
Dining chairs can also be used as occasional chairs if they have a design feature that makes them stand out. I love this innovative design which is a collaboration between UK embroidery specialist Victoria Bain and prestigious British furniture specialist George Smith. Victoria’s Peonie embroidery design sits perfectly on the back of the George Smith chartwell chair.
Statement chairs often need to stand alone but John Lewis, our favourite department store here at The Barn, has some lovely occasional chairs including these two Devon wing armchairs that I think would look great as a pair bookending a coffee table in this check/stripe combination.
If space isn’t an issue the timeless design of a classic chaise longue or loveseat can make an elegant statement. I love the wooden-legged Petite Chaise Longue (available in left and right arm positions) and the deep button detailing of the Babbington Loveseat both from Marks and Spencer.
A true occasional chair looks good from any angle and the highly polished nickel stud back detail on the black velvet Hamilton bar stool and pearlescent wipe-clean leather White Pearl Dressing Table Stool from Black Orchid Interiors is just stunning.
What’s your favourite occasional chair design? Do you have a space that’s calling out for some love from a statement chair?