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Home/Mor Furniture Blog/Decorating & Design/What Style Living Room Chairs Are Best?

When decorating your living room, one of the most important, and therefore, the most significant challenge is choosing what type of seating you want to use. Should you get a big sectional or a sofa, or two sofas, or a sofa and two chairs, or just a couple of armchairs? What about poufs and ottomans? Maybe they would work better.

There are seemingly endless possible furniture types and styles available. Chairs are especially challenging, because there are so many styles and designs, finding the right look can be even more difficult.

Before you even step out of the house or begin to search online, there are a few things to think about when trying to find what style of living room chairs are best for your home.

Guidelines for Choosing the Perfect Living Room Chair Style

The first thing to consider when choosing a living room chair is form and function. This means assessing whether you like the looks of a chair and if it is comfortable. If the chair you are eyeing passes these two tests, the next thing to consider is scale.

You know how sometimes an outfit looks great on your tall friend, but on you, it is a disaster? This is because of the scale. The same is true for furniture. For example: if you fall in love with a cozy, comfortable overstuffed armchair, then try to squeeze it into a tiny living room that already has a giant sofa and ottoman in it, it won’t matter how cute it looked before, now it is hogging all the space in your living room and overpowering the rest of the furniture.

Before we go into detail about living room chair styles, here are a few guidelines on how to avoid an overcrowded disaster in your living room by getting the scale right.

1) Choose chair arms that are the same height as the chairs surrounding it. If you are starting from scratch, choose chairs that all have the same arm height. Seat heights can vary a little, and back height will certainly differ, but keeping the arm heights in line will create a more balanced feel in the space.

2) The room size will determine chair size. That’s why it is essential to measure your space and take into consideration any furniture you already have in it. Then consider the size of your room and the words that come to mind when you think about its size: Big? Kind of small? Not too roomy? Whatever your description, you want similar thoughts to cross your mind when you are choosing the furniture for it. This may not seem like the most scientific method, but it works. Also, keep in mind whether you are using a pair of chairs or just one. If you are using two chairs, make sure the pair won’t take up all the space in your living room.

3) Choose your living room chairs based on the style of the rest of the furniture in the room. If your style is modern, choose chairs with sleek lines and low-profile silhouettes to add a sculptural element to the décor. Their simple but eye-catching shapes and colors will either make them stand out or help them blend in, depending on how the room is decorated.

4) Consider the color palette of your living room. An accent chair can enhance your color scheme in numerous stylish ways. You can mix and match colors and chair styles to create a vibrant look, or choose hues that go with a neutral palette, whichever is your style.

5) It is important for the chairs to be comfortable. If you are shopping in person, do the “sit” test, which means, of course, sit in the chair. But not for just a few minutes. If you are serious about buying it, it’s worth 5-10 minutes of your time to let your body adjust to the chair and see if it really is comfortable for you.

Living Room Chair Styles You Need to Know

Knowing a little bit about these living room chair styles will help you choose the right one for your home. Do you prefer style over comfort? Are you planning to watch TV, read, maybe nap in your chair? Or is it to be used as extra seating when you are entertaining? All of these factors come into play. If you have space, you’ll probably want more than one type of chair in your living room. Here’s a quick roundup of living room chair styles to choose from.

Armchairs: When You Want a Touch of the Traditional

An armchair is a style that usually comes to mind first when thinking about living room chairs. They are perfect for curling up and reading or watching TV. That doesn’t mean their style has to be traditional; they can range anywhere from sleek and modern to transitional. If you are going for an eclectic look, you can mix and match styles as long as the pieces have some continuity such as color or pattern.

Armchairs allow numerous comfortable seating positions, especially when paired with an ottoman or footstool. Adding throw pillows can increase comfort and style. They are great for making a living room look and feel inviting, and the design is versatile enough to look great in other rooms, such as a home office or bedroom.

Recliners: When You Want to Relax and Get Comfortable

Adding a recliner to your family room, living room, or den gives you a place to relax and get comfortable, but can pose a design challenge. The recliner’s size, its footprint when fully extended, and having to orient it to focal points are all things you need to consider.

But again, this is where scale comes into play. If you have a large room, choose a recliner with larger proportions so that it doesn’t look out of place. On the other hand, if you are tight on space and want a recliner, look for a wall-hugger model that doesn’t take up as much room. Whichever type you choose, make sure you leave about 18 inches between the coffee table and the recliner so that there is enough room when it is extended.

Recliners are often preferred in living rooms because they are so comfortable. Consider the size of the chair and where it will be placed in relation to the coffee table, side table, couch, and everything else. These comfortable chairs are also good options for reading nooks.

Chair and a Half: When a You Need a Little More Space

If you are more likely to nap in your living room chair, a chair and a half might be the perfect solution. It doesn’t take up as much space as a couch or sofa, but it gives you just enough room to get comfortable. It’s also great for watching TV or snuggling up with your favorite person. The size and proportions of a chair and a half can help balance larger furniture in your living room, such as a sectional sofa.

Occasional Chairs: When You Need a Pinch Hitter

Occasional chairs are the pinch hitters of your living room décor. They can change positions and fill in wherever needed. They can be swivel chairs, slipper chairs, or even armless chairs. And they can be an integral part of your design, adding color, shape, and texture to enhance the space.

Again, proportion is also a key element. An occasional chair that is too small will seem awkward even if it is a beautiful color or the latest design. Consider each chair in relation to the rest of the furniture in the room. This includes dimensions, colors, materials, shapes, and all elements of their design.

A Note about Poufs and Ottomans

Poufs and ottomans are great décor elements for your living room, and they can provide extra seating as well. You can use one instead of a side chair for a more relaxed, bohemian look. Or as a space saver, since a low pouf or ottoman gives you extra seating without crowding the space. They are like the supporting players on your furniture team, off to the side but always ready to be pulled into the seating arrangement when required.

Arranging Your Living Room Chairs

Another thing to consider when choosing your living room chairs is how they will be placed in the space. In general, when decorating a living room, you want to arrange the furniture in a way that optimizes conversation. For example, your sofa and chairs should face one another with a coffee table between them.

Swivel chairs are a practical option for this arrangement since you can move to face different directions. They are perfect for creating relaxed, modern spaces. As you arrange your chairs and other furniture pieces, it is important to keep a comfortable distance between them.

For example, the recommended distance between seating and a coffee table is about 14-18 inches. The distance between a sofa and a chair, or two chairs should be 3-10 feet. This gives you comfortable seating ideal for conversation without feeling like you are sitting on top of each other. Consider the size ratio between the chairs, coffee table, and sofa. To ensure a harmonious design, avoid big contrasts in size and proportion.

When arranging your living room furniture, keep in mind the distance between the chairs and the side table. You want the chairs to be close enough that you can easily set a drink on the side table without worrying that you might accidentally knock it over.

Creating a Look with Living Room Chairs

There are many creative ways to use your living room chairs. If you have a small space, a few chairs can take the place of a sofa and make the room feel airy and open. Small seating arrangements can also offer areas for intimate conversations.

Living room chairs are a great alternative when there’s not enough room for a sofa in the room or if you simply want to give the space a more airy and open feel. Chairs are also better than sofas or sections if you want to offer each person a little bit of intimacy.

Seating Arrangements for Sofa and Living Room Chairs

Although you can create seating arrangements with just chairs in a smaller space, most of us do combine sofas and chairs in our seating arrangements. The size and shape of your room will dictate the flexibility you have in your seating arrangements, do keep that in mind, here are three practical ways to arrange your sofa and chairs.

The Rounded Layout

The rounded layout is a great way to create an intimate atmosphere in your space. In this pattern, the sofa and chairs are facing each other, and the chairs are turned toward the couch, creating a rounded look. This inviting layout inspires conversation.

The Squared-Off Layout

In this popular layout, the chairs and sofa face each other at right angles. The traditional version consists of two chairs and a sofa, but there are many variations, such as additional chairs to fill in the sides. At the center of this configuration is the coffee table.

The L-Shape Layout

This layout is great for seating on two sides of the space. It is a casual, cozy arrangement that can be created with or without a sofa. And more furniture pieces can be added. For instance, you can add a side table in the space between the sofa and place a chair on the other side. A coffee table ties things together but is not needed if that is your preference.

One thing to be wary of is pushing all your furniture against the wall of your living room. This may be challenging if space is tight but try to pull the furniture at least 12” from the wall. This lets the room breathe and gives a less formal and more relaxed feel.

Armchairs as Room Dividers

If you have a large, open floor plan, you can use chairs to divide the space and make it more inviting. Robust armchairs are great for this purpose. By placing two of them side by side, you can create a barrier between the seating area and the dining area.

You can also place chairs diagonally to make a small room look bigger. Positioning a chair on an angle is also a great way to place furniture in an awkward space or nook.

Final Touches When Arranging Living Room Chairs

When arranging your living room, try to leave at least three feet of walking space around the perimeter of the room. The goal is to be able to move around the room freely without hitting the furniture or having to dodge the chairs, lamps, and side tables. Take into consideration the natural traffic patterns of your space, and arrange the furniture accordingly.

The TV is often the focal point of a living room or family room. The height at which your TV is placed makes a difference. It should be about 30” above the lowest seat height in the living room. So keep this detail in mind when purchasing chairs or if you already have a seating arrangement and you want to find the best spot for the TV.

An area rug is a great way to unify a seating arrangement. However, if you use an area rug, be sure that all the legs of the furniture are either completely on or completely off the rug. This helps give your arrangement an organized, cohesive, and symmetrical look.

One of the major challenges when choosing chairs for the living room is getting the right balance between comfort and looks. Of course, you want the furniture to be practical, functional, and comfortable. In addition, you want it to be stylish and good looking. By keeping these tips in mind, it’s not impossible to get both.