A handy guide to modern accent chairs
If you’ve been following my DIY kitchen makeover, you’ll know I was looking for a modern accent chair to put in the kitchen (next to my DIY fridge surround, seeing as you asked). I’d put our charity shop dining table in the space originally (I keep meaning to write a post about that upcycle project as it’s a goodie), but it was quite ‘cosy’, so I decided to push it out into the back room with the IKEA BILLY bookcase hack wall of built-ins.
This new location offered a lot more room for using the dining table but meant there was an accent chair-sized gap to fill in the kitchen. I researched modern accent chairs for a while and thought about the best style to use in the newly decorated kitchen. I decided that as there are lots of off-white, textured surfaces (mainly in the form of fluted MDF panels), LOTS of microcement and some black in the oven glass and granite worktop under the DIY coffee station, a simple modern armchair with a bit of black, not too fussy, more on the sleek minimalist side of things would work best.
I’d seen the By Crea chairs ages ago and they look really nice, but were waaay over budget at about £800 each! I’d even looked at whether you could make one, but I’ve not yet mastered a soldering iron so I decided to try and find an affordable version to buy instead.
Researching modern accent chairs
Browsing the internet for furniture and homeware is nearly as fun as actually going shopping, so it wasn't a chore looking for modern accent chairs. In fact, the endless trawling gave me the idea to set up the shop on my website, which is going to collate fab finds from a variety of brands all in one place to save you time. It's early days at the moment but already has a selection of furniture, gifts, Christmas and kitchenware for you to browse.
Below is a selection of the modern accent chairs that I stumbled across. I thought I'd drop them here in case they help you find something you're looking for. To find out more information about each armchair, Click on the individual image to be taken to the relevant product page on the website.
Which modern accent chair did you buy?
In the end, I plumped for this simple, sling-style, modern accent chair from Zinus (available on Amazon, Wayfair, Mano Mano & The Range) that won an Ideal Home award the week after I bought it (great minds, right?!). It came as a flat pack, so I had to build it, but luckily it was really straightforward and included good instructions. I made a reel for Instagram showing the build process as a stop motion in case you're interested, you can watch it here.
How much did it cost?
It was a bargain as only cost £93. I'd been tracking the price for months and when it dropped below £100 for the first time I nabbed one!
How to choose the right modern accent chair?
When it comes to accent chairs, style is very subjective and people’s tastes and home styles differ hugely. I recommend going with your gut as you’ll know when you look at something if you REALLY like it enough to have it in your actual home (which is totally different from appreciating something’s style or beauty in its setting on a magazine page or on someone elses. Instagram square in their home).
Try not to be too led by home interior trends as they come and go and their sole purpose is to sell products and magazines showing off the products! Aim to pick something with a timeless elegance that won’t easily date or go out of style. That said, if you love a trend because it really resonates with you and your home, then you likely won’t want to change it in a hurry, so fill your boots!
Look at the colours in the palette of the space you are furnishing and pick a chair in a colour from that palette or something that complements it for a tonal look where the chair blends into the room. Alternatively, you could pick an accent colour or disruptor colour for your armchair that will make the chair stand out and become a feature or focal point in the room.
Consider the material you want your armchair to be covered in. If you have children that will be jumping all over it, then I recommend going for a practical, washable fabric. Although, you can get brilliant portable upholstery cleaners these days, which are great for keeping the arms of chairs clean and dealing with spot stains.
What size accent chair should I buy?
This is a significant factor in your decision about which accent chair to buy. I’ve got this wrong many times and have chosen chairs that are too big for the room. We currently have two very nice but far too large armchairs in our front room from eBay a few years ago, where I got carried away with what a bargain they were! In time, we hope to move to a larger house where I’ll place the chairs in a larger room and they’ll be fab - they’ll need recovering by then of course, because they’ll have had a decade or so of children climbing over them and eating snacks in them (argh!).
When it comes to buying accent chairs, and that goes for modern armchairs or otherwise, you need to check that the chair is in proportion to the rest of your furniture, that there is sufficient room around it to move about and not feel cramped and that the room isn’t too stuffed full of furniture that it’ll feel smaller.
Is comfort important for a modern accent chair?
I feel like the obvious answer to this question is yes. However, some factors need to be considered here because there can be an element of a trade-off between style and comfort. How often are you going to use this chair? If it’s going to be your go-to snuggle-in for the night armchair that you slump into after a hard day then it’s very important that it’s extremely comfortable as you’ll rue the day you bought it every evening otherwise.
However, if you are purchasing an occasional chair that is going to complete a gorgeous vignette in the corner of your room that will likely only be sat on when you have several guests then style might win over comfort! I should add that I’m not suggesting you buy a modern armchair that is uncomfortable or desperately impractical unless perhaps if it’s supremely beautiful!
How important is quality in a modern accent chair?
Quality is one of those tricky things that it’s hard to set rules about without considering other factors. In an ideal world, we’d only ever buy the very best quality items that have been handmade by local artisans and will be passed down the family for years to come. In real life, budgets are tight and sometimes you really do just need a nice chair that’s reasonably priced, suits your style and that you’ll love for a good few years before putting it on Facebook marketplace and selling it.
One way to get better quality items than you might otherwise be able to afford new is to buy vintage or preloved. You can get some amazing armchairs in secondhand shops that might need a bit of TLC, but have ‘good bones’ and that kind of quality of craftsmanship shines through. When it comes to buying pre-loved modern armchairs you eBay is a good bet as is Facebook marketplace (although with the latter, you might need to travel to get the best bargains, unless you have uber stylish neighbours where you live that are prone to regularly refreshing their furniture).
If you are buying new, then ultimately, it’s your budget that dictates the quality you can afford, although price and quality don’t always correlate, so it’s worth doing research to check that you aren’t just buying a ‘name’. Looking for online customer reviews is a good way to get a feel for this as well as finding out about the company’s manufacturing process, do they import everything from China or are they made in the UK. Do they use sustainable materials and do they have programs to reduce waste and limit their impact on the environment etc.
There are lots of ways to make your budget stretch further then you think when buying a chair; you can look out for sample sales, which often have huge discounts, as do sale events like Black Friday (although some would argue that these offers aren’t necessarily as good as you think they are so it’s best to check the price of the same items a few weeks before Black Friday in case they’ve been falsely inflated just before the sale). Another way to ensure you get the best price is to look out for discount codes.
Can you have two different chairs in a room?
Yes! In fact, you should aim to mix chairs and sofas where possible to avoid that matchy, matchy look that is considered to be a bit dated these days. If you look through magazines and rooms created by interior designers, you'll notice that one of their tricks is to bring unusual chairs into a room to add character. Armchairs will often be made of or covered in a new material or texture for the room to create interest and personality.