How Many Accent Chairs Should You Have in One Room?

How Many Accent Chairs

Interior design can be harrowing to get right. Not only are there a lot of rules, but there are even more exceptions to those rules. “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,” Pablo Picasso said. Designing your home is art in its own right, so this is a great mindset to follow.

The rule of thumb is to typically have two accent chairs in a standard-sized room, though this can vary. It is also important to make sure that your chairs match your decor and that the print is not obnoxiously loud. The number of seats in other rooms in your home also matters, according to experts.

This article will go over the various rules to choosing and placing accent chairs the right way, as well as how to effectively break those rules so that your space really pops. Read on and you will surely feel more confident at the furniture store.

The Rules for Accent Chair Choices in a Room

The standard for the number of accent chairs in a living room is two. That said, there are many reasons that you may want to have either more or fewer chairs in your space.

  • The size of the room matters the most regarding how many chairs you have. You do not want your space to look too full or too empty.
  • Furniture placement matters more than quantity. If you can place your furniture in a unique and inviting way but it would cost you an extra chair or table, always go for the unique placement.
  • The size of your chairs should also go along with the size of the space. If you have a small, tight space, slimmer furniture is the way to go.
  • In general, avoid loud prints and patterns unless you can make them work with surrounding decor.
  • The number of chairs in one entertaining space of your home should generally match the number of chairs in other spaces guests will frequent.

Your personal preference also plays a role in how many chairs you have, as does your lifestyle. If you can fit two accent chairs but your family would get more use out of a desk in place of one of them, for example, then there is not much sense in denying yourself functionality to fit a convention.

Arranging Chairs in Your Space

Placement is half of the proverbial battle when choosing accent chairs, particularly how many you have. You want to make sure that your space does not look too empty, nor too crowded. How inviting your room feels depends a lot on placing your furniture aesthetically and functionally. 

Before beginning the process to choose and place your accent chairs, you also need to decide whether or not they are a focal point in the room. This, along with the size and shape of your room, will help determine how many you have, placement, and what type of patterns you should use.

Using Online Layout Tools

Home improvement stores often have layout tools that help you arrange furniture, such as this one by Lowe’s

There are many other options out there for floor plan design that may be better suited to your needs. There are many options that are free and also more comprehensive ones that require a fee. Some of the best-rated options this year are:

  • Floor Planner
  • Planner 5D
  • Homestyler
  • MyMove

Toying with placement this way is far easier than dragging furniture around for hours until you are happy with it. It is also helpful if you have not yet purchased your furniture and are trying to get an idea as to what type of furniture will fit best in your space.

The Size of Your Room Matters

If you have a small room, a second accent chair might end up haphazardly squashed into a corner or way too close to a coffee table. This does you no favors with aesthetics or functionality. If this is you, it may be best to stick with a single chair rather than the usual two.

On the other hand, a larger space than normal may mean that only using two accent chairs could leave too much empty space. In that case, the room will not feel cozy and inviting as much as it could with more furniture. 

If you do not want to add extra chairs, you could fix this by trying some different tricks.

  • Add a loveseat to go along with your couch rather than chairs.
  • Avoid placing all of your furniture along walls. Play around with more creative placement ideas to fill dead space in the center of the room.
  • Rugs go a long way toward making a room feel cozier, particularly if they are darker or patterned.
  • Accent tables add functionality and help minimize dead space.
  • Make sure that your walls and windows are well decorated. Too much white space on the walls or windows without window treatments can make the whole room feel bare.
  • Larger furniture will also help fill your space, as will getting creative with placement rather than just putting everything up against a wall.

If you are at a loss for inspiration, interior design groups on Facebook or Pinterest can give you some fun and unique ideas.

Count Your Dining Room Chairs

Interestingly enough, one of those most common suggestions in the interior design world says that the number of seats in your dining room and living room should match or at least be close in number. There are many reasons for this and all are excellent considerations to take into account.

  • It provides an aesthetic balance that feels more natural to the eyes as you move through the home. In the same way that the mind hunts for symmetry, it also appreciates similarities in numbers. The brain is simply hard-wired to appreciate consistency in its many incarnations, interior design included.
  • A similar number of chairs is also important for entertaining purposes. When moving from room to room, it is important to ensure that everyone has a place to sit so that there is no confusion. A seamless transition is part of a successful gathering.
  • Most homes design their floor plans to accommodate a similar number of people. Even if you do not entertain much, your home will likely look better with seamless design throughout.

By that metric, most dining rooms have either four or six chairs. Assuming that your living room size can accommodate, you should strive to match that number in your living room. 

While it is a good idea to match the number of chairs in these two rooms, it is not the most important consideration. If matching the number means your living space would look too crowded or empty, it would be best to put aesthetics ahead of numbers.

What About Expanding Dining Tables?

In the event that you have a dining room table that expands in size or a living room that is more cramped than your dining room, you might consider some stylish, yet easily stored seating to have on hand for your living room. We have come a long way from those metal folding chairs of yesteryear. 

The Purpose of Your Chair Matters

When choosing accent chairs, you need to consider their purpose before choosing how many you have and what style they will be. Random chairs sitting around a room for no obvious reason do not do much for your aesthetic nor will you be happy with the end result.

There are many different valid reasons to add accent chairs to your space.

  • You want a comfortable reading nook to curl up with a good book.
  • You desperately need more seating for family or guests.
  • You want a place to sit by the window and enjoy the view.
  • You need to fill some empty space in your room and like the idea of having some extra seating.

Whatever the reason, considering the purpose of your chair will go a long way to picking the right one.

Types of Accent Chairs

There are so many different types of accent chairs out there to choose from and what type you choose affects how many chairs you should have. What type you choose also largely depends on both the size of the room and the aesthetic.

Armed or Armless?

Arm Chair
Arm Chair
Slipper Chair
Armless Chair

The most obvious distinction is armed chairs versus armless chairs, which both come in many different styles.

Armed chairs tend to be larger and are better suited to open spaces that are not cramped. Since they are larger, they also do well as a focal point. Armed chairs are also well suited to lounging spaces or reading nooks designed for comfort.

Armless chairs tend to be smaller and come in many different styles, ranging in size. They are generally not known for lounging but do very well in singular use spaces or with other accents such as tables and rugs.

Specialty Chairs

In a class of their own, specialty chairs can also be a fun way to make a space more original. These specialty chairs would include:

  • Papasan chairs
  • Egg chairs
  • Hanging chairs
  • Chaise lounges
  • Barrel chairs
  • Novelty chairs

Beyond these three basic styles, there are many more specific options out there to consider when choosing what type of chair you want.

You can also add other accents to your chairs such as ottomans, rugs, and accent tables, assuming that they will not make your space look too crowded or busy.

What Colors Should I Choose for My Accent Chairs?

In any room, you generally want to pick two or three main colors for your room. This helps ensure that your decor will always look pulled together even if it comes from all four corners of the Earth. 

You can decide how prominent you want each color to be depending on your preferences and the decor you already own. Perhaps you have a room that is tan and blue, with chocolate brown accents. Maybe you decided on a beach theme with light blue and a sandy tan color.

Try to match your chair color to something prominent in the room, such as a main color, other furniture, or a room feature that you want to play up. Since your chairs can easily be a focal point, it will bring its color front and center when people see your room if you pick the right colors or patterns. 

Using an accent color can be an interesting choice to pull together all of those little bits of color splashed around, as well as creating a beautiful focal point. Using a main color tends to make the chairs part of the general aesthetic and less of a focal point.

You can also use the color of your chairs to make specific room features more prominent. You might have a room that is tan and green, but if you have gorgeous woodwork, you may want to choose chairs in a similar color to the stain to make the woodwork more noticeable. 

Using Patterns With Class and Style

It is also generally advisable to avoid loud prints and patterns unless you really know what you are doing. Loud prints can be acceptable if you consider the rest of the room to be muted or boring in some way. It can also work if you have decided that your accent chairs will be the focal point of your room.

If you do decide to use a pattern, it is a good idea to make sure that all of the colors in your chosen pattern match the room. You should also place solid-colored objects near your chairs that pull the colors from the pattern. 

If you have a teal, white, and black diamond pattern, maybe consider a teal rug and a black table with the chairs placed against a white wall. This ensures that, even though you are using a busy pattern, the space does not look too busy overall.

Can You Have Two Different Accent Chairs?

The short answer: Yes.

The long answer is a bit more complicated. Mismatching furniture is where Picasso’s theory of breaking the rules comes into play. If you do not have a good eye for pulling aesthetics together, now may be a good opportunity to bring in a creative friend, crack open a bottle of wine, and do some brainstorming together. 

When you are dealing with mismatched or eclectic furniture, you generally want to have one item or room feature that everything is designed around. This could be:

  • An interesting piece of furniture that you love
  • Architectural features of the room
  • A rug
  • A fireplace or built-in cabinetry
  • Prominent woodwork
  • A noticeable piece of art

Whatever focal point you choose, it should generally be prominent enough that guests easily notice it.

Once you have your chosen feature, your chosen colors and everything that you put in that room should match it. Doing this will pull the whole room together and leave less room for error. Even with this method, you might get all of your furniture and accents set up, only to find that it does not quite work together. Try, try again!

Placing Mismatched Chairs

When it comes to the chairs themselves, how closely they match should depend on their proximity to each other. If both chairs are part of the same feature, such as two chairs on either side of an end table under a window, you would generally want those to match. If you have two chairs in different areas of the room, mismatching your chairs can fit better overall.

Placing mismatched decor is a learned skill, so do not give up. Just make sure you are shopping at stores that have a good return policy so you do not end up stuck with decor you hate.

Shopping for Accent Chairs

You know the rules and now it is time to hit the store and find your chairs. There are some things to remember before heading out your front door to ensure you will not be immediately trekking back to return your purchase. No one wants to start over.

Make sure that you take pictures to bring with you. You will want pictures of these things.

  • Your room in general.
  • The space you intend to put your chair in. This helps with choosing the size.
  • Up-close photos of main colors in your room. Better yet, bring some color swatches if you have them.
  • If you chose a focal point for your space, get a picture of that.
  • Any other main furniture that you already have for your space.

In addition to photos, you will want to come armed with a predetermined budget. Furniture salesmen can be as ruthless as used car salesmen, so it is important to know your limits before you get carried away.

When chair shopping, remember to consider the purpose of the chair. You might find a gorgeous Parsons chair, but if you are buying for a reading nook, you will never be fully comfortable in that space.

If you are no good at bargaining, bring someone who is. Furniture stores will generally haggle, so you could easily save a little cash. Because of this, looking at pieces a bit out of your acceptable budget is fine, so long as you can talk them down or are comfortable with the budget increase.

Final Thoughts

Designing a room and picking your furniture can be a blast, but it is also a learned skill. As long as you focus on learning the rules before you break them, you should have an easy and fun time creating a space that feels just right. If you are unsure or do not consider yourself particularly creative, going with the standard two-chair rule is a smart choice.

You may even want to upload your finished room to Instagram. You never know who may consider your space their inspiration.

This article will go over the various rules to choosing and placing accent chairs the right way, as well as how to effectively break those rules so that your space really pops. Read on and you will surely feel more confident at the furniture store.


Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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