Investing in a stylish dining area heightens the at-home eating experience, but dining chairs can be tricky when you are trying to find the perfect set that is both stylish and comfortable. Most dining chairs are made of wood or metal with no cushioning built-in, making for an unpleasant experience after sitting in one for an hour or two.
Accent chairs are designed to fit a wide range of interior design themes, which can inspire you to give your dining room a new design to liven up your mealtimes. Unlike most dining chair sets, plenty of accent chairs have armrests that can make for a more relaxed eating experience, if you prefer. Read on for reasons that you should consider using accent chairs in your next dining chair set.
Table of Contents
Accent and Dining Chairs: Know the Difference
Dining chair options can feel limiting and repetitive, while accent chairs have a wider range of options while being more comfortable. Accent chairs are often bulkier than dining chairs, so styling them in a dining room can be tricky. The key to using accent chairs as dining chairs is having enough space in the room.
Accent chairs are chairs designed to be a focal point in a room’s design. Accent chairs are most often used when designing:
- Living rooms
- Lounges or game rooms
Accent chairs can also be found in dining rooms, yet are often placed to the side or in the corner. Accent chairs are not often used in dining chair sets but offer an eye-catching change to the chair arrangements. There are interior design inspiration photos that show accent chairs paired with the main set of dining chairs, as well as accent chairs used entirely as the dining chair set.
Since regular accent chairs have more design options, catering to a wider range of interior design themes, there are also accent dining chairs. Accent dining chairs are often plushier than regular dining chairs and are more often upholstered, whereas normal dining chair sets are metal, wood, or vinyl. Accent dining chairs are typically sold in sets of two and placed at the ends of the dining table.
Are Accent Chairs Comfortable?
Accent chairs are often far more comfortable when compared to dining chairs, as many people invest in dining chair cushions to make their original dining set more comfortable. While modern dining chairs are being designed to incorporate efficient cushioning, dining chairs can still be too stiff and firm.
Accent chairs also range in comfortability, which is why it is important to test the accent chairs you are looking to purchase, if possible. Storefronts do not carry every accent chair that you can find on the internet, so if purchasing accent chairs online, check for reviews and find the pros and cons of each accent chair. Because accent chairs are often designed for comfort, most accent chairs have more room to lean back.
Having more room to lean back and move can make or break a dining seating arrangement, as you do not want guests to sit too far from the table for posture and accident prevention sake. There are several accent chairs that are designed similar to dining chairs yet are more comfortable, which is the ideal combination for long dinners, game nights, and for hosting guests.
Pay attention to the fabric on a chair and think about year-round use. If it reaches high temperatures in your area, leather and velvet may not be the best choices for long summer meals. However, leather and vinyl are easy to clean fabrics, whereas cotton, linen, and velvet stain easily and cling on to food particles.
Pros and Cons of Accent Chairs for Dining
Since accent chairs were not originally designed to be dining chairs, there are pros and cons to weigh before switching out your dining set. You may find that you enjoy your dining set much more once you swap out your dining chairs in favor of accent chairs.
Still, be sure you know the pros and cons of doing so you can combat any annoyances before you finalize your dining room setup.
Pros of using accent chairs as dining chairs include:
- Variety of style options
- Great additional seating
With the range of choices of accent chairs, there are more choices in the amount of cushioning, colors, and designs. Accent chairs are often fabric, including cotton, velour, velvet, linen, and many more. The fabric can be patterned or solid and paired with different styles of legs and chair backs. The style options for accent chairs surpass dining chair style options.
With the benefit of accent chairs being designed for comfort, having accent chairs as dining chairs makes for great additional seating. If you host parties on the occasion, having extra accent chairs on hand makes for comfortable seating that will not disrupt the living room design.
Cons of using accent chairs as dining chairs include:
- Fabric is easily stained and damaged
The first con of purchasing accent chairs in place of dining chairs is that dining chairs come in sets of two, four, six, and more. Accent chairs rarely come in sets of two, but the cost of one accent chair can be the same cost as buying four dining chairs. The cost of one accent chair ranges widely, between $100 and $800.
Most accent chairs are upholstered and come in a variety of fabrics, which can be easily stained or damaged. Fabric in a dining set is in a prime position to be dirtied with red sauce, wine, and other common foods that stain fabric easily. Chair covers are an option, but then the chair’s design is partially or entirely covered up.
If you have children or pets, the upholstered fabric is an even larger target for stains. Kids are prone to spilling when eating, and pets may have a tendency to chew or scratch the delicate materials. This can typically be remedied with clear chair covers or stain removal, though.
Most accent chairs sit lower and are larger than the standard dining chair. There are accent chairs that sit higher and are designed for smaller homes, though. When looking into accent chairs for dining, measure out the space that you will have for the chairs, both in use and not in use. Armrests on accent chairs take up more space, so it is a safer bet to stray away from armrests, but they can work with enough space.
Consider How to Use Accent Chairs for Dining
Accent chairs are functional additional seating, regardless of whether they are used as dining chairs or not. If you have a larger dining area, adding a side dining lounge set would add an intimate seating area for casual coffee dates.
Accent chairs used in enclosed patios offer a great alternative to typical patio furniture. Paired with an outdoor dining set, you are able to bring the stylized dining experience into fresh air and sunlight.
Accent chairs in a regular dining room can provide either additional seating, or be the entire seating arrangement. Since accent chairs add more texture and color choice, different arrangements have become more popular.
Accent chairs can be placed at the ends of a rectangular dining table or mixed in with a larger dining chair set. Mixing accent chairs with a full dining set can be a method that fits a variety of interior designs, but would most compliment an eclectic interior style.
Know the Accent Chairs to Use in Dining Rooms
As accent chairs come in different styles and shapes, there are ideal accent chairs for every home. Depending on the style that you want to achieve in your dining room, there are chair body types and colors to consider. The types of chairs to consider when adding them to a dining room setting include:
These four types are functionally the best options to consider when looking for accent seating at the dining table. While these accent chairs are the easiest to swap regular dining chairs for, if you know how much room you have to work with, nearly any accent chair can work as a dining chair.
Slipper Accent Chairs
Slipper chairs do not have armrests and come in both straight backs or lounged backs. The slipper chair can be tufted or have a seashell-like back. These accent chairs offer enough comfort and room while being compact in size, comparable to most dining chairs.
Side Accent Chairs
Side accent chairs are similar to slipper accent chairs based on their size and shape, yet the side accent chair has a slimmer back. The side accent chair’s back often has a raised back and slightly curves forward. They are commonly tufted, featured in brighter colors, and will sometimes have lower armrests.
Wingback Accent Chairs
Wingback chairs are an option with armrests and that require more room. Wingback chairs are also a great option for those who want to mesh executive-style chairs with their existing dining set. Adding a Wingback accent chair to either end of the dining table can add a classier effect with the Wingback’s higher back, especially in leather or faux leather.
Parsons Accent Chairs
Parsons accent chairs are the closest type of accent chair that looks similar in shape to a regular dining chair. The size and shape of Parsons accent chairs are perfect for regular dining tables. Sold in leather, bold colors, tufted fabric, these accent chairs fit a wide range of interior styles.
There are many more accent chair styles to choose from and it is recommended to evaluate each option you have when it comes to comfort when eating. Other accent chair types to look into include:
- Spindle arm
These options are more diverse in their shapes, but most likely will not tuck themselves neatly into the dining table. If this is not an issue or concern to you, then these alternative options might be worth considering, as they offer an artsy feeling to your dining room.
Egg accent chairs are round in shape, often rounding up toward the head of the person sitting in the chair. They are more comfortable for lounging but can be a modern or futuristic style choice, especially in either white or grey colorways.
Spindle arm accent chairs have armrests that often have fabric wrapped around their arms for additional comfort. They can easily be added to country or rustic-style dining rooms.
Barrel scent chairs are rounded horizontally, offering a full-body armrest experience, allowing the person sitting in one to fully ease back with back support. In bold colors, Barrell chairs would complement eclectic and mid-century modern rooms nicely.
Balloon accent chairs are one of the largest accent chairs available, as they stand quite tall, creating a rounded canopy-like sitting experience. They are classy chairs and look best in black, white, and brown leather, fitting best in traditional and french country style dining rooms.
Know How to Style Accent Chairs
There are many style options to choose from, as well. Although a chair might best fit a specific style, the color or shape of the chair can make or break the stylized effect the chair adds to your dining room. The most well-known and popular interior styles to be aware of include:
- Mid-Century Modern
Each of these styles is defined by certain colors, fabrics, and materials, which are important factors when choosing accent chairs for your dining room. Of course, your home is an extension of yourself, so at the end of the day, pick the chair and style that fits your dining room vision the best.
Modern Dining Rooms
Modern room designs focus on functionality with a strict color palette of neutrals. The furniture is functional yet can be adapted to any incoming trends, to remain as modern and “new” as possible. Modern dining chairs focus on leather and natural fabrics that come in a natural color palette, including browns, greys, black, and white.
Mid-Century Modern Dining Rooms
This interior design choice combines the modern style with updated yet vintage flair. There is more color in this design and the design of the furniture is still simplistic but has defined character. This is still a natural-focused design choice that features natural colors and fabrics, so a leather or natural fiber accent dining chair would work best to achieve this style choice.
Contemporary Dining Rooms
Contemporary interior design is similar to modern designs, with the primary difference of use of color. The contemporary style is always changing, whereas the modern design relies on staying at the top of the trends. Colors feature black and white, with pops of color, featuring curves in many of the shapes. Accent chairs that are curved, colorful, and sleek are great choices for this design choice.
Rustic Dining Rooms
The rustic look features rougher edges, wooden texture, and natural elements. The color schemes for rustic room designs include natural shades, such as greens, browns, and whites. Leather accent chairs with wooden legs and accents are a great option to achieve a rustic dining room design.
Glam Dining Rooms
Glam interior design is the choice for those who admire a bit more glitz and shine in their lives. This style focuses on adding eye-catching decor to a room, so the dining accent chairs should complement this aspect by either adding a pattern to the room, or be a muted color to balance the use of gold, silver, and crystal. Glam is not to be confused with eclectic, as glam is still a classy interior design choice.
Industrial Dining Rooms
Industrial interior design incorporates metal and cooler tones throughout the room that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Many accents, both in decor and furniture, have an aged look. Accent chairs should be darker neutrals that feature metal legs or metal tufted buttons, paired with either a glass or wooden dining table. Solid colors and fabrics are best to achieve the industrial look, such as leather and vinyl.
Eclectic Dining Rooms
Often confused with Bohemian style, the eclectic interior design still involves extensive planning and investment, unlike the bohemian style. An eclectic style is a mix of other design styles but is strategically put together to create a unique flow. Eclectic styles focus on a single focal point and decorate accordingly, so if you mesh industrial with mid-century modern, pick accent chairs that have metal legs with a pop of color.
Know How Much Space You Have
Keep a note of the sizes that would work best for space in your dining area. Measure your current dining chairs and see if you can find an accent chair close to that size. Having enough room to push the chairs back when seated is an important distance measurement to know before purchasing your set of accent chairs.
Accent chairs can be a great addition to your dining set or an interesting way to redecorate your dining room. With a style in mind, there is an accent chair out there for your dining room. With the variety to pick from, it can become overwhelming to pick only one, but cut your potential buys down by being realistic about the functionality.
Overall, accent chairs are a comfortable option to make your home dining experience not only more comfortable but aesthetically pleasing, which is an important factor in enjoying meals to their fullest. Start with a set of two to see their effect, then add more if you want to fully transition to accent chair dining only.