Last updated: 04/26/2020

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Legend has it that, in 17th-century England, the weather was so cold that even chimneys could not provide the necessary heat. In the homes of the nobles, they began to use a chair with large wings to protect their faces from the cold air. This would seem to be the origin of wing-back chairs, although other theories exist.

Regardless of where they came from, these pieces of furniture have made a comeback as a decorative trend today. Just when we thought they had well been forgotten, wing-back chairs are all the rage once more. If you’re looking to get one for your home too, you have come to the right place. We will tell you everything you need to know about them in our new shopping guide.

Key Facts

  • This piece of furniture has a double function; it is as much a decorative item as it is a seat to relax in.
  • In recent years, wing-back chairs have been reinvented and modernized to become almost essential pieces in many lounges around the world.
  • You may be asking yourself what the best structure is, or how long its legs should be. We will delve into these aspects – and much more – in the final section of our article.

Our Selection: The Best Wing-Back Chairs on the U.S. Market

Oh, how we love retro and vintage design! These styles have brought back many a piece of furniture that had been abandoned, with complete disregard for its past glory. Wing-back chairs are the perfect illustration of this trend. Their popularity has soared in the last few years, and the truth is that they look wonderful in any home decor. Are you ready to discover our very own selection of the most elegant models on the market?

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Wing-Back Chairs

These comfortable armchairs generally feature a high reclined backrest. Their four legs aren’t always fully visible, and the arms on each side come in a variety of width and height. If you still have doubts about whether or not you should add a wing-back chair to your lounge, the following section is for you. We have answered the most frequently asked questions regarding this piece of furniture to help you decide which model is right for you.

carpet with pillow in luxury bedroom

A reinforced structure will make your wing-back chair more durable.
(Source: Wiriyachan: 34872618/ 123rf.com)

What types of wing-back chairs are there?

This type of armchair has truly evolved since its beginnings in the 17th century, its design being modernized while maintaining its original elegance. This is why it is essential that you get a feel for the options available to you. As you noticed in our selection above, there is a wide array of wing-back chairs out there. In the list below, we have detailed the most common types that you will find:

  • Classic wing-back chairs. These models imitate the original armchairs and, therefore, tend to be very large. In addition, the wings are prominent, and the round-shaped armrests are high. They come in a variety of different fabrics, colors, and even prints.
  • V-shaped wing-back chairs. This is the original design with a twist. The lower part of the seat is narrower and widens at the headrest.
  • Wing-back rockers. These pieces of furniture are essentially a blend between the classic wing-back chairs and the rocking chairs American families love. You can swing back and forth while watching TV, nursing your baby, or simply taking a nap.
  • Wing-back chairs with footrest. Certain models are sold with a footrest, a nice addition that makes them even more comfortable.
  • Reclining wing-back chairs. These armchairs are perfect if you like to rest in them – be careful not to spend the night in them! You can recline the backrest and sometimes raise a built-in footrest. While they are incredibly cozy, they take up more space than other models since you need extra room to open them.
  • Children’s wing-back chairs. Very similar to the classic ones, their size is simply reduced to tailor to the needs of our little ones.

How are wing-back chairs upholstered?

If there is one aspect that you can’t overlook when purchasing your armchair, it is its upholstery. Once you determine which design is most appealing to you and best fits in your home decor, you have to decide which fabric you prefer. In that regard, your needs are as important as the aesthetics of the material. Here is a list of the most common fabrics:

  • Velvet. This is one of the most attractive and modern options. The fibers can be made from various materials. The standout feature is that the hairs of the fabric are well combed and soft to the touch, guaranteeing both comfort and durability.
  • Cotton. This natural fabric must be of quality to give you the best results. In that regard, it should go through a treatment known as sanforizing that will prevent it from shrinking when you wash it. If any part of your wing-back chair is removable, you are advised to clean it with cold water using a soft program.
  • Cotton duck. Its durability, affordability, and wear resistance make it one of the most widely used fabrics. While its feel may not be the finest, it is certainly comfortable and an excellent option if you plan on using the armchair frequently.
  • Chenille. This is generally a blend of different fabrics, such as polyester, cotton, and viscose. Each one brings its own characteristics to create a reasonably resistant, comfortable, and soft material. You have to be particularly careful not to damage it during washing.
  • Artificial leather. This synthetic fabric is marketed under a variety of names, such as faux leather, leatherette, or vegan leather. It stands as the economical alternative to genuine leather. You can easily clean it, but it can be cold in the winter and too warm during the summer.
  • Leather. Its characteristics are very similar to that of artificial leather, although it is more resistant and less affordable. This option remains relatively uncommon.

An armchair with legs of 3 inches in height will add a modern look to your room.
(Source: Architecture: 271739/ Pixabay.com)

What are the most original prints for armchairs?

They say that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression, and this is certainly true when it comes to furniture. Have you ever gone to buy something with your mind set and couldn’t think outside of this idea? This is why it is so vital that you keep an open mind when choosing any piece of furniture for your home. Patterns will strongly influence your decision.

The best way to get it right is, therefore, to find the right balance for your room. If you want your wing-back chair to be very present visually, compensate this with a plain and soft-colored sofa. Making daring combinations is very risky if you’re not a professional home designer. These prints are some of the most original you can get your hands on:

  • Paisley. Originating in India, this style consists of plant motifs. It was very trendy in the seventies and has made a comeback in recent years.
  • Houndstooth. This fabric was first used in clothing before moving to the home design sector. While the classic black-and-white look remains popular, you can now find it in brighter colors.
  • Patchwork. Simulating the combination of various rags, this style is very aesthetic and colorful.
  • Geometric patterns. Many people find them very attractive, and light-colored models are ideal with Scandinavian design.
  • Natural patterns. Their popularity has also grown in the last few years, with countless options now available on the market. Large green leaves on a white background are particularly trendy.

Sofa with wing-back chair or chaise longue: which is better?

If you are furnishing your home now, you may be asking yourself whether it is better to opt for a sofa and an armchair or a chaise longue. This last piece of furniture is incredibly popular in American homes, but your decision should be based on several factors. We hope the following table helps to guide in the right direction:

Features Sofa + armchair Chaise longue
Spacious living room
Affordability
Interior storage
Aesthetics
Versatility
Use of corners
Layout changes
Comfort to rest
Comfort of the seats

How can I place my wing-back chair in the living room?

Your living room is probably where you spend most of your time during the day, which is why you need it to be both aesthetic and functional. It is the epitome of your understanding of interior design, but also a place where you want to feel comfortable. This is why the layout of your furniture is fundamental.

  • U-shaped layout. Place the sofa against the wider wall and an armchair on each side.
  • L-shaped layout. Once again with the sofa against the larger wall, add one or two armchairs on one side.
  • In front of the sofa. The sofa and the two armchairs are facing each other around a coffee table.
  • Two sofas. You can have two couches and a wing-back chair if you have a spacious living room. We recommend that you place the two sofas in an L shape and the armchair on the open side of the smaller couch. You can also opt to have it diagonally to the point where the sofas meet.
  • Chaise longue. Who said you couldn’t have a wing-back chair and a chaise longue? Keep in mind that your living room will need to spacious enough. The armchair should be on one the side of the sofa, right in front of the chaise longue. The most important is that you leave sufficient space to walk.
Wing back chair on a carpet no people

The foam density is another key criterion that you should evaluate before making your purchase.
(Source: rawpixel: 97726677/ 123rf.com)

What are the advantages of wing-back chairs?

Have you decided on which armchair you want to get? If you’re not quite sure yet, don’t worry; there are still a few aspects we want to discuss. These shopping criteria should help you make your final decision if you are hesitating between different models. But before we go into them, we want to introduce you to the main pros and cons of wing-back chairs:

Advantages
  • They are very comfortable.
  • You can find a wide range of beautiful designs.
  • They adapt to all kinds of home decors.
  • They take up less space than sofas and chaise longues.
Disadvantages
  • Some models are quite large.
  • You can find fairly old styles.
  • They are not all very resistant to wear.

Buyer’s Guide

Can you imagine yourself relaxing in your new wing-back chair? We’re sure that you can see yourself enjoying your latest book while sipping on a cup of coffee, but you have to purchase one first. If you want to get it right, there are several factors that you should take into account. In the following section, we will delve into five essential criteria:

Structure

Ideally, you should opt for a wing-back chair with a reinforced structure for it to be more durable. Most of these pieces of furniture are made of solid wood, pine being an excellent option. Remember that an armchair that isn’t very resistant will quickly pay the price – as will you. This aspect is particularly crucial if you have children at home.

Legs

Many people tend to overlook this aspect, but the legs are a fundamental part of any armchair. If you choose wooden legs, make sure they are varnished; they should be galvanized if they are made of metal. Both treatments will help prevent them from being damaged by humidity and daily wear and tear.

A wing-back chair with legs of around 3 inches in height will add a modern look to your room while making it easier for you to clean underneath. This is essential if you have a robot vacuum to help you around the house. If the legs are too short, you will have to move this heavy piece of furniture every time you want to give a sweep around your living room.

Albert HadleyAmerican Interior Designer & Decorator

“The essence of interior design will always be about people and how they live. It is about the realities of what makes for an attractive, civilized, meaningful environment, not about fashion or what’s in or what’s out. This is not an easy job.”

Filling

The foam density is another key criterion that you should evaluate before purchasing your new wing-back chair. In that regard, you are advised to opt for nothing less than 30 kg of density. The armchair will start deforming very soon below this value, and you will notice these annoying losses of firmness in certain areas of the furniture.

Charlotte MossAmerican Interior Designer & Author

“There are two things that make a room timeless: a sense of history and a piece of the future.”

Size

Remember that a wing-back chair is relatively large for an individual seat. This piece of furniture generally stands at around 40 inches in height, with a seat depth of 30 inches and a width of at least 25 inches. In that regard, checking that you have enough space in your living room to place it isn’t enough; you also need to make sure that it can fit through your doors to bring it in your home.

Type of Room

As we have briefly discussed in our article, the location of your armchair is essential in finding the right model. You won’t want the same wing-back chair for your child’s room as for your living room. While your personal taste should always have the last word in home design, there are specific criteria that you need to keep in mind. You can find them in the table below:

Characteristics Living room Master bedroom Child’s bedroom Baby’s bedroom
Resistance High Medium Very high Medium
Comfort High High Very high Very high
Use Watching TV, reading, and relaxing Reading and relaxing Very diverse Breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, and putting the baby to sleep
Main aspect Attractive design Comfort Small size Rocker feature

Summary

When you’re sitting comfortably in your wing-back chair, you might think that it wasn’t so hard to find the right one in the end. And it isn’t that challenging as long as you assess the most important features of this type of furniture. We are confident that our shopping guide has helped you with this decision.

As you now know, wing-back chairs don’t have to be old-fashioned or worn down, as their growing popularity has led to some very modern options appearing on the market. There is always the perfect model for your home, and for every room in which you might want to add it. Once you have made your decision and that it has arrived at your home, make the most of it. We do not doubt that it will quickly become one of your favorite places to relax.

Did you find our guide in wing-back chairs helpful? Let us know what you thought and which model you chose in the comments section below. You can also share this article with your loved ones on your social media!

(Source of featured image: Khongkit Wiriyachan: 47365036/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Phoebe Mary Office Manager & Furniture Specialist
Phoebe loves her job as an office manager. She loves to see all the employees of her office work comfortably. This is why she has been concerned with finding the right office equipment. Need a piece of furniture? Just ask Phoebe!