Thursday, June 20, 2013

How to Choose Living Room Chairs

He wants a La-Z-Boy.  You want something fabulous.  The kids want something they can use as a jungle gym.  When it comes to living room chairs the possibilities are endless.  There are websites, flash sale sites, Ebay, Craigslist, specialty stores, big-box stores; it's never ending.  And with so many coming at you, how do you figure out which chair belongs in your living room?  Allow me to break it down for you.

1. Comfort.  Remember movie day at school?  Where did you sit for the movie?  Usually the whole group of kids would sprawl out on the floor.  Why?  Dude, it's way more comfortable to be laying on the floor versus being confined in your hard desk.  Now, imagine your house.  Would you want to watch a two hour movie in something comfortable or uncomfortable?  If possible, go and sit in your chairs before you purchase them.  Make sure the chair is deep enough for your legs & that you are happy with the stuffing.  Do you like your chairs to have arms or are you happy with having to find something to do with your arms?  Be prepared to pay a little bit more money for comfort, it will be worth it in the long run when you don't feel as if you were ran over after sitting through that movie.

2. Fabric.  Kids, guests, pets and you are all hazardous to the upholstery in your house.  When choosing your chair you should pay attention to the upholstery.  Upholstery has codes which dictate how and how not it can be cleaned.  Here is a breakdown of upholstery fabric codes from  If you tend to party hard and your weekend often ends with nacho cheese and beer on the sofa & chairs, something coded S is probably not a fabric for you.  Have pets?  You should choose something more heavy duty versus something light weight.  If you are rough on your furniture, you probably want something that is a very tight weave. Understanding how to chose and maintain your fabric will save you a lot of frustration and cash-ola in the long run. 

3. Size.  As with anything else in your house, you want the dimensions of your chair to compliment the room and the items you already have.  If you have a couch the size of Moby Dick, then a ogre sized chair is appropriate.  You want the pieces in your room to compliment each other.  35" tall sofa?  Your chair should be around the same height.  Of course, this rule can be broken when using pairs.  A single chair that towers over the sofa will look out of place.  A pair of chairs that tower over the sofa can have a frame effect.  Also keep in mind spacing between your chairs, sofa, coffee table, end tables and whatever else you have in the area.  Remember 18" is the usual standard of distance between the seating that coffee table.  Also try to keep around 6" of space between seating.   This way you are at a comfortable distance from the other folks in the room without having that awkward personal bubble intrusion.

4. Style.  Ikat is still loved in decor land.  Chevron is losing steam.  Neon is hot for summer and emerald is the Pantone color of the year.  When choosing the color and style of your chairs, you want to choose something that will be awesome for years to come especially if you spend some serious cash on it.  I love navy Ikats but for the long run, something neutral and solid is more practical.  You can change up accessories in your house as trends and seasons change.  But with your chairs it might get expensive.  Also remember that patterns take a little bit more saavy when decorating a living room.  If you decided to use a pattern maybe choose something neutral or something which has a color you could replicate throughout the room to tie it all together.  

5. Cost.  Who likes to break the bank?  Most people will answer this question with a no.  Remember, furniture ages.  It shows signs of wear and tear and eventually looks outdated.  It's important to compare costs to everything else when considering a chair.  More comfortable chairs might costs more as will certain kinds of fabric.  A custom chair will cost you more but you will get what you want instead of making that purchase of something that sits just below par.  A real Eames rocker can cost in excess of $400.  A knock-off at will cost $114.  It's important to know if the name or style is more important to you.  Are you concerned with where your chairs are made?  Generally chairs made overseas will costs less than those made in the states.  Finding a happy balance between what you want to spend and all the qualities of chair can be difficult but once you find that median you will be closer to settling on the right chair for your space.

So living room chairs.  They've been causing me headache for a while now.  I keep flip flopping around on which chairs will be right for us.  Knowing what you want is easy, finding it at a good cost is a different story.  My pass two selections are now out of the books.  I am now looking to go and check out chairs at Ethan Allen and High Fashion Home.  Being patient and continually checking for deals and sales is key.  I know what I am looking for is out there so before too long, there will be a space for everyone to sit in my living room.

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