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Emily Henderson

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by Jess Bunge
Living Room 3 Revised 001
image by zeke ruelas | from: ginny’s living room reveal

One of the few incredibly sad things about having an apartment under 400 sqft (like mine) is that you are extremely limited on the number of accent chairs your “living room” can hold (and by limited I mean one very petite gal at most). Accent chairs are kind of an obsession around here. Often someone (that someone is usually me) will be perusing the web and then call over whoever will humor me in drooling over a truly beautiful chair. A great accent chair to us is nearly heartstopping and more so can bring real personality to a room. However, as much as a stunning sculptural accent chair is what we all dream of, the price tag can also be heartstopping…but not in the good way. Last year, our wonderful contributor Lauren Taylor wrote a post about the best accent chairs under $500. You all loved it so Arlyn thought we should do it again but maybe stretch the budget a little to $800 and should categorize by how we actually shop for them aka how we need them to function in our home. Don’t worry, there are still A TON of chairs under $500 but we thought we would mix it up a little, dream a little bigger and get even more functional. It’s our accent chair glow up.

But before we jump into the 78 chairs I have carefully selected, let’s go over the accent chair purchasing rules that Lauren laid out for us last year, as a reminder.

Jesslivingroom4 1
image by sara ligorria-tramp | from: jess’ long-awaited small space living room reveal

1. Pick a chair with similar arm height to the surrounding chairs and/or sofa in the room. Seat heights are allowed to vary a bit, and back heights will definitely vary, but keeping the arm height in line will do magic for the eye.

2. The size of the room will determine the size of the chair. Consider the room you are shopping for and ask yourself how would you describe its size: Sort of small? Pretty big? Comfortable, but not too roomy? Whatever your description, you want similar words to come to mind when you’re selecting the chair(s) for it. Granted, this isn’t a scientific approach, but it works (plus, all science ever got me was a C+). Another thing to keep in mind: are you using just one chair or a pair? If you’re going the pair route, you’ll want to be sure two of the chairs won’t totally consume your floor plan. When in doubt, look online for the dimensions and tape it out with painter’s tape (which is super easy to remove) before you buy.

3. If all else fails, just try before you buy! Either shop small and locally where you can literally take the product home and test it before you buy it (most local shops will be a-ok with you taking home a chair for 24-48 hours at no charge…though they’ll likely ask for some kind of deposit). Or, just shop online at places with stellar return policies. This way, you may test it out with the assurance that you can return it if you totally hate it. There are also a ton of bigger box retailers that have come out with augmented reality functionality. This means you can see a piece of furniture in your home via your mobile phone. The tough part about this is understanding an item’s dimensions in comparison to what you’re superimposing it against in your “virtual” home.

Thanks, Lauren! Okay, now that we have those down, let’s shop. Please note that a lot of these picks can are interchangeable within the categories. It really just depends on your individual room and style. Have fun because design should be fun.

The “Reading Corner” Chair

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Living Room20
image by sara ligorria-tramp | from: the portland living room reveal

We define “the corner chair” as a larger statement chair that you could likely sit and read a book in…in a corner. Typically, an upholstered option is great because they tend to be cozier but ultimately it’s a chair that can hold its own visually and hold you comfortably. Here are 27 of our favorites.

Emily Henderson Accent Chairs Under 800 Roundup

1. Modern “Wassily” Style Chair | 2. Morpho Swivel Velvet Arm Chair | 3. Lita Chair | 4. Velvet Burnt Orange Accent Chair | 5. Quinn Striped Chair | 6. Isabella Rattan Barrel Arm Chair | 7. Modern Vassily Tube Chair | 8. 4040 Locust Leather Butterfly Chair Cover | 9. Boston Swivel Slip Cover Chair | 10. Iron Rattan Accent Chair | 11. Cheswold Wingback Chair | 12. Mod Blue Berry Armchair | 13. Chandra Swivel Chair | 14. Cognac Mid Century Huxley Chair | 15. Harlow Swivel Chair | 16. Galathea Leather Accent Chair | 17. Davis Upholstered Armchair | 18. Sven | 19. Myna Tufted Arm Chair with Brass Legs | 20. Cirrus Convertible Floor Chair | 21. Natural Rattan Fallon Cocoon Chair With Cushion | 22. Berwick Barrel Swivel Chair | 23. Nord | 24. Feather Filled Swivel Brynn Armchair | 25. Grey Foldover Arm Accent Chair | 26. Massey Faux Fur Metal Base Slipper Chair Nubby Ivory | 27. Black Leather Channel Barcelona Chair

The Side Chair With Wood Accents

Arlyn Hernandez Makeover Takeover Living Room Ehd1
image by sara ligorria-tramp | from: arlyn’s living room makeover takeover reveal

Okay, the “wood accent” part is pretty specific but we needed to break up the side chair category so it wasn’t insanely big and overwhelming. BUT if you are looking for specifically a chair with natural wood elements to bring in warmth and texture then you are in the right place! By “side chair,” we mean a chair that maybe isn’t really big enough to stand on its own. It is however perfect for an adjacent seating area and would look great in a pair of two like Arlyn did in her living room or Emily has done with many variations in her LA living room. Again, size-wise it all depends on the size of your living room. These are more guidelines, not hard and fast rules and classifications. Let’s get into them shall we?

Emily Henderson Accent Chairs Under 800 Roundup Side Chair With Wood

1. Oskar Lounge Chair | 2. Lucy Chair | 3. Round Natural Chair | 4. Larabee Arm Chair | 5. Thurlow Wood Base Slipper Chair Cream | 6. Lento | 7. Mid Century CH25 Lounge Chair | 8. Ingrid Chair | 9. Jeanneret Lounge Chair | 10. Thetis | 11. Armless Chair in Maze Gesso White | 12. Modern Lounge Chair | 13. Charcoal Gray And Ivory Dash Print Noemi Tub Chair | 14. Couture Dilan Leather Safari Chair | 15. Jeanneret Kangaroo Lounge Chair | 16. Latta Armless Club Chair | 17. Marte Lounge Chair | 18. Esters Wood Arm Chair

The Side Chair Without Wood Accents

Emily Henderson Design Milk Modern Pink Black And White Jaimie Derringer Living Room Reveal 1
image by tessa neustadt | from: the design milk family room reveal

Great, we already have the definition of a “side chair” down so for those of you looking for a more modern and “less wood” look, then here are 18 of my favorite picks.

Emily Henderson Accent Chairs Under 800 Roundup Side Chair With Without Wood

1. Plume Lounge Chair | 2. Addie Chair | 3. Jessa Chair | 4. 1950s Vintage Objekto Paulistano Armchair | 5. Arlette Velvet Retro Mid Century Accent Chair | 6. Ulriksberg | 7. Wesley Lounge Chair | 8. Cupa Leather Chair | 9. Chloe Accent Chair | 10. Jean Lounge Chair | 11. Welton Arm Chair | 12. Yates Chair | 13. Woven Camel Suede Chair | 14. Effie Tripod Chair | 15. Hew Lounge Chair | 16. Tierman Swivel Chair | 17. Axle Lounge Chair | 18. Crescent Swivel Chair

The Small and Special Chair

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Living Room21
image by sara ligorria-tramp | from: the portland living room reveal

This might be my favorite category because this is where things can get real sculptural and funky without (totally?) breaking the bank. Take the chair that the design team used in the Portland living room above. That wall needed a little something that was extremely cool and sculptural. Is it a chair that you would want to sit in for a long period of time? No, probably not. But it does add a ton of character to the space. I have a similar type of chair (because it’s the only type that will fit) I got for only $100 at the Rose Bowl and while I sit in it hardly ever, it brings that necessary “cool” factor I wanted. All I am saying is that it’s worth the purchase…in the name of a “design moment.” Plus, in this under $800 price range for this category, you can actually find VERY awesome vintage options. I found a bunch on Chairish (plus the EXACT chair from the photo) if you need an online place to start your search.

Emily Henderson Accent Chairs Under 800 Special Small Roundup

1. Crafted Cubist Wood Accent Chair | 2. Kendel Accent Chair | 3. Nadia Cane Chair | 4. Tejido Dining Chair | 5. Vaermer | 6. Modern David Kawecki Puzzle Chair Vintage | 7. Ibis Dining Chair | 8. Mid-Century Minimalist Industrial Side Chair | 9. Pierce Wicker Chair | 10. New York Contemporary Glam Metal Accent Chair | 11. Enid Chair | 12. Julie Chair | 13. Modern Wood Chair | 14. Zig Zag Accent Chair in Black | 15. Vintage School Chair

I hope this was helpful. I hope you find the accent chair you’ve been dreaming of and I hope you have a great week. 🙂

As always, if any of you can give a yay or nay on any of these chairs, we want to know. Real feedback is always wanted and appreciated. Any suggestions of what you would want to see next? Let us know!

Love you, mean it.

Looking for more living room furniture? We’ve got a roundup for you:

  1. This is a great round up but I think the thing that is missing from the corner chair discussion is how important the height of the back of the chair is. If you are just looking for a statement piece and not something you want to actually be reading in, then maybe that can be put aside, but if you actually want to get cozy with a book you need to have a back that is tall enough to support your head (bonus points for chair arms that support your elbows, since you have to hold up the book!)

    Can you tell I work in publishing? 😉

    1. Agreed! And bonus points for a footrest or ottoman. My grandparents had a great collection of midcentury, and when I visited I always ended up with a book in either the womb chair (with ottoman) or the Baughman recliner, which both have head support, comfy arms, and a place to put my feet.

    2. Agreed – a lot of the chairs in that category just didn’t seem like a cozy inviting place to curl up with a book (or Instagram 😉 ) and a coffee. Those say “larger sculptural piece” to me, somewhere a guest could sit during a party, but not somewhere I would choose to sit and relax. Maybe some are more comfortable than they look.

    3. +1,000. With all respect for the amazing design choices, I only see 2-3 chairs here that would be comfortable for reading.

      1. Exactly what I was going to say.

    4. I own several chairs in which I read for hours at a time. None have a back tall enough to support my head. Not everyone needs that in order to read.

  2. Excellent round-up (and that green chair is gooooourgeous).

    I’m currently souring the internet (since I live in the middle of nowhere) for a chair (not a loveseat) that’s big enough to curl up in with 2 kids to read books.

    Or a chaise lounge.

    Anyone have miraculous tips?

    1. some companies offer a “chair and a half” (or chair n half). Check out Crate and Barrel or Wayfair

      1. Agree. Chair and a half!

    2. Sixpenny makes a “chair and a half” where my daughter and I do most of our cuddling up with books. Could definitely fit the three of you. We have the Neva and it’s incredibly comfortable.

    3. Ros, this is an older post so not sure how up to date the links would be but might be helpful to you: https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/comfortable-chair-ever-roundup-elliots-room

      1. Omg I had no idea that was an actual chair size – thank you!!

        And those links are so helpful – some don’t work, but I have 3 viable options I like. Thank you!!!!

        1. FWIW I’ve been eyeing this Dune chair and a half from Maidenhome for the perfect reading, movie watching, maybe fall asleep chair. Will try to post the link, but learned of the Dune couch from this company from one of Emily’s roundups…. https://maidenhome.com/collections/the-dune-chair-and-a-half?color=Fog&size=One%20Size&back_cushions=Scatter%20Back&currentFabric=performance-washed-linen&currentType=chair&id=30287228272724

  3. Wow what a selection! Thanks!

    Will enjoy keeping this as a resource.

    Wish the UO leather butterfly chair came in black, gray or white. I checked and it says mint. It sure is a cool looking piece and love that it’s leather.

    Happy Monday! XO Elizabeth

  4. I can recommend the Side Without Wood/#18/West Elm chair. I have two in my living room and they’ve been a big hit. My husband initially proclaimed accent chairs were a non-necessity when we moved in but he will not sit anywhere else since we got them. Guests beeline for them and comment on them. I mean, I really like them but I didn’t imagine they’d be this popular at our place. I got these for their size, function, and price. The swivel mechanism is perfectly smooth, the seat cushions are reversible, the seat is surprisingly roomy for the smaller profile, they’re comfortable, and they’re contract-grade so they can take a lot of wear and tear. With daily use for seven months they still look and function like new (mine are in the teal twill which might be more forgiving than lighter options). The back/arms make these interesting from every angle. So far no complaints.

  5. So helpful thank you!!!! When placing a pair of chairs in a room with a large sofa and coffee table… any rules on placement? Thanks!

    1. Check out this post: https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/living-room-rules-know
      It’ll probably be helpful in terms of furniture layout and space planning!

  6. What about a “chair so comfy it can replace my boyfriend’s ugly brown La-Z-boy?” What do you recommend for that?

  7. I appreciate your list – so amazing… just wondering if you have chosen these because they “look” good… or because you have actually sat in them, they are comfortable, AND they look good. Often a list will appear that is pleasing to the eye but horrific to the body. Please let us know! (I realize some mentioned are just for filling a space ..) Thank you!

  8. Love these! It looks like Industry West is only for designers (B2B) though. Bummer! I thought it was going to become one of my new go-tos for cool, modern, affordable pieces.

    1. Hi Sarah! Hmm, I wonder what you’re seeing. Industry West is definitely also available to consumers. Are you in the US?

  9. Thank you! Chairs are so expensive and you have found so many beautiful ones that are affordable! I love your blog and always look forward to your Sunday Link up.

    1. So happy to hear that! Thanks for sticking around Katy!

  10. wow, amazing and informative stuff. I was also looking for these items which I can place in my office canteen. You can visit my website https://www.geektech.support/best-buy-geek-squad-tech-support/ and suggest me the best tools for my work.

  11. Only 2-3 of the chairs in this post look comfortable. The special and small section is particularly atrocious. Not realistic or accessible for real homeowners with families. Another miss from this jumped-shark blog…

  12. I never thought of arm height when selecting a chair! Good information to learn. I may be alone here in my observation but most of these chairs do not look like I would want to curl up and read a book or watch tv in. When your family room is shared with a family or more than two people, you need a chair that is a comfortable option even if it is just an accent chair.

    On another topic 🙂 I would love it if you would do a piece on desk chairs for a home office….specifically for my situation! My work/family desk is a built in that is tucked into a corner of my family room. It is so hard to find a stylish desk chair that is comfortable and coordinates/compliments the rest of my family room furniture! Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated. And I stress comfortable since I sit in it everyday for 4 to 6 hours! 🙂 Lisa

  13. Such a wonderful chair collection. I would love to buy few of them for my new duplex house which is under construction.

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