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10 Reasons We Love a Wingback Chair

by Sofia Tuovinen

10 Reasons We Love a Wingback Chair | Design*Sponge

When I imagine curling up in a cozy reading nook, or in a lounge chair perfectly situated by a fireplace, I always think of it happening in a big old wingback chair. It feels like few pieces of furniture have stood the test of time as well as wingbacks. Originally introduced in 17th century England, little has changed in terms of appearance. The high back was designed to protect from drafts, while the characteristic protruding winged sides were ideal for enjoying the warmth of a fire.

Although the main features have remained the same, wingback chairs are now available in all sorts of styles, from traditional to sleeker, more modern interpretations. The best thing about wingback chairs is their versatility — despite their original purpose, they can be used in so many creative ways. Whether placed in a corner, in front of a desk or in the hallway, wingback chairs always signal a welcoming and laid-back feel. The wingback is the true host of lounge chairs — classic and stately, and always the perfect accommodation for anyone looking for some comfort and coziness.Sofia

Image above: Fashion designer Whitney Port’s office features a wingback chair on wheels. Photo by Nicole LaMotte / One Kings Lane

10 Reasons We Love a Wingback Chair | Design*Sponge

The wingback chair in Katie and Tom’s Maryland home proves that classic shapes with modern colors create stunning statements.

10 Reasons We Love a Wingback Chair | Design*Sponge

Substituting a desk chair with a wingback chair adds tons of character to any workspace. This one in Ariele Alasko’s studio is upholstered in mud cloth and makes desk work seem so appealing!

10 Reasons We Love a Wingback Chair | Design*Sponge

For her living room, Jessica McKay had an antique wingback chair reupholstered with grey vinyl. The brass nailheads that run along the wings are such a special detail.

10 Reasons We Love a Wingback Chair | Design*Sponge

In the dining room of this San Francisco home, a set of wingback chairs at each end of the table create an unexpected juxtaposition against the clear side chairs. This mix-n-match approach really defines the space!

10 Reasons We Love a Wingback Chair | Design*Sponge

The bright red wingback chair in the reading nook of this Cleveland home mixes a classic shape with modern legs.

10 Reasons We Love a Wingback Chair | Design*Sponge

I have a soft spot for anything grain sack, and I think this is one of my favorite examples. In Erin Napier’s Mississippi home, a tired old wingback was recovered in classic French grain sack and the result is perfection! 

10 Reasons We Love a Wingback Chair | Design*Sponge

In Kate and Matt’s Auckland home, a leather wingback chair serves its original purpose by the fireplace. The chair has developed a beautiful patina, proof that leather upholstery only gets better with time.

10 Reasons We Love a Wingback Chair | Design*Sponge

The wingback chair in this Los Angeles living room was updated with some yellow Ikat fabric. Such a lovely pop of color against the blue wall!

10 Reasons We Love a Wingback Chair | Design*Sponge

Upholstering the back with a plain fabric can really frame an otherwise patterned wingback chair. In this Portland home, the wingback is everyone’s favorite spot.

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  • My Nana had a wingback chair in her home when I was little. I used to love to sit in it because I thought it made me invisible with the high sides that wrapped around. As #21 of 26 cousins, sometimes I just needed a quiet place to sit and read the HUGE book of New Yorker cartoons that I found in Nana’s bookcase. When she passed, my Dad claimed that chair for me and sent it all the way from Indiana to California, know how much I’d treasure it. I love sitting in that chair every morning, looking out the window with a view over the entire valley, while I drink coffee and plan my day. I also have my Great Aunt’s wingback chair that is in a quiet out-of-the-way corner in my orangerie, surrounded by lemon, orange, and banana trees. It is the BEST chair to curl up and read a book on a gloomy Pacific Northwest winter day! Thanks for this great post about wingback chairs. I want to reupholster the wingback I found for my husband, and now I have ideas!

    • Hi Marie,
      Thank you so much for sharing! I love it when pieces of furniture can have so many lovely memories connected to them. Sofia

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