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wingback chair

Trend Spotlight: Traditional Wingback Chairs are Getting a New Twist

Traditional design is rising in popularity across the country, as people spend more time at home and are looking for a little more comfort and familiarity in their home’s design. The surge in popularity of traditional interior design is something that steadily grew in the second half of 2020, and one of our 2021 trend predictions is that it will continue to rise into the coming year.

With its rise in popularity, we’ve been exploring different traditional design ideas, with furniture, decor, and overall room designs that bring this style to life. One piece in particular that we’ve been seeing in a lot of traditional and modern spaces alike? The wingback chair.

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What is a wingback chair?

A wingback chair—also known as a wing chair, a fireside chair, or an easy chair—is a style of upholstered accent chair with “wings” attached to the seatback. Wingback chairs generally feature a high back, and all but some of the more modern styles of this chair have armrests. (Traditionally, the wings connect all the way down to the armrest in one continuous piece.) They tend to be designed with wooden legs and a fully upholstered body—though some styles have wood side panels and backs, or scrolled wood frames along the edge of the chair design.

You’ll also sometimes see wingback details in settees (which are perfect for a dining nook) or in upholstered captain’s dining chairs. This will add a more formal, traditional vibe to your dining space.

In the most traditional approaches to this chair style, you’ll often see nailhead trim, roll arms, and scrolled or cabriole legs—a classic Queen Anne-style furniture detail. But more modern designs forego these details, creating a more streamlined look.

Where do wingback chairs come from?

A quick lesson in the history of wingback chairs. The first wingback chairs were made in England in the 1600s—but they didn’t rise in popularity until the 1720s. They were created as a way to help shield a person from drafts of cold air (something quite common in colonial homes!) and also to trap the heat from a fireplace. That’s actually why they’re sometimes called fireside chairs, as it was a popular style of chair to have pulled up in front of or flanking a fireplace. While the earliest wingback chair designs were made entirely of wood, with no cushioning or upholstery, today they make very comfortable chairs to cozy up in, whether they’re pulled up next to a fireplace or not!

How to Style a Wingback Chair

Want to see wingback chairs in action? We’ve rounded up a handful of our favorite wingback chair designs in the Modsy catalog. Keep scrolling for some wingback chair design ideas and how to integrate this style of chair into your home!

wingback chair

Darlene Accent Chair (Black), Nyla Home

This take on a wingback chair features sleek mid-century modern lines. The dark color is sophisticated and modern and allows this chair to work well across many different styles. Despite the chair’s sleek form, its soft fabric and traditionally inspired shape make it a cozy place to sit!

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Marilla Accent Chair (Khaki), Jofran

The combination of gingham-patterned upholstery and wingback styling give these chairs a very traditional look that’s perfect for modern farmhouse and traditional styles alike. With their padded seats, arms, and backs, these chairs are the perfect place to curl up with a good book.

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Iris Wingback Chair (Cathedral Slate), Ravine Home

The classic blue and white pattern found on this wingback chair—along with the tapered legs and clean-lined frame—make this a perfect choice for those looking to embrace New Traditional design style. This chair will give your space a comfy, traditional vibe with an updated feel.

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Paul Accent Chair (Pink), Nyla Home

This is a very modern take on a wingback chair. In fact, we may even say it’s wingback-inspired rather than sitting squarely in the camp of wingback chairs. With an hourglass shape and metal framing, it adds a striking look to any modern or eclectic space. But it’s the high, curved seat back, plus the spindles, that give a nod to both wingback and traditional Windsor styles. To make it comfortable, this chair features a plush seat cushion and free-floating back pillow, which come in many colors to suit different color schemes and styles.

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wingback chair

Modern Wing Accent Chair (Navy), Scout Home

An absolutely classical take on a wingback, this navy upholstered wingback chair has a traditional form, with a camelback top, nailhead trim, and rolled arms. However, its simple, streamlined legs give it a slightly modern twist. This is the perfect choice for a sophisticated reading nook.

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Iris Wingback Chair (Shibori Coral Cay), Ravine Home

Just because you want a chair with a traditional shape doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with the upholstery! The fun Shibori-style print on the fabric is perfect for boho or eclectic spaces, giving your room a pop of color and global-inspired style.

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wingback chair

Malia Accent Chair (Grey), Nyla Home

This elegant and rustic chic wingback chair will add sophistication to any corner of your home. With a weathered wood frame featuring beautiful scrollwork, neutral exterior upholstery, and a crushed velvet seat, back, and accent pillow, this chair is full of vintage charm. All of its elegance makes it a great stand-alone statement piece or a perfect pairing for those interested in decorating with antiques.

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Palm Desert Wing Chair (White), Global Views

With button-tufted linen cushions and a wood frame, this modern wingback-style chair has boho and coastal written all over it. The frame’s sleek lines make it perfect for modern and Scandinavian spaces as well. We love how the caning on the sides adds texture and an unexpected element that you don’t typically see on a wingback chair!

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wingback chair

Marilla Accent Chair (Navy), Jofran

The plaid upholstery on this classic wingback chair adds a warm and traditional touch. But lighter wood of the tapered wooden legs adds a sleek, modern rustic feel. We love how this piece adds a pop of color and pattern to a space—great for those looking to dive into the Traditional Comfort design trend.

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Iris Wingback Chair (Cathedral Blush), Ravine Home

If you’re looking for sleek and modern wingback chairs, this design in blush upholstery is the perfect choice. It offers an understated pop of color to your space and works perfectly on its own or in a pair. The subtle pattern on the fabric adds a fun, unexpected element to this chair—giving this classic chair style an updated look.

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wingback chair

Wingback Accent Chair (Beige), Jofran

This is a more simplified version of a wingback chair. With simple lines and a lower back, stylistically it’s almost a combination of a club chair and wingback style. But a pinstripe pattern and exposed nailheads give this chair a definite traditional bent. We love the idea of pairing it with a footstool for extra comfortable lounging.

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wingback chair

Erik Wing Chair (Burnt Sienna), West  Elm

This Scandinavian-inspired version of a wingback chair is great for adding classic flair to a modern space. The long, tapered legs in a dark oak finish add a definite mid-century modern touch, while the soft saddle-colored leather manages to be both trendy and timeless (and oh-so-comfortable).

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Drexel Arm Chair, Hyde Park

Add some sophistication to your dining room with wingback captain’s chairs. The nailhead trim gives it a striking look, and the espresso finish on the wood legs adds beautiful contrast to the light upholstery. A pair of these chairs is not only great for use at the head and foot of your dining table but would also look great flanking a fireplace.

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Tabitha Accent Chair (Beige), Nyla Home

These French country-inspired wingback chairs have a classic form with deep seats, which are perfect for lounging. With linen upholstery on the seat and back, burlap upholstery on the exterior, and a solid birch frame with carved feet, this chair is full of charming, elegant details. It’s perfect for Refined Rustic and Traditional spaces.

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Want to try on the wingback chair trend?

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The Mood of Monet: Bringing Pastels Indoors

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Our big takeaway from this season’s runway collections was color. More subdued than sweet, a palette of moody pastels dominated the 2017 Pre-Fall collections of designers such as Valentino and Bottega Veneta.

A different take on hues usually reserved for baby showers and easter egg baskets, we found these stormier pastels reminiscent of colors employed by French Impressionist, Monet in his Water Lilies oil painting series.

 

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Left: Pre-Fall 2017 Bottega Veneta Collection, photo courtesy of Bottega Veneta. Right: Monet, Water Lily Pond, 1908

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Left: Pre-Fall 2017 Valentino, photo by Gerardo Somoza/Indigital.tv. Right: Monet, Le Bassin Aux Nymphéas, 1919

 

We translated this aesthetic from the runways to a modern living room. Using the same palette enhanced with luxurious materials such as velvet, burl wood, and mother of pearl, this living room captures the same moody vibe as the runway collections.

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For those who love a minimal yet chic space, this collection will be plucking at your heart strings. Not sure what your Modsy style is? Take our Style Quiz to find out.

Shop all the products in this collection below, or see it in your space with Modsy.

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moody pastels home design collection

Natural Curiosities

Jonathan Adler

Jonathan Adler

 

moody pastels home design collection

Return to Classics: A Fresh Take on a Timeless Look

As dramatic as it is elegant, we are absolutely in love with this classic yet minimal Parisian apartment interior. The space feels simultaneously like a relic of the past and also palpably current. It’s this subtle tension between timeless and modern that makes this space so fresh even as it feels entirely familiar.

To create the look we combined traditional furniture, a monochromatic palette, and accessories with a classical flair.

We started with a base of neutral pieces with clean lines. We picked silhouettes that alluded to classical forms, but with clean lines and pared-down ornamentation. We especially love the Bryn chair (Crate & Barrel) and the Leonelle Sofa (Anthropologie) – the swooped arms on the chair and casters on the sofa hint at their classic antecedents, while their streamlined forms push a modern look.

 

Next we layered in our Chinoiserie accents. Roughly translating to “Chinese-esque,” the term refers to a European interpretation and imitation of East Asian artistic traditions. The 17th and 18th centuries saw a growing European fascination with the “mysterious East,” and the inclusion of these artistic elements in European decorative arts became a status symbol for the wealthy. In our space we opted for a modern take on Chinoiserie by selecting pieces with a subtle bamboo motif, such as the lamp, mirror, and bench.

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Then, we sprinkled in a few pieces of classical artwork and accessories with a modern flair. Look for pieces with a traditional subject matter, but depicted through a modern medium. The Equus Wall Art is a great example: the equestrian subject matter is a staple of classic interiors, but here it is depicted in an abstract expressionist manner, giving it a modern edge.

No Classically-inspired room is complete without a pair of Foo Dogs! You might be thinking: “What the Foo, these aren’t dogs?” And you’d be right! A corroded Western translation, “Foo Dogs” are actually a pair of guardian lions. Originating in India, the Foo Dogs spread to other parts of Asia, namely China, and from there they eventually came to Europe. Always a pair of a male and female, Foo Dogs are the symbolic guardians of the home. The male protects the structure and the female protects the dwellers.

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Stylist tip: We chose a pair of white-blue Foo Dogs to compliment our minimal color palette and keep the space feeling fresh. Try using them as bookends, or pendant pieces on a console or fireplace mantle. Just make sure you keep them as a pair for maximum good luck!

If you self-identify as a Refined Connoisseur, Contemporary Connoisseur, or a Timeless Traditionalist, you will be sure to love this Return to Classic space. Not sure what your Modsy style is? Take our Style Quiz to find out.

 

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