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10 Bold Upholstered Chairs to Liven Up Your Living Room

When my fiancé and I first moved into our current home, I was obsessed with Scandinavian design. I mean, I was in it. I wanted everything as white as possible with touches of grey and black and lots of walnut wood. Quite literally, the one piece I bought that had any color was an persimmon colored stool from Schoolhouse Electric that I just happened to really fall for. And that was a stretch. Well, as will always happen, that particular segment of the design world has evolved quite a bit over the past few years. Nowadays I’m seeing lots of pastels, pops of bright, bold color and, frustratingly, tons of natural wood. It’s all very frustrating. Now when I look at my apartment it feels behind the times, and worse than that, it doesn’t feel like me anymore.

Today, if I had to place myself in a design box, if you will, I would say that my aesthetic has more of a Scandinavian-California-Desert vibe. But I guess that’s the exciting thing about decorating your home, right? The second you think you know what you like is the exact moment some brilliant person decides to totally turn your universe upside down with a neon pendant or a wood bead garland. So recently I’ve been thinking about how I could update my home without scrapping everything and starting from scratch. I do a lot of internet stalking of interior designers and interior design bloggers. Recently, I’ve seen a lot of homes with relatively neutral decor and then, Bam!, a chair that I’d sell my first-born to call my own. (Only kidding…sort of…) I realized that I could add so much personality to my space with just one piece of furniture, which sounds like a very appealing prospect. So I’ve found 10 exemplary examples of bold, statement chairs. They all make use of gorgeous upholstery and have interesting, unique and modern shapes.

1. onefortythree Roxy Rocker


This is one of my favs. The combination of the Pendleton upholstered cushions and the bent wood frame have me seeing stars. This would be amazing in a nursery.

2. Anthropologie Flutura Occasional Chair


Available in both black and pink color ways, this chair is just fun! I’m really loving the acoustic-wave-feel of the fabric and the sexy wingback design.

3. Janie’s Upholstery Vintage Mexican Blanket Upholstered Chair and Footstool

Although this set isn’t actually available for purchase, it’s a past client project, I couldn’t help but include it. I’m very intrigued by Mexican fabrics these days, which their graphic shapes and striking color combos, and this set is some serious inspiration!

4. Anthropologie Striped Losange Chair


A black and white design, this chair is just as striking as its colorful counterparts. I’m digging that laid back shape and, let’s just face it, that’s a masterful upholstery job! All those lines facing all those different directions and coming together seamlessly?! Bravo.

5. Barrington Blue Kilim Bench


I love you. I love you. I love you. You with your oh-so-on-trend colors and your hairpin legs. You’re bold. You’re special. You’re everything.

6. Anthropologie Bangala Armchair


You may have noticed this is the third piece from Anthropologie. What can I say? Their chair options on on point. This is another terrific example of a black and white chair that really sings. I adore the mud cloth inspired fabric, and this chair is mixing prints like a champ!

7. Wild Chairy Upholstered Chair Beaded by Kenyan Tribesmen


This company, Wild Chairy, takes sad, depressing chairs and gives them shocking head-to-toe makeovers. This pair, although traditional in their shape, got a graphic, geometric seat and a hand-beaded (by Kenyan tribesmen no less!) back. And the backrest is shaggy and magical. Their high gloss white frames keep them modern, and let’s all that incredible fabric shine. I could see these two stopping the show by a fireplace or, split the pair, and give your office a healthydose of hell yeah.

8. Aztec Upholstered Chair


Originally featured on Port & Quarter, the brilliant creator of this chair wasn’t accredited, but no matter. They’ve taken a mid-century armless chair with that classic low slung style and given it a modern, Aztec remix with this Pendleton blanket upholstery. I’m loving the rich tone of the cherry wood next to the soft cream and stark black wool. My favorite part of this piece is how the wood is carried up to seat level with those pieces on either side, which just further intensifies that delicious contrast is color and texture.

9. Chairloom Custom Upholstered Chair in Pierre Frey “Arty”

Ok, it’s getting real serious now. This chair is from a different planet. Where shall I begin? How about by saying that the combination of that Victorian shape and the ultra-modern painterly fabric by Pierre Frey is genius. Or what about the combination of colors here? It’s too good. And yet the majority of the chair is white, so the pattern is able to shine without being totally overwhelming. And finally, look at that overstuffed seat! Whose nightly read wouldn’t be better sitting on that cozy cushion? While this was a custom job and isn’t technically for sale, the fabric is! Pierre Frey fabrics are carried all over the country. So find yourself a chair with some good lines and a great upholsterer, and make your dream come true. 
10. Olli Otomi Lounger

I had to save the best for last. This is a veryclose win over the Pierre Frey, but would you look at the size of this thing?? It’s like a bean bag on steroids…and acid! This company, Olli, created these loungers to be the ultimate seating experience. The traditional Otomi fabric is hand embroidered by skilled Mexican tradeswomen over hundreds of hours. Otomi fabrics are made by combining archetypal images of native Mexican scenes with rainbow-hued thread. The process is painfully long and arduous, especially for something of this scale, but Olli didn’t want to sacrifice the product by purchasing a prefab textile, so the loungers are only made in small runs, very small. As for the filling, they tested dozens of materials and finally settled on the perfect combination of polyestrene beads, foamcore and a fluffy feather topper for the ultimate lounging experience. Think of a bean bag chair that’s actually comfortable and big enough for a two-person nap. The price tag is hefty, but for obvious reasons. I may not be able to buy one of these for myself, not that I could even fit it in my apartment if I could, but there are tons of sources for affordable and authentic Otomi fabric out there (Etsy has some really good options), that could easily be used to upholster something a little more reasonable in size. 

I’m obviously partial to the last two options here, but honestly, I’m flipping over all of them! I’m so impressed with the range of textiles available these days. Designers have really stepped up their game with pattern and color, and I love that these chairs are throwing caution to the wind and saying, “Yes! I will wear my party dress to breakfast!” Who says your seating shouldn’t be too busy? Who says you shouldn’t have a giant Otomi beanbag instead of a sofa? Who says you can’t use every color in the rainbow? Whoever it is, I’m tuning you out. All I can hear are the show tunes these chairs are singing! Bottom line, they’re making me giddy, and that’s a good sit-uation! (Forgive me, I had to.)

xo – Cassie

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