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Statement armchairs – how to get the best seat in the house

Lisa Helmanis, the founder of design agency, Day Studio, reveals her inside knowledge

With everything in life, it’s important to set your intention. And when it comes to decorating, a statement armchair clearly denotes standout style and comfort. As well as creating a dedicated space in which to relax and reflect, a sophisticated chair offers a unique opportunity to prevent a scheme from becoming a ‘one design note’ wonder. Used wisely, a statement chair can take a room from pleasant to peerless and whether I’m designing a bustling restaurant or serene private home, seating is the one of the first elements I consider. Here are my tips on finding your perfect chair.

Think about how you will use the chair

Aesthetics are all important. But there are more than looks to consider. Wing chair, ergonomic chair or vintage tub seat? Consider your end usage first. Is this a chair for lounging, reading or reclining? Back support, depth of cushion and seat height all influence whether this will be ideal for upright report reading or somewhere to snuggle up with a podcast. This extra wide seat upholstered in Omega velvet in Crystal Sunset print is the perfect place to lounge and listen whilst adding a good-looking focal point. 


How to make your chair work with your room



An accent chair can lend its charms to a bedroom, office, sitting room or hallway. Even a starkly minimal bathroom can benefit from the softening effect of curves and fabric. The way to embed the piece into the greater scheme is ensure it contains another motif from the room. This yellow chair also contains the warm grey of the wall paint – which prevents the pattern seeming incongruous against the plain wall – and the burgundy lipstick of the woman in the portrait is reflected in the pattern; subtle but surprisingly effective.


Choosing the right fabric for your chair


A beloved family heirloom chair can be given new life with a fresh pattern. To secure a harmonious blend of the traditional shape and a modern fabric, pick out the chair’s lines with a bright contrasting piping. This technique instantly updates heavier-style easy chairs as does polishing or painting wooden legs. In this instance, this Arcadia linen mix in Winterbourne is used in both upholstery and curtains, so the addition of piping defines the chairs shape against the drapes. A useful trick to have in your design kit box.


Show stopper chairs – steps to consider


Sometimes being unapologetically fabulous is the right way to go. This chair with its glamorous polished brass frame and Pampas Charcoal upholstery and Tango weave cushion will always draw the eye. This makes it ideal for hallways or small corners that shouldn’t feel like an afterthought but also require a small footprint. Scale is key with every choice; a high wing chair will always dominate over a low sofa. Look at the size of your room and other pieces before you commit to that exciting find.


The art of combining different fabrics and colours


A clever way of unifying two statement armchairs is to use the same fabrics in different configurations. Here the overall soft pastels of grey and a gentle peachy pink in Arlo are connected without being too ‘matchy matchy’ by using one for upholstery and the other for an accent cushion. This works just as well when used to incorporate the colour scheme of your sofa and an armchair especially when the two are from different periods. It is also a great way to stop occasional chairs feeling like unloved after thoughts.


The ultimate seat… take time out with a chaise



A chaise longue chair makes the ultimate reading nook. In a bedroom or study, they literally invite you to recline and slow down, a clear reminder that life should occasionally stop for a good book. This mid-century style piece feels contemporary with the addition of the neat repeat of this Lundy weave, without overwhelming the shape. The purpose of this reading chair is reiterated with the addition of a standard lamp to gently illuminate a favourite tome. Low key self-care.


Look at me… the pure indulgence chair


A vanity chair is a wonderfully indulgent piece of furniture. As much as wingback chairs evoke smoky club rooms, a whimsical statement chair recalls a time of movie star boudoirs and Doris Day comedies. Committing to a bold colour choice, fringing and tassels will deliver a starlet to your bed or dressing room. This David Seyfried armchair in Alpha velvet is impossible to ignore. Not for the timid or apologetic, it will overdeliver on impact for in a single piece of furniture. This is what statement chairs were made for.


There is no piece of furniture which incorporates both everyday function and mood setting qualities than the statement chair. Finding your favourite is the beginning of a life-long relationship. Good luck finding yours.