The Ultimate Chair Style Guide

With so many different styles of chairs, it can be pretty confusing figuring out exactly what to call all the different types.  From Bergere to balloon chairs, we’ll give you a rundown on all the basic styles.

Bergere Chair

Bergere chairs originated in France and are defined by an upholstered back and seat, usually with a loose, overstuffed cushion, on a carved wood frame. Their “bones” are curvey, and the extra padding in their soft cushions can make them comfortable reading chairs.

Chesterfield Chair

Like the chesterfield sofa, a chair of this style has arms as high as its back with tufting on both and a rolled arm.  Named in 1900 after Earl of Chesterfield, its inventor, a chesterfield chair is a handsome and stately design that will add sophistication to your home.  Although often thought of as a traditional piece, this style is being used more and more often in modern interiors.


Slipper Chair

A slipper chair is simply an armless upholstered chair that has short legs so you sit closer to the ground and can be used in any room.  Purchase a slipper chair in fun patterned fabric to add a whimsical touch.

Wingback Chair

A wingback chair is a type of upholstered easy chair, usually taller than it is wide, with two side panels or wings flanking the high back and closed panels under the arms, which are usually rolled.  The most familiar form of wingback chair was developed in late 17th-century England to protect sitters from drafts or an overly hot fire, flourishing there before becoming popular in the U.S.

Spool Chair

Spool chairs, also called “bobbin” or Carver” chairs, are a design classic that are striking to view from every angle and were named after John Carver, founder and first governor of the Plymouth colony in America.  They originated during the Arts and Crafts Movement and are still popular today with their turned wood legs, arms, and back, cushioned seat and back, and lightly upholstered arms.


Also called a reclining chair, a recliner is an easy chair (that is often thickly cushioned) with a back and foot rest adjustable up or down.  Because of the emphasis on comfort, recliners are great for use in family rooms for reading, watching TV, and relaxing.

Pub Back Chair

A pub back style chair has soft, overstuffed cushions that overlap for double layers of pill0w-like support that attach to the back of the upholstery.  This offers extra comfort for you to sit back and relax, and these chairs work well in any room of the house.

Balloon Chair

Inspired by antique design, balloon chairs, also known as domed chairs, were originally used to block drafts in European castles.  These statement-making chairs have recently regained popularity and are striking and elegant for use in a formal room.

Tub Chairs

Tub chairs incorporate elements of design from both the Arts and Crafts Movement and Art Deco.  This style of easy chair is usually low-backed with arms even with the back or sloping up to it in a continuous curve to create a semicircular form.

Club Chair

The word “club” in club chair harks back to the gentlemen’s clubs in 19th century England where a gentleman could go to get away from his household. Once there, he would sink into a well-upholstered leather chair and relax with a drink and perhaps a cigar.  Today, club chairs are enjoyed by men, women, and children of all ages and are frequently used in living and family rooms for socializing and relaxing.  This style of easy chair is heavily upholstered with arms and a low back.  The look can vary greatly depending on the shape of the arm, seat, and legs, but club chairs are often the go-to chair people buy for their living and family rooms.

What’s your favorite style of chair?

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