by Cara McBroom
The Wingback Chair:
When one imagines a wingback chair, (let’s be honest) we typically think of a tall, austere and formal-looking traditional chair with wings, possibly sitting in a men’s study or a castle, or that formal sitting room in your grandma’s house that you were never supposed to actually use! I say, we are not giving this chair enough credit for the strides it has made since way back in the 17th century!
“Back in the day”, this chair was created to serve a distinct purpose. The side wings and tall back helped protect a person from chilling drafts. You could place a couple of wing chairs near a fireplace, and the wings would envelope the heat around you like a warm, cozy cloak…and if you so happen to fall asleep, the structure of the chair helped “prop” you up! On the other side of the coin, the chair’s wings could also protect a lady’s delicate skin from an overly-hot fireplace. It is highly common to see a pair of wing chairs flanking a fireplace in many floor plans.
The first wing chair was a rather stiff, straight-lined piece of furniture, that “cloistered the sitter in a kind of opulent coffin.” This shape changed in the late 1600’s when Charles II was crowned king of England, Scotland and Ireland. “When Charles II came to power, thereby ushering in the Restoration—a period freed from the Puritans’ censorious moral beliefs toward sex and self-indulgence—…the female form was once again adored and joyfully distorted.”  Hence, the more curvaceous styles we are used to imagining when we think of a wing chair, such as the popular Queen Anne style.
By some, wing chairs tend to be viewed upon today in several different ways: One way is as a nostalgic, traditional, floral print-covered, reading chair you can see in your grandmother’s living room, with the cat curled up in it and a half-read newspaper over the arm. Norman Rockwell captured this best:
In modern day, we also often see the wing chair used in television and movies, depicted as a chair used by powerful characters, usually men, like Donald Trump, Nooky Thompson and Scarface. Even Dr. Evil has his very own exaggerated wing chair to rule the world in!
Wingback chairs, however, are so much more versatile than this! With so many new shapes, sizes, and bold fabric applications, these chairs could find a place in any home, fireplace or not! In fact, they are not only “usable” these days, they are highly on trend! Whether you are refurbishing a vintage frame by painting it a bright lacquer and covering it in a fun print, as shown below; or buying into a new, fresh modern shape, these chairs have become a must-have in almost every design!
Check out Some of these revamped wing chairs!
Here are some wing chairs that have innovative, modern shapes and lines:
Here are some awesomely beautiful rooms that are sporting some amazingly inviting wing chairs!
Feeling inspired yet??? Here are some unique and beautiful wing chairs, below, to get you excited. We, at Lovelace Interiors, can order any of these styles in a wide range of fabrics! Come on in, and instead of “winging it”, feel free to ask any of our designers for their opinion! We can help you coordinate the perfect design!
From top left to bottom right: ( 1-4) Chairs by CR Laine; (5-11) Chairs by Century Furniture; (12-15) Chairs by Lee Industries; (16-18) Chairs by Vanguard Furniture; (19-20) Chairs by Drexel Heritage; (21-22) Chairs by H.Studio; (23) Rene Chair by Design Legacy; (24) Kercher Chair by Bernhardt
Below is a pair of extremely comfortable wing chairs I recently used in a project! They are covered in a colorful and striking ikat fabric that ties all the colors of the room together:
Contact me if you want my help exploring your wing chair options, or if you need any interior design help!
Licensed Interior Designer #ID5285