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Choosing Seating for the Home: Chairs and Settees

Chairs are a simple way to dress up a dining room table or add elegance to a living room or den, and matching ottomans as well as decorative storage benches can complete the look. With the wide variety of chairs and settees available, it can be difficult choosing the right one. Consider the decor in the room and the overall style, and take note of any bold colors or predominant themes and consider using a swatch or photograph to help with selecting new chairs.

When choosing dining room chairs, the style is often dictated by the table and the decor in the dining room. For most basic table types, a simple, straight-legged chair will work well. If the color scheme in the room is difficult to match, choose black padded chairs to avoid detracting from other colors. A more dramatic flair can be added by selecting red velvet instead of black. White or brown are also usually safe colors to use when putting new chairs into an existing decor.

Accent chairs are often added to a room as a splash of color that is also functional. Typically sold as single pieces, accent chairs are meant to coordinate with existing furniture, not match it. Often thought of as a whimsical splurge, an accent piece is really as much about style as it is function. Don’t be afraid to go bold and use pillows or light colored throws to lessen the impact if needed.

A settee can vary from resembling a small sized loveseat to an elegant seating piece reminiscent of the fainting couches of old. Generally less padded than a sofa and a good choice for a smaller room, these seats are surprisingly comfortable for two people with a firmer feel than a loveseat. Settees take up less space than two chairs and can be more easily rearranged than a larger sofa. Often placed in entryways or landings, a dramatic settee can be a conversation piece as much as a place to sit.

Starting simply with neutral colors is an easy way to a seating to a room without affecting the style. Add more dramatic pieces one at a time until the desired look is achieved.