Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ditch the Sofa for a Better Option?

In several of the projects I have designed over the past few years, I have opted to use four chairs instead of the expected "sofa & chair combo".  The result....better flow in the space, great arrangement for conversation and overall dynamic look.  Here are some rooms were this design was incorporated...

You don't have to use four of the exact same chairs to achieve this look.  Notice how there are four different chairs in the room below.  Just make sure the chairs you choose are balanced in weight, by being the same approximate size and color.  See how two of these chairs are beige and the other two are darker.  They balanced the look by putting the similar colored chairs across from one another.  The addition of a a side table, architectural elements, art, throws, pillows, fabrics, plants or lamps can also make up for the differences in visual weight.

Notice how the chairs by the fireplace are not skirted but the chairs in the foreground are.  This interestingly makes the chairs seem masculine and feminine.  I can picture two couple sitting in this room with the men by the fireplace and the women in the skirted chairs.  I also like the two floor lamps on either side of the fireplace giving some height and balance to the wall 
with the beautiful mantle.

The fabric of the chairs doesn't have to be solid as demonstrated in this photo.  
The stripe fabric on the chairs adds the right amount of pattern to this otherwise simple interior.

The four chairs used in this room are covered in a fabric which is the same color as the lampshades and color in the painting.  This arrangement does several things.  It creates balance and makes this room feel calm while also making the art the centerpiece of the room.  I like the unexpected green ottoman in the middle of the room with the beautiful orchid which introduces the 
right pop of color and nature.

By using neutral slipcovered chairs in this space, your eye is drawn to the real showstopper which is the great view!   Love all the natural elements added to reinforce this space is all about nature! 

The key to creating a pleasing look with four chairs is to chose a chair that has weight so it helps anchor the room.  Personally, I like to use a circular table or ottoman in the center which serves as a radius to group the chairs around.  You can see from the photos above that a square tables/ottomans work well for this design too. 
If you chose this arrangement,  it's nice to have smaller tables or stools  to use by the chair for drinks or books.

Here are a few chairs I used in projects, 

1. The Modern Wing Chair by Thomas Pheasants for Baker.  
This is the linen I used for one project which is Style # 44-242
I finished the chair with nail heads in French.  Baker offers many great fabrics or they also allow
 COM ( customer's own fabric)Gorgeous Chair!


2. Kingston Wing Chair by Bernhardt Furniture

 I have used this chair in a beautiful pale grey leather from Bernhardt.  The project was a media room that needed to also act like a living room when tv was not being viewed.  Originally, the owner wanted swivel chairs, but after much debate decided stationary would be better due to the age of the children and the temptation for the children to "play in the chairs".

3.  Slipcovered Swivel Chair by Lee Industries
Style C1011-01 

This slipcovered swivel chair is especially great if you want to
put the television in a spot that would require two of the chairs to swivel in order to view the tv.  

If budget is an issue, consider these two options from IKEA.

The Ektorp in its base fabric is only $249. and have many slipcover options.  Great with kids because you can pop the slipcovers in the wash for easy cleanup.  

The Ektorp Chair

 The Kivik chair

 This chair is only $199 for the base fabric.  Like the Ektorp it has many slipcover options. This chair is especially versatile since it is armless, you could position two or three of them side by side to make a love seat or sofa and still have a single chair if your needs changed and you wanted a different arrangement.



Have you ever thought of using four chairs instead of a sofa and chairs?

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  1. Hi Lisa! I love all of these design ideas; my favorite is the crisp white chairs with green and white botanical pillows.

  2. Thanks Jenah! I'm glad you stopped by! I like those chairs too! Wish I could escape to that room right now...

  3. thank you for this information and lovely pictures...I could look at the details all day!!
    i am your newest follower...pls follow back if you can.

    1. Thank you for commenting and for joining! I am so happy to have a new follower!!! I wish more people would join. It makes me feel good when I get a new reader!! My stats show that I have hundreds of readers daily but for some reason I think they are reading and not joining. Not sure how all that works!
      Have a great day! Lisa

  4. Wonderful post, Lisa! I love the idea of four chairs, the room with the collected look is a favorite, as well as the Veranda photo. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Thank you so much Pam for commenting! Hope you are having a great day!

  5. Lisa,
    I love this look and saw it for the first time when I lived in Charlotte. Almost did it in my own home but decided to go with the traditional sofa + chairs. Must admit, I have a weakness for swivel chairs, so love the Lee you featured!!

    xo Elizabeth

    1. I do like swivel chairs too especially the ones that have the memory return. I put a table between the two in my den, so the kids couldn't make them turn all the way around! Without the table in between they would be turned the wrong way all the time!

  6. Most people I have decorated for have had large groups of people to consider in the overall design - whether immediate family or entertaining - and so we have always gone with a sofa as well. I love this "more adult" approach.

    1. That is what I have found also Lisa but this works well for empty nesters, newly married or people who have another room other than a family room where they want adult conversation.. thanks for commenting!

  7. Great post Lisa. I've been window shopping for swivel chairs for my problematic family room.


    1. Laura, there are so many. Let me know what price range you are looking in and I might have a suggestion...Thanks for commenting!


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