Antiques in the Modern Home ~ Occasional chairs - John Isaac

Most newly built homes today seem to feature large kitchen/diners at the expense of space in the sitting room.  This problem - if I can call it that - is further compounded by the insane practice of filling a small lounge with a gargantuan 3-piece suite which is simply too large for the room.  Many of the more popular suites are designed with enormous, splayed arms, lumber supports and high backs leaving little or no room for extra seating or even standing space.


Avoid anything with huge arms, and consider buying instead either a pair of 2 seater sofas, or a 3 seater and just one matching armchair freeing up space for a pair of smaller scale antique chairs which will certainly add character to your room.  Such an arrangement will combine deep, lounging comfort with occasional seating for extra people. These "floating chairs" are lighter and more portable than the conventional armchair.  They can be drawn up into the seating group when needed, or parked together in a bay window or on each side of a console table when not in use. 
As an example, look on-line at the pair of Chinese Hardwood Armchairs or the exotic Burmese carved chairs.  Linked with contemporary sofas in a pale neutral fabric and some modern art, they would add sophistication to any room.  Similarly, a pair of French chairs - and there  are several to look at on this site - will provide comfort and elegance, especially if re-upholstered in a subtle modern fabric.
If there is enough space, be a little more ambitious and use a pair of wing or slim high back chairs such as the gracious Charles 11 copies. These too would park against the wall on each side of a console table or chest when not in use.



But if there is not enough space for a pair of chairs, you could always use just one of the above.  Generally, Georgian style wing chairs are very comfortable, classic and restrained in style.  A wing chair will blend happily with modern furniture, and  the good news is that it takes up a small amount of floor space.  To make it an integral part of your decor, make sure you match its upholstery with the scatter cushions on your sofas.  You will be delighted to find that the addition of these few antique items will give your room style and character as well as the obvious practical advantage of extra seating.