How to Pick the Right Chair for You


I’ve found that the world is divided into two groups: sofa people and chair people. Since you most likely have both kinds of people in your life, you will need both kinds of seats in your home. Last week, I blogged about how to pick the perfect sofa. This week, the spotlight is on chairs. Here are my six tips to help you select the right chairs for every room in your home.


Tip 1: Determine how you will use the chair


How are you going to live in this chair? Is this where you will enjoy your morning coffee and the newspaper? Where you’ll work on your laptop?  Before you know what kind of chair is best for a space, determine what you want it to do for your life.


The photo above is of a swivel glider, one of our most popular sellers these days at Nell Hill’s. We used to think of gliders for baby nurseries. But everyone else quickly caught on. Gliders are so stinking comfortable (and there is something entirely magical about rocking back and forth), that pretty soon all of us wanted one, too. If you’re looking for a chair to melt into while binge watching the latest Netflix series you’re crazy about, this one may be it!


Tip 2: Get the right size for you


My philosophy is that you need to have furniture that fits you, not the other way around. I’m pretty short, and a lot of chairs aren’t super comfortable for me because I can’t touch the floor! So, for my home, I like smaller scaled chairs. Or, chairs I can modify to fit, whether by slipping in a back pillow or sliding in an ottoman to prop up my feet.


When I’m waiting on a couple at Nell Hill’s, I first try to figure out who will be sitting in the chair the most. Then, we find a style chair that accommodates their size best. Once you have a chair that fits your body well, you need to make sure it also fits your space well. I really like slipper chairs, like the ones in the photo above, because they are small enough to tuck in just about anywhere, like next to your night stand, flanking a fireplace or floating behind a sofa for extra seating.


Tip 3: Pay attention to scale


It’s critical that the chairs you select match the scale of your home and the other furnishings in the room. It used to be people replaced their chairs because they were sick of the fabric. Now, the most common reason I hear is they realize that the over-sized chairs they bought are just too big for their rooms. The proportions of their space are all out of whack, and the room doesn’t look as good as it could. When we work with customers who are looking for upholstered furniture – really, any furniture – we like to see photos of the space and the other pieces in the room. We have a great computer program that allows us to create a scale layout, so people will see exactly how their furniture will fit, and when a piece is too big, or just the right size.


Tip 4: Buy what YOU love


Today’s consumers are full of confidence, and I love it! It used to be people purchased whatever style was popular at the time. Now, there are so many diverse options available in upholstered furniture, most of us are no longer led by trends, but by our inner style compass. At Nell Hill’s we’ve always encouraged people to develop their own style and bring it to life, so we are thrilled!


Now, furniture makers are playing with classic frames, coming up with unique looks that defy categories. One of my favorites is the new take on wing back chairs, with their modern flavor, crisper line and sexier legs. They are a great pick if you have a spot that needs a little height, like next to a fireplace or in an empty corner.


Tip 5: Sweat the details


Details do matter. That’s why we help our customers custom-design chairs that add unique personality and flair to their spaces. Don’t compromise. Get a chair that has a cushion that is not too firm, not too soft but just right. Insist on a back height and arm styles that allow you to do what you want to do in the chair, whether that’s read, watch TV, enjoy a meal or work on your laptop. Pick an upholstery fabric that shows your personality. And, finish with details that you love, like a contrasting welt or nail-head trim.


Tip 6: Get the highest quality piece your budget will allow


In a world of low-end, mass-produced furnishings that quickly fall apart, I can’t stress enough that you should get the best quality furnishings your budget will allow. You will pay a bit more up front, but you will never regret it when your furniture still looks amazing year after year. Look for kiln-dried hardwood frames, hand tied springs, high quality fabric and quality workmanship, like pattern matching. We can help stretch your budget: Now through February 15, all upholstered furniture at Nell Hill’s is 20% off, giving you a chance to get top quality chairs – even custom orders – at a discount.


Next Week … Hygge, the art of living well.