Worth Another Look: Wing Back Chairs with Modern Design Tweaks

There's something majestic and throne-like about a wing back chair. In its most common iteration, the wingback chair is unabashedly traditional (and a little staid). But swerve off course a little and you will find a number of wing backs that pack a lot of punch. Some are very delicate and whimsical with bird-like curves and pretty silhouette. Others are tailored and streamlined. Others still are whimsical and exaggerated.

The wing back chair was invented over 300 years ago to keep people protected from drafts and cozy in front of the fire. The wings, which extend outward from the back and sometimes extend all the way down to the arms, enclosed the upper part of the body and trapped heat from the fireplace. Originally, the frame of the chair was exposed wood, with only certain parts of the chair cushioned. Over time, the wing back became padded and upholstered and underwent many iterations according to the fashions of the time. If you want to inject a little personality into an old stodgy wingback, consider reupholstering and old vintage one with bold fabric.

What I love about the wing chair is that I can rest my head while reading! And I can sit back and feel rested without completely committing to a full lounging recline; in other words, I can relax without becoming a complete slouching sloth (not that there's anything wrong with that!).

FIRST ROW
1. I love this Dwell Cooper chair from Dwell Studio, $1,360+.
2. Caracole's What's New Pussycat? chair from Candalabra is very groovy, $1,276.
3. Basic traditional Gramercy wingback from Pottery Barn, $699+.

SECOND ROW
4. Oly Studio Gabriel chair from Candelabra.
5. French upholstered wing chair from Restoration Hardware, $995+
6. Sanders wing chair from Jayson, $876. Grey flannel.
7. Wingback chair by Tom Dixon

THIRD ROW
8. Hardwood Wingback by James Design UK.
9. Kalinda's Leather Chair from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, $1,895.
10. Julian Chinchester Whitby Chair from Candelabra
11. Lillian August Gibson chair at Candelabra, $1,880.

FOURTH ROW
12. Dylan leather wingback chair from Crate & Barrel, $2,199.
13. Howell Wingback from Anthropologie, $1898. Other fabrics available.
14. Vincente Wolf wingback

(Images: As linked above.)

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