We Tested (and Rated!) All the Accent Chairs at Pottery Barn — Here Are the Best to Suit Your Style and Space

published Apr 17, 2024
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Pottery Barn accent chair in room with seal in upper left that reads "Apartment Therapy Personal Shopper: Pottery Barn Accent Chairs 2024"
Credit: Pottery Barn

We’re back again with our Personal Shopper series, where we visit a retailer’s brick-and-mortar store and put the furniture to the test. Whether you’re curious about a sofa or sectional from Ashley, outdoor seating from Burrow, or a chic rug from West Elm, we’ve got you covered with all the deets. Gone are the days when you’d have to find a store within driving distance to learn everything you need to know about your next big-ticket purchase. Instead, we’re here to give you the full breakdown of each piece we view, from dimensions and materials to aesthetics.

For our most recent visit, we went to Pottery Barn’s Flatiron location in Manhattan to check out some of the brand’s new product categories. We’ve already reviewed their sofas, bed frames, and rugs for our series, and this time, we’re focusing on accent chairs. Pottery Barn’s chairs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and upholstery styles, and there were also a handful of new releases to discover. Keep reading to see which ones best suit your space.

Why Pottery Barn?

As one of the premier home retailers across the country, Pottery Barn is a reliable brand that has demonstrated its ability to stay on top of trends, ahead of production and shipping delays, and true to its best-selling classic Americana roots. Beyond this, Pottery Barn has its Design Crew, or team of interior design experts across the country, to help with planning, logistics, and aesthetics. Not only can you take your pick from virtual, storefront, or in-home meetings with crew members, but they’ll also listen to your every desire when it comes to your dream space — be it one room or your entire home — and develop custom renderings. Oh, and they’ll do it for free. Yep, free. No need to purchase anything, either (although, yes, we can pretty much guarantee you’re going to want to).

The Chairs


The Criteria

We judged every Pottery Barn chair in-store based on the following five criteria, giving each category an average rating between 1 and 5. These scores helped us determine whom the chair suits best, from the armchair lounger to the patio dweller.

Credit: Apartment Therapy Media

Seat firmness: How soft or firm are the seat cushions? How do they contribute to overall posture and comfort?

Seat depth: How far do you have to scoot to meet the backrest? And when you do, are you in an upright or reclined position?

Loungability: Can you spend hours on this chair? And would you want to?

Durability: Is the fabric easy to care for and able to withstand daily use? Does it require frequent upkeep or spot cleaning?

Appearance: What style does it suit best? Does it lean more traditional (i.e., rounded lines, tufted cushions, classic silhouettes) or more contemporary (i.e., clean lines, swivel bases, simple silhouettes)?

Every Editor-Tested Accent Chair at Pottery Barn

What impressed us: The petite size and gliding caster wheels.

The Balboa chair was on display in three different sizes, although we were especially drawn to the smallest model. This petite accent chair is super versatile, thanks in large part to its compact construction; you could use it as a desk chair or vanity chair, or even grab a few to place around the dining table. Its back is pretty low, so that’s something to keep in mind if you want something in which you can recline. That said, its swivel base makes the chair convenient for grabbing office supplies, makeup brushes, or extra napkins without having to get up from your seat. Not only does the Balboa spin, but it also glides across the floor with ease, so it might almost be better over low-pile carpet than hard floors. In any case, we would recommend this little number as a much chicer alternative to your standard desk chair.

How We Rated It:

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Best for Entertaining: Remmy Upholstered Swivel Chair 

What impressed us: The big seat and velvet green upholstery.

The Remmy was the first chair we looked at, and it set the bar high. One of Pottery Barn’s newest offerings, it’s at once homey and modern, with a rounded barrel silhouette and clean lines. The cozy, enveloping back flows out into a surprisingly expansive seat, so we wouldn’t exactly classify this chair as small-space-friendly. Instead, it’s almost more of a chair-and-a-half and gives you a pretty good chunk of lounging space. Of course, this model swivels, which you’ll also find to be the case with several of Pottery Barn’s other new chairs. We’re certainly not complaining, as this feature makes the Remmy that much more of a stellar accent piece for those who like to socialize with guests.

How We Rated It:

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Specifications:

  • 38.5″ long, 32.5″ wide, 32.5″ high
  • 46 upholstery options
  • Also available as a regular armchair

What impressed us: The modern wingback design and supple leather.

The Wells chair looks like something you’d find on a James Bond movie set, with a modernized wingback design and cool-toned leather upholstery. The store manager also explained to us that the ultra-soft aviator leather was designed with genuine aviator jackets in mind, which only adds to the chair’s cool factor. Although we viewed this swivel chair in the regular size, we were drawn to the petite size as well, which was also on display and could easily fit into tight corners. In addition to a plethora of leather options, you also have a choice between three base finishes: silver, bronze, or brass. Although the chair is gender-neutral in terms of design, we could easily envision it in a well-styled bachelor pad or perhaps a home library.

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Best for Small Spaces: Gideon Swivel Chair

What impressed us: The curved, compact silhouette.

Despite its small frame, the Gideon still managed to catch our attention with its cute round shape and swivel design. Even if you think you don’t have any more space to spare, we’re certain you could still find a spot to accommodate this 34-inch-wide seat. The spinning base wasn’t quite as seamless as those on other models we viewed; we had to put in some effort to gain momentum, but the chair itself is still supremely cozy nonetheless. The Gideon’s back is also firmer than its seat, but it makes up for this feature with enveloping arms that invite you to lean back and hang out. We also like that this model has a loose seat cushion, which allows for easy vacuuming.

How We Rated It:

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Best Coastal Style: Carlisle Chair

What impressed us: The ultra-plush cushions and beachy print.

There were a handful of chairs that astounded us with their plushness, and the Carlisle was one of them. You quite literally sink into its fluffy, overstuffed cushions, making this a fabulous fireside seating option. Even if you don’t have a mantel, you can still place the Carlisle in your living room if you’re looking to achieve a seaside aesthetic. It could lean beachy in a striking ikat print or fit in more with a New England aesthetic, thanks to its traditional silhouette and English roll arms. Of course, there are more than 160 other upholstery options to choose from if you’re not partial to prints, but we think the bold fabric works wonders to prevent the chair from looking too old-fashioned.

How We Rated It:

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What impressed us: The tall arms and supportive back cushion.

We can’t lie — it wasn’t easy differentiating all of the swivel chairs after a while (we even left a couple of them off of this list to avoid redundancy), but the Ayden stood out because of its leather upholstery. We loved the rich caramel hue and soft finish, not to mention the chair’s classic barrel-back design. What’s more, an included back cushion provides pretty decent lumbar support, so you don’t have to purchase a separate throw pillow. This pick is also quite small-space friendly, so we think it would look great with a twin. Snag a set of two, then set them up side by side opposite the sofa to make your living space feel at once homey and modern.

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Best Statement Maker: Shay Woven Accent Chair

What impressed us: The woven canvas material and low-slung seat.

Before sitting in the Shay chair, we had our doubts as to how comfortable it would be, but it proved surprisingly loungey! Sure, its woven back and seat are firm, but you get a good recline and plenty of width on which to stretch out. The only issue is the chair’s profile, which is quite low to the ground and not the easiest to get out of. That’s something to keep in mind if you or a loved one has mobility issues. But the Shay doubles as decor, with a canvas basketweave fabric and contrasting metal base. Plus, we think it’s just as great of an accent piece for the bedroom as it is for the living room — especially if you could use a spot for draping clothes when choosing outfits.

How We Rated It:

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Specifications:

  • 25″ long, 29″ wide, 31.5″ high

What impressed us: The nailhead trim and manual recline design.

We viewed three or so recliners that were pretty similar to each other in style and function, and the James recliner stood out the most among them. We attribute this to its attention-grabbing stud detailing and pillowy cushions, which are plush but not overstuffed. The dark-toned leather upholstery looks a little lived-in already and will only develop more of a patina over time. Because of its classic good looks, the James would make a wonderful addition to the home office or reading room. The best part? You get the manual recline and footrest feature, but you’d never guess this chair was a recliner by initially looking at it.

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Best Glam Style: Edgewood Leather Armchair

What impressed us: The button tufting and cube-like silhouette.

Like Pottery Barn’s other leather seating, the Edgewood armchair is available in numerous leather upholstery options — although, if we had to pick, we’d stick with the nubuck we saw in store. The material feels soft like suede and helps balance out the otherwise firm back and seat. Other features that help the chair stand out are its high arms, which help form a striking modular silhouette, as well as the button tufting that dots the interior. Thin wooden legs act as yet another dynamic detail, giving the Edgewood an elegant appearance. We would classify this piece as more of an accent chair as opposed to a lounging spot, making it a foolproof choice for your bedroom, entryway, or even main hallway if you have the space.

How We Rated It:

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Specifications:

  • 33″ long, 34″ wide, 30″ high
  • 45 upholstery options
  • Also available as a sofa

Best Oversized Style: Turner Roll Arm Leather Chair

What impressed us: The sink-in comfort and wide roll arms.

The Turner chair is large and low-profile, so you can basically consider it your second bed. It’s not as deep as it is wide, but its soft, fluffy back cushion (which is removable, by the way) still invites you to lean back nonetheless. You’ll also find that the Turner is not structured, but it’s still one of the most stylish grandpa chairs we’ve ever seen, thanks to its roll arms and big, blocky legs. We enjoyed sitting against its cold, smooth leather and noticed minor scratches on the delicate material, but you should expect some blemishes to develop over time anyway. No worries, though — they’ll only make the Turner look that much more lived-in and charming.

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Best Farmhouse Style: Cody Accent Chair

What impressed us: The spindle back and rugged wooden frame.

Although we deemed the Cody chair the best farmhouse style, it can fit in with any number of aesthetics. If you ask us, it even looks a little Scandi-inspired, thanks to its spindle back and light color scheme. Plus, the wide plank arms and slightly recessed upper half remind us of something you’d find in a tasteful ski lodge. We’d recommend this chair if you want something that strikes a good balance between style and loungability. Its seat is pretty firm by design, but you can expect zero sagging as a result. As for the frame, you have a choice between Pottery Barn’s signature seadrift finish and a similarly washed-out (but slightly warmer) brown finish. Either one will help you achieve that rugged, organic look purveyors of the farmhouse aesthetic covet.

How We Rated It:

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Specifications:

  • 30.5″ long, 33″ wide, 31″ high
  • 51 upholstery options

Best for Lounging: Canyon Square Arm Chair

What impressed us: The low profile and expansive seat.

We viewed so many comfortable chairs at Pottery Barn, but the one best suited for napping, reading, or doing nothing at all was the Canyon chair. We basically sank into its seat and back, both made from soft woven fabric. The chair also sports wide square arms that’ll balance your phone or TV remote without a problem, although we enjoyed that they don’t extend out to the edge of the seat. This way, your legs get more room to spread out in a variety of positions. Despite its relaxed design, the Canyon is by no means slovenly. It’s low-profile but structured and would look dashing in any contemporary living space. Plus, you have an endless number of fabrics to choose from, so you can really make this piece your own.

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What impressed us: The durable materials and wide arms.

The Malibu chair is technically the only outdoor chair we viewed, and it’s a great pick for spacious patios or decks. If you need a small lounger for your terrace, look elsewhere, as this piece was designed to take up space and give you plenty of room for unwinding in return. The wide silhouette gives way to firm, water-repellent cushions that are also resistant to staining. You also get wide, plank-style square arms that’ll accommodate your poolside drink, not to mention a swivel base that only adds to the chair’s breezy appeal. Although the Malibu swivel was crafted to withstand the outdoor elements, you’ll still want to cover it when it’s not in use to prevent long-term damage.

How We Rated It:

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Specifications:

  • 39″ long, 37″ wide, 32.5″ high
  • 68 upholstery options