Look We Love: Traditional Windsor Chairs in Modern Interiors

published Apr 14, 2017
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It’s always a curious thing when a piece of furniture with a pedigree that dates back centuries manages to situate itself into contemporary design (without actually looking like an antique). Such is the case with the Windsor chair. Originating in the early 1700s and taking its name from the English town of—you guessed it—Windsor, the humble wooden chair has been an anchor of English and American interiors past and present. Its characteristic spindled back, carved seat, gentle recline and splayed legs fill me with a sense of comforting nostalgia that I can’t quite place.

Featured prominently throughout the pages of American history (like this depiction of Congress signing the Declaration of Independence), what was once utilized only in a country farmhouse or tucked into the corner of an upstate bed and breakfast, is making its way back into the interiors and hearts of designers everywhere. Thoughtfully placed among modern furnishings, the Windsor chair can offer the perfect balance between old and new.

Peruse these fresh interiors for examples of how to incorporate the classic Windsor chair into your own home.

Above: Emily Ellis and Jemy Massie of Studio Revolution in Pleasanton, California, pair streamlined furnishings with botanical art in this monochromatic living space where a dramatic black fireplace, fixture and Windsor chair all pop against crisp, white walls.

(Image credit: Courtesy Tara Fingold)
(Image credit: Courtesy Tara Fingold)

Toronto-based designer Tara Fingold pairs raspberry tufted dining chairs with high-back modernized Windsors chairs in this sophisticated space. The knotty spindles and rose-colored seats lend a modern and refreshing take on this dramatic version of the Windsor chair.

Melbourne-based firm O’Connor and Houle Architecture maintain a sense of history in this Victorian home with a classic Windsor bench, while bringing the space up to present day with eye-catching groupings of modern art.

(Image credit: Old Brand New)

A mid-century take on Windsor chairs is just kind of perfect among vintage and flea finds in the 1940s home of Miami-based Federica Molini and Ivan De Lucia, via Old Brand New.

(Image credit: Courtesy Reath Design)

A cheerleader of the Windsor chair, this space is just one of many examples from Frances Merrill’s portfolio of how she incorporates the traditional piece into her layered, collected interiors. We’re particularly fond of how she grouped both low and high-back chairs around a Saarinen dining table in her Santa Monica II project.

Classic, white Windsor chairs join a powerful oversized painting and a pretty, patterned banquette in this farmhouse kitchen by Atlanta-based Suzanne Kasler spotted on 1stdibs.

Country has never looked so chic thanks to dramatic black Windsor bar stools and a vibrant red checked rug in the kitchen of artist Kolene Spicher featured on Country Living.

(Image credit: Dabito/The Jungalow)

There isn’t an inch of this dining room we spotted on The Jungalow that isn’t perfect: Modern Windsor-style chairs mixed in with mid-century pieces, Tonga baskets, and a textured rug mingle perfectly within the deep teal, eclectic room in the home of Dabito (the blogger behind Old Brand New.)

Ready to bring this look into your home? We picked 10 of our favorites, perfect for your dining room, or as an accent chair!