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Antique and Vintage Seating

Empire Tub Chair, France 1820, mahogany


Antique and Vintage Seating

Set of Four Empire Barrel Chairs, 1810-20


The Perfect Accent: Exploring the Barrel Chair and Its Versatility

Barrel chair- Styylish

When it comes to accent chairs, Styylish is your one-stop destination. From original antique finds to cutting-edge modern designs, our catalog is full of the just-right addition to that empty corner of your living room.

There may be no better style of accent chair than a barrel chair. Also known as a tub chair, this rounded, self-contained design chair feels like the perfect middle ground between an armchair and a regular chair.

In today’s blog, we want to explore what makes a chair a barrel chair, across all kinds of design periods. We will journey through individual exemplars and sets in our catalog to give you an idea of just how many things you can do with this outstanding design.

What is a Barrel Chair?

A barrel chair is a chair with a curved back-rest that can serve as a kind of armchair or be part of a set of chairs. Barrel chairs come in all shapes and sizes – and designs. In this blog, we will introduce you to examples from our catalog that span eras and philosophies.

Whether as the perfect individual piece to add seating to your bedroom nook or as a set of elegant chairs that bring something new to your dining room – the barrel chair is for you.

Individual Barrel Chairs

We begin our exploration of the barrel chair with exceptional individual pieces of various periods.

Empire Tub chair- 19th century- styylish
An Empire Tub Chair – available now on Styylish

This Empire Tub Chair is a striking example of the barrel shape. The original mahogany frame is reupholstered in a modern crème fabric. It features elegant swirls that complement the roundedness of the frame beams and subvert the expected glossy formality of the Empire style.

This chair would thrive as a free-standing accent chair in your living room, or if complemented by a modern coffee or side table. Modern fabric on an antique frame provides the perfect opportunity for bridging styles in your interiors.

For more on the Empire style, read our post on the period from just a few weeks ago.

Modern Finds: Breaking the Barrel Mold

Boucle Armchair- Styylish
A striking boucle armchair – available now on Styylish

In more ways than one, this Modern Boucle Armchair is a showstopping find. From an aesthetic perspective, its modern form takes the term barrel chair as a suggestion and runs from there. The contained, smooth shape belies the extraordinary comfort of this custom-made wonder.

Crafted by Eastern European designers for your home, there’s no better piece to bring a cutting-edge visual marvel into your home. Fall in love with this boucle in your lounge or even as a free-standing armchair in your bedroom.

Custom Made Armchair- Sila- Styylish
Custom-Made Armchair “Silas” – available now on Styylish

What if we took the qualities of the previous two chairs, and combined them into one? That’s a little bit what the Custom-Made Armchair “Sila” feels like. From the exposed wood frame to the contained roundedness of the pod-like seat, this plush designer piece is of ingenious design, combining modern and antique sensibilities in one satisfying place.

And it really is up to you to design it to your liking. Pick one of three solid kinds of wood for your frame. The color of the leather and the style of the fabric can also be modified to your liking. The final product will be handmade in Europe and delivered to you.

When it comes to reinterpretations of the classic barrel chair, there is no one who does it better than avant-garde designers and artisans working in European creative hubs today.

Sets of Barrel Chairs

Barrel-style chairs do not need to be individual or armchair-style. They can function exceptionally well in groups, elevating a dinner or card table with elegance and a uniquely comfortable design.

We begin with two sets from the Empire period, which popularized the barrel chair in the tradition of Ancient Roman seating, as seen above.

Empire Barrel Chairs- Set of 6- Styylish
A set of six pristine Empire chairs – available now on Styylish

This Set of Six Empire Barrel Chairs is as classy as it gets. A warm walnut veneer is modernized by the black fabric, hand-picked to bring a deep elegance to the set. Picture these around a light designer dinner table, featuring black materials or glass. These chairs will pop with aesthetic confidence and bring your dining room to the next level.

Set of four Empire Barrel Chairs- Styylish
A set of four Empire chairs – available now on Styylish

That is also what this Set of Four Empire Barrel Chairs could do to your card or coffee table. An open-back design cuts through the aesthetic formality of Empire style. Yet these chairs retain the comfort and rounded edges of barrel-type chairs.

Because this set has the same fabric as the set above, you could put them into conversation with one another in different rooms of your house. There is something truly exciting about building connections that transcend your space.

How About Art Deco?

Art Deco dining Room Chairs- Styylish
Five gorgeous Art Deco chairs – available now on Styylish

But Empire style is not the only one suited for barrel chairs. Just look at the brilliant way these drop-dead gorgeous Art Deco Dining Room Chairs incorporate the form. An ebonized, high-polish wood frame is contrasted by a modern orange upholstery, to bring the color and light conversation intrinsic to Art Deco to the fore.

Indeed, there are few pieces more timeless in our collection. Both deeply modern in their retro-coloration, and distinctly Art Deco in the tall geometry of the backrests, these barrel chairs transcend expectations. Picture them around a glass table to let the colors speak for themselves.

Summary: Barrel Chairs as a Breath of Fresh Air

Here at Styylish, we love ourselves some chairs. There is perhaps no easier category of antiques to integrate into your modern home. And that’s for good reason: whether free-standing, matched with a table, or intentionally mismatched for aesthetic impact, chairs thrive in an interior at will.

Barrel chairs combine aesthetic ingenuity with comfort and versatility. Whether you use them to lend stately elegance to your seating arrangement, or build your modern dinner set-up around a set of six, barrel chairs are the perfect fit.

Be sure to browse the Styylish catalog for many more examples of barrel chairs – and countless other chair designs. We’ve got a selection that has something for all tastes!

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Antique and Vintage Seating

Empire Tub Chair, France 1820, mahogany


Antique and Vintage Seating

Set of Four Empire Barrel Chairs, 1810-20