How Many Accent Chairs Should You Have in a Living Room?

You pride yourself on the look of your living room, but one thing you think the room could use is more accent chairs. The question becomes, how many is too many? You don’t want the chairs to dominate your décor, so how do you strike the right balance?

In most living room setups, you should have two accent chairs. Most designers recommend you have between four and five living room seats at a minimum, including sofas. With a couch in the room, you might add two accent chairs, then perhaps either another smaller sofa or one more accent chair.

We have plenty more advice to share about selecting and positioning accent chairs in your living room, so keep reading. We’ll get into whether the chairs have to match as well as other common accent chair mistakes to avoid.

A gray accent chair on white living room with side table, How Many Accent Chairs Should You Have in a Living Room?

The Right Number of Accent Chairs to Have in Your Living Room

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Blue accent chairs with blanket and coffee table in front of it

In case you’re not familiar, an accent chair is not just like any other seat. As the name implies, it accents what else is around it. These chairs have multiple duties then, adding color to a dull room, becoming a room’s focal point, bringing out a color more, or complementing the colors and décor you already have in the living room.

Too many accent chairs might overwhelm a space, but too few wouldn’t give guests a place to sit when they come over. What’s just right in this case?

The seating places formula

Elaine Griffin, an interior designer who’s been featured in Better Homes and Gardens as well as countless other publications, shared a formula she created.

How many seating options do you have in the dining room? You should have at least as many in the living room, says Elaine.

That’s why, in the intro, we said you need a minimum of four to five seating places in your living room. Four chairs are the standard for a dining room table. If you went the four-chair route in the living room, then you could decorate one of two ways. You could either have one couch and three accent chairs or one couch, a loveseat or ottoman and then two accent chairs.

Griffin’s formula is versatile, and that’s exactly why it’s so effective. If you live in an apartment or a starter home, then you’re going to have a smaller dining room. The rest of your home will be equally small. It wouldn’t make sense to load up on accent chairs in your living room. They’d take over the little space you do have.

Those who own bigger homes have equally spacious dining rooms and living rooms to match. If you can fit more than five chairs in your dining room, such as six or even eight, then you should try to put that many seating options in the living room.

The whole point of matching your living room seating number to that of the dining room is to give houseguests plenty of options. Should you have a dinner party, guests can start in the living room, migrate to the dining room, and then mingle back in the living room without anyone having to wonder where they’ll sit.

Do the Accent Chairs Have to Match?

At the very least then, your living room will contain two accent chairs. Do these two chairs have to be identical, or can you go off the beaten path with your décor? At the end of the day, it’s your house, your rules. That said, interior decorators do follow their own rules when it comes to multiple accent chairs.

You should aim to buy matching chairs. Remember what we said in the prior section about the purpose of accent chairs. They’re meant to complement your décor, not stand out too much. That goes not just for the color, but for the style of the chairs as well. If they clash with your decorating, they’re a mismatch.

What about matching the chairs to the couch or loveseat? The accent chairs don’t have to be identical, but they should flow with the hues and styles already present in the rest of the room. If you have a yellow couch, for instance, you could get white or eggshell accent chairs. This lighter color goes well with yellow.

Have some fun with your accent chair selection, but always keep the look and feel of your living room in mind as you shop. If you’re going to a store to buy accent chairs, then we recommend bringing several pictures of your living room with you so you can match chair colors to the preexisting décor.

Other Accent Chair Mistakes You Could Be Making

You know how to determine the appropriate number of accent chairs for your living room now. You also have a better idea of the purpose of accent chairs. Still, it’s a wild world out there, and your eye could get caught on a chair you see online, in a store, or even in a home decorating magazine.

Then you get it home and realize it doesn’t fit the theme you’re going for at all. It’s happened to the best of us, but it doesn’t have to. Here are some tips for avoiding common accent chair mistakes:

Avoid very loud patterns

We’re not saying you have to ignore all patterned accent chairs. You do want to refrain from patterns that clash too much with what’s already in your living room, though.

Mix styles that mesh

You’re also not limited to a single type of style. You could like Scandinavian interior décor, or maybe you’re more of a fan of bohemian style. Feel free to combine the two types or any other styles you enjoy, but make sure they play nicely with each other.

Know the difference between cold and warm

The material you choose for an accent chair can influence how inviting that room seems. Some materials, such as velvet or leather, are classified as warmer. Plastics and metals are colder. Should you buy a colder accent chair for a warmer room, use sheepskin or throw blanket to warm the chair right up.

Don’t keep accent chairs too close to each other

Before you knew how many accent chairs were right, you may have overfilled your living room with them. It feels like accent chairs on accent chairs on accent chairs in there. You need to make sure that, from your coffee table to the accent chair, you allow 18 inches of space. Anything less is too close and constricting.

Watch your sizes

Sometimes an accent chair can look smaller (or bigger) online. Then you assemble it and realize it’s the wrong size. It either lords over the rest of your furniture or looks way too small. Before you begin shopping for accent chairs, have the measurements handy for the rest of your preexisting living room furniture. Don’t exceed that height too much with your accent chairs.

In Conclusion

Accent chairs are seats that should complement your living room décor. To figure out how many accent chairs are right for your home or apartment, consider how many seats you have in your dining room. For instance, if it’s four, then you’d want a couch or two in the living room and then two to three accent chairs. If you have more than four chairs in your dining room (and comfortably, at that), then increase your accent chair count.

While you have some freedom in selecting your accent chairs, make sure they add to your living room décor rather than stand out like a sore thumb. Have fun with your search and best of luck!

Accent chairs come in many shapes and beautiful designs, but there's more to them. You might be interested in What to Put Between Two Accent Chairs, something to add up on your Ideas about this niche.

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