From the April/May 2008 Issue:

How to Choose Accent Chairs

“If you were to choose an accent chair for your own living room, what factors would you consider?”

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enlarge | Schwartz Design Showroom

Susette Schwartz Schwartz Design Showroom in Metuchen; 732-205-0291

This chair is perfect because its curves bring an architectural element into a room, and its finish and neutral fabric complement any style. The best part is its small size, allowing it to be moved easily so you can enhance conversations or improve the flow at a party whenever you wish. Personally, I would like to sit in these chairs with a friend, catching up over a delicious martini.

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enlarge | Barbara Barry’s Scallop chair for Baker Furniture

Robin Conners, IDS Favourite Finds in Martinsville; 732-302-0332,

The first and foremost decision would be functionality. Am I looking for something comfortable to relax in and have a cup of tea or something unique to carry through the look I’m trying to achieve? The second critical element is proportion, to make sure the chair fits in the space and that the height of the seat is in balance with other seating in the room. At that point I would choose the upholstery, again balancing legs to skirts in the room as well as prints and solids. Finally, I would make sure the chair is comfortable; there’s nothing worse than having the most fabulous piece of furniture in the room and no one ever sitting in it. I have a special fondness this season for the Well-Read Lounge chair by Barbara Barry. It’s a sleek twist on the wing chair and embodies good design and comfort. - DNJ

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enlarge | Milo & Cooper slipper chair by Donghia

Alicia Parker DiNardo Lim & Parker Design Associates in Princeton Junction 609-750-0763

Scale is one of the most important factors you should consider when purchasing any furniture. My home is an old cottage with small rooms, so small-scale furniture fits the architecture best. Since most of my other furniture is covered in textures and solids, I love to use an accent chair for a pop of color and pattern. Using a bold or larger-scale pattern on a smaller framed chair like Donghia’s Milo & Cooper slipper chair can be very dramatic in a small space.

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enlarge | Opera chair, Barbara Barry Realized by Henredon

Anna Maria Mannarino, allied member ASID Mannarino Designs Inc. in Holmdel; 732-741-1444

I would consider the same things I do when working with a client. What will the functional requirement of this new piece be? Do I need additional seating or am I simply looking for a piece that will add punch to the room? How much space do I have to work with? The idea of adding seating to a room used for entertaining is always appealing. A slipper chair can often fit in nicely. I’d choose the Barbara Barry Opera Slipper chair. This exquisite chair has clean lines with a traditional silhouette, is sophisticated yet subtle, and has a generous seat but is not overpowering in size, making it a functional and lovely addition to any room.

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enlarge | Barbara Barry’s Scallop chair for Baker Furniture

Debra Pescatore Pescatore Design in Interlaken

This chair by Barbara Barry takes the traditional scallop chair and incorporates a cleaner look, which would complement any room. -DNJ