What is a Sussex Chair?

A Sussex Chair is a type of wooden armchair traditionally made from elm or beech.


The Sussex Chair is a quintessential example of British craftsmanship, featuring a notable combination of elegant simplicity and functionality. Its design was first introduced in the latter half of the 19th century, during the Arts and Crafts Movement, which celebrated traditional craftsmanship and emphasized the beauty in everyday objects. The chair is typically characterized by its slatted back, turned spindles, and often a rush seat, though variations can occur depending on the craftsman. The framework is usually made from elm or beech, woods chosen for their durability and beauty.

The Sussex Chair is not just a piece of furniture but a reflection of the socio-cultural movement it originated from, advocating for simplicity, quality, and utility in design. Over the years, it has evolved but the essence of its design remains intact, making it highly sought after by antique collectors and those with an appreciation for historical furniture design. Today, it's also appreciated for its compatibility with a range of interior design styles, including modern, rustic, and traditional settings, due to its unpretentious yet distinctive appearance.

The production of Sussex Chairs exemplifies traditional woodworking techniques and the use of natural materials, aligning with present-day values of sustainability and eco friendly design.


Sussex Chairs are often used as dining chairs or feature pieces within living spaces. Their robust construction and timeless design make them equally suited for both contemporary and traditional interiors. Designers might place a Sussex Chair in a reading nook, use a set around a family dining table, or even as a standalone piece to add historical character to a modern space.


  • Who designed the original Sussex Chair?

    The original Sussex Chair design is not attributed to a single designer but emerged during the Arts and Crafts Movement in the late 19th century.

  • Can Sussex Chairs be used in outdoor settings?

    While Sussex Chairs are primarily designed for indoor use, they can be used in covered outdoor areas, though it's essential to protect them from the elements to preserve their wooden frame.

  • Are Sussex Chairs comfortable to sit in?

    Yes, Sussex Chairs are designed with comfort in mind, often featuring a rush seat that conforms to the user's body over time. The ergonomic design and sturdy construction also contribute to their comfort.

Practical Application

When incorporating a Sussex Chair into your space, consider its rustic charm and simplicity. It works well in areas where you want to add a touch of historical periods and movements without overwhelming the space with opulence. Pair it with a simple cushion for added comfort, or let it stand on its own to showcase its craftsmanship. Furthermore, given its versatile design, the Sussex Chair can complement a variety of furniture types and decor elements within both modern and traditional settings.