What is a Wing Chair?

A wing chair is a high-backed armchair with side panels or "wings" on the back, originally designed to protect from drafts or trap heat from a fireplace.


The wing chair, also known as a wingback chair, is a classic piece of furniture that combines both form and function in a way that has sustained its popularity for centuries. Originating in late 17th-century England, the design of the wing chair has evolved over time, but its distinctive features — a high back, armrests, and side panels or "wings" — have remained largely unchanged. These wings were originally intended to shield the sitter from drafts in poorly insulated rooms, while also capturing the warmth from a fireplace, making the chair ideal for reading or relaxing in colder climates.

Today, wing chairs can be found in a variety of styles ranging from traditional to modern, using a wide range of materials including leather, velvet, and patterned fabrics. This versatility makes the wing chair a desirable addition to many interior design projects, fitting seamlessly into living rooms, bedrooms, and even home offices. While they can stand alone as a statement piece, wing chairs are also commonly paired with sofas and other furnishings to create a cohesive look.

Whether upholstered in a rich, solid color to add a touch of elegance or patterned fabric to introduce a pop of interest, wing chairs can serve both aesthetic and practical purposes. They are often used to create a cozy reading nook or add extra seating that doesn't compromise on style. For those looking to incorporate vintage charm or a classic feel into their spaces, the wing chair offers a perfect combination of comfort and style, making it a timeless choice for any interior.


In a contemporary living room, a velvet wing chair could be placed beside a fireplace, offering a stylish and comfortable spot for reading. In a traditional study, a leather wing chair might be paired with a wooden bookcase filled with classic literature, highlighting its historical roots. For a bold statement in a modern setting, a wing chair with a bright, patterned fabric could be used to add visual interest and a splash of color.


  • Are wing chairs comfortable?

    Yes, wing chairs are designed for comfort with their high backs, armrests, and sometimes plush seating. Their original design also helps protect from drafts, making them cozy in cooler environments.

  • Can wing chairs fit into modern interior designs?

    Absolutely. While wing chairs have historical roots, they've been adapted in various styles that can complement modern, contemporary, and eclectic interiors with a range of materials and fabric choices.

  • How can I choose the right wing chair for my space?

    Consider the room's overall design and the existing furniture. Look at different materials and colors to find a wing chair that adds to your room's aesthetic while also serving its functional purpose.

  • Are wing chairs only suitable for living rooms?

    No, wing chairs are versatile and can also enhance bedrooms, home offices, or even entryways, offering a sophisticated touch and comfortable seating anywhere in the home.

Practical Application

When selecting a wing chair, consider the scale of the chair in relation to your space. A large, dramatic wing chair can make a statement in a spacious room, while a more compact design might be suitable for smaller spaces. Also, keep in mind the material and color of the upholstery; it should complement your room's decor. For added comfort and style, consider accessorizing your wing chair with a throw pillow or blanket.