Special Nonexistent Furniture

How to mix and match sofas and chairs

Forget matching lounge sets. With so many stunning sofas and accent chairs out there, you can mix and match your favourites to create a combo as unique as you. How do you get the pairing right? It’s all about balancing sofa and chair colours, fabrics and shapes. 


Do accent chairs have to match the sofa?

Your sofa and accent chairs don't need to match perfectly, so have fun exploring the different looks you can create by mixing varying design elements, from colour and fabric to style. To ensure your combo feels cohesive, it’s important to find a few commonalities between your chairs and sofa, and these four tips will help you uncover a perfectly blended look.

1. Mix styles that mesh

While you don’t need to pair chairs and sofas from the exact same design family, you should avoid an extreme juxtaposition. If your overarching decor vibe is bright, maximalist and brimming with prints à la Anna Spiro, straying all the way to the other side of the style spectrum with slick industrial shapes and shades is unlikely to produce a harmonious look.

2. Create contrast with fabrics

If you’re keen on keeping to a subtle, solid colour palette across your chairs and sofa, take the opportunity to vary your upholstery to add a layer of depth. Rich velvet accent chairs pair beautifully with classic fabric sofas—and you can always add velvet cushions to tie the pieces together. The same goes for rattan chairs and linen sofas; the contrasting materials both exude a relaxed vibe that marries well.


3. Pair patterns with solids

If you have a patterned chair, it’s safer to pair it with a solid-coloured sofa and vice versa. This rule can be broken, but it’s harder to mix multiple prints. If you’d rather steer clear of patterns altogether, you can look to elements such as chairs with contrasting timber or metal frames or decorative finishes such as tufting across a sofa, which add oomph to plain tones.

4. Keep the scale similar

Your chair and sofa should complement each other in scale and be relatively the same size and proportion. You want to let both pieces speak for themselves rather than leaving room for one to drown out the other, and a sofa with a large frame will inevitably look disproportionate if paired with a petite chair.


Can an accent chair be lower than a sofa?

Accent chairs and sofas will mesh more successfully if they’re the same height. Check out the seat height specs before you buy, and if you can’t find an exact match, just make sure the seat height of your sofa and chairs are within 8-10cm of each other (or less) to prevent you and your guests from ending up at awkward heights when you sit together.


Where do you put an accent chair in a living room?

There’s no right or wrong way to arrange your accent chairs—the key is to determine their function and place them in a position that allows them to perform. For example, if you want extra seating for guests, your accent chairs should sit across or perpendicular to your sofa to create a zone for conversation. If you’re after a reading nook or cosy place to curl up, placing an accent chair in an empty corner or on the side of your fireplace makes more sense.


How do you choose an accent chair?

New to accent chairs? Before you dive into the art of mixing and matching, check out our guide to choosing an accent chair, where we break down a few common styles and their distinctive features to help make shopping easier.  
Natalie Mell 06 May, 2022

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