May 17, 2017

Back up a second and think about your chairs. The rear view is as important as the front.

Back up a second and think about your chairs. The rear view is as important as the front when chairs are positioned around a dining room or kitchen table, or when they “float” in the middle of a room. Adding a little interest to the back of a chair can make a big difference – perhaps a vertical band of pearls, a second fabric that’s different than the seat of the chair or a decorative chair pull. Whether simple or ornate, these small investments can pay big dividends in style, giving your home a custom look. Here are ideas to get you started.

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Peas Design


For our master bedroom in the Lake Forest Showhouse we added a row of pearl trim down the back of the pair of chairs in simple grey suede. We loved the Audrey Hepburn elegance and femininity.

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Peas Design


For continuity between the dining room and adjacent living room in this suburban Chicago home, we finished the inside backs and seat of the dining rooms chairs (above), in the same fabric as the two living room chairs, and finished the outside backs of the chairs in the same fabric as the living room sofa. The sequined accent trim adds a pretty dash of je ne sais quoi to these French-inspired chairs. Ooh-la-la!

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Peas Design


Not one. Not two. But three different fabrics went into the armless side chairs for these study tables at Northwestern University’s Kappa Kappa Gamma house. We wanted to give the KKG women a cheerful, bright space with 20-something appeal. Drawing from the KKG colors, we chose sapphire blue for the outside chair backs, a light blue pattern for the inside backs and cream-colored faux leather for the seats. KKG – Aspire To Be!

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Simple or ornate, large or small, chair pulls are hot-hot-hot. Not only do they provide a handy way to pull out your chair, they are decorative and distinctive, especially on a solid fabric, such as the velvety blue dining chairs above.


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While ring pulls are a classic, I prefer the updated and more subtle profile of these horizontal pulls, above. They’re the perfect garnish for a tailored fabric in a transitional setting.

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Feeling courageous? Think about these noble lion chair pulls. The contrast of a very traditional icon in an uncluttered, updated setting is unexpected and very appealing. You’ll feel like the king – or queen – of your castle.

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Combine a nail head border with a ring pull and you generate a lot of rear-view interest without overdoing the bling. It’s sort of like wearing a beaded necklace and earrings! Here it works because the chairs have a delicate quality and a solid fabric, and the nail heads and pulls are on the small side and blend with the other metals in the room. Do you think the chairs are wondering if those ring pulls make their backsides look big?

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