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Living Room Chairs 101: A Guide to Essential Seating

Stressless Reno chair and ottoman in living room

Just like a sofa or sectional, chairs are essential for making a living room feel like home. Whether it’s a plush armchair or a leather recliner, many of us have a favorite chair we gravitate toward when we need to relax and unwind.

However, chairs weren’t always thought of as places to relax. Before the 1700's, they served a mainly utilitarian purpose, offering a place to sit and perform tasks such as eating or working. It was only during the 18th and 19th century when furniture makers in Europe and North America began paying more attention to the comfort properties of seating. This is when upholstered chairs with ample cushions and substantial silhouettes began to be in vogue as status symbols.

Today, you can find living room chairs in a dizzying array of colors, shapes, materials, and more – to the point where it can be hard to tell which type of chair to choose. Fortunately, Copenhagen not only offers a wide variety of modern and contemporary living room chairs, but also knowledgeable sales associates and designers who can point you in the right direction. Robert Bill, a salesman at Copenhagen’s Gilbert location, says, “Whatever your project, we’re confident that we can find the perfect chair(s) for you.”

Read on for a brief guide to six common types of living room chairs, plus examples carried at Copenhagen. As a bonus, Bill will share his personal favorites and finish off with some helpful tips for choosing chairs.


This a general term for a chair with arms, typically upholstered and cushioned. Armchairs come in a wide variety of styles, from classic designs to unique contemporary statement pieces. Most commonly found in living rooms, armchairs can also be placed in bedrooms, offices, libraries, cafes, or any other space where people are encouraged to sit and linger. Armchairs are designed to be comfortable enough for longer periods of sitting, and common activities done in these chairs include reading, watching TV, conversing with others, working, or simply relaxing.

Copenhagen’s Bonnie Armchair by Egoitaliano features colorful fabric with a tropical print, while the Jaxon Chair has a striking nested form with both fabric and leather upholstery. Bill loves the Edge Chair, which he praises for its “timeless Danish design, elegant walnut base, and variety of leather colors.”

Club Chair

Named after gentlemen’s clubs in 19th-century England, club chairs were where patrons would sit to smoke, drink, converse, and network. As a result, club chairs are associated with a more traditional, formal, and luxe aesthetic. Modern club chairs tend to resemble their historical predecessors from high-end social clubs, with leather upholstery, deep seats, wide arms, low or mid backs, and a plush feel.

Featuring grey protected leather and contrast stitching, Copenhagen’s Marco Chair evokes the look of classic club chairs to imbue any room with a sophisticated feel. The Ardea Chair has a unique rounded shape and ocean blue leather upholstery for a club-style chair that’s not quite like any other. Bill enjoys the Ludo Club Chairs, calling them “a lot of fun” – “They can swivel 360 degrees and are available in many different colors and fabrics.”



A recliner is a chair with a backrest that can angle downward and (usually) a footrest that unfolds outward, allowing the sitter to lie flat or nearly flat. It is also common for recliners to have an adjustable headrest – for instance, shifting the headrest forward lets your neck be supported if you’re watching TV in a reclining position. Reclining functions may be manual or power motion, and power motion recliners may be corded or battery-operated. Some recliners can also rock and swivel. Designed for maximum comfort, recliners have soft cushioning and upholstery, and can support all the activities that an armchair can – plus napping!

A perennial bestseller, Ekornes’ Stressless® recliners offer thoughtful ergonomics and unmatched customizability. Sink into the generous padding of the Reno or enjoy comfort at the touch of a button with the Max Power Motion Recliner. Bill also praises the Fjords® Rome Power Motion Recliner, calling it a “favorite recommendation” of his – “Rome has a three-motor system that controls reclining and footrest functions, lumbar support, and headrest support – plus it’s smartly priced!”

Lounge Chair

True to its name, lounge chairs are meant for relaxation and leisure. They will usually have an angled backrest and a deep, wide, low seat that invites you to lean back or pull your legs and feet up. A lounge chair may or may not have arms. Some people use the term “lounge chair” interchangeably with “chaise lounge” but for others, a lounge chair’s seat is not long enough to stretch one’s legs out on it.

An iconic Danish design, the Fried Egg Lounge Chair has a teak frame, cozy upholstery, and a flat armrest that recalls the shape of a fried egg. The Lake Lounge Chair is beautifully designed with a flowing wooden frame, while the Gaia Lounge Chair offers a playful curved shape and the ability to swivel.

Chaise Lounge

Chaise lounges – also called chaises for short – have a striking shape with an elongated seat that allows you to fully extend your legs. Originating from the French “chaise longue” – meaning “long chair” –this type of chair became a “chaise lounge” in the Anglophone world when English speakers transposed the letters in “longue” to the more familiar “lounge.”

Chaise lounges can trace their origins back to ancient Egypt and Greece, though the modern iteration of this chair was popularized in 16th-century France. Considered a status symbol for the French aristocracy, chaise lounges had a reputation for being highly ornate and elegant. However, modern chaises come in a variety of forms and styles, from intricate and decorated to clean and minimalist. Bill adds, “A chaise lounge can be very versatile. It not only complements a sofa for a family room, it’s also a great option for someone without enough space to accommodate both a sofa and a recliner.”

New at Copenhagen, the Wave Chaise invites you to stretch out and relax on its retro-inspired rolled cushions and corduroy fabric. The Sylvester Chaise boasts black leather upholstery and a sinuous shape, while the Caveoso Chaise comes in a vibrant petrol blue with an adjustable seat length.

Side Chair

Compared to other living room chairs, side chairs are somewhat slimmer and shallower, with less cushioning. They also may not have arms. Side chairs are great for providing casual seating and adding a style accent but are typically not designed for long periods of sitting. Even though they may not be as comfortable compared to, for example, a recliner, side chairs are often quite affordable, good for smaller spaces, and can double as dining chairs.

The Cisco Side Chair is crafted of sustainable bamboo and features a sleek minimalist look, while the Italian-made Chrishell has a fuller profile with elegant seashell-like stitching. Part of Copenhagen’s Essentials Collection, the Morris Side Chairs come in a range of colors, plus a double-cushioned “soft” version for extra comfort.

When helping clients choose living room chairs, Bill emphasizes, “Listening is the key. Does the customer want to match color, design style, or something else? If their biggest concern is color matching, I recommend going with a contrasting chair vs. trying to match the colors of existing pieces.” He goes on to say, “Sometimes pulling in colors from wall art, rugs, or other accessories can really bring a room together with chairs that accent those colors.”

Finally, Bill adds, “A critical part of choosing a chair – beyond styling and accommodating the room size – is to ensure we find the right proportion for the client’s body type and understand any physical ailments they may have, so we can choose a piece of furniture that best supports their body.” He encourages customers to share concerns and questions, no matter how trivial, so their salesperson or designer can help them find what’s just right.

If you’re thinking of livening up your living room with a new chair or two, visit your local Copenhagen to chat with our friendly sales associates – like Robert Bill – who will have you sitting in maximum comfort and style before you know it.