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The Best Swivel Chairs For Living Rooms

Boho decor, hanging chairs, house plants, arched doorway openings, the return of rattan and wicker... these are just a few of the 1970's home decor trends that have come back in a big way. But there is one trend that has me excited - swivel chairs.

Recently, I completed an e-design for a client (can I help with your home?) and one of the pieces I specified for her living room was a swivel chair. Our 1970's home had a swivel chair of it's own - a striped gold and moss green barrel chair - and I'm of the opinion these versatile occasional chairs are poised to make a comeback.

Swivel Chairs For Living Rooms

What makes these accent chairs so useful is their ability to work in most any living space. You can find swiveling chairs in any decor style. Popular styles from the 80's (and back in vogue now in the 2020's) are club chair shapes with sloped arms. You have unlimited fabric options too. Velvet, leather, ticking stripe - these are versatile pieces.

Why not just a standard, non-moving accent chair? Why consider swivel accent chairs for your living room?

Swivel chairs are exceptionally useful and very comfortable and dollar for dollar, offer more value and function than traditional armchairs. They provide functional seating in a small and compact shape. From cozy small living rooms to oversized spaces, clad in traditional slipcovers or featuring sleek modern lines and contemporary style when rendered in leather, there's always a need for chairs that swivel.

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two white swivel chairs in living room in front of window
Living room featuring Serena and Lily Elm Swivel Chair

Swivel Accent Chairs

Swivel chairs can be used anywhere you would use an accent chair or armchair from bedrooms, family rooms, to the home office and basements, but I find them most effective in providing maximum comfort in a living room. 

Living rooms tend to be larger spaces that perform more than one function. You could be entertaining guests and enjoying deep conversations, sitting lonesome by the fireplace, or gathering to watch the big game on the TV. Living room swivel chairs allow you to swing around and direct your attention to the action, wherever it may be. They maximize the layout and utility of a space without adding extra furniture.

Swivel Chair, Arm Chair or Slipper Chair?

When furnishing a seating area, should you opt for an arm chair, slipper chair, or swivel chair? Slipper chairs are armless and are ideal for tight spaces as they typically have a smaller foot print and look less imposing in a space. 

Arm chairs are great additions to most any home design. They can add a modern feel to open floor plans, define a cozy reading nook, or create focal points with a single chair. There's also no denying the longevity of quality arm chairs made with a solid wood frame.

pinstripe blue skirted slipcovered swivel chairs around round ottoman
Four slipcovered swivel chairs create a cozy conversation area in this project by Salt Design Co.

If you're looking for a modern accent chair, I'd consider a swivel chair. They are rarer than standard lounge chairs and are a great conversation piece and unique addition to your living room decor. 

What are the best swivel chairs for the living room? It depends on who uses the chair and how often. Is it for occasional guests to sit in? You can select decorative chairs with a nice pattern to complement your formal living room. Or is your living room a quiet, private room of your home where you settle with a favorite book and read by the fire? Then perhaps opt a swivel living room accent chair with plush cushions and custom upholstery that speaks to your personal style. 

Swivel Chair Design

Swivel chairs are just as pretty as arm chairs but with added functionality. Modern swivel chairs have done a good job of incorporating the swivel mechanism into the design, hidden by slipcovers, full bases, or perched on decorative legs.

What should you look for in a swivel chair?

There's a lot more to consider when purchasing a swivel accent chair. Here's a few things to keep in mind:
  • Smooth swivel base: Does the chair swivel easily? Does it turn without any noticeable creaking, bumps or obstructions?
  • Motion features: Do you want a chair that reclines or rocks, as well as swivels? Should it have power levers or manual levers? Chairs like this swivel glider and recliner are an excellent choice for a nursery.
  • Design styles: What's your budget and style preference - polyester upholstery? Faux leather? Real down or foam cushions? Do you want it upholstered in a floral pattern so that the back of the chair is just as interesting as the front? 
Do swivel chairs break easily? I haven't found that to be the case with modern swivel chairs. Of course, any chair will break down with excessive or unintended use (so definitely discourage the kids from jumping and spinning in your chairs!). If you hear unexpected scraping or 'metal on metal' sounds, check to see if any of the mechanisms are out of place.

Roar and Rabbit Pleated Swivel Chair

Are swivel chairs comfortable

I find they are - even moreso than standard arm chairs! You are easily move in the direction of the conversation without having to move your body. We have two grey upholstered swivel chairs in our living room and they get used all of the time. The seat cushions are supporting but not stiff. They don't feel as "upright" as other armchairs and using them with an ottoman makes for an even better experience. 

You can shift and get comfortable in your swiveling chair without having to change your position too much which makes them a great choice for small spaces.

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You can even find swivel rocking and gliding chairs (this one is kid-sized!). They're great for use in the nursery (babies like the spinning and rocking motion, and mom will love the recliner feature for nursing) and look just as good in the living room once baby is grown up.

The possibilities are endless on where to use a swivel chair. Consider using them:
  • in small rooms
  • to create a conversation area
  • wherever you have multiple views to enjoy
  • in kids rooms to create a reading nook
  • in a long living room
  • in a casual recreation area
  • in a nursery
  • in a bedroom sitting area
  • in an office for guests or secondary meeting area
  • in a pair for symmetry
  • in a cozy corner
  • in front of a fireplace
  • on either side of a window

The best swivel chair? One you can share! I've sat in this swivel chair for two in store and it is seriously the most comfortable chair ever (it also comes in a 1-person version too). The curved back and throw pillows really make you feel like the chair is giving you a hug - you might never want to get up!

Where To Buy Swivel Chairs

You can buy swivel chairs in most any shop that sells living room furniture. However, since there are more moving parts in swivel chairs, you'll want to buy from a retailer has a reputation for quality furniture. Here's a few retailers that I would not hesitate to buy a sofa or chair from:
Wayfair also has a vast selection of swivel chairs at all price points and styles. However, I find the quality of their products hit and miss. Definitely read the reviews when considering a purchase.

Have I convinced you that you need a swivel chair in your home? Here's a roundup of swivel chairs for the living room at every price and style:

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living room swivel chairs, where to buy swivel chairs, modern swivel chairs

Additional FAQ About Swivel Chairs

Is a swivel chair better?

If you are looking to save space, or move or turn easily, then a swivel chair can be better than a static or immovable chair. A swivel chair allows 360 degree rotation to the left or right, providing movement in a small footprint.

What are swivel chairs called?

Swivel chairs are also known as spinny chairs or revolving chairs. The modern day swivel chair was invented by Thomas Jefferson 

How do I choose a swivel chair?

Like most furniture, it is best to try out and sit in a swivel chair in person. Look for a swivel chair that accommodates your size and shape and feels comfortable when you sit in it. It should sit at the right height and be easy to sit in and get out of. Any adjustment controls should be easily accessed and within arms reach when sitting in the chair. Finally, the swivel should rotate and move easily without requiring excessive force, stretching or straining.

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