Claire Rainville's Blog
Once meant only for elegant Victorian boudoirs, the slipper chair has come to its own as a design element for side chairs, cozy reading areas, even as a more stylish desk chair. So just what is a slipper chair?
Historic versus modern
In 18th-century European homes, the wide, low, armless chairs graced the rooms of ladies wearing heavy layers of petticoats, tightly laced corsets, and other constricting clothing. For a handmaid to reach their lady’s feet to put on a shoe or slipper became nearly impossible. So, the invention of the slipper chair was one of necessity, allowing ladies’ maids to help them don footwear.
In the 20th century, American designer Billy Baldwin brought the chair from the bedroom to the living room and now, variations on this iconic style appear in designs from the bedroom to the boardroom. Different from elaborately carved legs and tufted back, the modern versions are simple, unadorned pieces that play well with other furniture or work on their own to fill a quiet nook.
These days, slipper chairs come in all designs from tufted and buttoned to gusseted with bright piping to elaborately embroidered peplums. And, with a more masculine take on the modern look, some come with massive wooden platform bases or sleek metal legs.
- Turned and tufted: A throwback to the Victorian era, the tufted chair has extra padding and curved legs. More decorative than some, this chair fits well in a bedroom or reading nook.
- Skirting the issue: Pleated skirts give a casual look to this low chair with box pleats being most common.
- Tilted and low: An even squattier version of the slipper chair's already low profile, this chair leans toward the back slightly, offering up built-in relaxation. This adorable chair trimmed with piping, legs upholstered, fits in any room but is perfect for lazy days of book reading or enjoying a glass of wine.
- Bold and buff: Chrome, wood, Lucite and other Mid-Century Modern elements bring these chairs into the office or study.
- Casual and laid-back: The addition of rattan bases and indoor/outdoor fabric make island-inspired versions perfect for a sunroom or outdoor living area.
Whatever your version of the slipper chair, know its design is for modern living. Pair it with a comfy sofa or line up three sleek current versions instead of a couch for flexible seating. And if you have the ideal slipper chair but don't have the perfect place for it, maybe it's time that you find a new place, so check with your real estate professional to see that perfect home for your perfect chair.