The classic wingback chair is now available in modern fabrics, fun colors and edgy shapes.

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No matter how old you are, you might have grown up in a home with a wing chair.

This classic chair dates back a lot farther than any of us, according to Bronia Suszczenia, co-founder of the Yorkshire, England-based interior design firm Art from the Start. “The first wing chair appeared in the late 1600s, but it was not until after 1720 that its popularity became widespread,” she says.

Why the wings? A clue may be in the chair’s alternate name, fireside chair. The idea was that the wings protected you from drafts, while the roomy, upholstered seat was a cozy spot from which to enjoy a cheery blaze.

The wing chair’s enduring appeal is its comfortable, convivial nature, and its usefulness, says New York designer Charlotte Moss.

“It’s the quintessential easy chair. It invites curling up and kicking back,” she says. “And they’re wonderfully versatile. I like to use them at the heads of dining tables, or in a cozy corner with an ottoman, or two facing each other with a fireplace in between.”

Today’s designers are having some fun with this classic style, tweaking its curvy silhouette, going wild or woolly with upholstery, and updating the legs in different colors or materials.

Pottery Barn’s Wells Swivel Armchair ($799–$1,599), for example, has a barrel-curved back and low-profile arms, so you can tuck your feet up. It comes in fabric, leather and an ultra-cozy shearling.

Danish modern designer Hans Wegner’s Rove Classics Wing Chair ($1,249–$2,089 at is offered in a slew of colors in leathers and cashmere, tweed and boucle wool.

An exaggerated wingback and arms characterize the PP19 Papa Bear Lounge Chair ($699–$1,499 at Also designed by Wegner, it was named for its distinctive sculptural arms, which resemble a big bear’s paws. It’s available in fabric and leather in midcentury-modern hues like orange, teal blue and olive.

The iconic Arne Jacobsen for Fritz Hansen Egg Chair ($6,994–$17,676 at; includes free Egg Footstool) is a biomorphic take on the wing chair; its fluid curves and swivel base have kept it a favorite of modernist aficionados for almost 60 years.

Tom Dixon’s Wingback Collection (starting at $1,850 at is the British designer’s update on the wing chair and its 18th century cousin, the balloon back. The chairs and sofas have a sexy swagger, in luscious Kvadrat fabric upholstery and ebony, copper or blond oak legs.

The angles of Italian midcentury design inspire the new West Elm Marcelle Mid-Century Wing Chair ($799–$1,199), with dramatically scaled wings and arms.