What Is a Slipper Chair? Everything to Know About This Design Classic

Design History

Have you ever heard of a slipper chair? If not, don’t fret—we’re here to give you a crash course in slipper chair 101. The classic slipper chair is a timeless piece that has been around for centuries, and still remains popular to this day. Whether used as an accent chair in a living room or bedroom, or as seating for formal occasions, this comfy little number is sure to please. Keep scrolling for a complete history of this iconic chair, from 17th century Europe to today.

The Origins of the Slipper Chair

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Photo credit: The Inside by Havenly | Modern Slipper Chair in Canary Velvet paired with matching Modern Ottoman in Canary Velvet

The slipper chair first appeared in Europe during the late 1600s. They were given their name due to their low seat height and short legs—it was said that they looked like someone had put slippers on them. And that’s exactly what they were used for: a place to sit while slipping on shoes. This style quickly became favored by people of high society due to its small size and ability to fit into any corner or nook, especially in bedrooms and dressing rooms. They were particularly favored by women in the Victorian era. These chairs were often upholstered with silk or velvet fabrics and decorated with embroidery or tassels. Today, many opt for a more modern version of an upholstered slipper chair in cotton, velvet, or linen.

The Rise of the Slipper Chair

In the 18th century, slipper chairs began appearing in North America. By this time, this style had become more widely available across social classes — so much so that entire sets could be purchased for use in parlors or studies. As time passed and styles changed, so did the design of these chairs—they eventually took on a more modern aesthetic with shorter legs, wood frames, and bold fabric options. 

Slipper Chairs in the 20th Century

In the 1950s, Billy Baldwin, an American designer, popularized using slipper chairs in living rooms and is known for adding box pleats to the silhouette to hide the bottom and legs. Slipper chairs are actually often found in mid-century designs, but these chairs come in all different styles and can range from contemporary to traditional depending on the shape and fabric used.

Today, slipper chairs are still popular among interior designers who want to add an element of sophistication and comfort to any space. These pieces always seem to come back in style due to their versatility; they can easily be dressed up with statement cushions and blankets for formal occasions, or make a subtle statement in any day-to-day living space. Plus, they can even be used outside as extra seating around patios or decks! No matter where they are placed, these timeless classics will always bring comfort and style into any setting.

The Slipper Chair Today

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Photo Credit: The Inside by Havenly | Modern Slipper Chair in Denim Linen and Drum Ottoman in Fawn

As you can see, slipper chairs have had quite an interesting journey throughout history. From their humble beginnings as luxurious pieces favored by aristocracy in Europe, to modern day where they are found gracing living rooms, bedrooms, and reading nooks in homes of all kinds, these cozy little numbers are here for good. We love a slipper chair in a home office (picture sitting here after after a busy afternoon while wrapping up work). This armless upholstered chair can really elevate any space – from a nook to a formal seating area. Add a side table with some fresh flowers and put a jute rug below the chair to pull the look together. So if you’re looking for something special for your home, why not add a classic touch with one (or two!) of these iconic pieces? You won’t regret it.

Shop Our Favorite Slipper Chairs and Furniture Pairings

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