Wingin’ it.
Living Room Chairs

As you all know I’m up to my third forehead wrinkle with kitchen renovation plans. Figuring out where stuff goes, when to order things, what day cabinets will or will not arrive.

Plus of course, there’s keeping up with the blog, the animals, the house. And I was hired for a rather fun, but time consuming, side job last week (which I’ll tell you about later). These are all things I need to do. Not just should do, but need to. Otherwise, you go unentertained, I make no money, the animals die and the house falls in on me, with my little nostrils peeking out of a landslide of garbage for their very last breath.

So it should come as no surprise at all that I am spending 12 – 14 hours hours of the day … looking for a living room chair. That I don’t need.

It all started with a chair from Urban Barn. A very retro looking leather chair. And then the search for the chair I don’t need became an ongoing, never ending obsession.  I have no idea why.

I’m sure a psychologist well versed in midcenturymodernitus could probably pull it all out of me in less time than it takes to skim an old issue of Dwell magazine.

What I needed was a midcentury modern wingback chair.  Not an easy thing to come across.  So I widened my horizons and decided I’d accept other offers that beckoned to me as well.

These are some of the wingback chairs I came across in my Internet travels.


Lawrence Peabody on Etsy – moulded plastic midcentury modern chair

Crate & Barrel – gray new traditional chair

Lawson-Fenning – blue/gray velvet chair

Costco – bonded leather chair

Restoration Hardware – curved lines, beige chair

Urban Barn – retro inspired leather chair

Ikea – gray and orange chairs

Etsy – houndstooth chair

Lawson-Fenning – beige chair with sharp lines

West Elm – black leather, button back chair

Made – yellow chair


Some of the chairs I love, some I like and some I’m not  sure about.  What I am sure of is, I may not need a new chair, but I want one.  And that’s a dangerous thing.

Once I tried to ignore the fact that I wanted french fries.  For 3 days I fought the urge.  Then, on the 4th day, my head exploded.

True story.

Which would make an even bigger mess in the house I’d have to clean up.  Seems smarter to just buy a chair.


  1. Betty says:

    My choice urban barn. Mother knows

  2. Jeannie B says:

    Karen , I’m sorry that you’re still suffering. i always thought that migraines were caused by the arteries in your neck, spasming. Anyhow, i hope you’ll feel better soon. As for wingback chairs, I love them. Sometimes they’re comfortable, sometimes not. My first wingback was a beautiful, rich red which looked wonderful in my white living room. But it wasn’t all that comfortable. I now have two and both are wingback recliners. In separate rooms. My favourite is the dark green leather one. Came from Stoney Creek furniture a couple of decades ago.

  3. sandra kleinfeld says:

    I vote for the Urban Barn or the Etsy Lawrence Peabody chair. They seem the most modern and interesting. The Urban Barn chair might be easier to live with for a longer period of time,i.e., that you might not get tired of looking at. But why a wingback chair in the first place?

  4. Rondina says:

    My son loves the wing-back living room chair, so I began looking for one for the guest bedroom. I have found that most wing-back chairs are terribly uncomfortable, so you might want to actually sit in the one you buy if it is actually going to be used. I found one at Pottery Barn that’s comfy. They can cover it in a neat burlap colored material with red pin-stripping. I bought a cheap little ottoman that I will recover with matching material that they sell. Happy T-Day to your US readers.

  5. Julie says:

    So, now I’m worried about you! Very unusual to show no comments, which can only mean you haven’t been able to approve them. So, now I’m worried that something is wrong. With either you, your computer, or your internet service. Any of which would be sad.

    • Julie says:

      Or all your commenters are from the US, and they are busy with turkey!

    • Karen says:

      I’m fine Julie. 🙂 I’m still not feeling great (had a bad migraine the past 2 days) and actually didn’t get out of bed until half an hour ago! Thanks for checking up on me though! ~ karen

  6. Marti says:

    I can see why you like that Urban Barn retro chair.
    The Restoration Hardware chair seems… odd.
    The Costco one reads like a bite of zucchini squash… halfway through the season.
    I’m glad your head didn’t explode yesterday… which seemed rather possible.

    Programming note: don’t ever post a migraine on a Friday, huh? You might make the heads of the rest of us explode with concern. 🙂 Happy American Thanksgiving!

  7. Lynne says:

    Funny, isn’t it, how you get obsessed with things? Those are some nice chairs, by the way.

    My most recent obsession was for a pair of chairs for my living room. I’ve had various chairs over the years but none have made me truly happy. I’d been searching for the last couple of years – I pine for the basket weave wing chairs from Pottery Barn but with cats there is just no way. They would see them as giant scratching posts. I’d been watching the site of one of the local liquidators for a bit and had spotted a chair I thought I wanted – but when I enquired about it they were no longer available.

    Then – serendipity – I was heading out to the grocery store and spotted a wing chair on the side of the road. One of my neighbours was getting ready to move and they were in the process of divesting themselves of some excess furniture. The upholstery was butt ugly but it was in awesome shape. I dashed up to the house, knocked on the door and confirmed that yes, it was FREE!!!! I asked if they could kindly put it on the porch for an hour or so until I’d done my shopping and unloaded the back of my Jeep (which usually looks like I’m ready to leave town on a moment’s notice – but that’s the way of things for those of us with big vehicles and a tendency to pick up things on the side of the road LOL).

    Anyway – long story short – I grabbed another wing chair from the aforementioned liquidators, ordered some nifty fabric on line and got the local upholstery shop to recover both pieces. (I’ve done my couch a couple of times but I just wasn’t up to tackling two wing chairs.) I now have two gorgeous wing chairs in my living room.

    Next up, repainting the living room – because changing one major thing is like tipping over the first domino.

    Oh, and these guys have a yellow wing chair on the list right now – with the clean lines you seem to be after. Butt ugly upholstery – but at $185 bucks…

  8. kelli says:

    Well, here’s my 2 cents: I hate wingback chairs with the passion of a thous–ok, maybe not that much, but I just think they are “futt bugly.” Never understood the how/why or wherefores of a wingback chair (“Wingback?” Where are the wings? I don’t see no wings. Is it supposed to fly?”)

    That being said, and the fact that I too suffer from a *chronic* case of midcenturymodernitis, the only ones that jumped out at me were the Peabody and the last one by Made. The Peabody for obvious reasons and the Made chair because from what I’ve seen of your place, it would fit in very well IMHO. The IKEA ones, while priced right, may not look that good in a year. Sometimes you get what you pay for.

    Secondly, I hope your migraine has gone bye bye and you are able to enjoy some of your yummy chicken without feeling like you have to stay close to bed. Or the porcelain goddess. 🙁 HAPPY THANKSGIVING. Ish. 🙂

  9. Call Me Patty says:

    Love the Urban Barn chair, and love the Made chair. Those two are MY vote. Need, schmeed……how dull would life be if we only got what we “needed”.

  10. Shel says:

    I want a chair or two…but I am inclined toward comfort more than style…and thus have focused on the wingback recliner. Or, I’d have to cough up about half the cost of the chair for an ottoman…which would be a constant invitation for tripping over ala Dick Van Dyke style. I have 3 such recliners in various states of upholstery disrepair that would cost nearly as much to recover as it would to buy new ones. Aack.

  11. amyfaith says:

    Not to add to your compulsion, but I have so much love for this chair… I’d be on in it in a heartbeat if it didn’t cost more than a thousand:

  12. Ronda J says:

    Urban Barn, Ikea, Made…that’s all I have to say about that 🙂 Happy US Thanksgiving from Tennessee!

  13. Patti says:

    Ooh! I love that restoration hardware one – so fancy! But I also love the prices of the ikea ones! Good luck AND good price! But I’m super cheap, so that’s often the way I select things.

    Super fun, Karen!

  14. Reg says:

    I hate when that happens…..wanting something you don’t really need. It becomes an endless loop in your brain and you see the object of the obsession everywhere. Maybe you could order the one you really really like and it will look horrible in the room or make everything else look shabby and not in a chic way. Then you would have to replace everything in the room. See what I mean? The endless loop.
    I like the Urban Barn chair, it would look great in my living room. hmmmmmmmmmm No! Everything is fine just the way it is.

  15. Comfort is the most important thing in a chair! I would probably pick the couch! But some gorgeous chairs!!

  16. nicole d says:

    WOOOO…. love the crate and barrel one! second choice is the west elm… third place is actually the IKEA… they are all beautiful!

  17. Magpie says:

    Since we share much of the same taste, might I mention my ultimate fantasy wingback.

  18. Stefani says:

    I feel for you. Once I get something in my head that may be doable (leaving out an around the word cruise) I just as well get it. I know in my heart it is going to happen. I would try out the cheaper versions first though….

  19. Ann says:

    Love the Urban Barn one. I would just be careful about the leather quality. We bought what should have been a top of the line leather couch and found out later the leather was not the highest quality and we did not end up with it having a good long life.

    I love midcentury modern. One year I was participating in a log cabin tour here locally. One of the million dollar cabins had this awesome mid century modern living room chair that I obsessed over for the longest time. Did the same thing you are doing. I finally gave up and let it go. I eventually found the cutest upholstered ladies chair at the Salvation Army for $25.00 that I use instead. And I love it as much as I would have the one in the cabin.

  20. Marianne P. says:

    Check out Thrive Furniture. The collections are named for dead presidents. I think you’ll really like the Coolidge chair (it looks great in Omega Pewter). And no – I don’t work for them!

  21. My hubby lusts after wing chairs too but he wants old fashioned chintzy ones. Ugh! My brain would explode on those.

    I like the Lawson-Fenning for reading. The top one. The second one on round base- not so much.
    Imagine it and one of hub’s in a room, would be like the two people at a party that have absolutely nothing to say to each other after “hello”

  22. Barbara R says:

    Karen, why not find an old one, and then teach us all on how to pick a new look, how to refinish, how to chose paint/material, and then how to reupholster it; all things I’d love to know!

  23. Kelly says:

    i’m not sure which is worse: us not being entertained or you with no money, but either way, these are definitely dire, end of the world fates to be avoided. As to your chair obsession, I think that’s perfectly normal. I have one, too, not confined to wingback chairs. I am lusting after a vaguely French Modern one on Wisteria, which thankfully does not ship to Canada. I find it much cheaper and easier to collect pictures of the objects of my desire, rather than the things themselves. I dream that ”one day” but have come to realize if I actually buy something, I’ll have to give up my fantasy life and I’m plain not ready to do that. But if you give in to the urge, good for you and good for us: you’ll be impecunious and having to keep blogging to pay for the darn thing! Hope your headache’s all gone.

  24. Ev says:

    Urban Barn, very nice but $$$$. Costco, close, less $$. What to do, what to do!

  25. jainegayer says:

    When you “need” something, you just NEED it. There’s no explaining it. I “needed” a rattan wing chair from the Pottery Barn a couple of years ago. I insisted to the sales clerk that she sell me the floor model (and I didn’t even get a discount, that’s how crazed I was). They loaded it into the trunk of my car. It was half in, half out, bungee corded in place. I somehow pulled it up the 4 steps to my house, dragged it to the staircase, then pushed/dragged it up the stairs to the second floor. Then I had to wiggle it around the corner to my bedroom.
    Finally the chair was in place next to the bed… and I noticed the cotton cushion cover did not look good with the present decor. That started the quest for the perfect dye color. 6 hours later when the color was right, I fell across the bed and slept for 10 hours.
    Just go with it, Karen. Don’t even try to fight the urge. Exploded heads are not pretty!

  26. Karen Rains says:

    I’m not sure about some of these chairs. I think the houndstooth is too traditional what I think is your taste. A place to perch is a personal thing and a Goldilocks moment. I feel I would enjoy (and look great doing just that) in the yellow chair…

  27. karen says:

    Love the Ikea and the made!!

  28. Dianne says:

    Karen, I must selfishly say I’m glad you have a lack of will power to resist the urge to research and potentially buy the practically unnecessary wing chair because you’ve exposed me to some nice options for a chair. Unfortunately, I don’t NEED one either but the seed has germinated and now has a chance. Anyway, I suggest you include the Claire armchair from Structube now on for $399. It’s a mid century style, not a wingback but you can tell it wants to be – just look at it! It’s quite gorgeous and comes in a select few vintage-y colours. I really want one but I’m trying to root out whether I need one which, I think translates to, I’m trying to convince myself I need one.

    • Dianne says:

      The Elliot armchair, $499 from Structube, is a proper mid century wingback chair. This is another contender for me. Note: I don’t work for Structube. I’ve just been eyeing these for a while and I know how much time it takes to scour modern electronic resources for solutions to problems you don’t have but like to create. 🙂

  29. Tigersmom says:

    How in the hell am I the first commenter? I even went and read all the comments after my own on yesterday’s post first. (Good job everyone for filling in for our temporarily fallen heroine, by the way. I now have a new arsenal of semi-clean jokes.)

    Or am I not and it just looks like it because none of the preceding comments have been approved yet?

    Good to know you have other ways to get your head to explode besides a migraine. It’s nice to have choices.

    I understand your searching for the perfect one issue. When I renovated our house from halfway across the country I spent days (more like weeks, actually) looking at every available option from faucets to light fixtures and toilet paper holders to baseboards.

    Often the item I would ultimately choose was one of the earliest ones I had seen, but I could not make the decision until I was sure there was nothing out there I liked better. Plus, I never like all of the items that come in a matching suite (like bathroom faucets, towel rings, toilet paper holders, etc) so I would have to find ones that still looked good together and were of the same style and general finish as the other pieces. And the only way to do this was online as our reno was going on almost 3 years ago after the recession and none of the stores were carrying much of anything in the way of inventory.

    This is why I have no interest in being on Facebook or any other social media. All my time is occupied by finding the perfect fill-in-the-blank on the internet. : /

  30. su says:

    A wise friend once told me… you must address your wants as well as your needs… nuff said

  31. Laura Bee says:

    Might just be the snow, but the Made is the only one that made me say “Ohh..” .

  32. gabrielle says:

    I love wing-back chairs, and we have a few of them sprinkled about in our farmhouse. I can really see you in one too, leaning out over your paper and peering over specs, Alfred Hitchcock style. Any one you get will make you “Queen of the Castle”. I however have abandoned my wingers for recent new adition: a fainting couch. It’s ergonomically correct for reading, TV and laptops. Because, at the end of the day, I am no queen – I am roadkill!

  33. Susan Dulley says:

    Well, I just realized, I should not try to type at 5 am. Sorry for the typos…I think I will go back to bed….

  34. Mary says:

    the UB chair appeals to my sensibilities. Back not to high or too low, nice squishy looking seat, and it’s covered in leather so when you sit on it in new jeans it won’t turn blue. Remember it caught your eye in the first place.

  35. Susan Dulley says:

    Well, it being Thanksgiving Morning and me sitting here at 5:00a.m. with absolutely nothing to do???? I like the Etsy, the Houndstooth might be a bit much, but it is very nice. The “Restoration Hardware” is actually meant to sit in front of a fireplace. The reason for the large Wings on the Chair. Holds in the heat and protects the person sitting in the chair from cold drafts….The “Made” is also very nice, I like the lines and the look of the chair…looks like something you would have in your living room. If the yellow is not for your I am certain they will have several color selections to choose from. Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving, Cincinnati, Ohio style. I am celebrating the holiday in an Historic Home, in Norwood, Ohio, that was built in the late 1800’s and still has the original Gas Stove in the Kitchen, you know one of those bit Cast Iron stoves with the fancy legs, beautiful Chrome Handles and amazingly enough that is were our Thanksgiving dinner is being prepared. Should be an exiting day. Have a great one Karen and Yes, you should have Turkey…

  36. Michael H says:

    I would say the Etsy houndstooth looks more solid and comfortable. Second choice would be the leather Urban Barn.

  37. SeaDee says:

    Why look for a chair you don’t need?
    Because you CAN!

    Happy (American) Thanksgiving Karen. I am thankful for the entertainment and the learnin’ you and your chickens provide. Gobble gobble.

  38. Emily says:

    Both my husband and I think the Ikea chair is very comfortable (having just been to Ikea on Monday) and we have NEVER agreed on the comfort of a chair. And the matching ottoman takes it to the next level, if you’d like an ottoman you don’t need as well. I, too, had a chair obssession earlier this year, but remedied the situation with Craigslist before Ikea had this model available.

  39. Sarah says:

    We’ve been looking for matching chairs for our bedroom for over a year now. We’ve reached the point where I’m banned from checking craigslist and we’re thinking about re-painting the room (that was painted over the Christmas holiday last year). I sincerely hope you have better luck and that you pick something that would work in our bedroom so I can stop obsessing over this.

  40. Stephanie Hobson says:

    Can we vote? Are we allowed to vote? For myself, I’m pretty traditional so I’d vote for the West Elm, or even the Ikea or Costco. Or maybe the $2500.00 Lawson-Fenning – it’s really quite lovely. However, this is your dilemma, not mine (fortunately) and the ones I would vote for are likely not very high on your list. For you I would pick the Made, even though it is priced in pounds and I have no idea what it would cost. The $750.00 Lawson-Fenning looks like it belongs in the 1960s cartoon show The Jetsons. And the Lawrence Peabody just looks uncomfortable; my bones need some padding. (Now aren’t you glad you asked? But then you didn’t, did you? lol)

  41. sandra says:

    LOL Karen, I can relate….during different periods of my life I have obsessed about pillows, chairs, lamps, sofas, rugs, wall art…. not because I needed any of them…I am just an interior design junkie I guess!! Chairs I have lusted after, include the Bubble Chair and the crème de la crème….the Eames Lounge Chair in Walnut with White Leather…sigh 😉 I happen to have a cool retro wing chair and matching ottoman that I picked up a looong time ago, with the intention of re-upholstering it in a cool fabric….but it still sits in the basement , wearing its lovely gold itchy fabric covering….so sad ! You should have them and work your magic on them….for a lot less than the prices you are looking at…want/need another project, LOL???

  42. Peg says:

    Love the houndstooth then the brown leather from urban barn,good luck.

  43. Lauren from Winnipeg says:

    I really like the Peabody, but it doesn’t look like a good chair to curl up in with a good Kindle. I also really like the Made one. Actually, I think it’s my fav. Or the West Elm. Really like that one too. And who says you need to “need” a new chair to get a new chair?

  44. Carolyn says:

    Ugly”………….. Well, maybe two I like. The price is crazy.. I would go to good well before buying one of them. That or make your own chair. You can make one out of any thing. If your in the garage or basement. Sit on a five gallon bucket. You could probly use that at the dinner table if you don’t have enough chairs. Growing up we had no back seat in our car, so my dad make us sit on those buckets for years. Best part is you can paint them any color you like….

  45. Lin says:

    I like the Ikea chair and the Made chair…..

  46. Grammy says:

    I’m doing some surmising. Here are the facts as I know them:
    1. You first loved the one from Urban Barn
    2. You are currently remodeling your kitchen and, therefore, don’t have unlimited funds for the chair you think you don’t need.

    Seems to me that the one from Costco is the most closely representative of the one from Urban Barn (which is the BEST!) while also being a more reasonable price.

    So, you’re splurging for the one from Urban Barn. Am I right?

    • Jessica Filipovich says:

      I just started reading your blog and I am utterly, completely obsessed. Just as you once spent 12-14 hours a day searching for this chair, I spent 12-14 hours of my day reading all of your previous blog matter, thumbing through your Instagram and/or other social media. I just know- did you get the chair?!?

      • Karen says:

        Hi Jessica! As you get closer to my newer posts you’ll see that I found a hair, but not a wing chair. :/ In fact, there’s another post on chairs coming up on Wednesday, lol. And … it features a wing chair. ~ karen!

  47. Laura says:

    They are almost all pretty irresistible!!! I love that Lawrence Peabody chair.

  48. Jamieson says:

    Instead of one giant club chair for about $600, I bought two smaller, brown leather club chairs at GH Johnson in Toronto a few years ago for $700 and I love ’em. The smaller ones work better for my size of house and now 2 people can sit instead of one. Happily they’re also very comfortable, not like that nutty plastic number you’ve got posted here! That’s the kind of chair I imagine Emily Carr would choose* so that people wouldn’t overstay their welcome.

    *Emily Carr kept her guest chair on a pulley up near the ceiling, and she would only bring it down for her guest if she enjoyed their company and wanted them to stay.

    • Jeannie B says:

      That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. Suspending your guest chair from the celing and lowering it when she had company.Why didn’t I think of that? Would make a visit memorable.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Emily Carr is my hero! Great solution for unwanted company!

  49. sandra says:

    Get the chair right away. Much better than cleaning exploded head matter.

  50. Valerie says:

    Love wing back chairs. Criteria for chair selection:
    *choose the one most comfortable for your body (upper leg length consideration)
    *get a matching ottoman at the same time
    *choosing leather is a good choice as leathers blend well with plain or patterned fabric covered furniture, age beautifully and are basically animal proof (cats)

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