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What is a Club Chair?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 September 2016
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Club chairs are a popular option in home and office seating that hails from the middle of the 19th century. Designed with a low back and ample seat, the club chair was a feature in high-end gentlemen’s clubs in the United Kingdom. Considered to combine elements of both comfort and masculine style, the club chair gained in popularity through most of the 20th century, and still remains in demand today.

When first created for use in exclusive use in men’s clubs during the 1850’s, the idea was to design a chair that was large enough to accommodate the male frame, especially men who were more well-to-do and tended to be somewhat larger than men working in menial positions and careers. The styling avoided elements that leaned toward the feminine, and focused on the use of dark woods and sturdy leather for the upholstery. Simple yet comfortable, club chairs could be quickly rearranged to create a conversation area or settle around a table for a card game.

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During the 20th century, the club chair began to move beyond men’s clubs and find their way into restaurants, and the home offices and libraries that were often considered the domain of the breadwinner for the home. In later years, club chairs came to be paired with tables to create comfortable but stylish casual dining areas in the home. With the migration out of the men’s club and into the home, the club chair underwent some changes involving the use of lighter stains for the wood and various patterns and colors for the upholstery.

Today, the club chair remains a favorite in both casual and upscale dining establishments, as well as around the home. The simple lines and comfortable padding in the chairs tend to make them easy to work into many different decorating styles, while the variety of colors mean the club chair will function well even in rooms that use elements that are traditionally understood to lean more toward the feminine.

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