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What is a Bergere Chair?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A bergère chair is a large armchair of French origin. These chairs were first produced during the French Regency period, and they gradually spread to other regions of Europe. Many people with a French country decorating theme like to use bergère chairs in their décor, and more modernist styles may also mesh well with other design schemes. Furniture and antiques stores both tend to carry this style of chair, and it is also possible to order them through online retailers.

Several features distinguish a bergère chair from other armchairs. The first is the use of an upholstered back and seat, typically with a large seat cushion. The arms of the chair are also upholstered, and the wooden frame of the chair is exposed to view. The frame is often carved or otherwise decorated to make it more ornamental, and floral-style frames with a number of twists and curves are very common.

The wood of a bergère chair may be left untreated, or it may be stained, painted, or goldleafed. Some people like to antique the wood, giving it a distressed or aged look so that it blends it with a room which has an antique feel. The upholstery for bergère chairs is traditionally made from silk, but a wide variety of other fibers can be used, along with materials like leather. Classically, the chair is somewhat oversized and very well stuffed, making it an inviting place to sit.

In many decorating schemes, bergère chairs are fixed in place, although these chairs were actually originally designed to be moved as needed to accommodate guests. It is common to see two or three chairs intimately grouped to encourage people to socialize with each other, and a table may be provided for drinks, board games, and other items. Bergère chairs may also be accompanied by a couch designed in the same style, with an exposed wooden frame and upholstery which matches that of the chairs.

Furniture stores can often order or create customized pieces for their clients, which is an important consideration for people who want their décor to match. The upholstery on a bergère chair can easily be changed, as can the treatment or paint of the wood. Furniture repair specialists may also be able to offer their services in the instance of a new chair which does not quite meet expectations, or an antique which needs to be refurbished.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon45670 — On Sep 18, 2009

There are some great videos online about how to upholster a bergere chair. very simply done

By ynklady46 — On Jun 14, 2009

How do you reupholster the top piece of a bergere chair?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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