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What is a Slipper Chair?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A slipper chair is a low-slung chair with a high back which is designed to be used as an accent chair and to provide additional seating. Many modern designers work with slipper chairs, relishing the classically clean lines of the basic slipper chair design, and they complement a range of interior design schemes. Most furniture stores stock at least a modest assortment of slipper chairs, and it is also possible to order them directly, especially from modern design companies. Enterprising woodworkers can also try their hand at making their own slipper chairs, should they be so inclined.

Several features distinguish a slipper chair. The first is the very clean design, which tends to feature two rectangles for the seat and back of the chair, with no arms. Slipper chairs are typically low chairs, and the back may be reclined for greater comfort. As a general rule they are also upholstered, and some people may add throw pillows to their slipper chairs as a design accent.

The blocky design of a slipper chair can be a problem in smaller rooms, as the chairs tend to take up a large footprint. However, they can work well in larger rooms or intimate settings. They are especially convenient for dressing rooms, as the height makes it easy to put on or remove shoes. Some people also keep a slipper chair by the door for this reason.

In most cases, a slipper chair is designed to seat one person, although some styles are large enough that two friendly people could share a chair. Some people take advantage of this fact to expand seating with slipper chairs; because these chairs can be easily moved around, it is easy to reconfigure a space when most guests arrive. These chairs often appear in living rooms or lounges, sometimes with accessorizing low side tables.

Because slipper chairs tend to be upholstered, their look is very flexible. Some companies make slips which are designed to cover their slipper chairs, allowing people to quickly change the look of their chairs when they want a fresh feel in a room. It is also possible to re-upholster such chairs, of course. The frame of the chair can be made from wood, metal, or plastic, depending on the designer; you may want to think about how the finish of the frame will blend in with a room, if the frame of the chair is visible.

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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 m3g4n — On Jul 04, 2011

I recently wrote a paper for my English class about Victorian furniture, so I’ll say a little about slipper chair history here. Slipper chairs were made in the 1800s (the Victorian era), as a bedroom chair for women. Back in those days, wealthy women wore petticoats, corsets, stockings, and a bunch of other things beneath their dresses. It was so hard for them to get dressed, that many wealthy women had a servant to help them into and out of their clothing every day.

Furniture designers created the slipper chair to help wealthy women with their dressing tasks. That’s why the seat is a few inches lower than a normal chair. The mother-of-pearl and solid gold decorations found on many antique slipper chairs catered to those women’s expensive tastes.

By kangaBurg — On Jul 03, 2011

@Vegemite – You’re right, chair arms are very awkward. I love slipper chairs because they’re so easy to reupholster! I have a closet full of slipper chair slipcovers, which I change out to match the season or my mood. I even had some customized ones made that say “Happy Birthday” with my daughter’s name on them.

When I want to change my home décor, I just slip the slipcovers over my slipper chairs, and I’m all set. It’s almost impossible to change any other chair’s look that easily.

By Vegemite — On Jul 02, 2011

I have faux leather armless slipper chairs in my living room. I love the clean look they give my home because they don’t have any annoying arms. I think chair arms look messy.

I bought tables that are almost the same height as the slipper chair seat cushions. My living room is set up with 2 pairs of slipper chairs side by side, and three small tables, so it goes table, chair, chair, table, chair, chair, table. I also have a coffee table in front of that, the same height as the smaller tables.

There’s no way I could have achieved such a beautiful look with any other type of 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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