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When To Choose a Swivel Chair vs. a Stationary Chair?

Cover Image by designer Elise Alessio for Rancharrah Country Club in Reno, Nevada.

Shopping for new furniture isn’t an easy task. After all, it’s a considerable investment that you hope will look perfect in your home. Choosing the right design for your space can be overwhelming, so we will break it down for you in this article, focusing on occasional chairs.

There are numerous options to choose from when considering occasional chairs — swivel, stationary, woven material, rugged leather, or even metal. So let’s go through some instances where you should favor one option over another. All photos in this post feature some custom-made items by Peninsula Home for designers we highly recommend and love to work with.

1. A large great room with a view

A great room is where the family gathers for game nights, watching football, or just hanging out. It’s essential to have ample and versatile seating in the great room. The swivel chair is the perfect option for great rooms. The two Harlow Chairs features on the image can face the sofa and kitchen, the outdoor view, or completely flip around and face the television. This image is the perfect example of swivel chairs being stylish, practical, and proportionate to the space.

2. A cozy den

Photo by Principle Design in Orange County, California.

When you have a more narrow space to work with, it’s always best to opt for compact stationary chairs. This gives you plenty of room to move around the chairs without feeling cramped, and you can even add an accent table. If it’s a high-traffic area or used for dining, you might consider leather as it cleans easily and is more durable than fabric.

3. A small to medium-sized bedroom

The Montage in Park City. Designed by Alder and Tweed.

We all want that big comfy chair in our bedroom to lounge in with an excellent book or watch television. Some of us might even want one specifically for our furry friends. When you have limited space in your bedroom, it’s best to go for a large and comfortable stationary chair. We love how this large rolled armchair balances the heaviness of the sleigh bed — it’s the perfect counterpoint. If this chair could swivel, it might knock right into the glass door, creating a risk for hotel guests and a safety hazard.

4. An oversized sectional

Design by Katie Porter in San Diego, California.

When you have a sectional that’s over 40” deep, you can’t risk throwing off the flow or proportions with a small occasional chair. You need to pair it with something substantial and balanced. In the image, the custom sectional is 50” deep. The selected swivel chair is not only oversized, which pairs well with the sectional but also offers the ability to face the sectional for conversation, the television, or the kitchen to participate in other interactions. We love when designers use swivel chairs in a well-executed layout that benefits their client’s everyday life. A space should be beautiful as well as practical.

5. A high-traffic commercial space

Talega Country Club in San Clemente.

Commercial space can be complicated to furnish — it has to be durable, stylish, cohesive, and sometimes fit within a tight budget. An often overlooked detail in a hospitality project is whether to use stationary or swivel chairs. When considering the overall look and the maintenance of commercial space, which will be used by children, adults, and even the elderly, a stationary chair might be the right choice. Swivel chairs can be left facing any direction and make a space look untidy when left askew, which is why we love this space with stationary chairs in a fun print and hand-carved bases. They point in one direction and are too substantial to be moved by a guest.

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, the choice between stationary and swivel occasional chairs will vary from space to space and the overall demand of the room. If you are paying close attention to the room’s design, the decision should be easy enough to identify on your own. If you have any doubts, why not hire a Peninsula Preferred Designer to style your remodeled or newly purchased home? Contact us today to find an interior designer who will help guide you through the process easily and maybe with even a little bit of fun.