Must-Know Furniture: The Wingback Chair


Design by James Thomas LLC

The wingback chair, also known as a wing chair, an easy chair and a grandfather chair, is a late-17th-century piece designed with side wings that partially enclose the sitter’s upper body to protect the sitter from drafts and capture heat thrown from a fireplace.

But don’t let the wingback’s traditional stereotype make you believe it belongs only in formal spaces. With a design that’s lasted four centuries, wingback chairs are surprisingly flexible. They’re a great addition not only to a living room or study, but also to a dining room, bedroom and more. To read more about how to introduce a wingback into your own home, click HERE.


  1. Wing chairs are a winner as shown, for versatility. The original wing chairs, for the common folk, were all wood and stained. Along with the wing chair were benches called settles, in the US and Europe. These were all wood, with wings. The seat usually had a lift to to store things. In Europe, a piece of furniture called a banc lit, or bench bed, was similiar to a settle, including wings. I’ve seen examples from Ireland and other European countries.This banc lit was about 72 inches in length. The seat opened forward (full length)and dropped forward . The large interior was used for storage and could accommodate a straw or feather mattress for guests.
    Everything old is new, again!

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