Fall in Love with the Slipper Chair

Chances are you’ve overlooked this beautiful and versatile piece of furniture, although the slipper chair probably appears in more rooms than most items of furniture. The romantically-named slipper chair conjures up images of elegant ladies in old fashioned parlours. But is this chair as feminine – or as potentially dated – as it sounds?

Take another look at this iconic piece of furniture and discover how the slipper chair can bring a touch of luxury and style to your home.

What Exactly is the Slipper Chair?

Think of a small armchair and take the arms off. This, in effect, is a slipper chair. The slipper chair is an upholstered piece of furniture first developed in the 18th century. The seat is low to the ground as it has short legs. The back is reasonably high to provide support and the lack of arms makes it a versatile piece for lounging or simply as a decorative item.

Why is it Called a Slipper Chair?

A slipper chair is so-called, experts say, because in the Victorian era upper-class ladies would perch on these chairs while a lady’s maid would slide silk slippers onto their feet. The low seat made it easy for the servant to achieve this task with the minimum of disruption to the lady of the house.

History of the Slipper Chair

The origins of the slipper chair date back to the first part of the 18th century. This is when the low-seated chair was used in the lady of the house’s bedroom for the purpose mentioned above. The slipper chair was upholstered in fabric to match the style of the boudoir and was almost ubiquitous in stylish homes of the period.

The slipper chair in the Victorian period had several advantages. It was discreet, so it wouldn’t overpower any of the statement pieces in the bedroom. And it was useful. It was also fashionable, and rich Victorian women didn’t want to be the only household in the neighbourhood not to have one.

Billy Baldwin, the American designer, took the slipper chair out of the bedroom and into the modern living room in the 1950s. He also added box pleats to the seat, with the option of hiding the chair’s legs. Slipper chairs today both show and hide their legs and are used in different rooms in the home.

Styling a Room with a Slipper Chair

A slipper chair is less bulky than an armchair and takes up less floor space, while still providing a comfy place to sit. They are ideal for small bedrooms as an accent piece or to use for laying out clothes. Use a slipper chair next to a window in a bedroom, alongside a small table. Style the chair with colourful scatter pillows or a vibrant throw.

The slipper chair in the living room makes a statement when it is upholstered in a bright, modern fabric. Position a pair of chairs by a window to maximise the light coming into the room while adding extra seating options. Or add a slipper chair to the side of a sofa so it can be easily moved closer to the conversation when necessary.