The Best Ways to Decorate with Iconic Furniture

Tolix chair in Traditional design space

Tolix steel chair

In my last post I discussed iconic furniture pieces.  There are just some pieces of furniture that will never go out of style and I believe if you really like a certain design but can’t afford an original buy the replica.  Of course the original or licensed manufacturer’s item will most likely retain it’s value and therefor it’s an investment just like art work.

There are so many ways to include iconic furniture with your decor and one of the best ways is to juxtapose the iconic piece against it’s opposite style.  What I mean is, if your decor style is traditional, find a piece that appeals to you in a similar color or wood finish that co-ordinates with the existing style, but choose a decor style opposite.  By doing this you will create a statement piece and the eye will be automatically drawn to it.

modern decor ghost chairs

Ghost chairs a new version on Louis XVl classic

The classic Wingback chair has been around since the 1600’s but even in traditional settings it can look contemporary with the right fabric choice.  Today there so many great Wingback versions to suit any decor.

Classic Wingback chair with contemporary fabric

Classic Wingback chair with contemporary fabric

The Bentwood chair is also known as the Bistro chair which has found it’s home in restaurants and kitchen dinettes all over the world.  It’s a reliable classic easily paired with most dining tables.

Today the Danish Wishbone chair is available in contemporary colors making it a versatile choice to update almost any room.

modern design wishbone chair

Wishbone chairs. Classic Danish design.

A modern room can be made classic by integrating three iconic pieces of furniture as seen below – Arco floor lamp by Achille Castiglioni , Arne Jacobsen’s Swan chair and the free form organic design coffee table by Noguchi circa 1948.

modern iconic furniture swan chair coffee table and arco floor lamp

Arco lamp, Swan chair and Noguchi coffee table

Note the Swan chair is used again finished in orange next to the Eileen Gray chrome side tables designed in 1927.  In each room above and below, the iconic chair is used to accentuate the color scheme in the room.

modern decor with swan chair

Eileen Gray chrome side table and Swan chair by Jacobsen

Arne Jacobsen gave us other iconic beauties and one of the most beloved has got to be the curvaceous Series 7 pressed lacquered chair.  It’s ability to be stacked makes it a favorite for many.

Arne Jacobsend's Series 7    molded ply

Arne Jacobsen’s Series 7 molded ply chair

One of the most popular iconic items is the Barcelona chair, bench and daybed.  This masculine style of furniture emphasizes it’s bold but simple lines.

I left the Eames husband and wife team for  last simply because they are my personal favorite.  They designed more than just furniture but we’ll save that for another post.  With new technological manufacturing advances of the 1940’s they experimented with plastic molds and created some of the most popular chairs ever produced.  Made of pressurized wood is their iconic LCW chair, which can now be found with a wide range of contemporary finishes.

DCW Eames chair modern design

If you ever watched the TV show Fraser you might remember the Eames lounger that was prominently featured in the condo scenes. See it here in it’s classic walnut and black leather finish.

Eames Lounger and molded plastic chairs

Eames Lounger and Molded Chairs


8 thoughts on “The Best Ways to Decorate with Iconic Furniture

  1. Very nice examples – thanks! We have two things that we consider iconic classics, and wonder if you’d agree: wicker armchairs (and they were expensive at $900 each!), and a wonderful 1920s-30s hoosier cabinet in our kitchen, painted white, with a sliding metal countertop and metal-lined flour drawer (it cost us $600, but we’ve seen them at ABC Home & Carpet for over $2,000).

    • Wow, both sound terrific. Of course to be considered a classic vintage piece has a lot to do with the original designer and how popular the design remains today. Although subjective, most interior designers and architects would agree on the list I provided but the next generation of designers may think different. I know what you mean about ABC home, that’s the first place I go to when in NY.

      • Right – understood about “original designer.” Hoosier cabinets were first made by the Hoosier Manufacturing Company in Indiana. I doubt whether its founder, in 1899, John M. Maring, could be authenticated as the actual designer, though probably as the conceptualizer, filling the need for efficient kitchen furniture in homes that rarely had built-in cabinetry. (Other Indiana companies also made the cabinets.) And there were so many styles, the originals made of oak, ours white-painted pine(?). As to wicker armchairs, wicker furniture goes all the way back to ancient Egypt! So . . . classic – yes; iconic – not!

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