This Designer Trend for Mismatched Accent Chairs is the Secret to Elevating Your Living Room's Style

If there's one trend we're seeing in the best-designed homes, it's mismatched accent chairs in a living room

a modern seating area in an office space
(Image credit: Suzanna Scott. Design: Studio Plow)

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There's power in an accent chair. Where you may want to play it safe with your sofa - choosing something that's timelessly stylish, comfortable and able to shift, chameleon-like, from decorating scheme to decorating scheme - accent chairs offer an opportunity to direct your space's interior style and introduce a focal piece to your scheme.

However, the real excitement comes when you've got enough space for two (or more!) accent chairs alongside your couch. No, we're not doing matching sets in 2024 — instead, we're seeing designers choose chair pairings that contrast and complement, clash and feel cohesive all at once. The best accent chair combinations feel connected, while each delivering something completely different to your living room.

It's something that's hard to pin down — an intangible talent for combining shape, color and material that delivers on that je ne sais quoi. So how do you approach mismatched accent chairs in a living room? We asked designers for their advice.

How to choose mismatched chairs in a living room

While you may be drawn to designs individually, it's worth considering mismatched accent chairs in a living room as a holistic exercise. That is, each piece you choose should have some relationship to the others in your arrangement. This is how you make these pairings feel intentional, not randomized.

For interior designer Cathie Hong, conceptualizing a seating arrangement starts with the couch. 'First, I think the most important piece is the sofa to meet the functional requirements of the room,' Cathie tells us. 'From there, I try to add in interesting pieces in different silhouettes, textiles, finishes and sizes, to create a collected and balanced look.'

For Cathie, this extends to the likes of accent chairs and stools, but also needs to extend to the wider living room landscape, as she found in the design of her own home.

a living room with a l shape sofa and mismatched accent chairs

(Image credit: Margaret Austin. Design: Cathie Hong)

'For our house, we needed a comfortable and large living room sectional for my kids (and us!) to watch tv, and a coffee table for my girls to draw (they are always drawing!),' Cathie says. 'I wanted to build in vintage mid-century pieces, so we sourced this coffee table from MidcenturyLA in Los Angeles. There are so many unique and boutique furniture makers out there that I wanted to showcase some of my favorites in my living room: the Elaine Chair from local The Long Confidence, the Stitch Stool from NY-based Eny Lee Parker, and case pieces by LA-based Faithful Roots.'

'I also wanted an oversized lamp to balance the size of this room, so we added a Knit-Wit Lamp by Made by Hand CPH, sourced through A+R in LA,' she adds. 'And last but certainly not least, an oversized plush rug to cushion my kids from the concrete slab floors from one of my favorite and ethically made Australia-based Armadillo Rugs.'

These details create an overall backdrop for your accent chairs, but with so many styles available, finding combinations that sit together well, while still capturing that 'mismatched' essence is a whole other story.

For Brit Epperson, founder and chief creative of Studio Plow, it's a case of looking for similarities, as well as differences, that can help ground mismatched accent chairs into a living room scheme. 'Find a common thread (or threads) and pull them through the collection for perfectly organized chaos,' Brit tells us.

a selection of chairs and sofas in a room

(Image credit: Suzanna Scott. Design: Studio Plow)

For applying this idea practically, let's break it down by characteristic. By finding the similarities in certain aspects of your accent chair choice, you can then experiment with other elements while keeping things cohesive.

  • Color — if color is the "thread" that keeps your mismatched accent chairs feeling like natural mates, it doesn't mean your chairs have to be the same color, but think about how your seating color scheme relates to each other. Tonal shades shared between the accent chairs and the couch are an easy way to make your choices hang together. And even if you're choosing color as your way to mismatch chairs, still think about a complementary palette. If you've got a green sofa, for example, look for good examples of colors that go with green to inform your choices.
  • Material — A good mix of textiles is the secret to adding depth to your interiors scheme, but when it comes to cohesiveness, make sure your fabrics are telling the same story. If your style feels a little bit more modern and minimalist, a linen and boucle may feel appropriate, whereas if you like things a bit bolder and more maximalist, maybe velvet and leather feels right. That contrast between linen and velvet, however? That can sometimes feel a little forced. Look out for small details like metals and woods that can also help tie pieces together.
  • Shape — Shape is one of the most fun places to mix things up when it comes to mismatched accent chairs in living rooms. This is where this seating arrangement can really shine. Our suggestion? Choose one accent chair that feels a little more solid and substantial, and another which has a lighter presence, even a stool in some instances. It's an easy start to shop for chairs that will work well together in a space.
  • Style — The era of design your chair brings to mind can also help to ground different-looking pieces together. It's likely, after all, that these pieces are drawing on a shared design language (even if you can't quite identify what that is) if you keep your choices to within a certain period of inspiration. Whether classic mid-century, super modern, or drawing on a contemporary design trend, it's an easy way to ensure chairs suit each other even if they're different colors and shapes.

15 accent chairs to mix and match

Hugh Metcalf
Editor of

Hugh is the  Editor of From working on a number of home, design and property publications and websites, including Grand Designs, ICON and specialist kitchen and bathroom magazines, Hugh has developed a passion for modern architecture, impactful interiors and green homes. Whether moonlighting as an interior decorator for private clients or renovating the Victorian terrace in Essex where he lives (DIYing as much of the work as possible), you’ll find that Hugh has an overarching fondness for luxurious minimalism, abstract shapes and all things beige. He’s just finished a kitchen and garden renovation, and has eyes set on a bathroom makeover for 2024.