Better Than Your Average Chair
Apr 14
Is there anything better than a cool chair? This recent post got me thinking about what makes a chair cool. While style is certainly important, coolness to me is more about provenance. I want to be able to brag about my chairs. To say They're antique library chairs. Or perhaps, They're made from old Coke bottles.

Before we get started, let's think this through. Do you really need to buy a chair? Is there any way to work with what you have? Would a coat of paint or some new upholstery keep you happy for another ten years? If so, cool. Paint the chair(s) and put the money you've saved in the kids' college savings account. (Ungrateful children.) However...if the chairs are falling apart, if you hate them, if your sanity depends on new chairs, OK. Sometimes new things are required, and if that's your situation, make sure to make a smart purchase. Provenance contributes to the cachet that elevates a chair from the humble to the cool: is the chair antique or vintage? Was it made from materials with meaning? Was it made by a craftsman?

First, get thee to the internet and start researching antique and vintage chairs. Start a Pinterest board (call it "chairs") and start pinning. Hit the 1stdibs site and start browsing. Do you like modern? Scandinavian? Are the prices on 1stdibs good for you? If not, start haunting the consignment and antique stores in your area. You now have a mission. Treat this like a job and find the right vintage chair at the right price. If it needs re-upholstering or paint, don't be discouraged. Start checking out the work of local artisans. Paint and upholstery are not deal-breakers.

OK, I know what's next. Some of you don't want old stuff. Fine. You still want to buy responsibly, though, don't you? Check out these babies made from 99 Coke bottles. Freaky cool, right? If there's amazing stuff from recycled materials, why not buy that? Check out the rest of the materials used at emeco. This place is serious about recycling. Nice. And emeco is not the only company out there working with recycled and salvaged materials. Also, artists around the world are using salvaged materials to create beautiful goods while keeping trash out of the landfill. Check out these office chairs made from Vespa scooters. Wouldn't that make you want to sit in front of the computer a little longer? Even if you're working on your taxes? Let your fingers do the researching and you'll find beautiful chairs from recycled or salvaged materials. FYI, don't forget to search Pinterest. Keywords: recycle, chair.

Finally, for those of you who don't like old and don't want something recycled, don't give up! Turn to your local artisan. Search for local woodworkers, like the Joinery in Portland. Keep browsing, make appointments, go sit in some chairs. Supporting a local artist is a wonderful way to buy. Bottom line? Be responsible in all your purchases. Think about your environmental impact. If you're considering buying a chair that was shipped in from China, think about it again. It may be cheap, but is it good? Will you be proud to say, I got this from a container ship loaded with stuff from Chinese factories. Yes, it's probably from a factory that dumps waste in a river. The container ship probably dumps trash in the ocean. But how about that chair?! And it was so cheap!

Is that what you want in your house? Save your pennies and buy something cool. Something that's perfect for you and the environment. Buy a work of art with solid provenance.

P.S. All the chairs in the pics above were found at PDX antique, salvage, or thrift shops.
(1) Comments   | Tags: re: Decor re: Ducere: Shopping


I love old furniture and would gladly choose used over new until recently with the return of bed bugs. The last thing I need is to bring an upholstered piece into my home and then have a lifetime of maintenance to keep the bed bugs gone. I have added a new-used- chair a few months ago because I knew the family that was giving it away.

By Lois@LivingInDenim on 03/06/2016

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