Last updated: August 6, 2021

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Armchairs are the perfect place to retreat, relax or even read. They can make any room cosier, be it living room or bedroom. In the meantime, however, the limits are no longer just the interior. There are many models that are weatherproof and thus find a place on the balcony or terrace to accompany warm summer evenings.

The absolute must-have at the beginning of the 1950s were armchairs with a half-height continuous backrest that promised great comfort, the so-called cocktail armchairs. Many years later, the armchairs were mainly used by restaurants, hotel lobbies or hairdressing salons to make the waiting time of guests as comfortable as possible. But these times are over, cocktail chairs now find a place in every home again thanks to numerous design variants.




Summary

  • When choosing the right cocktail chair, you should pay attention to the material, size, design and armrests. These criteria can be used to compare the individual models. In the end, the choice depends on personal preferences.
  • Cocktail chairs are suitable for anyone looking for a comfortable retreat at home or seating for an evening with friends or family. You can choose between models with or without armrests or swivel armchairs.
  • To extend the life of the cocktail chair, you can buy a matching fabric cover, which is pulled over the chair like a cover and can be washed if necessary. For those looking for comfortable outdoor seating, there are many weatherproof models.

The Best Cocktail Chair: Our Choice

Buying and evaluation criteria for cocktail chairs

People are different and so are the individual cocktail chair models. To help you choose the right cocktail chair for you, we have summarised the most important buying criteria:

If you have not yet dealt with cocktail chairs very intensively and therefore do not know what you should look out for when buying, we will briefly present the purchase criteria mentioned.

Material

Cocktail chairs are available in different materials. Leather is the most durable of them. Leather cocktail chairs can serve their purpose for several decades without any problems. Nowadays, imitation leather has the same characteristics as models made of real leather. The only distinction that can still be made is the price.

Imitation leather models are available in various colours and are among the most popular variants.

Genuine leather versions are mainly found in vintage models, which have a particularly noble look. Cocktail chairs made of textile fabrics are particularly pleasant on the skin. These include velvet, natural fabrics such as cotton and polyester.

Many natural and synthetic fibres are hard-wearing and light-resistant, which means that the colour does not fade when the chair is left in the sun. Of all the materials, velvet stands out because of its very soft texture. Models made of textile are available in different colours and with patterns.

Size

Size should therefore play a role in your choice, as not everyone has the same space for a cocktail chair at home. Therefore, you should think about where the chair will go before you buy it, so that you can roughly estimate the dimensions.

Cocktail chairs are available in different sizes. It is also important to pay attention to the size of the seat, as many models have different sizes. However, there is no such thing as the right size, only personal preferences play a role.

Comfort

The comfort of the cocktail chair depends on its purpose. For an armchair that is only used for decorative purposes, comfort is not as important as when you get a cocktail chair for reading or for a cosy round with friends. For regular use, comfort should be taken into account.

Cocktail chairs whose backrest and seat have little or no padding will become uncomfortable after a short time. The softer and thicker the upholstery, the more comfortable the chairs and the longer you will want to sit in them.

Design

Cocktail armchairs come in a variety of designs, so there is a suitable one for every home. The design of the armchair is important because a cocktail armchair should be chosen to match the rest of the furnishings so that it stands out and does not blend in or disturb the overall picture.

Design directions include everything from retro classics showcasing the 50s, 60s and 70s, to vintage leather models, to the modern minimalist cocktail chair. If you opt for an armchair in muted, dark colours, go for a larger model, as the cocktail chair will then look its best.

Armrest

There are exactly two types of cocktail armchairs: those with armrests and those without. Cocktail chairs without armrests offer more freedom of movement, but do not sacrifice anything in terms of comfort, as the backrest is still slightly curved. Such models are available in all material variants.

However, if you need a place for your arms, choose a model with an armrest.

Armrests are always directly connected to the backrest and they can either go straight up the seat or steadily decrease towards the front until they merge flush with the seat. Which variant you prefer is up to your personal preferences.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about cocktail chairs answered in detail

In the following, we answer the most common questions about cocktail chairs. We want to help you with your purchase decision and help you find the right model for you.

What is a cocktail chair?

Cocktail chairs are a good choice for parties or relaxing afternoons at home. They are characterised by a gently curved half-height backrest that seamlessly merges into the armrest, if one is available. Cocktail chairs are often mentioned in the same breath as lounge chairs.

With many models, the transition is now also fluid. The distinguishing feature of these two variants is that cocktail chairs are usually smaller than lounge chairs. They are therefore more suitable for small rooms and flats and appear more delicate than many other armchair models.

Who is a cocktail chair suitable for?

Cocktail armchairs are suitable for anyone who is looking for a comfortable place to sit. Many models are sold as individual pieces, these work well as an eye-catcher in a room or as a retreat to relax in.

Cocktailsessel

Cocktail chairs are so versatile that they can adapt to any interior style. (Image source: Michael Pierce/ Unsplash)

If you are looking for cocktail chairs for a cosy get-together or for the whole family, you will also find what you are looking for, because there are also some models available as a set or you can buy several at once. The times when cocktail chairs were mainly used in hotel lobbies, bars and restaurants are over, because there are models for every home.

What types of cocktail chairs are there?

On the one hand, there are the classic cocktail chairs with curved backrests and armrests. These models are available in all material variants and their design adapts to all furnishing styles.

Cocktail chairs without arms are not quite as elegantly curved as the classic version, but they are characterised by more freedom of movement. Models without armrests usually have a wider seat.

A third variant is the swivel cocktail chair. The swivel versions stand on only one leg instead of four, and this is usually made of stainless steel or chrome. Swivel cocktail chairs offer the comfort of an armchair combined with the flexibility of an office chair. These models are well suited for higher tables, such as writing or dining tables.

Strictly speaking, cocktail sofas are no longer in the category of armchairs, but one last variant that is still worth mentioning. They do not resemble the classic large sofas with straight backs, but look more like a two-seater cocktail chair. This is usually also the number of people that can be seated on it. Cocktail sofas also come in versions with or without armrests.

What does a cocktail chair cost?

The price of a cocktail chair is mainly determined by the material, the workmanship and the upholstery. To give you an overview, we have listed the different price ranges:

Price class Available products
Low-priced (70 - 100 €) some models made of imitation leather or velvet, little upholstery
Medium-priced (100 - 150 €) more robust materials, mostly medium-firm upholstery
High-priced (from € 160) larger well-upholstered models, leather cocktail chair

The cheapest models mostly made of imitation leather or velvet start at 70 €. However, you should be aware here that these cocktail chairs are not necessarily well upholstered. If you are looking for something comfortable, you can find it starting at 100 €. Large, very comfortable armchairs and models made of real leather are available from around 160 €.

Can the cover of a cocktail chair be changed?

It is not possible to remove and wash the cover of a cocktail chair, as is the case with a cushion. With a little experience, however, the cover can be replaced. To do this, unscrew the legs, undo the seams and then remove the cover. This then serves as a template for the new cover, which then has to be stapled on.

If this is too complicated and time-consuming for you, you can either have the chair restored by a professional or get a cover. Covers are like throws for armchairs and can be pulled onto the armchair without further difficulty and removed and washed if necessary.

Cocktail chair covers are only available in textile and are usually made of microfibre and cotton. Both are particularly hard-wearing and microfibres additionally do not crease. Stretch models are particularly easy to fit and are suitable for practically any cocktail chair, but you should still make sure that the cover is suitable for your chair before buying.

Covers protect the upper material of the cocktail chair, increase its durability and simplify cleaning. The only disadvantage is that leather lovers will miss out.

Which cocktail chairs are suitable for outdoors?

To ensure that the cocktail chair is suitable for outdoors, there are a few things you should consider. The most important thing is that the material is weatherproof and light-resistant and does not rust. In this way, the chair can withstand both rainy days and UV radiation. In addition, the material should be easy to clean and the chair should not be too heavy so that it can be moved easily.

Cocktail chairs made of robust materials are particularly suitable for outdoors. (Image source: pixabay / Engin Akyurt)

Materials that are suitable for outdoors are rattan and solid wood. To increase comfort, cushions can be added. In the meantime, there are also models with imitation leather and integrated cold foam upholstery that are ideal as outdoor chairs.

Imitation leather meets all the necessary criteria and can withstand any weather. Cocktail chairs made of imitation leather are also available in many different colours and patterns. Due to their space-saving properties, cocktail chairs are also very suitable for smaller balconies.

Conclusion

Thanks to their revival, cocktail chairs are now suitable for every home. Thanks to the different styles, materials and colours, there is a suitable model for everyone. In order for the cocktail chair to look its best, it should be coordinated with the rest of the furnishings. Thanks to their compact design, the armchairs are particularly suitable for small flats and rooms.

Covers can extend the life of the armchairs and make cleaning easier. Those looking for a comfortable seat for the balcony will also find what they are looking for in cocktail chairs. Models made of rattan or hard-wearing imitation leather are suitable here, as they are weather-resistant.

Swivel and height-adjustable models are particularly suitable as office chairs. Cocktail chairs are so versatile that they can be used in any room and with any style.

Image source: Dean Moriarty/ Pixabay

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