The English fireplace armchair “with ears” began its history more than 300 years ago. It can also be called “Voltaire”.

Years passed, but nevertheless, the appearance of these products has changed little. We will talk about their features, basic models and nuances of choice in our article.

In ancient times, English armchairs were appreciated not only for their elegant appearance but also for their amazing functionality. “wings”, smoothly merge into the armrests.

The seat is deep enough and massive. Such models began to be in particular demand among people who have impressive living rooms with poorly organized heating.

This design seems to embrace a person, protecting him from cold and drafts, while being able to retain the heat that the fireplace gives.

Over time, this functionality has ceased to be so relevant, but the product itself was in no hurry to go out of fashion. Users appreciated its convenience and comfort. In addition, it is a kind of zest that can add additional charm to the room.

Today the Voltaire armchair has the same original appearance, it cannot be confused with any other.

Among its features can be called a rather high back and, of course, the presence of “wings” smoothly flowing into the armrests.

Also, the models have a comfortable, soft and deep enough seat. The structure is located on wooden legs, which can be straight or curved.

Model overview

high back leather chair

Modern models of such products can have a very different design. “Wings” take on various shapes, the armrests are made of wood or are covered with upholstery. The back can be either straight or rounded. However, having seen this design, each person will definitely distinguish it from others.

Today, even models with orthopaedic backs are offered. This becomes a real boon for users with back problems. Such products are considered an absolute novelty.

As for the forms, it should be noted that there are a lot of them. However, they have such insignificant differences that at first glance, you might not notice much difference, but a single style can be clearly traced.

Let’s consider the most popular ones:

  • The Bergere armchair can be compared to a seashell: It has a semicircular back. The side panels are slightly chamfered.
  • Another variety is the curl Bergere: It differs in that the ears have an unusual appearance, curling into a roll. The model has a shortened back, the height of which will reach approximately the middle of the shoulder blades of a person sitting in it.
  • The classic model is an “upright” armchair: This English-style furniture boasts solid sides with ears. There is minimal or no bevel. The armrests are very narrow.
  • The Provence armchair: differs from the previous model by the presence of wide bolsters in place of the armrests. Side elements are made separately from the fenders.


cozy armchair

An upholstered English chair can look spectacular in any room. Some call it a symbol of cosiness and comfort. The legs are always the basis, but the appearance may otherwise differ. And it depends primarily on the materials of manufacture.


Traditionally, wood bars or ordinary plywood were used to create the frame. Particleboards can sometimes be used.

I must say that the design of such furniture is quite complex. In some cases, the frame is made of solid wood. Such products are considered the most durable and high quality, but their cost is quite high.

As for modern products, other materials can also be used in them.


cozy english armchair

In this direction, designers can expand their imagination. Almost any material can be used for upholstery of English chairs, the main thing is that it is durable and does not stretch.

Currently, matting, chenille, velveteen, natural and artificial leather, jacquard, microfiber, flock and others are quite popular.

Some people prefer to use soft fabrics such as wool and velvet. Undoubtedly, they look very good, but they are subject to fairly rapid abrasion. The chairs are quite narrow and can quickly lose their appeal in this case.

The decorative function is also an important point. However, the decoration of English chairs cannot boast of a wide variety. Upholstery with stitching is used, which looks especially impressive on leather goods.

A carved frame is used to decorate the back or bottom plate, adding elegance to the furniture. Turned or curved carved legs also look beautiful. Fans of pleasant little things will like decorative rollers.


The Voltaire chair can be high-backed or small. It all depends on the choice of model. What unites the designs is the condition that the products, for the most part, are rather narrow, but at the same time rather high.

I must say that it is advisable to choose the dimensions of the furniture for a certain situation. Also, experts note that the design is not devoid of practicality.

The standard dimensions for an English chair are approximately 100-120 centimetres high and 80 to 90 centimetres long and wide.

These indicators are average, and everyone can choose a convenient model according to their own parameters. Customization will allow you to create the perfect option for each specific case.

Design options

Without a doubt, the “eared” chair has a rather specific look. Many believe that the most appropriate such models will be in retro style, ideally located near the fireplace.

However, if you find the right approach, products can beautify almost any design. In some cases, they are even suitable for rooms made in such provincial styles as country and Provence. The classic blue armchair with legs looks good.

For this reason, it would be a mistake to think that such products will fit well only in luxurious interiors.

In many ways, the appearance depends on the upholstery – it is able to change the chair as much as possible. However, in ancient times, only rich people could really afford them.

In modern design, a combination of different styles and shades is often used. The aristocratic “eared” armchair is perfect for rooms in the Baroque and Rococo styles.

It is impossible to ignore such a design option as a “carriage coupler”. It is considered classic in this direction.

In ancient times, using this technique, it turned out to distribute the filler more evenly, and it was used most often for the interior decoration of carriages, which was the reason for this name.

In this case, dense fabrics of the same color are selected for upholstery, such as leather and satin, for example. The fact is that not all thin materials can withstand the impact of furniture buttons and studs.

In general, consumer color preferences can be anything. Manufacturers offer dark and light shades, as well as printed products. The selection of the required color is usually not difficult.

How to choose a perfect English armchair?

As for the rules for choosing chairs, the main aspect when choosing is the material of their manufacture.

This is not only about the upholstery, but also about the frame. It is this indicator that will have the main impact on the durability of the products.

In this case, it is better to make the choice depending on where the chair will be placed. For example, natural or artificial leather is perfect for a model installed in the hallway.

For the bedroom, it is recommended to opt for fabric upholstery. Linen and cotton will look great. In a study or a strict living room, a model with a polyester coating will look spectacular.

The frame made of teak or oak looks very nice and rich. However, the price of such a chair can be very impressive. The furniture market offers much cheaper options that are also of excellent quality.

However, experts consider visual inspection as the main condition when buying English chairs. You need to figure out that the chair fits well into the interior of the room.

And you also need to sit on it. This piece of furniture should give a feeling of cosiness and maximum comfort.

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