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Buying Parsons Chairs - What You Need to Know

Parsons chairs are commonly seen in homes around the dining room, adding a simplistic type of elegance. The great thing about using parsons chairs is that their design blends in with just about any home décor. This piece of furniture is considered "transitional" since the elements of its design covers a number or periods to include Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Mission.

Although you will find parsons chairs on the market today made from many different materials, the construction method and design remains much the same - honest and simple while offering charm and sophistication. The other fascinating aspect of parsons chairs is that because it has transitioned down through the years, you will find different elements that capture each period. For example, some parsons chairs have the richness of the Mission period, incorporating an emphasis of line in the design. Then, for the Art Nouveau period, the parsons chairs have more fluidity, a scroll back and a unique quality.

With the Art Deco parsons chairs, these tend to be more ornate and detailed. The materials used are colorful, bold, and often exotic. In fact, some of the more expensive Art Deco parsons chairs will be made from leopard skin and black ebony wood. Keep in mind that while there is a full array of Art Deco chairs, when shopping around for a "true" parsons chair, it will generally include just one small element of the Art Deco period.

As you shop around for parsons chairs, you will be focusing your attention on three elements - the back, legs, and arms. With this type of chair, the back is designed in a number of styles, which includes straight, scrolled, or camel backed. Typically, the straight back falls more in the Arts and Crafts period while the scrolled and camel back go with the Art Nouveau period. For the legs of the parsons chair, these too are seen in a number of designs. As an example, it is common to see the legs turned, tapered, fluted, upholstered, Chippendale, and cabriole. Most of the styles lean toward the Art Nouveau period with the exception of the fluted and Chippendale, falling within the Arts and Crafts.

Finally, the arms on the parsons chair are also unique. Now, keep in mind that there are some of these chairs that have no arms but most do. For those with arms, they would be scrolled, upholstered, or simply plain with exposed wood. Again, most arms come from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods except the armless chair that goes along with Arts and Crafts.

The thing about the parsons chair is that the design is so varied while still being labeled the same type of chair. For this reason, the parsons chair fits so nicely with any décor. If you love the Mediterranean or French look, the turned or scrolled legs, straight back, and exposed arms works great. If you prefer a more contemporary look, you could have a parsons chair upholstered in leather with fluted legs and no arms. However, if country is your preferred look, then the camel back is perfect. Because of the diversity of the parsons chair, people around the country have incorporated them into their dining room design.

Jennifer Akre is a successful business owner of numerous furniture websites such as Her sites offer product and information about parsons chairs and other furniture and decor for your home or garden.

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