French upholstered arm chairs have been “en vogue” since the time of Louis XV. Prior to that time, arm chairs were primarily made from wood and designed with erect backs. But the Renaissance period redefined all art forms, including furniture design, leading to more comfortable lounge chairs with cushioned seats, semi-reclining backs and swooping arms. Plus, arm chairs became true works of art with intricate carvings and emblems, cabriole legs and stylish fabrics. Suddenly, every parlor from Paris to St. Petersburg was filled with artistic arm chairs where friends would converse in comfort.
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French arm chairs have never gone out of style, but recent years have seen a resurgence in their popularity, with classic designs being coupled with contemporary fabrics and painted or distressed finishes. Today’s French arm chairs still often boast intricate carvings and cabriole legs, but comfort trumps artistry when it comes to fabrics. Soft linen or jute fabrics are used to encase downy-soft pillow top seats. And decorative French pillows are often used to further enhance comfort and add a bit of whimsy to the look.
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More recently, French style arm chairs with scripted fabric have become a “must have” for lovers of French furniture. French scripted chairs with white fabric and black or brown French words are particularly popular, as are burlap upholstered arm chairs with grain sack words.
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French arm chairs with cane backs have been in style since Louis XVIII when lighter furniture was embraced in Paris, perhaps as an expression of their intent to leave the heavy revolutionary years behind. Cane back arm chairs are still extremely popular as they work well in both elegant and more casual decor settings. To give these chairs an even fresher look, they are often painted in colorful hues and distressed for a vintage look and feel.
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French arm chairs have also caught the imagination of shabby chic lovers who might refinish an old French chair found at an estate sale and add a comfy pillow top seat and pillows with feminine features such as ruffles and floral embellishments.
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French arm chairs are also being transformed into more cosmopolitan pieces, with tufted linen fabric covering the once intricately carved areas of this style of chair. Wildly popular and infinitely versatile, tufted arm chairs work well in vintage and modern decor settings alike.
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If you’re looking to add a French arm chair to your decor, you can find get some inspiration here: Belle Escape French Arm Chairs