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The perfect mid-century armchair for small rooms

The perfect mid-century armchair for small rooms

You have a small living room. Got the sofa, a nice coffee table. But there’s something missing — an armchair. Have you noticed that the best armchairs are massive? Even the ones labelled “compact”. I gave up.

Surely there has to be an armchair that ticks all the boxes: smart, compact and comfortable. Like a revelation, I came across the perfect one!

Let’s talk about the stunning 366 armchair by 366 Concept. The piece of furniture that should be in every mid-century-loving home.

The never-ending small space issue

There are so many “small armchair” designs out there that don’t even fit through my door. I got a sofa delivered the other day. And trust me, precision engineering was needed to get that thing in the room.

You can browse the online retailers, visit the showrooms and study furniture catalogues. I’ve done it all with no success. The majority of compact armchair designs are either uncomfortable or hideous. Sometimes both.

STYLE TIP: Furniture with legs is a must in small rooms. That’s one of the many reasons why I love mid-century design. The right chair can transform your space from claustrophobic to intimate.

When space is an issue, you have to reduce the size to the max, whilst maintaining a good level of comfort. And don’t forget the style. You don’t want your living room to look sterile like a dentist’s waiting area.

Ditch the replica and go for original furniture

If you are going to spend a few hundred pounds on furniture, do it properly. Invest in small or independent designers rather than cheap replicas. Here’s why.

There’s no need to buy every piece from famous mid-century icons. Could you afford that? If you can — go ahead! I prefer to go to lesser-known mid-century designers, contemporary designers or high street retailers.

I bet there’s a skilled furniture designer near you who can create original designs. Or a home decor shop in town. Otherwise, there’s a myriad of designers on the internet. Most can deliver unique pieces in a matter of weeks.

Now a little confession. You should know I was going to buy a Hans chair (CH25) replica from one of these online sellers. But decided not to. Why? By buying from an indie designer I’m getting an original high-quality product. And here’s the best thing.

It’s cheaper than the replica! A no-brainer.

A classic and refreshing mid-century design

Detail of mustard mid-century armchair by 366 Concept in oak

Enter the 366 armchair! I love the timeless retro design. European mid-century with no pretensions. You can tell it’s an original design. Still, it’s fresh and unique. Once you see it, you can’t forget it!

There are two small differences with the original 1962 model. The screws on the arms are now hidden. This is due to improvements in materials. I have noticed that the tufted buttons are in a different location. Originally, they were on the back of the seat. Now the two buttons are where the seat and the backrest meet.

Yellow mid-century armchair by 366 Concept in oak

The frame is made of premium quality ash with an oak finish. The wood stain is a pleasure to look at. And you can’t help it but touch it. Call it “multisensory texture” if you want!

You may ask: why not use actual oak instead of stained ash? Well, ash is stronger than oak. So this little chair can sustain regular use. You can also go for lighter oak and other wood finishes. The 366 armchair is always made-to-order.

Detail of yellow mid-century armchair by 366 Concept in oak

The fabric is part of their LOFT range. It is supposed to be stain resistant to a degree. I haven’t tested that — and I don’t want to test it. I went for mustard and stone grey to add interest. There are more colours and fabrics available, including earthy colours, pastels and even velvet.

The perfect mid-century armchair for small rooms

You can buy matching square cushions with the same fabric. However, they are too big for the chair (42 x 42cm). I’ve spotted smaller rectangular ones that seem like the perfect choice. Unfortunately, they’re difficult to source. Have you seen them? Let me know, please!

This happened when I ran the Polish Authenticity Test

Detail of mustard yellow mid-century chair by 366 Concept in oak

So, this apparently a well-known 1960s Polish chair design. Well, anyone can say that. I ran the Polish Authenticity Test. I asked my Polish friend Tomasz and showed him a photo of the chair.

Guess what?

His grandma had one! He said it was a popular design in many homes and businesses. That is a positive result from the Polish Authenticity Test. Status: successful.

4 Key points you should consider before buying an armchair

Planning in advance is vital. Whether you go for the 366 armchair or another piece for small spaces. It’s straightforward — apply the steps below for a happy and hassle-free furniture purchase.

1. Assess your space first

Detail of grey mid-century armchair by 366 Concept in oak

This chair is tiny. And if your room is medium-sized, or large, small furniture will feel out of place. One of the best tips is to use newspapers pages to mark the area on the floor that the chair takes.

I’m sure you have heard this tip before. But have you actually ever tried it? Once you define the area on the floor, you can assess the flow around the chair. Ask yourself these questions. Is it easy to walk around? Is the coffee table too close or too far? What is the view like if you were sitting?

2. The tape measure is your best friend

366 Concept logo on the back of a grey mid-century armchair in oak

Do not ignore important measurements such as seat height. It’s critical. You don’t want to end up with an awkward two-level living room. Where people on the sofa overlook those sitting on the armchairs. Only because the chairs are lower than you expected. That is often one of my main concerns.

It turns out the seat height is similar to the one in my existing sofa. Therefore, everybody sitting in the room will be at the same level. Little details like this can enhance conversation and create a positive mood in the room. You know, that feeling when a room is “right.”

STYLE TIP: A crucial point when buying an armchair. Make sure the rest of the furniture in the room has similar proportions and scale — even if you mix styles. The result is a collected and enticing look.

Yes, Abigail Ahern recommends going crazy with oversized pieces in small rooms. However, if you get it wrong, it can ruin the whole look. You have to decide what mood you want to convey in the space. Relaxed and friendly? Or funky and wild? Break the rules as needed!

3. Do you need one chair or two?

Yellow and grey mid-century armchairs by 366 Concept in oak

One armchair is a great solution for a cosy nook. Or to complement a sofa of similar size. Best to go for a bold contrasting colour. Make it stand out. If in doubt between two particular colours, again, go bold! You won’t regret it.

Two is the perfect choice if you want to place them opposite the sofa. It will give a pleasant balance. Pick the same colour or play around a little as I did.

I’m glad I chose different colours — and this is why. Let’s say you walk into the living room. The eyes spot both chairs in a glimpse. But then they travel to the corner of the room. Because that’s where the boldest armchair is. This helps the room feel spacious.

4. Don’t want an armchair? Meet the whole 366 family

The 366 easy chair comes in a large version. Same proportions, only 15% bigger. The manufacturer recommends going for the large model if you’re taller than 170cm (5ft 7in approximately).

To be honest, I’m taller than that and I still find the chair comfortable to use. But I understand that someone really tall may struggle. Think who will use the chair the most. You don’t want people sitting down awkwardly.

As Helen Lovejoy would say, “won’t somebody please think of the children?” Well, you’re in luck, Helen. They also sell a junior model for little people. Want more? There’s even a cool two-seater sofa. And a coffee table range! This design just keeps on giving.

Get the 366 armchair

Grey mid-century armchair by 366 Concept in oak

Different online retailers sell the 366 armchair. I got mine from Archiproducts. Another great European furniture and accessories retailer. They have amazing site-wide discounts for their subscribers. You can purchase the chair straight from the manufacturer’s website too.

Have you found a smaller armchair?

Let me know in the comments below if you have found a smaller (and comfortable) armchair. But is it mid-century though?

Don’t forget to check out the final living room makeover featuring my 366 Concept armchairs!

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Juan Sandiego

I’m an Interiors & Wellbeing Coach with a passion for design and the science of happiness. I help home renovators create their ideal home and lifestyle so they can live happy and stress-free. Want to try it? Book your free session today.

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  1. Jenny Kakoudakis
    7 years ago

    I cannot believe you run a ‘test’ on the chair’s design authenticity! Oh my God, I am in stitches, you really are going the extra mile! The chairs are gorgeous, and I will happily share this post with my twitter followers, a great find!

    By the way, are you from Latvia? That accent… ????

    1. Juan Sandiego
      7 years ago

      Hahaha, yes! Thanks for commenting and sharing it, Jenny! Glad you enjoyed it as much as I did taking the pics and writing it.

  2. Evija
    7 years ago

    Beautiful chairs I definitely agree you should invest in key pieces for your home. Love the Polish authenticity test you did ?

    1. Juan Sandiego
      7 years ago

      Thanks for your comment, Evija! Haha, I had to test them! To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised when my Polish friend recognised them.

  3. Hollie @ MiaFleur
    7 years ago

    You are so right about small armchairs; even as buyers, we can go around a whole trade show and struggle to find a suitable ‘small’ armchair. They are so difficult to find! Needless to say, we’re now looking at having some made instead. Great tips for choosing armchairs too – matching seat height with other seating in the room is such an important point.

    1. Juan Sandiego
      7 years ago

      Thanks for your comment, Hollie! Oh, wow! Custom chairs — that’s an ultimate goal. Hope I can see them in your blog soon!

    7 years ago

    Fabulous post, love the authenticity test and I love that you recommend to measure and measure again! Such important advice to avoid disappointment.

    1. Juan Sandiego
      7 years ago

      Thanks for popping by, Rachel! Indeed, it’s all about measuring. You don’t want to know how many times I had to return items… ?

  5. Tamsin @ Fawn
    7 years ago

    Love this chair! We’re fans of anything midcentury modern. 🙂

    1. Juan Sandiego
      7 years ago

      Hi Tamsin! Glad you like it. Thanks for popping by ☺️

  6. Athian
    7 years ago

    Love this! A great read, beautiful photos- can’t wait to see more posts from you X

    1. Juan Sandiego
      7 years ago

      Thank you, Athian! I must practice the photography tips you shared on your blog. No pressure, then!

  7. Bruni Schling
    5 years ago

    I have been looking for a small armchair in ochre or mustar dcoulour for ages. Still I need the actual measures and naturally the price. Thank you.

    1. Juan Sandiego
      5 years ago

      Thank you for your comment, Bruni! Just Google “366 chair” and you’ll see all the retailers that sell that chair. Good luck!

  8. My contemporary living room makeover tour (Before & After) | Happy Home Clinic
    11 months ago

    […] Opposite, you’ll find a handsome pair of mid-century modern armchairs. The 366 chairs are made-to-order based on the original 1960s Polish design. They’re compact yet stylish. If you want to learn more, read The perfect mid-century armchair for small rooms. […]


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