Wing Back Recliner

wing back chair

Wing back recliner chairs give you the best of the 18th century world and the modern world of recliners. Don't let the spelling of this term confuse you. While the correct spelling is as one word, wingback, many people, even websites, spell it wing back or wing-back. Some furniture manufacturers have gone to the shorter term of Wing Chair.

History of Wingback Chairs

Many of the early styles of this chair, circa 1700, were made of wood with only a removable cushion seat. The arms were broad, often flat, boards planed with rounded edges. The chair was designed to resolve a long-standing issue of chilling drafts found in homes, manors and castles.

The Chair Design

The chair design was distinct and easily recognizable. The back was unusually high so the average person's head would be protected from cold drafts. Two wings emerged from the arms of the chair and were angled together at either ninety degrees or sometimes a wider angle. Its wing design made it very easy to sit in front of roaring fireplace and remain warm. Not only did the large wings trap the heat, the broad sides prevented drafts from chilling the upper torso of the occupant. This was especially welcomed by women whose fashions regularly exposed the upper chest with a décolleté bodice.

The chair quickly became a favorite of men and women alike. Over the centuries, it evolved along with the newest and best furniture designs of the current periods. The chairs were made more comfortable. The wood frames were covered with cotton and wool batting and upholstered. Regardless of the period style, the design of the high protruding wings has remained the design element that distinguishes it from other chairs.

Contemporary Evolution: Wing Back Recliner

One of the best advancements of the wingback chair is the transformation into a recliner. This design has allowed the chair's existing comfort to magnify to a more usable piece of furniture. Not only can you use this style of chair in the most obvious places such as a family room or den, you can also use it in a formal room setting.

Two Most Popular Styles

Just about every style of the wingback chair is available as a recliner. Most of the wingback recliners are a push back design which means you simply grip the arms of the chair and push back to elevate the foot rest.

Queen Anne

One of the most popular styles is the Queen Anne. The famous curved cabriole legs found in Queen Anne furniture replaced the original wingback straight legs. It's easy to disguise the foot rest in this style of chair. Many Queen Anne chairs are used in formal settings with high-quality upholstery that can range from damask to crewel fabrics. The state design is also a nice addition in an informal fabric for a family room or den.


Compared to the elegance of a Queen Anne wingback chair, the Windsor is overstuffed, and has a squatty appearance. The back is not as high and the wings, while still an angle are not as wide. The wings are pared down considerably and often the back rest of the chair is overstuffed, bulging to support the lower back and the neck region.

Leather is a popular choice for this style of wingback. The recliner part is hidden in the overall design of the chair. If you were not aware that the chair was a [[Small_Recliners|recliner], you would assume it was a typical chair design. That is the beauty of this recliner style. Many leather chairs have rows of brass or bronze upholstery pins or nail heads that outline the arms, legs and back of the chair for a stylized finish.

Shopping for Your Chair

Be sure to check with website and stores the type of mechanism used for the recliner. Many are push backs but some offer typical lever mechanisms.

Regardless how you spell wing back recliner, you can find the style you want with just about any kind of fabric choice.

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Wing Back Recliner