Klismos Style Chairs: Modern Versions of Ancient Greek Chair Designs

Klismos-style chairs are shaped after chair designs of ancient Greece and are said to date back as far as the 5th century. representations of this chair design have been found on bas relief and pottery designs of the 1400s and the period depictions found on painted pottery and carvings at the Acropolis of Athens, now a world heritage site.

And though very few original specimens have been discovered by modern archaeologists, the artworks and carvings excavated give us a clear indication of what the chairs looked like.

A modern Klismos chair used as an accent chair in this image. Notice the curved lines on every part of its structure - backrest, seat, stiles, and legs.

The klismos chair design is as classic as they come. With curved backrests and tapering curvilinear legs, they possess clean lines and soft curves and can work perfectly in any modern or traditional interior setting. 

One distinguishing feature of this timeless chair is its sabre-like tapering legs, curved tablet backrests and curled stiles. These features give klismos chairs a visibly lightweight sleek look. They usually come with a generously wide seat and a backrest that curves forward enough to rest your elbows. The chair's design can be aptly described as “simultaneously old-world and contemporary”.

Klismos Style Chairs in Modern Interiors

With its relatively frequent appearance over the centuries, the basic design of the Klismos chair still looks surprisingly consistent. It has been endlessly reinterpreted since as far back as the late 18th century and is one of the few, if not the only ancient Greek furniture style that can still be found in modern interiors settings today.

Its relevance today still attests to the fact that it was well designed then and still is now in the 21st century. According to a decorator Brad Ford, “its lines are incredibly graceful, and it stands up to any number of interpretations”. This means that whichever way you use it, either in a stylish living room setting or in more casual interior decor, it will never look out of place in any interior setup.

Klismos chairs are popularly used as dining chairs as shown in this setting. However, it can also be used as an occasional chair or as an accent chair.

9 Reasons Why People Love Klismos Chairs

Many people love the expressive, unique, and completely timeless look of this ancient styled chair as they no doubt will add elegance to any room.

But why is the klismos chair style such an enduring piece of furniture and an all-time favourite?
  1. They make great accent chairs.
  2. They will transform a lack-lustre living room seating arrangement into a beautiful and stylish setting.
  3. They look very elegant when set around any style of dining tables. They also will add a sophisticated feel to your dining room. 
  4. Its flowing curvy strokes balances its classical sobriety 
  5. The curved backrest makes it comfortable to sit in while its curved legs offer extra support to the chair. 
  6. They are stylishly lightweight chairs and can be moved around a room from one spot to another. 
  7. It has age-old lines and characteristic S-curves, a desired feature by those who like chic neoclassic themes. 
  8. Like many true classics, the Klismos chair design has been reproduced and re-designed in so many different ways. 
  9. It is a unique piece of furniture that still maintains a sense of tradition. Made in various materials ranging from wood and faux leather to acrylic Klismos, leather and wood combination, and from rattan.

For today’s designers and decorators, the Klismos chairs remains a top choice for accent or dining chairs just for their sheer elegance. Why not? After all, it is “literally the only ancient furniture form that, in its most faithful reproduction, can still fulfil today's practical and stylistic requirements”.

Further Reading:
How to Style a Plain Sofa
How to Decorate with Accent Chairs