What is a Hall Chair?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A hall chair is a chair which is designed to fit in the entryway of a home. Classically, hall chairs are hard seated, and they come in a variety of shapes and designs to mesh with various needs and decors. Many furniture stores carry hall chairs, or chairs which can stand in for hall chairs in a pinch. It is also possible to make one's own, in the case of people who are skilled furniture makers.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

The practice of keeping chairs in the hall is quite ancient, although hall chair designs really flourished in the 18th century. There are a number of reasons to keep a chair in the hall, ranging from having a place to sit while putting on shoes to have a location to hang coats, bags, and other objects. Historically, people have also used hall chairs to wait when making formal calls to a home.

One classic version of the hall chair has a very high mirrored back with hooks, allowing people to check their appearance as they leave and enter the house, and providing a space to hang coats. This type of hall chair typically has a broad seat which can accommodate bags or someone who wishes to sit down for a moment, and most hall chairs in this style also have arms.

More minimalist hall chairs might have no arms at all, with reduced backs. Others may cross the line into the world of benches, sometimes with storage space underneath for unused shoes and other errata which people may wish to store in their halls. A hall chair may also be near a bootjack, in regions where people require the services of a bootjack on a regular basis.

As a general rule, a hall chair is not comfortable. The goal is not to provide a cozy place to lounge, but rather to create a temporary stopping point and a transition into or out of a home. While arm chairs and other padded chairs could potentially be used as hall chairs, they might encourage people to linger, and this is not desired, as the hall is an intermediary place between other locations.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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