With the right balance of form and function, chairs offer both a comforting seat and a point of visual interest. Lately, a certain sculptural design has caught our eye as a near-perfect example of this balance, and (at least according to Google search data) others are noticing, too. Recognizable by its Y-shaped back and curved wood frame, the wishbone chair is an iconic mid-century design that has once again gained widespread popularity.
Originally dubbed CH24, the chair was designed in 1949 by furniture designer Hans Wegner as part of a series of seats inspired by the thrones of Chinese emperors. Wegner crafted the iconic chair within his first three weeks at the Danish furniture company Carl Hansen & Søn, and the design has been in continuous production ever since.
Crafted mostly by hand, the original wishbone chair features a solid, light-colored wood frame and a seat woven from paper cord. It now comes in a wide variety of iterations, including styles with colorful lacquered finishes, dark wood stains, and unique seat materials.
Both sturdy and comfortable, the wishbone chair is a natural fit for dining rooms. Its elegant curves and minimalistic open design works in both casual and formal settings. But the chair isn’t limited to eating areas. For a stylish upgrade to your home office, try swapping your basic desk chair for one of these sophisticated seats. Because of its sculptural shape, the wishbone chair looks just as good as a stand-alone furniture piece, too. Place one in an empty corner of your bedroom or in that awkward spot at the end of the hallway to create seating that doubles as a work of art.
While an original Carl Hansen & Søn design, available on sites like Design Within Reach, will set you back nearly $800, you can find more affordable reproductions from a variety of retailers. If you’re a fan of the wishbone chair but don’t love the hefty price tag, here are several options you can snag for less than $200.
Light Wood Wishbone Chair
True to the original design, this wishbone chair is made of blonde wood and woven cording. The solid beech-wood frame’s smooth curves and tapered legs closely mimic Wegner’s version but at a more affordable price point. The seat measures 18 inches from the floor, and the chair arrives already assembled.
Black Woven Wishbone Chair
A sleek black finish gives this mid-century style a modern look. The inky color covers both the solid wood frame and woven seat, making this wishbone chair a perfect complement to contemporary spaces. With a seat height of 17 inches, the chair is an ideal height for standard dining tables and comes pre-assembled. It’s also available in walnut and natural finishes.
Wishbone Chair with Faux Fur Seat
This version puts a cozy twist on the iconic wishbone chair. The cushioned seat is wrapped in a plush faux fur cover for unexpected texture and a softer touch. The wood frame, which measures about 31 inches to the top of the seat back, is finished with a neutral gray-brown wash.
Colorful Wishbone Chair
Add a dose of color to your dining room with these wood-and-plastic chairs. The seat and Y-shaped wishbone back are made of molded plastic, making these chairs family-friendly and easy to wipe clean. Sold as a set of two, the chairs are available in red, gray, and white.
Wishbone Bar Stool
For counter-height tables or island seating, try a taller version of the classic wishbone chair. This stool features the same open curved back, but the seat measures 24 inches from the floor. A cushioned leather seat tops the solid rubber-wood frame, which features a rich walnut finish.