You don’t have to have a mountain cabin or a ranch to embrace the look of cowhide dining chairs. All you need is a sense of style, and the determination to adopt a look that “speaks” your language.
Cowhide upholstery is extremely versatile: It’s simply a more natural version of the indestructible and perennially stylish leather and suede that has graced upscale dining chairs for centuries. Even though the look is “natural,” it does not have to feel rustic. Depending on the furniture style, the cowhide can complement, contrast or add a bit of a humorous touch.
Black and white patterns can be startlingly contemporary on a simple Parsons-style frame. Soft beige or copper-colored hair-on hides will lend a subtle, sophisticated look to a traditional dining room. Pair long-haired hides with wrought iron or curvy aluminum chair frames for a whimsical look. Use a boldly patterned hide on a heavily-carved armchair for a baronial touch. The unexpected always adds dramatic appeal.
Suitable for Other Spaces
Part of the appeal of using cowhide on dining chairs is that one or two could be pulled into use as extra seating in a den or living room when there’s a crowd. They would certainly be appropriate at a game table, and a single cowhide-upholstered chair could serve as a functional kitchen desk chair, available for dining service when needed.
Cowhide, though not inexpensive, is a good choice for durability. It is as practical as it is elegant; stains simply wipe clean. Because it is natural, it is hypoallergenic and requires only occasional vacuuming. Hair-on hide can also be combined with smooth leather for a stylish option; picture two patterned hide armchairs at the dining room table with a full complement of coordinating leather-seated side chairs. Or, combine hide and leather on each chair — whatever look you can imagine can be created.
Although you can achieve distinctive looks with the unique, individual patterns of natural hides, you can also opt for the slightly more “ordered” look of printed cowhide. Today you can find zebra prints and other hide patterns that mimic the look of exotic game animals. These, however, may be better suited for use as accent pieces. Consider a pair of high-backed zebra-pattern chairs at either end of a table, mated with simple side chairs that sport solid white or black upholstery.
The one style dictum to remember is that a little animal print can go a long way. Six or eight stylish dining chairs are certainly not too many, but don’t also go overboard with other animal-themed accents. Let your spectacular cowhide dining chairs be the scene-stealers and accessorize with gleaming, polished metals, sparkling crystal and a neutral color scheme.
You can base your color scheme on the tones of your hide; if you incorporate other patterns in the room, keep them subtle and incorporate variations of the same hue. The best advice is to have fun with the theme. Remember, the goal is to please yourself!