The minimal, colorful appearance of an Acapulco chair harks back to designs found in stylish mid-century modern homes, but what are its true origins?
At first blush, an Acapulco chair sounds like the type of comfortable perch you’d find in an oceanside Mexican resort. But that’s not quite it. Take a look at this style of chair, and you’ll notice its minimal, colorful appearance actually harks back to designs found in stylish Mid-Century Modern homes of the 1950s and ’60s
With Mid-Century decor in vogue, it’s no wonder that Acapulco chairs are appealing. Do your interiors veer toward a clean, modern sensibility, or do you cultivate more of a bohemian aesthetic? The Acapulco chair works well in both styles—inside and outdoors, too. Here’s the lowdown on the Acapulco chair, including how to decorate with them, how much they cost, and where that name actually comes from.
What is an Acapulco chair?
Acapulco chairs are lightweight, comfortable, and unusual in shape. “This chair is classic Mid-Century Modern in design and features colorful vinyl cord or rope woven onto a rounded metal frame that’s usually made from steel or aluminum,” explains Julie Muniz, an art consultant and mind behind the Instagram account @Chair_Aware.
But why does this egg-shaped chair derive its name from a Mexican beach resort town?
Back in the 1950s, vacationing in Acapulco was de rigueur for certain A-list celebs, including members of the Rat Pack, Elizabeth Taylor, and honeymooners John and Jackie Kennedy, says Anna Brockway, co-founder of Chairish, an online marketplace for vintage decor, furniture and art. This Hollywood cachet helped to carry the appeal of Acapulco northward.
Although nobody knows who designed the original Acapulco chair, we do know it originated in the 1950s, and its woven design has its roots in traditional styles from Mexico. One Mexican designer, Cecilia León de la Barra, claims to have given the chair its name.
How to decorate with an Acapulco chair
Most Acapulco chairs are weatherproof, so they work for both indoor and outdoor rooms. “You’ll tend to find these in warmer regions, as well as in homes that have a Mid-Century or Modern aesthetic,” says Brockway.
You can also mix them with traditional pieces or in a casual setting, adds Carole Marcotte, of Form & Function in Raleigh, NC. “Some versions are made with rope construction, which feels more ‘indoors’, so when you combine one with a textured pillow and kilim rug, it becomes a stunning vignette,” she says.
If your home decor is going for any variation of Minimalism or Modernism, these chairs are a must, says Beverly Solomon of Beverly Solomon Design. “Along with martini glasses, nothing sets the stage for [the Mid-Century] time period with more punch and for less money,” she says.
Buying an Acapulco chair
You can spend a little or lot on this type of chair, depending on whether you want an authentic Acapulco or a knockoff. Wayfair and Amazon carry a wide selection of chairs in vivid shades, starting around $150. “CB2 has a lovely ombre version for $250 that’s genuine and made in Mexico,” shares Marcotte.
For antique lovers looking to own the real thing, Chairish has fabulous vintage finds from $200 to $1,300.
Care and cleaning
Durability is a hallmark of the Acapulco chair, since it was made to withstand wet weather. To clean your chair, Brockway recommends water, a mild cleaning solution, and a sponge with an abrasive surface.
But if you decide to keep your Acapulco chair outside, be prepared to have to put more time into caring for it. Solomon says that in certain climates, these perches can take on mold, mildew, and algae. “The seats also tend to stretch, so I would keep them mostly in a sunroom or covered patio.”