Seated in Significance: The Instagram account Chairs of Western pushes the common chair into a new light for WKU students

The owner of the Chairs of Western instagram page poses for an anonymous portrait. The chair the owner is sitting in is the first chair the page ever posted.

Gabi Broekema

“Wood. Clean lines. FAC.” was the caption on the first post of the up-and-coming Instagram account, Chairs of Western.

The account posted a picture of an older chair with a pale brown wooden frame and light blue cushions in a brick-lined hallway of the Fine Arts Center on WKU’s campus on Jan. 16.

WKU students took notice throughout the next week as more posts of quirky chairs from all over campus began to pop up on the account’s feed.

Posts featuring chairs such as the olive-colored metal and hard plastic classic in the stairwell of Grise Hall to a modernistic, sleek bench spotted in Ogden Hall began to flood students’ Instagram feeds.

According to a post on Jan. 24, only eight days after its debut, the account accumulated 500 followers and has since gained over a thousand followers.

The owner, a sophomore journalism major who asked to remain anonymous, was inspired by another small Instagram account, @chairs.only, which posts pictures of artistic chairs. The account caused them to start noticing unique chairs around campus.

“I just thought it was kind of funny and interesting, and kind of unique,” Chairs of Western said. “I really did not think it would take off the way it did.”

They said their love for interesting chairs and mid-century modern architecture comes from their childhood. Their mother always had lots of vintage furniture around her house, they said.

The account provides Chairs of Western an outlet to share the love for mid-century modern architecture they were lucky enough to experience growing up.

Chairs of Western not only promotes a general awareness of the commonly used items but also encourages followers to join in the fun too.

In fact, the most liked post on the page, with 299 likes from Feb. 3, is of
a follower’s submission of a sculpted wooden back and armrests held in place by reflective metal beams that form the legs, connected by a burnt orange cushion as the seat. The promotion for the followers to send in their own finds creates a sense of a safe community.

Kevin Reagen, a junior psychology major from Bowling Green, said on Instagram messaging he discovered the account at only 100 followers and was the first commenter on the first few posts, jokingly commenting grades on each of the chairs.

“I love student-run pages like this,” Reagan said. “I thought it was a joke, but once they started posting more chairs I found it funny.”

Hannah Tucker, a junior interdisciplinary studies major from Lexington, found the account through a friend’s Instagram story who reposted a post of one of the chairs.

“It made me laugh!” Tucker said in an Instagram message. “Plus, it’s fun to see all the different chairs in places on campus I don’t normally go.”

Hailey Armstrong, a senior theater major from Nashville, found the account the same way as Tucker.

“(It’s) like a scavenger hunt,” Armstrong said in an Instagram message. “I’m looking through them and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, yeah! I’ve seen that one!’”

The posts provide quick relief from the daily grind, whether it be a break from the aggressive assaults of news flowing through Instagram feeds or helping a student crack a smile as they spot one of the featured beauties while rushing to their next class.

“I did think that a small group of people at Western would enjoy it,” Chairs of Western said. “So that’s the only reason I really started.”

The anonymity of the account owner has added a level of intrigue and mystery to the situation. This caused many students to calculate who would come up with the idea to start the account in the first place, and why they would want to stay in the dark.

Chairs of Western chose to respond, believing their identity was not of importance — the chairs are what the account is about.

“I don’t see the point in that,” Chairs of Western said. “Maybe if I get sick of trying to hide it.”

Multimedia Editor Gabi Broekema can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Instagram at @glbvisuals.