The history of chairs began as basic oak stools and forms and settles. During the 16th century, particularly in Elizabeth I’s reign chairs began to be made as we know them today. Simple stools developed with backs on them, known as backstools. Wainscot chairs,which were open armchairs often with elaborate carving and inlay and marquetry became fashionable. Turning of the arm supports and legs of seat furniture was used to add further decoration.
Settles are long wooden benches in the form of elongated chairs with backrests and arms, designed to seat several people.Although usually freestanding, settles were occasionally incorporated into the structure of a room, especially popular in taverns and inns.
Wainscot chairs were often used at the head of long refectory tables when dining, with joint stools or long benches providing seating along the sides.
By the end of the 17th century chairs had become more comfortable with upholstered armchairs and the sofa becoming the height of fashion.