3 Ways To Make Vinyl Look Sexy

by Andrea Reynolds

There are so many advantages to using vinyl. It’s affordable, easy-to-clean, and requires little maintenance for the restaurants and chains. But, we rarely talk about vinyl’s aesthetic advantages. (I know what you’re thinking—are there any?) The answer is yes! Lately, we’ve seen a plethora of vinyl furniture that’s made us do a double take, and we wanted to share the inspiration.

Here are three ways to make vinyl look cool.

1. Use Vinyl to Inject Color

Vinyl is a great vessel for color. Because vinyl is a man-made material, there are infinite color possibilities. The rum bar below uses vinyl on their barstools to infuse a little personality into the room, keeping with their Havana-inspired theme. We love that the deep red adds sheen and even more energy into the space.

Paladar Downtown Crown













This Washington D.C. steakhouse pictured below uses green vinyl on both their booths and barstools to enrich their design. Mixed with luxe materials like walnut and crystal, the emerald connotes a feeling of money and opulence in a very fresh and updated way.

Emerald Green Vinyl













2. Play With Nostalgia, But Veer From The Obvious

Shiny, cracked, and stiff are just a few words that come to mind when we think of those iconic 50s diner chairs clothed in bright red vinyl. While advances in vinyl production have resulted in a much softer touch, it’s still easy to go from vintage inspired to dated. The images below are from a Chattanooga restaurant that does a great job transforming the retro black and white checkerboard pattern with a pop of color, by opting for honeycomb tiles and an unexpected, but totally delightful, vinyl that is one part mustard, two parts sunshine.


The second restaurant pictured below takes a more literal approach with the furniture; they used a mixture of modern and natural materials to keep the space looking fresh. The barstools are obvious throwbacks to the diner era, but with streamlined details and a deeper red vinyl, you wouldn’t expect milkshakes and curly fries on the menu. Combining the modern elements of a cement bar, solid wood counter top and woven lights the restaurant is the epitome of casual cool.


The red shiny vinyl banquette below screams retro. While we touted on this look before, we appreciate the modern mix of metal tables and funky lighting. Together, they create a subtle nod to vintage without being kitschy.

red vinyl banquette

3. Make the Details Count

When it comes to vinyl, adding details like tufting, welting, and mixed materials can make all the difference in elevating the design. We love that the vinyl banquette takes center stage in this space below. The muted rustic color is casual and welcoming while the tufts create dimension and a feeling of luxe. Because of that small detail, the vinyl banquette is everything it should be: warm, welcoming, and inviting.

Again, we see tufted details elevate a very simple vinyl banquette. In this case, the buttons are sparse and linear, creating a modern and clean look. The vinyl banquette is also broken into two separate pads, reinforcing the clean lines and highlighting the rustic wood frame.

vinyl banquette

Left: Remodelista  Right: tovtov.com

These images of the Brady Chair and Brady Backless Barstool actually inspired this post; we were surprised by how cool, fresh, and industrial this collection looked with an Acorn colored, wood back, and leather-look vinyl material. Combining small details like this can transform an ordinary chair into something a little more rich and special.

brady upholstered

Feeling inspired to use vinyl in your next project? Great! In the meantime, hop over to our Pinterest page for more inspirational photos.