Chair Symbolism (In Literature & Dreams) – Loss & Instability

In literature a chair often symbolizes loss. But in dreams, chair symbolism is linked to tiredness and instability.

The importance of chairs in our everyday lives is often an afterthought. But they can have important meanings – especially an empty chair which highlights that someone is missing. But then you can think of an extravagant chair like a throne which may symbolize status.

We’ll explore a range of things a chair can symbolize below.

Chair Symbolism

Chair Symbolism in Literature

1. A Reminder of Loss

In literature, an empty chair can signify a personal loss or absence of an important character or person. 

As seen in both movies and literature, a scene may be set around a family dinner. 

Grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins are all congregating to break bread, but only one seat remains open.  Longingly, another character will glimpse at this empty chair to showcase how they are longing for an important person missing from the group. 

Many movie scripts, old and new, have used this exact symbol to communicate to audiences the sadness that comes from having a once filled seat at your table remain open and bare.

It creates a sense of longing and allows audiences to connect with the consuming loneliness and poignant reminder of the human persona when a loved one is missing.

Other Household Symbolism: The Meaning of a Hearth

2. Social Class and Status in Society

To have a chair, own a chair, or to be able to make furniture, is all symbolic of your social class and status in society.

Consider the historical context of medieval times and the dark ages. Chairs were an obvious indicator of a person’s wealth or craft.  The poor often had few chairs that did not offer comfort or style, but rather functionality.

Meanwhile, the upper class, and especially royalty, had an abundance of chairs embellished with gold and gems. 

One of the most symbolic chairs of medieval times time was a throne. It was the ultimate status of superiority.

The throne was an indicator of power and the ability to dictate rules to those around you. It was a place to sit high and judge those below you in order to make decisions about your realm.

In more recent times, a chair still symbolized wealth and power within companies and establishments. For example, the Chairman of the Board is often seen to be in more power than the CEO of a company while the ‘chair of a meeting’ is the person who is in charge of the meeting.

So, a chair in modern times still symbolizes a person’s social status and class.

Chair Symbolism in Dreams

1. The Need for Rest

Dreaming of chairs can symbolize many different things depending on the type of chair and condition it is in, but simply dreaming of chairs is often a representation of a person’s need for rest.

In our fast-paced world it makes sense that chairs would signal to our unconscious that it is time to pause, reflect, and consider our current position in life.  Most of our daily schedules are consumed with little time to rest or reset.

So, dreaming of a chair often demonstrates that you need to take a moment to pause.

Most of our lives serene moments take place in a chair.  Cozying up with a book and a blanket to escape into a novel, setting back the recliner to binge watch our favorite TV shows, sitting down for just a minute only to wake up after a twenty-minute nap.

A chair’s main purpose is to get people off their feet and help them relax.

So, it only makes sense that dreaming of a chair would be symbolic of a person’s need for internal rest or relaxation.

2. Feeling Tied Down

When someone dreams of being tied into a chair, it symbolizes a deep-rooted feeling of being tied down to someone or something.

This dream often occurs when you’re stressed, or you feel like you’re stuck doing something you don’t want to do.

The dream could be a signal that you need to take some time to yourself, step away from all your daily tasks, and simply rest.

If you dream of being a chair, remember to take a moment to assess yourself internally and determine your own wants and needs for a change.

3. Instability

If a person dreams of a rickety or broken chair it symbolizes that there is something unstable or unsettling in their life.

While a chair can be a symbol of comfort and rest, a broken or falling apart chair can easily be seen as something that needs to be fixed or altered. 

People should consider the most important aspects of their lives and define what parts of their lives may need attention or serious repair. 

A person fighting with a spouse or significant other, for example, might see a dream about a rickety chair as a sign that their relationship needs attention.

Your personal relationship is important to you and plays a part in your subconscious, so your subconscious might be sending you a message. 

Our dreams often send us indicators into what is causing unhappiness in our lives and dreaming of a rickety or broken chair is a clear indicator that a situation or relationship in your life is a little unstable and needs some work.

What Does a Chair Symbolize in a Dream? (Summary)

Here is a summary of some potential meanings we’ve explored in this article. But remember, this is all subjective, so reflect and journal about the potential meanings for yourself.

Dream of a ChairMeaning
1.Being tied to a chairYou feel tied down to something or someone
2.An empty chairYou’re missing someone in your life
3.A broken or rickety chairYou have a relationship that’s being tested and you need to work hard to mend it.
4.A chair to rest inIf your dream compels you to go and sit in the chair, it may mean you need to take a rest.

Related Articles


Symbolism of chairs in both literature and dreams showcase a person’s internal needs or struggles.  Whether you are tied to the chair, view an empty chair, sit in a chair that breaks, or simply see a chair, you may be receiving a message. 

Pay close attention to chairs in your dreams. The type of chair or condition of the chair can signify a multitude of human emotions that directly relate to your life.  Follow the signs to give yourself some rest, remove yourself from burdening obligations, revel in the memories of those lost, or repair the parts that need mending.