Like many examples of designer furniture, tulip chairs are a good example of their creator's philosophy for furniture design. They're characterized by sweeping, wave-like curves over hard angles, and exhibit a minimal structure that only uses what's absolutely necessary. This has caused them to rise to a highly visible spot on the market, because they show off the philosophy in such a memorably beautiful but simple way.

Were you aware that Saarinen's tulip chair has been featured on television? Can you guess which shows? Probably so, if you're a fan of science fiction! The futuristic feel to the furniture is a large part of why it maintains such high visibility in the market even today. It's not just good-looking furniture, it's a part of modern culture.

You can expect the majority of tulip chairs to conform to the classical presentation of white body and red seat. The white keeps the basic, minimal influences of the structure foremost in one's mind. The red, however, also plays an important role, in breaking up the simplicity with a little visual warmth. There are models with other color choices, but this is by far the most common color design.

Tulip chairs lack any excess or ostentatious display in their form. Both back and arms meld into each other gently, with a minimalist body that curls down to a slender centrally-positioned support. All this further serves to show that the chair makes a lot out of a little, with few materials and parts being used to go a long way. There is essentially nothing to the chair that doesn't have to be there. The only thing to break up the illusion of it seeming all of one piece is the seat cushion.

You might want other furniture to go with your tulip chairs, and finding matching designer furniture for a set is often hard. In the tulip's case, however, there is a full set of Saarinen design to go with the chair naturally. This consists of a table and side chairs, all using the one supporting pole design.

A true Saarinen chair from the tulip mold will be easy to identify from a fake, if you know the materials used. True tulip models will only use fiberglass for the shell, with some additional plastic ingredients bonded to enhance overall hardiness. The base is similarly high-quality, with rilsan (a plastic derived from vegetable oil) coating an essentially aluminum structure. Any so-called 'tulip' chair that eschews these raw components is to be regarded with suspicion.

After you're done looking at the body of the chair, you'd be wise to inspect the cushion too. Though sometimes the frailest part of any piece of furniture, in this case it can be removed easily. It uses velcro to hold in place while also being simple to take off. Replacement cushions are on the market if you need them.

Don't be fooled by the occasional high-end thousand dollar plus model of tulip chair being sold. There are many others that are much less expensive. A cheap tulip chair will cost much less than, say, a comparable womb chair, and still be very well-made. It's possible, if challenging, to find them priced as low as a hundred and fifty dollars for the diligent shopper.