For decades, designers have paid extra attention to the lounge chair. From the iconic Eames recliner to Arne Jacobsen’s egg chair, architects have repeatedly taken on the challenge of meticulously marrying the lounger’s form with function. Considering the chair’s respected reputation, the question then becomes: how do you pick the perfect lounge chair for your space? Here, we delve into the different types of lounge chairs and go over how to incorporate them into any interior.Design by Jamie Bush + Co. / Photo by Roger Davies
According to the strictest definition, lounge chairs are armless seats designed in a permanently reclined position. Over the years, however, designers have generously expanded the definition. Whether it’s an armchair, club chair, or wingback chair, people now consider lounge chairs as any seating that allows the sitter to recline in some way. Perhaps, what’s most important to know is that lounge chairs are not for work or productivity. They are strictly made for leisure—we call that a good day’s work!Design by KitchenLab Interiors / Photo by Michael Alan Kaskel
Perhaps the first chair one thinks of when they think of a recliner is the vintage Eames Lounge Chair. Expertly crafted and designed, Eames Lounge Chairs consists of leather-upholstered cushions cradled in plywood-carved shells.
Other coveted lounge chairs include the Barcelona chair designed by famed architect Mies Van der Rohr. With its leather-upholstered cushions tilting against a curving, chrome-plated steel bar, the Barcelona chair is a true work of art. Mid-Century architects Arne Jacobsen and Eero Saarinen respectively created the Egg Chair and Womb chair, both coveted loungers with cozy cushions, cocooning wings, and leaning silhouettes.Design by Chauncey Boothby Interiors / Photo by Read McKendree
With its reclined back and lengthy seat, chaises hybridize the more modest chair and sofa. These seats evoke images of ancient Egyptian gods nobly reclining and 19th-century French gentlewoman ostentatiously swooning. Now often a centerpiece of therapist’s offices, the chaise lounge accommodates mental repose and relaxation.Design by K Kong Designs / Photo by Maura McEvoy
Decorators love the lounge chair for its versatility. The piece fits seamlessly into the corner of a study, at the foot of a bed, or skirting a living room sofa. The chair’s luxe, old-school air is also suited for generous, walk-in closets and next to fireplaces. To create a designated lounge space, consider furnishing a nook or a foyer with an antique chaise. When it comes to lounge chairs, you can truly let your creativity run wild!Design by SUBU Design Architecture / Photo by Kelly Peak
Because of their larger size and statement-making silhouette, lounge chairs naturally command attention in a space. In a living room where you want your lounge chair to play a supporting role, take care to make sure it doesn’t visually overtake your couch. If you intend to make a lounge chair the star of a room, surround your seating with a compact side table, a floor lamp, or an antique room divider. The result is a showstopper of a space with plenty of visual energy.Design by Brynn Olson Design Group / Photo by Cynthia Lynn Kim
The versatility of the lounger extends to the chair’s textiles. Whether it’s upholstered in velvet, breezy linen, soothing cashmere, or a bold printed cotton, upholstery can add intriguing texture. When asked for their best advice on how to select a fabric from a lounge chair, the team at the New York-based interior design firm Mendelson Group, Inc., encourage homeowners to “upholster in a fabric that makes you smile.” You can also throw a pillow or blanket onto a chair for another textural boost.Design by Chimera Interiors, LLC. / Photo by Sarah Chavez
As if a lounge chair wasn’t comfortable enough, pair it with an ottoman for even more space to stretch out. The interior designers at Hollywood firm KES Studio encourage a pouf, saying, “A pouf creates an even more elongated look.” Play matchmaker and incorporate an ottoman with the same upholstery as your recliner or something more conspicuous, yet complementary.
Lead image: Design by Hannah Crowell / Photography by Caroline Allison