Does A Non-Barf-Worthy Recliner Chair Exist?



***WARNING*** This post contains graphic material that may cause vertigo and/or nausea in the aesthetically sensitive. In most cases, it passes quickly, but if the symptoms last more than 12 hours, please consult your physician, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.


Dear Laurel,


I’m beside myself. Surely, you know the answer. Why did God ever invent the recliner chair?


I mean, I just finished reading your post about the wife who was struggling with her husband’s love of heavy, dark furniture. Not to one-up her, but no, actually, I’m 100-upping her.

I’d be thrilled with that living room that she hates. Anything but the behemoth my husband just ordered.

He says that it’s the recliner chair he’s always dreamed of.

No, Laurel it’s a freaking NIGHTMARE!

And, it’s going splat in the middle of our family room.


Fine, I realize that this is a first world problem, but I’m actually sick to my stomach just thinking about it.


Believe me, I was so upset that he said to find him another recliner chair that we both like and he’ll cancel the order. But, it must be a comfortable recliner.

Oh, and he’ll be needing a new massage therapist to replace those whatever-they-are massaging things!

Yes, it’s one of those chairs!

Please, Laurel, I’m begging you!!!

Anais Chainjuvpace




Oh Anais,

I don’t want to make you feel any worse than you already do, but didn’t anyone ever tell you?

On your first date in between the bruschetta and the eggplant parmesan, you’re supposed to casually inquire of your hot date:


“How do you feel about recliner chairs?”


According to the survey, here are the six most common responses. ;]


a. He looks confused because he’s trying to figure out if your query means that he might get lucky later on?

b. He looks happy because he’s convinced that this bizarre question is code for he will get lucky later on.

c. He’s desperately looking for clues on your poker face to know how to answer this to your liking.

d. He doesn’t look up but with a piece of parsley dangling from the corner of his mouth, he states that he can’t imagine watching the game on Sunday without one.

e. He’s been through this before and knows good and well why you’re asking him this question. It means that you like him enough that if he plays his cards right, he’ll eventually get lucky, especially if he blatantly lies that he doesn’t care much one way or the other. (Believe me, he cares!)

f. He wipes his mouth and with the most charming smile, ever bestowed upon a man says that he has never given it much thought. “How Do you feel Anais, about reclining chairs?


Obviously, Anais, you did not ask him this question.


So, what did you talk about on your first date?


Oh, never mind. That’s not actually any of my business, is it. Please, forgive me.


However, thank God it’s 2019!


Gone are the days when the ONLY recliner chair one could find looked like a hippopotamus who mated with a shar pei and is about ready to give birth to septuplets.

You know the one



Or, this one that looks like it’s about ready to roll into battle.

Oh man, does that book really say ARSENAL? hahahaha! No kidding!

One Kings Lane Hartford Club Recliner Chair Blue Linen

Then, there’s the space walker recliner chair. I think this might be Anais’ nightmare.

(no complaining. you were warned!) :]


image via NASA


I prefer these types of “chairs” in outer space. Ya know? Look Ma, no tether. Yikes! That’s brave.

But fine if you need a bloody ugly chair that floats, massages your tired muscles and as a bonus works as an effective contraceptive device, that’s also your business.

However, there is nothing even remotely chic about any of these. This type of recliner chair requires its own room preferably in an underground secret bunker.


Clearly, you didn’t discuss this before you went on the second date???


And then you went and had kids with him? Oh dear, don’t tell me he wants one for Father’s Day!!!


He does?

This is reminding me of this post about the furniture that desperately needs to go on a diet. Remember?


Of course, I am being my cheeky-sefff here. However, I do believe that it’s possible to make everyone happy with beautiful furniture including a recliner chair!


Now, some of you may remember another version of this post from two years ago about recliner chairs. However, some of those chairs no longer exist. AND, there are some new and even better chairs in the market place. Or, at least, they are on my radar this time.

In fact, some of these chairs are completely indistinguishable from their non-reclining cousins.

Why is there any difference at all?

The reason that there’s a difference is that like a sleeper sofa, there needs to be room for the mechanism.

I’m thinking, these chairs are so beautiful, you might just prefer to have a pair of them instead of a typical club chair.

Just in case you feel the urge to uhhh… recline.

If other inhabitants of the house need more cushioning, well, that’s what throw pillows are for!

Addison Recliner chair - Williams Sonoma Home

My favorite club chair is the Addison from Williams-Sonoma Home. It comes with lots of options.

  • dozens of fabrics
  • leathers
  • nailheads/no nailheads
  • choice of leg color
  • choice of cushion fill


And, as of this writing on May 14, 2019, you can get 30% off with code: SAVENOW. That is merely a coincidence. But, that puts these beauties in the moderate price range and their upholstered pieces are of excellent quality.


This is the Addison in leather and with nailheads from the side. Well, duhhh! But, look at those lines!

This is a very cool chair.

Thorpe recliner chair - power recliner- black leather - rejuvenation

Thorpe recliner chair – power recliner- black leather -from Rejuvenation

Rejuvenation, a partner-company with Williams-Sonoma also makes a version of this recliner chair.  It is a little wider which might be nice for some people. It comes in both a power version (with a cord) and a manual version and other options as well.

BTW, it is also on sale. In fact, Rejuvenation is having an awesome site-wide sale. So, if you’re looking for cool lighting, hardware, furniture, etc, I’d head over there.

rhys-mid-century-recliner-chair - West Elm

For a smaller mid-century recliner chair, West Elm makes this sleek piece and a few others, as well.

sedgwick-recliner-chair West ElmThe Sedgwick recliner at West Elm (above) is deeply discounted right now. And, there are some new colors to check out.




However, Pottery Barn (most of the upholstery is now made in North Carolina) has the most variety in recliner chairs that I like.

manhattan-leather-recliner-chair - pottery barn

The classic art-deco club chair inspired Manhattan chair from PB has been in their line forever. In fact, I had two of these in the non-reclining version. Circa 2000, a client was getting rid of hers and I purchased them from her. They were quite comfortable, as I recall and looked terrific in our basement.


chic recliner chairs - Lee Industries
Above are some chic leather recliner chairs from Lee Industries


And, below are more recliner chairs.

To find out more, please click on the individual images.



And, if you’re interested in pinning these chairs for reference, I made a graphic with Picmonkey that makes it easy to pin.


recliner chairs that won

please pin to pinterest for reference


I know that this recliner chair issue is a common one. Hope there’s something out there that will work for everyone!


PS: Please check out the newly updated hot sales!


7th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2020 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Vicki - July 6, 2019 - 10:31 AM

    Laurel, You feature a square arm leather recliner above but don’t mention the name/brand and when I click thru, I’m not brought to the chair to buy it. It’s the exact style I’m looking for. Can you please tell me where to find it. It’s the dark brown leather square arm with the description.. “Highly ranked hunk of a recliner… perfect for a rustic home”ReplyCancel

  • Abby - July 3, 2019 - 5:25 PM

    We have two of the Lee Industries leather relaxer, and they are terribly uncomfortable.
    Pretty but no one sits in them.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 5, 2019 - 12:39 PM

      Hi Abby,

      Well, now I’m curious which one because there are at least 30 or so recliners that Lee makes. But, here’s the thing with leather. It takes a while to “break in” sometimes. I don’t know if that’s the problem, or it’s something else. But if you can use the chairs, perhaps you’ll find that they begin to feel better in a year or so.ReplyCancel

  • Janet - June 27, 2019 - 4:52 PM

    Thanks. 😀ReplyCancel

  • Stella Mary - June 25, 2019 - 6:21 AM

    That’s a wonderful collection and great details. Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Diane Rasmussen - June 23, 2019 - 9:09 AM

    This was a great post. People need to know there are comfortable alternatives to the hideous overstuffed recliners on the market. My husband battled this battle for 25 years. We made it through knee replacement surgery, no recliner. When his hips went, I relented. Fortunately we found a nice leather push back recliner that had a tall enough back and nice clean lines. I put in the sitting room in our bedroom. I think I sit in it almost as much as he does. All I can say is Never say Never.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 23, 2019 - 11:01 AM

      Thanks Diane. “Never say never” are good words to live by. Usually. ;] And, I have found in bitter irony that I refer to as God having a good joke at my expense, that those “no way things” have a way of coming to be.ReplyCancel

  • Sandy Hopper - June 3, 2019 - 12:49 PM

    Your local upholsterer can always add nailhead trim to your recliner.ReplyCancel

  • Beth L - May 21, 2019 - 2:17 PM

    As we prepare to move into our retirement home, my husband found the Rowan glider/swivel/recliner at Lazy-Boy with extra back support and he fell in love! He has a horrible back, so finding something that works is very difficult. It’s not my first choice, but with the right fabric, I guess I’ll let it into my house!ReplyCancel

  • JANET - May 21, 2019 - 12:24 PM

    Rocking Recliners: Thanks for the Lee referral. Any other sources? Thanks, 😀ReplyCancel

  • GGG - May 17, 2019 - 9:21 AM

    Hi Laurel, Thank you for the yoga suggestion for sciatica. I had been doing tai chi for a couple of months before sciatica. I think I am almost ready to try a class again, and will give yoga a try too. Your blog is always a bright spot in the day!ReplyCancel

  • Sheree L - May 16, 2019 - 5:31 PM

    To GGG, I want to say “amen” to the yoga for sciatica issues – helped me, too! LOVE your posts so much, Laurel (I love how you make me laugh out loud!) I am so grateful I stumbled onto your blog about a year ago; I only wish it was much earlier, so I could have avoided some decorating mistakes 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Amy S - May 16, 2019 - 2:46 PM

    I have the most comfortable (and ugly) lazy boy recliner. It doesn’t get to stay in the living room, but I’m hoping that I can find a comfortable and pretty alternative. This is a great post, thanks 🙂

    I’m also looking at the possibility of 2 swivel gliders – you did a set of four swivel chairs around an ottoman a few years ago that looks smashing!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 17, 2019 - 12:21 AM

      Thanks Amy. I think that was the client in Kentucky. That job was a lot of fun and a super-nice lady too!ReplyCancel

  • Maggie - May 16, 2019 - 12:15 PM

    I so enjoyed this post. You are hilarious Laurel. Luckily my spouse has never wanted one because they really are hideous looking things. Great idea to let us all know where to get an attractive more modern recliner. What about a nice chaise longue instead of a recliner? You can stretch out on those and they’re so elegant looking. I’m thinking of one of those to ease my own sciatica as nothing else has helped.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 17, 2019 - 12:17 AM

      Hi Maggie,

      Yes, a chaise longue can be very nice, but it depends on the room. Another possibility is a chair and ottoman.ReplyCancel

  • Susanne Svendsen - May 16, 2019 - 11:50 AM

    I think the real issue for especially taller men is that many of the chic recliners are just too small for them, I.e. their head is taller than the chair back. Sad but true. Thanks for your help!ReplyCancel

  • florida1 - May 16, 2019 - 7:11 AM

    All I can say; Z-Galleries….Grey Velvet Wingback recliner with nail heads. Have two in my Living room….omg It is Stunning. Doubt that? Go to their website=recliners….you will instantly see it….wow.ReplyCancel

  • Sandy R - May 16, 2019 - 1:02 AM

    When I was young and poor, just moving out on my own, my mom gave me a recliner chair that she had won in her church’s raffle. It was not so overstuffed but was brown, orange and navy plaid!! The only thing good about it was that I was not sitting on the floor. I was so happy when I could afford to buy furniture, and it was not a recliner!ReplyCancel

  • Mary E - May 15, 2019 - 9:37 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    Sadly our living room has one of those big leather recliners. Naturally my husband insisted. In spite of my efforts to steer him to something nicer looking. His argument was that they didn’t recline far enough for him. Or they weren’t comfortable enough. I’m hoping my space looks nice enough that it gets overlooked.
    I have to admit I sit in it when he’s not home. 😉ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 15, 2019 - 10:36 PM

      It’s okay, Mary. People always come first. Then, money. Then things. That’s what Suze Orman always says and I agree. xoxoReplyCancel

  • Shawna - May 15, 2019 - 5:00 PM

    “an effective contraceptive device” LOL…. hysterical.

    I just bought a leather barcalounger recliner with nailhead trim. Which is pretty ok looking…. I think it is fairly comfy – I should ask my hubby whose A$$ is in it about 6 hours a day…so he would know.ReplyCancel

  • Donna - May 15, 2019 - 4:58 PM

    Laurel! Thanks for the laughs. I will soon be giving my almost 50 year old recliner (Ethan Allen) a decent burial. My husband is replacing it with a leather model
    Also from EA. It’s the closest thing to a hippo that I would tolerate. It’s his favorite spot for reading and napping. It makes him happy so I’m happy.ReplyCancel

  • danielle lehon - May 15, 2019 - 4:42 PM

    Bradington-Young has very nice small leather recliners. No, I don’t have one nor will I ever be able to but I enjoy looking at them.ReplyCancel

  • Sue - May 15, 2019 - 3:54 PM

    Timely post … I ordered TWO leather recliners yesterday! Loved the Pottery Barn Manhattan, but there wasn’t one within 250 miles that I could drag the Hubs to go sit in & try out, so …. Lazy Boy it was. Got the Duo Bennett which looks similar to the Manhattan. Only thing I was bummed about was that I couldn’t get nailhead trim, but the Hubs is happy he gets a recliner (not just a pop-up footrest) and I don’t have to have ugly chairs. Win-win!ReplyCancel

  • Mary - May 15, 2019 - 1:27 PM

    Love this, thank you! So many stylish choices. My spouse, however, wants a reclining sofa. I will search these styles and see if any come in a sofa, but any idea offhand of good-looking sofas that recline? He’s not as insistent on the shar-pei look, as long as it’s comfortable. PS- I am remodeling my kitchen and have referenced your blog and paint palettes again and again. Installation is next week and I’m excited! Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 15, 2019 - 10:30 PM

      Hi Mary,

      I’ve yet to find a stylish reclining sofa. The closest might be Palliser, but it’s still not my thing.ReplyCancel

  • Shelley Olson van Erp - May 15, 2019 - 11:17 AM

    Do you happen to know of any Canadian suppliers for recliners that are not UGLIER THAN VELVET PAINTINGS?ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - May 15, 2019 - 11:07 AM

    “… a hippopotamus who mated with a shar pei and is about ready to give birth to septuplets.”

    There could not be a more perfect description of anything anywhere, and especially on standard recliners. Based on this one alone, you could hire yourself out to fiction writers for descriptions of characters.ReplyCancel

  • GGG - May 15, 2019 - 11:05 AM

    Hi Laurel, Well, we had a chair-style recliner for a number of years but it was ready to go. Then my husband got sciatica. After he felt a little better we went recliner shopping, and ended up with a power rocker recliner with lumbar and headrest support–however, it’s smaller scale and pretty simple, not the sharpei version, but a real recliner-looking recliner–no feet! Then this spring I had sciatica issues and tried the recliner–it’s great! I want one of my own! I don’t know if our family room could cope with two! Sometimes I hate it, but then I want to go sit down in it….Ha Ha–so this was a timely post.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 15, 2019 - 9:52 PM

      Hi GGG,

      Well form always follows function. Have you tried yoga for your sciatica. After I had my second son, I had it pretty badly down my left leg. But, after I started doing yoga, it went away and then I also went back to ballet class.ReplyCancel

  • Joanna - May 15, 2019 - 10:33 AM

    Lazyboy makes very stylish recliners, available in lovely fabrics. I have two in my family room and nobody realizes they are recliners until I point it out.
    I wouldn’t let a recliner chair come in my house until we retired and then I caved. But! It had to be pretty and fit with my style. I found that at Lazyboy.ReplyCancel

  • Wendy - May 15, 2019 - 10:32 AM

    Yes, hate those big marshmallow recliners, but a recliner was a necessity for my elderly father. My parents were moving into a senior living apartment where space was limited. We found a nice looking, affordable, small leather recliner at Macy’s. The Leeah push back recliner. Liked it so much got another one for my husband’s 60th birthday. I was worried about the space needed to recline it, but we realized he would never fully recline it; he’s not going to sleep in it after all, so we’re able to push it closer to the wall than we thought.ReplyCancel

  • The Slipcover Maker - May 15, 2019 - 9:54 AM

    I hope everyone who has a barfy recliner reads your post and discovers there are alternatives….beautiful ones! I receive many requests to slipcover those big puffy, bulky, squishy hippopotamus-style chairs. That is not the answer! Your recliner will only look worse. Like you pointed out there are many stylish replacements to choose from.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 15, 2019 - 9:57 AM

      Oy!!! Times three! I can’t even imagine. Well, I can, lol.ReplyCancel

  • judy spedale - May 15, 2019 - 9:42 AM

    Thanks for this long over due list of acceptable recliners, however, can we go a step further? Are there any rocker recliners that are barf-free? I noticed you had a few swivels on your list. But I am an avid rocker and I have to go to my basement to indulge. Just wondering if you have come across and living room worthy rocker recliners. Thanks – JudyReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 15, 2019 - 9:56 AM

      Hi Judy,

      There are some. I believe that Lee Industries has some good rocker recliners. My client from three years ago in Kentucky pointed out how imperative this was for them. :]ReplyCancel

  • em - May 15, 2019 - 8:28 AM

    Manufacturers have gotten SO good at hiding the hideous. Thank Heaven! Glad to see they’ve earned your seal of approval. I get this stuff wrong way too often!ReplyCancel

  • Nikki - May 15, 2019 - 6:28 AM

    Great post! I found a chair from hooker furniture that I like and the price is right.

    The only problem is it says that the cushions are wrapped with polyester around poly fill. Does this mean they’ll flatten over time? It will be in a high use area. should I look for cushions that are wrapped in down? Or does that only apply to pillows?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 15, 2019 - 9:51 AM

      Hi Nikki,

      The most important thing is that you have the ability to flip the cushion. Sometimes in less expensive chairs, the seat cushion is attached, and/or the bottom is in fabric, not leather for breathability. There should not be a problem with the tufted back of the chair.ReplyCancel

  • Oh No - May 15, 2019 - 4:22 AM

    Laurel, Laurel, Laurel,

    This post really cracks me up! I am a happily single, late 60s, hip, artistic, youthful woman who does not watch sports or much of anything else on TV – and I LOVE the hippo/sharpei (haha!) mix lazyboy recliner in the photo above!! I just finished renovating my house (that’s how I found your blog) and I can’t wait to get me one!! Years ago I mentioned to my sister that I love them, and she was appalled! (Although she acknowledged that our mother had always loved hers, even though it was covered in some kind of sweaty plasticky material not even worthy of being called “fabric.”) But now I think I’m old enough for one! (Do they come in hot pink??) Those other “chic” things look so hard, cold, and uncomfortable. Who would want to curl up with a book in one of them? Thanks for the laughs!!ReplyCancel