Coming up is a common dilemma surrounding a husband who wants to veg out in one of those big poufy recliner chairs in the main living area of their home. Please read on…
But, also, please read until the very bottom as there’s some very important news some of you won’t want to miss.
I’m beside myself, and I’m praying you have the answer. Why did God ever invent the recliner chair?
I mean, I just finished reading an older post about a wife struggling with her husband’s love of heavy, dark furniture.
Frankly, I’d be thrilled with the living room she hates—anything but the behemoth my husband just ordered.
He says that it’s the recliner chair he’s always dreamed of.
Dream? 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 chair.
Oh, and he’ll need 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 to help!!!
I don’t want to make you feel any worse than you already do, but didn’t anyone tell you?
On your first date between the vegan foie gras and vegetarian filet mignon au poivre, you’re supposed to casually inquire of your darling date/potential mate:
“How do you feel about recliner chairs? Do you aspire to own one?”
Hopefully, the date will say something like, “Well, they’re okay, I guess, but a regular chair with an ottoman would suit me fine.”
That one’s a keeper, at least, regarding recliner chairs. ;]
However, it appears, Cher, you did not ask him these questions.
My guess is that your date, now mate, would’ve said, “I’ve always wanted one, one of those super poofy ones that cooks dinner and rubs my feet, too.”
Alas, you might’ve been able to get in there early on when he had other things on his mind where you were concerned. Then, you might’ve had a chance to alter his neural pathways into more reasonable thinking.
Unfortunately, now that you’re hitched, it’s impossible. ;] He ain’t changin’ a thing. ;] Nope, not even for all of the tea in Boston Harbor! ;]
Still, all is not hopeless.
He wants a recliner chair.
Is there such a thing as a recliner chair that LOOKS like a
bloody club chair?
The short answer is yes, but they are far rarer than those I wouldn’t take even if they were free.
Thankfully, the days are gone 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
Great for absorbing cans of beer and popcorn grease. Right?
Or, this one that looks like it’s about ready to roll into battle.
Oh man, does that book really say ARSENAL? hahaha! No kidding!
Then, there’s the spacewalker recliner chair. I think this might be Cher’s nightmare-chair.
I prefer these types of “chairs” in outer space. Ya know? Look, Ma, no tether. Yikes! I cannot look at this!
However, there is nothing even remotely chic about any of these recliner chairs. This type of recliner chair requires a special place. I think an underground hidden bunker would be the suitable location.
Cher, tell me straight. Did you go ahead and have kids with your space-walking hunk?
Oh dear, don’t tell me he wants a recliner chair for Father’s Day!!!
This reminds me of this post about the furniture that desperately needs to go on a diet. Remember?
Well, we have work to do. However, I believe there’s a beautiful recliner out there that’s so fantastic you’ll want to get one for yourself, too.
Okay, time to get into the meat of this post about recliner chairs. I believe this is the 4th iteration of a favorite topic. Later on, I will share a widget that includes my favorite recliners in all price ranges.
There are five major categories for recliner chairs.
1) Hideous recliner chairs– beyond all measure.
2) Tasteless recliner chairs. These are also grotesque but in a more innocent way
3) Tasteless recliners, but the chair thinks he’s God’s gift to mankind.
4) Well-meaning and close to being fantastic recliner chairs, but missing the mark in at least one or two ways.
5) Recliner chairs I would be proud to specify for a client or myself if needed. However, while I would be okay for you to do some of these, they still lack one element I favor: a lower back. That is a preference thing. From an aesthetic standpoint, I prefer, not all, but most chairs to have a lower back.
Coming up is a long graphic that looks like a clickable widget, except it’s not because I don’t wish to link them to their source.
These brief reviews are only my opinions. You may or may not agree with them.
Also, please note that some of the comments are in incredibly poor taste and as tacky as the furniture they describe. That’s intentional. However, my words are not meant to offend, malign, or discriminate against any human except for the creatures that created these abominations.
Oh man, I had to force myself to stop. There are thousands of these peculiar chairs. However, before you examine them, I can assure you that it is possible to make a wonderful, beautifully proportioned recliner chair and covered in a fabulous fabric or leather.
Why aren’t beautiful recliner chairs more common?
It’s probably for the same reason that Yoplait stopped making their incredible custard-style yogurts. In that case, it appears it was because their custard-style yogurt was delicious and millions of people enjoyed them very much. Therefore, the only rational thing a company can do is discontinue making them. :/
In other words, I haven’t a clue why the majority of the recliner chairs are worthy of taking a match to.
While some of these are trying hard to be great chairs, each is failing in at least one way, and some of them in every way possible. The fact that someone even dreamed this up in the first place is what I don’t understand.
Please enjoy my commentary about the following recliner chairs.
Apologies to that poor anemic, limp facsimile of a wing chair recliner above, that was left sans comment. It was not intentional. You may continue wilting.
Re: the train seat captions. This is for anyone who hasn’t had the displeasure of sitting in a Metro-North commuter rail car.
Apparently, these seats were co-created by a chiropractor and an orthopedic surgeon trying to drum up business.
There can be no other reason unless some designer gets his jollies out of crippling millions of people riding these trains on a daily basis.
*They are the most ergonomically atrociously incorrect seats ever created. They force one’s neck to go forward. Even though millions of people walk around that way, that is incorrect. If you look at young children, you will see the proper alignment of the neck. And that is fairly straight but not jutting forward.
*The above was confirmed at least two decades ago by a chiropractor I saw regularly for adjustments. That was because of ballet, not the train seats. I only commuted once or twice a month.
Above is a recliner chair version with a bloated back and a top that forces the neck forward instead of straight up or allowing it to fall slightly back. If they fixed that, this would be a lovely recliner chair
Okay, it’s time to leave the ugly chairs and move on to the lovely ones.
Why is there any difference between recliner chairs and regular club chairs?
There’s a difference because, like a sleeper sofa, there needs to be room for the mechanism. A good manufacturer knows how to engineer a chair, so one would never know what lies inside.
These chairs are so beautiful you might prefer a pair instead of a typical club chair.
First is a closer look at some of my favorite recliner chairs, and then the big widget with at least 21 recliners.
My favorite club chair is the Addison from Williams-Sonoma Home. It comes with lots of options.
- dozens of fabrics
- nailheads/no nailheads
- choice of leg color
- choice of cushion fill
This is the Addison in leather and with nailheads from the side. I love this recliner chair from the side because there is a beautiful pitch to the back. This degree of pitch is less than the norm for a recliner chair. I’m not sure why, but it is.
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 a power version (with a cord), a manual version, and other options.
The Pottery Barn Tyler Recliner chair is larger than appears here. I have sat in it, and it is very comfortable and a great size for most people. Please see this post for another image of it in the store. However, their chair’s back cushion is attached, so you know.
However, Pottery Barn (most of the upholstery is now made in North Carolina) makes another recliner chair that I used to own, but in the chair version.
The classic art-deco club chair-inspired Manhattan chair from PB has been in their line forever. 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.
Can you believe this is a recliner chair? Well, it is, and it comes in dozens of fabrics. And no worries, many of them are solid.
However, below is a mini widget of seven pattern options, including this one above. Please click on any image for more info.
The Bedford recliner chair at Williams Sonoma Home features an English Roll Arm and comes in dozens of beautiful fabrics and leathers. There’s also a choice of leg color.
This Pottery Barn Tyler recliner chair version, looks quite smart in Sunbrella Performance Pendleton Yakima Heathered green stripe. It comes in numerous other fabrics and leathers. I am unsure if the back cushion is attached for the fabric version of the Tyler recliner chair as it is for the leather.
And, you can also see a couple of Tyler recliner chairs that my client did a few years ago in her family room.
And, how lovely is the Kensington recliner chair from Frontgate! It, too, comes in dozens of fabrics. They did an incredible job designing this beautiful chair to hide the fact that it’s a recliner chair.
And, below are more beautiful 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.
Please pin to Pinterest for reference.
I hope this post was helpful for those looking for a normal-looking comfortable chair that also reclines. If you’re looking for cool swivel chairs and gliders, please go to this post.
PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES
Lots of new things to see mid-week, and the sales are seriously heating up for Memorial Day weekend, coming very soon.
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Please tell Cher that after she divorces her husband she can send him over my way. I want one of the stuffed teddy bear type recliners, and I love the lime green one in the picture! (But fuchsia or purple would suit me just as well, or maybe turquoise). Marriage is out of the question, I just want the chair!
I agree the recliners are mostly ugly but sometimes they are so necessary for people with chronic illness.
About 12 years ago my husband had a recurrence of cancer, and found it very difficult to sleep lying down. So we went looking for a recliner that appealed to my aesthetics but gave him the comfort he needed. He kept gravitating toward the giant brown marshmallows, and I kept steering him away. We finally found a beautiful leather one at Lane. It looked like it belonged in an old English library, and it was comfortable! Sold! The husband survived and didn’t need it anymore but suddenly I did, while I was recovering from a knee replacement. Well, I never gave it back to him! I have fibromyalgia and arthritis, and some nights I can’t sleep in the bed, so I’d curl up in the chair and catch some zzzzz’s. Until one day….the metal mechanism snapped. I was heartbroken, but had to find another chair. We went to every furniture store in town, my mood getting lower and lower, seeing all the brown and black monstrosities that were either giant squishy things or modern hard, uncomfortable ones. I wanted one in camel, but none to be found. I really need to sit in it before buying as I’m the princess in the Princess and the Pea. I feel everything! I finally had to compromise, getting a chair that is a more modern version of a club chair, but it’s still brown, and it’s (gasp!) a lift chair! Ugh. But it’s here and while it doesn’t fulfill all my expectations, it still does the job.
So, what message am I sending with this missive? Well, I’m not as anti recliner as I used to be, for sure. I only liked a few of your choices, as they would be fine for an evening of watching tv, but if one needs a recliner for health reasons, they don’t hit the mark. I will always prefer a rounded arm over a straight one. And I don’t want a massively high back, but I do want one I can rest my head upon. I think my mind has been changed because I’m on the wrong side of 60 now, and I just crave more comfort. Life is too short not to be comfortable. But dammit, why can’t I find a GD leather recliner in something besides dark brown or black????
Cheers, Laurel. You always make my day with your humor and your posts.
Laurel, there is ONE use for the ugly recliner. Mardi Gras!
WHERE would the Krewe of Laissez Boys be w/o the “ugly” recliners? It’s THE Mardi Gras Krewe every male New Orleanian wants to join! Since I can’t include the link, google the name. Of course, actually watching the Krewe is the best and SO hilarious–and yet the ONE use we spouses of those who want the uglies agree on!
Laurel, I have stalked this post for years and love it every time you do it an update.
Please, is there any hope for those of us with husbands worth keeping, who insist on a chair that rocks/glides AND reclines?!
My husband insists he needs a very high back so he can lean his head back to nap. 🙁 This goes for couches, upholstered chairs, everything.
You are so freakin’ hilarious Laurel! The Jane Fonda workout seat caption just about made me keel over. It’s not an easy task to search for the right chair, so thank you for this very helpful post. We just went through that, searching for two chairs for a tricky space. After six months and viewing several thousand chairs online, I saw so many absurd ones that I started saving them in a file named “The Ministry of Silly Chairs” to share with my girls for giggles. Some of them were very expensive too, proving that cost is no guarantee for good taste. Finally, I found a lovely rattan chair an ordered two of them through your Wayfair affiliate link and they’re perfect.
Oh I haven’t laughed this much in ages!! But then I sobered up. Who am I kidding? I’m saddled with the impossible task of finding an attractive, ultra comfortable tall man sized recliner that has coastal flair. My beach getaway condo doesn’t have the square footage necessary for hiding ugly stuff. I thought I was doing a great job as a hotshot amateur furnishing the place from scratch with cool, minimalist and modern seating that I even had him road test first for comfort approval. Then after months of no complaints, he suddenly brought in a woven rattan outdoor club chair and ottoman from the patio and squished it in right in front of the TV. I shrieked, of course. But back aches trump beauty in his book. Not mine and the challenge remains to find a recliner that has a beachy feel. Some of the good ones mentioned here would be okay but nothing us exciting. Dang it!!
I would love to know your thoughts on Stressless/Ekornes reclining chairs.
I have 2 and although they aren’t as beautiful as an upholstered chair they are easily in corporates in a design scheme.
My husband likes the chairs were the back reclines and has a footstool, not that the front pops up. These chairs are very hard to find.. every time we need a new one it takes us forever to find one.
I have a lovely recliner I purchased from T. J. Max for $300. Don’t remember brand , however, I’ve had it 13 years and it has been reupholstered once. This recliner is a so comfortable but a big man would wreck it. You have shown some recliners which are attractive, however, recliners are a bit like a car, you have to road test them. No ordering on line if your goal is to please hubs.
Thank you Laurel for all this very informative info.
Need help! Material for sofas in hot climates? Looking to upgrade, the microfiber under my legs feels like I’m sitting on heated seats after one episode of a show. Seriously. During most of the year. Easy to clean but super hot!
Upholstery is like clothing. Linen or cotton are best for hot climates. Or, a blend of the too.
Laurel, these are nice looking recliners, but I’m a woman who loves to rock and also need to recline for naps now that I’m 80 years old. My chair is totally worn out. I need a new one, but it must also be a rocker like my current one.
Here in the Midwest, recliners are limited to the familyroom which helps. Still have lots of more “formal” living rooms. We acquired our first after back surgery. Since then everything minor surgery they recommend sleeping in one for a few nights at least! Sometimes life gets in the way of life. Good luck on the Instagram issue.
I see some comments regarding how the size of the recliner is too large/small or fits their significant other but not them. Please know that recliners are sized to comfortably seat people of varying heights. To select a recliner that is suitable for your height, measure from the ground to your knee while wearing flat shoes and compare that measurement to the height of your possible chair candidate to be measured from the floor to the front of the seat. I learned this from a knowledgable salesperson while shopping for a recliner at LaZBoy. It greatly helps you narrow the field of recliner candidates to those who fit your height.
Generally, if a chair swivels, it does not recline, it will glide. If you think about the reclining mechanism, there really would be no way for the chair to swivel as well as recline.
My go-to recliner brands I use for comfort, configurations, design, and quality are Stressless & American Leather. Very different designs and both totally cool. Price point is a plus too.
I’m in my upper 40s and I have to say the recliner chair of my “generation” is the Eames (or reproduction) lounge chair. The thing is everywhere! 🙂
Where are are these husband’s with bad taste coming from? I don’t know any men like this….maybe it’s generational. 😉
ummm… well, I dated a guy with a fugly recliner. He was 56 at the time.
Long time reader, first time poster.
But my reason for posting is regarding the recliners. Personally, I don’t understand why women are so against them. Chairs are for comfort and recliners can be comfortable (it made sleeping easier after surgery), but… I found it hard to find compatible his and hers recliners when we were looking for new furniture 3 years ago. My husband is 6’3′ and big and I am not a small woman but it was nearly impossible to find what we liked (and we did buy some custom furniture so that was an option). The problem was finding compatible styles and fabric since the sofa would be different altogether. Even the owner of the store which is the largest in our state, was sympathetic to my dilemma. We looked at every option in the store and catalogues and didn’t find any thing to my liking. Eventually we purchased a leather dual recliner with center console which I HATE!! It is too big for a woman, doesn’t fit the body properly (not a problem for my husband) and I didn’t think about not having the second arm rest. I wouldn’t advise one of these behemoths for a woman. And it reclines from the back and bottom, so it is difficult to place in a room. Lesson learned. I don’t understand why I didn’t see these issues when I was in the store, lol. Just wanted to pass along my experiences.
Love your site by the way!
Thank you so much for this posting. Just going through the replacement of the ” behemoth” chair. Didn’t realize there are so many choice’s!
We also bought a recliner from
Club furniture. It was cheaper than Pottery Barn and more customizable. Ours looks like PB Tyler. They sent leather samples after we ordered it to confirm the color was truly what we wanted. No idea why this company isn’t well known b/c we have been so pleased with their product and service. Delivery was faster and shipping costs were lower than PB. We love it! It is made in NC which is probably why we got it in 8 weeks vs 6 months like other companies.
My husband and I bought regular chairs for our living room, and after five years of daily use the fabric on the arms was worn to shredded, and my husband’s chair looked completely wrecked. Also, I really wanted my feet up at night, for the first time in my life (70s).
So we went to a Stickley sale and found matching neat and tidy looking leather, nail studded recliners. They have higher backs than most of those you showed because my husband always leans his head back to take a nap. They are very expensive chairs that cost a lot even on sale, but the comfort level is very high. When I wrenched my thigh last year and could not sleep lying down, the recliner saved me. I don’t know what I would have done without it.
I have always said recliners and living rooms do not belong in the same sentence, and I am sticking to it.
PB Wells Tufted leather swivel recliner just winked st me 😉
Do any of these beauties swivel?
Camille -tell him that a reclining sofa would contribute to a current divorce! LOL
That’s my guy too. 6′ 4″ and shoulders like a linebacker. The only suggestions they had at lazyboy – which at least had options for him – would have totally blocked access in the living room. Plus, so hideous that I would die. I got a long mission style couch that he can at least stretch out on.
Been fighting and losing the recliner battle for for FORTY-EIGHT YEARS! Hubs is 6’3 and insists the pretty recliners are too dinky…I just have to turn a blind eye or be driven completely bonkers. Will for sure post on IG…why would anyone do that? Too much meanness these days.
Love the recliners you have shared! My hubs wants one and we have an added challenge – he’s 6’ 4” and most of these chairs look like the foot rest would end mid-thigh and the back would come to maybe his shoulders.
He has tested some in store – Pottery Barn and Ballard – and they looked like little kid chairs when he tried to recline in them. not comfortable!
Any suggestions for a stylish recliner for an extra tall man?
Thanks so much!
Sent a tweet. Good luck with Instagram.
Look at the Fama recliners!! Omg. Stunning. Ordered the Mondrian for my CO house in a bright orange. Probably should have gone deep purple or ballsy with Taxi print….Orange just makes me smile.
According to Mr. Google, Instagram HQ can be reached at 650 543 4800.
Thank you Jenn. Yes, I did that last night. Called the number 2 or 3 times and waited for the very long message to finish. It’s a total dead end. I tried to leave a message but was timed out doing what I was told to do which is spell everything out. I have to spell my name slowly or they think I am Lauren Burns, or Laura Dern. lol
It’s a complete farce.
That Bedford recliner from WS is breathtaking! I had no idea that a chair that elegant could be a recliner.
So sorry! Who should we write to, what address? Or do you mean just post on Instagram? I enjoyed your Sunday post and bought 333 decorating rules! Was that link compromised? Again , sorry for your troubles.
I am a fellow Back Bay tranistional resident! Enjoy your posts so very much!
Oh, Laurel! I am so sorry! I’m not on Twitter, Instagram or FB ( however did I find you? Pintrest!!)
Praying you get help soon…so frustrating!
You are such a lovely person and an inspiration to so many. As my mom is fond of quoting, “Never give up!” (We know you won’t!!)
I wish my husband only wanted a recliner! We are ‘not quitters,’ on our third marriages, and he thinks a recliner contributed to his last divorce. He insists on a reclining love seat so we can watch tv together. Help!
a recliner contributed to his last divorce? Tell him, Laurel says, “no.” Very simple. Problem solved. lol