Comfortable Easy Chairs
Add a special seat in the family room with one of these luxurious armchairs
If your home is your castle, then the easy chair is most certainly your throne. It's the one place you can always go to escape and take care of the really important stuff: watching TV, having a beer, snoozing.
Getting a great piece could end up being quite the investment, but it'll pay for itself after a few moments of relaxation, half a novel, or some Sunday football. Keep reading for 8 great chair picks, and learn what to look for in your new throne.
Shown here: The Collins leather club chair features a slightly curved back, angled track arms, and chunky box legs. Bonus: The Collins is certified sustainable. About $1,499; Crate & Barrel
It should come as no surprise that the first of these amply padded, well-upholstered, and, above all, exceedingly comfortable chairs made its debut during the reign of Louis XIV, whose furniture makers stuffed horsehair between layers of leather strapping and wrapped them in linen to create cushioned seats suitable for royal hindquarters.
Shown here: The deep buttoning on the Brighton chair is a sure sign of back-supporting inner springs. About $1,080; Lexington Home Brands
The fashion soon spread across the English Channel and, eventually, to America. Styles became more and more extravagant, with ornately carved mahogany legs, brass-shoed feet, and silk-tufted upholstery. By the turn of the 20th century, however, craftsmen had begun to offer new interpretations of the easy chair. Some focused on the straightforward luxury of the leather-wrapped club chair.
Shown here: The black leather, box-cushioned Metro chair and ottoman are reminiscent of Le Corbusier's sleek, modernist Gran Confort chairs of the 1920s. About $1,500; Thomasville
Others, like Gustav Stickley, eschewed extraneous detail altogether and made exquisite joinery the main attraction.
Shown here: Gustav Stickley liked this quartersawn white oak Eastwood chair so much that he furnished both of his private residences with it. About $3,000; L. & J.G. Stickley
The last great leap forward—or lean back, really—took place in 1929, when two enterprising cousins from Monroe, Michigan, created the world's first upholstered recliner, dubbing it the La-Z-Boy. They tweaked the design periodically, most notably by adding an integrated footrest in the 1950s.
Shown here: Curved maple-veneer arms give the Carlyle recliner a sleek art deco look. About $699; La-Z-Boy
Of course, an easy chair, despite its outward appearance, is only as good as its insides. When shopping for one, make sure the chair's frame is built with kiln-dried wood and sturdy joints (not just glue and staples).
Shown here: The cushioned wings on the high-backed, cabriole-legged Greta chair are no longer needed to block drafts, as they were in the 18th century, but they make a pretty nifty headrest for a Sunday afternoon nap. About $629; Broyhill Furniture
Other things to look for: The seat should be both high enough to allow your knees to bend at a 90-degree angle while your feet rest flat on the floor and wide enough to allow you to place a fist between each thigh and the chair's arms. It should also be deep enough to fully support your thighs but not so deep that it fails to support your lower back.
Shown here: The Martene club chair packs a lot of details—taut leather upholstery, nailheaded seams, bun feet—into a trim 32-inch-wide seat. About $1,845; Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Still, the only real test of a chair's comfort is to sit in it for an hour or two. Sink into it. Slouch a little. Melt some more. Ahh, just right.
Shown here: The swivel-base Schelly chair is cousin to the iconic molded-fiberglass chairs of the 1940s and '50s, but its leather seat makes it a whole lot more comfortable. About $1,000; BoConcept