No matter how busy or laid back your life may be – there is something incredibly claustrophobic about constantly inhabiting your own head. We are all, despite our best efforts, stuck within ourselves. No matter how hard one tries – we can’t really escape that fact. We can, however, take little trips into different perspectives – not by doing drugs, gluing our eyeballs to those dystopic VR setups, or by binging streaming shows – but by reading.
The more time you spend with a great book in your hand, the better off you’ll be. But in order to make sure you’ll actually be willing to do all that sitting, you have to first make sure that you have a comfortable enough chair. Partly as an homage to the great books in our lives and partly a tip of the hat to some of our favorite furniture designers, we’ve put together a list of some of the best reading chairs out there. Take a read through yourself and see what catches your own fancy.
Rhys Mid-Century Leather Recliner
We couldn’t honestly build out a list like this and not include at least one recliner. Made with top grain leather, featuring piped seams and button tufting along the back – this looks like the kind of chair you could simply fall asleep in if you weren’t careful. No ugly exposed handle here. This thing reclines via a hidden push back mechanism and sits atop solid wood legs with a beautiful pecan finish.
Peglev Rocking Chair
Another must have. Designed by Michel Arnoult in 1968, this solid oak and full grain vegetable tanned leather chair was built in an attempt to revolutionize the ‘ready to assemble’ furniture market. While the chair may look too hard or angular to be comfortable, it is anything but. The leather sling along the bottom and back of the chair make for a nice, natural supportive feel fit for even longer reads.
For those looking for a bit more of a structured look to their chairs, this one is a great pick. Made with 100% certified FSC Wood and a polyester Berkeley-Shield or Totem-Storm fabric, they make a great statement in any room. And thanks to their Dacron-wrapped cushioning, the chairs are perfect for lounging away lazy Sundays in.
Motorcity Leather Swivel Chair
There are a couple Bond-worthy chairs in here, and this is definitely one of them. A result of mid-century America’s love affair with all things leather and swively, this incredibly comfortable chair fits in just fine with contemporary furnishings. And thanks to its thick, tufted cushions and padded wings and arms, we can’t think of it as anything less than ideal to crack open some tome in.
Toro Lounge Chair
Did we choose this sling chair because of the “Olé Motherf#@ker” tagline? Or did its high minded design simply speak to our unimpeachable sense of style? To be totally honest, it was a bit of both. The solid natural beech wood frame paired with the full grain leather sling make this an incredibly attention-grabbing piece, and paired with the Blu Dot’s attitude, we found it impossible not to include.
Split Rail Chair
This chair comes right out of the 1950s. Initially designed by Modernica for the offices of CBS and IBM, they were produced all the way up until the 1970s before they were retired. It wasn’t until Americans regained their appetite for these clean, straightforward chairs in the late 1990s that they began being manufactured again. Each one of these now is hand-made right in California and can come in up to 30 different fabric choices.
Hans Wegner Papa Bear Chair
Few other chairs scream ‘ mid-century’ like the Papa Bear Chair designed by Hans Wegner. Garnering its name from a critic who proclaimed the chair resembled, “great bear paws embracing you from behind,” this high backed, tilted chair with its unique arms is perfect for those looking to make a real statement and go all-on classic 1950s design. Getting your hands on an original Papa Bear chair is certainly a feat in and of itself, but the team at Modernica offers up a beautiful reproduction option. Made with North American walnut wood and coming in up to 30 different fabric choices, it’s sure to please.
CH445 Wing Chair
Another reproduction classic from Wegner. One of among 500 that the Danish modernist designed in his long career, this chair first sketched out in 1960 wasn’t actually put into production until about a decade ago in 2006 at the IMM Cologne furniture fair. Since finally being given life it has captured the fancy of furniture lovers and readers everywhere thanks to its high ‘winged’ back and incredibly comfortable cushions.
Womb Chair and Ottoman
A friend of Charles Eames and a prolific designer and sculptor himself, Ero Saarinen came up with the design for this chair after challenging himself to build something that would be perfect to curl up in. The curvaceous chair formed by a fiberglass shell fit under a single piece of foam promotes a more relaxed sitting position and is just about the perfect pick for cracking open a big book in.
Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman
Quite possibly one of the most iconic chairs on the entire list. Made in 1956 by the husband and wife duo Ray and Charles Eames, this lounge was inspired at least in part by the “warm and receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt”. Made with molded plywood, a technology the couple pioneered as a part of their mission to provide “the best, for the least, for the most”, and featuring a plush, comfortable leather upholstery – it is just about the perfect chair for reading the day away in.
Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair
This chair made its first appearance in the lobby of Copenhagen’s Royal Hotel, but it started out in a very different location. The garage of Arne Jacobsen. Jacobsen, a man known now as a giant of modern Danish furniture, was at the time toying with the idea of the egg. He sculpted one from clay in an attempt to try and build out something seamless and organic yet otherworldly. He succeeded in that, and then some. His chair is hands-down one of the most iconic pieces made from the era.
Outdoor Option: Whether set out on your patio, porch, or carried out to a big field during the spring – the adirondack chair is a timeless pick. Designed by Loll founder Greg Benson this American made chair is built with sustainable practices and is strong enough to withstand the beating sun and all the sudden storms that are sure to come along this spring. For the picky, there are up to 10 different colors to choose from.