For a long time now, the recliner has been considered the archenemy of the interior designer. The standard reclining chair, while undeniably comfy, has a reputation for being a bit of an eyesore and is most often seen taking up space in sparsely-furnished bachelor pads. But recliners don’t have to possess a dearth of style. There are plenty of stylish recliners out there that break the mold of what a reclining piece of furniture can be, and we’ve gathered up the greatest of them in this guide to the best stylish recliners you can buy.
As you’ll see throughout this guide, recliners absolutely do not have to look like Martin Crane’s beloved duct tape-festooned throne from Frasier. They can be sleek, they can have sharp angles or flowing curves, they can be mid-century modern throwbacks, and they can even be museum-worthy works of art from high-end designers. The chairs in this guide are all different stylistically, but they all look great and none of them would pass for your standard recliner. But, since they are all recliners, you can still expect each of them to have a reclining mechanism for maximum relaxation. Who says you can’t still look good while kicking back?
West Elm Spencer Wood-Framed Leather Recliner
Our “budget pick” from West Elm is still fairly pricey, but oftentimes stellar style doesn’t come cheap. The Spencer is one of West Elm’s best-sellers, and it’s pretty easy to see why. With an exposed solid ash wood frame and an MCM-inspired silhouette, the chair looks sharp and will work well within a variety of decorating styles. It’s available in a range of leather upholstery finishes and features a push-back reclining mechanism that allows the chair to lie almost flat.
Joybird Clover Leather Chair
If you’re in the market for an armless recliner, then you’ll have a hard time finding a better option than the Clover from Joybird. With its low-slung hidden-leg design and flowing form, it’s one of the most contemporary and unexpected recliners you’re likely to encounter. And what’s perhaps most shocking of all about the Clover is the fact that it’s a power recliner to boot. The chair features two discreet metallic buttons on the side that allow it to recline almost fully, adding a cool technological element to this minimalist beauty.
Pottery Barn Wells Leather Swivel Recliner
It’s hard not to see a bit of legendary designer Arne Jacobsen’s influence in this MCM-inspired Pottery Barn piece, with its imposing silhouette that seems fit for a supervillain’s lair. But this is no mere rip-off of Jacobsen’s iconic Egg Chair, as it has plenty of original style of its own. We love the way the tapering lines of the modified wingback meet the steel swivel base (yep, this swivels as well as reclines), and the manual recliner mechanism ensures that the Wells is as comfortable as it is striking.
Crate & Barrel Leisure Power Recliner Chair
Whether or not you’re a fan of boucle, there’s no denying that the knobby weave is currently having a moment in the world of interior design. And we can’t recall seeing the trend executed any better than in this power recliner from Crate & Barrel. With a shape reminiscent of Corbu’s famous LC2, this chair boasts a stylish low-slung boxy silhouette and features hidden control buttons on the inner side of the seat to keep the exterior design clean and uninterrupted.
Recliners don’t have to be big and bulky, they just need to recline. The Nilsen from Room&Board is far from the former, but it definitely qualifies as the latter. This Scandinavian-inspired manual recliner features a minimalist wood frame that houses a channeled leather seat that gives off some old-school automotive vibes. Tear the seats out of an old muscle car and send them to Denmark for refurbishment and you might end up with something similar to this.
RH Flynn Recliner
Restoration Hardware’s pieces tend to lean contemporary and industrial, but that’s not always the case. Here, we have a traditional — for RH, anyway — 1960s-inspired armchair that would blend in seamlessly in any space. But look closer, and you’ll notice more details that clue you into the effort that went into this seemingly-unassuming design. Notice how the subtly curved back and angled rear legs hint at the reverse motion of the recliner even when it’s not activated — that’s the kind of attention to detail that we love to see in a piece of furniture.
DWR Vala Swivel Recliner
Design Within Reach is largely known for selling timeless mid-century modern pieces from designers like Eames, Saarinen, and the like, but the retailer is more than capable of crafting their own head-turning furniture. Take the Vala, for instance. Here we have a 1950s-inspired silhouette (we see shades of Saarinen in those curves) that was designed just last year by Hlynur Atlason to be a “special place for wellness, rest, meditation, and mindfulness … that is refined and airy in appearance.” Mission accomplished.
Arhaus Harvey Leather Swivel Recliner
Luxe furniture outfit Arhaus is quite adept at churning out statement pieces, and they’ve done so again with this swivel recliner. That’s right, we said swivel recliner — this chair allows you to spin as well as lean back via its sturdy steel hardware. The chair’s high-back design is full of sharp angles that will make this the centerpiece of any room, and the rich leather upholstery is softly distressed for a gorgeous, lived-in look.
DWR Thayer Coggin Milo Baughman Recliner 74
After a string of MCM-inspired designs, here’s the real McCoy. Recliner 74 was designed by Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin in 1966, and it looks just as sharp today as it did then. The simple streamlined seat meshes perfectly with the graceful solid walnut frame, creating a silhouette that is frequently imitated in the furniture space but never truly duplicated. Recently brought back into production by DWR and Thayer Coggin, Recliner 74 features three comfy stages of manual recline.
Rejuvenation Hastings Leather Studio Recliner Chair
Let’s say that you just can’t get the image of a big, puffy, traditional recliner out of your head but can’t quite bring yourself to actually purchase one. In your case, we recommend the Hastings from Rejuvenation. This leather recliner has some of those traditional recliner vibes but in a more elevated and luxurious package. It’s like someone took your grandad’s bloated recliner, shaved off all of the excess, and came away with a chair that’s just as comfortable but a whole lot more stylish.
As one of the biggest names in mid-century modern furniture design, Knoll has churned out some of the most iconic silhouettes in the game. And the brand is still at it today. While the KN02 looks like it could have come from one of the brand’s catalogs in 1956, the chair was actually designed in 2018 by Italian designer and architect Piero Lissoni. There’s definitely a bit of an Eames Lounge Chair vibe to the piece (especially with the accompanying ottoman), but the super-smooth under-armrest push-button reclining mechanism shows off this chair’s own unique identity.
Tecno Borsani P40 Lounge Chair
If you’re looking to reach the peak of Mount Recliner, look no further. Osvaldo Borsani’s P40 design for Italian manufacturer Tecno is as good as it gets. Conceived in 1955 as an adjustable chaise lounge, the revolutionary P40 still makes good on its initial promise well into the 21st century. Ergonomically well ahead of its time and featuring a metal frame, a height-adjustable backrest, and auto-adjusting armrests, the P40 is worth every bit of its high price tag.
The 15 Best Mid-Century Modern Chairs
As you no doubt noticed from looking at this list, the shadow of mid-century modern design continues to loom large when it comes to furniture. So if you’re looking to learn more about the style and the most iconic MCM pieces available, then be sure to check out our guide to the best mid-century modern chairs you can buy.