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How to Buy the Best Recliner

How to Buy the Best Recliner

Plush, contoured cushions. Luxurious upholstery. When you need to kick back and enjoy the daily paper – or the latest from social media – a recliner is the perfect place to lounge. Equipped with everything from side storage pockets to built-in massagers, recliners let you relax at the touch of a button or the pull of a lever. This guide will help you find the best recliner for a haven in your living room, bedroom, or man cave.

Recliner Style: Lean Into Refinement

Classic recliners harmonize beautifully with traditional decor. They share an emphasis on deep tones and elaborate design. A traditional recliner generally has rolled or pillow-top arms, solid colored upholstery, and tufted or nailhead details. Contemporary recliners are simpler and more streamlined, giving them a smaller footprint and more refined look. Many of them come with a matching ottoman rather than a built-in footrest. A contemporary recliner is right at home next to a clear acrylic side table, so you can sip your matcha and catch up on the stocks in comfort.

Choose upholstery that fits your vibe, whether you want rustic plaid or free-spirited florals. If you’re looking for a little more pizzazz in your recliner ideas, check out mid-century modern recliners, with their uncluttered design and button tufted stitching. Or look into wingback recliners. Worlds away from classic brown leather recliners, these versatile pieces look more like armchairs than recliners, blending with a variety of decor styles.

Recliner Material: Lean Into Quality

Between the moving parts and the weight of the user, recliners have to stand up to extra stress. So recliner frames are generally made with hardwood lumber and some metal reinforcement atop a metal base. Look for a four-sided frame. The extra side keeps the frame from twisting when you get up, so your recliner lasts longer.

Recliner cushions are all-important for that perfect relaxation experience, so choose the shape that works for you. Tufted back recliners hold their cushion shape better, while flat cushions are smoother and more comfortable for an individual user. Many recliners use contoured polyurethane foam for the seat and back, while others are filled with flexible stuffing for comfort.

Recliner Features: Lean Into Choices

Recliners are for relaxing. So pamper yourself with all the bells and whistles you want. Movie night has never been better with a row of theater recliners, equipped with cup holders and snack consoles. Built-in storage lets you stash magazines, remotes, or game controllers at your fingertips. Drape your power recliner with a velvety soft throw so you can recline with the push of a button and drowse away a lazy afternoon. Is your family full of tech-lovers? Get a recliner with a laptop table or built-in charging stations and keep all your devices at your fingertips. Take it easy on tired muscles and sensitive joints with a therapeutic massage chair or a power lift recliner, which extends upward to help you get back to your feet.

Recliner Placement: Lean Into Flexibility

Classic recliners offer sprawling dimensions, wide, padded arms, and a hinged footrest that invite you to stretch out in comfort. Their expansive size makes them the perfect centerpiece for a man cave or addition to your living room. Smaller recliners can anchor an inviting reading nook in the den or master bedroom. Picture a soft throw blanket and a glowing lamp nearby, ready to help you unwind after a long day. If you’re working with a smaller space, look into armless recliners or wall-hugging recliners. These chairs are set on a track base that moves the seat forward when you lean back, letting you place them closer to the wall. Contemporary recliners tend to be slimmer than traditional pieces, so keep this decor style in mind if you’re working with a small apartment or cozy living room. Be sure you know your recliner’s measurements when it’s fully extended. You’ll need at least five to ten inches between the reclined head and the wall, and the same amount between the foot and any obstructions like a coffee table.

Recliner Upholstery: Lean Into Comfort

Think about your environment and your everyday routine when you choose your recliner upholstery. If you live in muggy areas, choose a natural cloth like cotton or linen, or invest in a breathable slipcover for those hot, humid days. Or invest in durable, easy-care microfiber upholstery that shrugs off rips and stains. Fabric upholstery comes in a rainbow of prints and solid colors, so hold out for the pattern that suits your style. Look into leather upholstery for your recliner if you love to entertain. Leather and faux leather upholstery are durable, elegant, and non-porous, so they’re easy to clean. A quick wipe takes care of spilled drinks and accidental splashes, making a leather recliner perfect for sipping an after-work cocktail or snacking while you stream.

Recliner Construction: Lean Into Durability

Recliner bases go beyond simple leaning construction. While hinged bases make up the majority of recliners, you can rotate to face different areas with a swivel rocker, or soothe yourself with the gentle motion of a rocking base. Recliner mechanisms can be purely physical or powered by a motor. Manual recliners operate with your body weight and the pull of a lever, and as a rule they’re less expensive. However, their movement is somewhat jerky, making them less comfortable for people with joint or muscular issues. Power recliners move smoothly and require no physical strength to operate, but they are bulkier and more expensive.