If curling up with a good book is your idea of fun, you know how crucial a comfy reading spot is. Whether you’re an avid reader or an occasional bookworm, devouring a page-turner is all the more enjoyable when cozied up in a chair. But not just any chair. It’s got to be one you can sit back, curl up, or even lay down in while flipping through your latest paperback.
“Comfort is key when selecting a reading chair,” says Decorist interior designer Elizabeth Herrera. “A high or rounded back will provide lots of support and create a cozy feel.” She recommends opting for an oversized design or something with a recliner. Chair-ottoman combos are great, too, and depending on your preferred reading position, you might want to get something with armrests.
You’ll also want to consider the upholstery material and size in terms of the actual seat and overall dimensions. Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all reading environment, but we found a bunch of options at a variety of price points that check most (if not all) the boxes.
Below, the best reading chairs for the bookish among us.
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What to Look for in a Reading Chair
As Herrera mentioned, comfort is key when it comes to reading. You’ll want to go with a chair style that’ll keep you comfy and relaxed for hours on end, such as a design with a relatively tall or rounded back. Otherwise, she says to “consider an oversized chair or even one with a recliner so you can put your feet up.” A chair-and-a-half is an excellent choice too, as it offers a wider and deeper seat. If you like to lay back while reading, consider getting a chaise lounge.
You’ll also want to consider the size. For one, it’s important to find a design that’ll fit in your space. Whether you’re placing it in a designated reading nook, bedroom, sunroom, or office, make sure to carefully measure (and re-measure) before ordering. Size has a lot to do with a chair’s overall comfort as well. If you like to curl up, lean back, or even lay down while reading, we recommend getting one with a relatively wide and deep seat.
The other thing to think about is the material. Upholstered chairs are usually a little softer, and you can often find stain-resistant options. “I also think about the texture—bouclé upholstery, for example, is plush and cozy, while a chair that isn’t upholstered won’t be as inviting,” says Herrera. Leather-upholstered chairs tend to be more expensive, though they typically last longer.
The frame material is also important. If you want something with a higher weight capacity or that’s built to last for several years, look for a chair with a solid wood frame—even better if it’s kiln-dried. Some recliner frames are made of steel, which is generally considered a high-quality, long-lasting material.
How do you make a chair more comfortable?
When the only thing stopping you from finishing a page-turner is uncomfortable seating, there are a few things you can try to make things a little comfier. First, if the chair has removable cushions, take them off and fluff them up, just like you would a pillow. And speaking of pillows, sometimes that’s all you need to get the back or neck support you crave. A footrest or ottoman can go a long way, too, as it allows you to recline back in an otherwise small chair.
Where do you place a reading chair?
“I like to place reading chairs in a quiet area of the home,” says Herrera. “A living area near a fireplace or a cozy corner in the bedroom are great options.” Some people opt to place armchairs and chaises near a window, as it can be peaceful while offering ample natural reading light.
A coveted “reading nook” can be created nearly anywhere in your home. It could go in the corner of a larger room, underneath a staircase, in an attic, or even built into a wall.
How do you clean a chair?
The proper way to clean a reading chair really depends on the material. Fabric upholstery can typically be spot-cleaned with an upholstery cleaner, a homemade solution, or sometimes liquid carpet cleaner. Some chairs even come with removable covers that can be zipped off and thrown in the washer for a more thorough cleaning.
In some cases, handheld steam cleaners can be used to freshen up fabric upholstery. Leather chairs can typically be wiped down with a slightly damp cloth and a small amount of mild soap if needed.