I have spent countless hours (no, really. I refuse to count the amount of wasted time) searching for that “just right” reading chair. The beauty (read: agonizing torture) of the internet has been that I have endless options. Which means I could (and did…) scroll through thousands of photos and picked the perfect piece of furniture – only to find myself dissatisfied with it the following day.
This process means that of course the first chair(s) I fell in love with were made in England and New Zealand (respectively, see below).
Needless to say, shipping a reading chair from overseas to our home seemed a little excessive (or so Bryan reminded me a dozen times while I was surreptitiously researching “cheapest, fastest shipping methods” because I am heedless in this search).
I told Bryan that the useless knowledge I have since accumulated (read: dredged) from hundreds of fruitless Google searches must be shared with the wider world. My knowledge will be of use to someone – or at least it will quit taking up space in my short-term memory. So, here are my essential truths about reading chairs (henceforth known as “RCs”):
- RCs must be quite wide and deep – big enough to curl up between the two armrests. I’m talking, knees bent, feet on the cushion / arms, extra space on either side for tucking extra books or chocolates. These are necessities.
- RCs must have backs that support your shoulders. The modern trend of cutting off half the backs of chairs makes no sense to me.
- RCs must contain down. The most comfortable chairs I’ve sat in contain down. Down sinks around your body, it is soft, full of give, and it sighs audibly as you sit down. Is it still alive? I’m not sure I care; It is luxurious.
- RC reviews must be free from hints of “this chair was kinda stiff at first, hopefully it softens up soon!” I don’t care who you are, but any sorta-kinda-stiff chair is not coming into my home.
- “The 20 best reading chains EVERRRR” lists are written by people who have absolutely no idea what they are talking about – or just by people who have a completely different idea about what a RC entails. Related, do these writers read for hours in chairs, because included on their lists are chairs with no backs, no arms, no room for knees and feet, and are often more of a fashion statement about how much you “look like you read” than about getting actual reading done. However, this piece by The Washington Post was surprisingly thorough.
- RCs must be adapted to fit the size of their surrounds. Unfortunately, this means that the popular “chair and a half” (which is really a loveseat disguised as a chair), and the gigantic plushy armchairs of pottery barn will never never never fit in our one bedroom apartment. However, while you consider size, you should never compromise comfort.
- RCs must be placed in your most-used living space. Photos of the coziest RCs are always in bedrooms or pristine living rooms. Why? The bedroom part baffles me. Who spends hours reading in their bedroom? I’m a living room person all the way. If I’m in my bedroom, I’ll read on my already-existing gigantic reading chair and accent pillows (i.e., my bed).
Finally, a Pinterest Board of curated RCs in traditional styles and a few more photos of cozy chairs and books:
And that’s about all I know. For now.
Don’t worry, I plan to post pictures of my new chair when it comes. Or, who knows, maybe I’ll be too busy reading.