What Is A Lounge Chair? A Helpful Introduction

You’ve probably seen it a trillion times already in movies and TV shows. You search the  internet for what it’s called, and then ask, “what is a lounge chair?”

As the name suggests, a lounge chair is a piece of furniture used for relaxing, and it features a reclined angle and is without an armrest (at least initially). Those elegant, comfortable, and well-upholstered pieces of furniture always seem to be a great addition to your home.

Aside from aesthetics, you’re probably curious what else that piece of art can offer. So, let’s sit back, prop our feet up, and get to know more about lounge chairs.


The History Of Lounge Chair

First called the chaise lounge, lounge chairs were designed to keep your feet up while at a relaxed, somewhere-between-sitting-and-lying position. Unlike the modern sofa beds, lounge chairs aren’t designed for sleeping.

Believed to be used as early as 3000 BC, lounge chairs were found in excavation sites in Egypt. The artifacts found also revealed the differences between the lounge chairs of the poor and the wealthy Egyptians. This piece of furniture is made of wood and coated with ivory or ebony for the affluent, whereas for the less affluent, lounge chairs are made of wicker and palm sticks.

Perhaps no other civilization better illustrates how lounge chairs work than the ancient Greeks. Known then as klinai or kline, the people of early Greece put a cushion in the headrest and covered their reclined chairs in fabric. They would then relax and socialize or even eat while in these long chairs.

Much like the Greeks, Romans used lounge chairs while eating and socializing. They loved their lounge chairs so much they even have a name for eating while reclining — “accubatio.” This love didn’t translate to their upholstery skills, though, as they simply stacked cushions in wooden frames to form “lectus” — the Roman term for chaise lounge.

Around the 6th century, French craftsmen designed the chaise lounge we are all familiar with. The feminine connotations for this furniture surface during the 1800s, while it being a social status symbol emanated in the Rococo period in France. Those pieces were made of the rarest materials and had ornate designs.

The Hungarian Marcel Breuer inspired the lounge chairs of today. In 1928, he designed lounge chairs made of chrome-plated steel, cushioned, and upholstered with leather. It was called the Breuer’s Wassily Chair.


Types Of Lounge Chairs



Featuring an asymmetrical head and backrest, the méridienne is the most common type of lounge chair. Its design allows you to recline sideways at an angle without the fear of falling backward, thanks to its padded backrest. Aside from the padding, it is upholstered to provide the utmost comfort.



Unlike the first one, Récamier lounge chairs are symmetrical, with either end serving as footrest or headrest. It doesn’t have a backrest, but either end can do the job.

You might wonder why its name was capitalized in the previous paragraph. This type of lounge chair was named after a person, Madame Récamier, who popularized it in 1800.


Duchesse Brisée

Literally meaning the ‘broken duchess’, Duchesse Brisée is named as such as it is composed of two to three separate parts: the primary chair and one or two footrests. Each part can be used individually or combined to form the chaise lounge.


Other Lounge Chair Designs

Strictly speaking, these three are the types of lounge chairs that resemble those that you find in movies about ancient civilizations. Over time, new types of lounge chairs and their offshoots popped out for various purposes. All these will be discussed in the following paragraphs.


Armchairs and recliners

A simple, padded chair with armrests, armchairs were upended by recliners in terms of popularity. In general, recliners are more comfortable and are very versatile.


Club chairs

Club chairs inspired the Eames Lounge Chair, a modern lounge chair with reclining angles that the user can control. It also comes with an ottoman and is upholstered with leather. Club chairs have a low backrest and deep seats and were extremely popular during the 18th century among English Gentlemen’s clubs.


Wing chairs

In contrast to club chairs, wing chairs have high backs and have “wings” to keep air from the sitter’s back. These chairs gained popularity a century later after the club chairs, thanks to the very comfortable overstuffed paddings.


Eames lounge chair

About two and a half decades pos-introduction of the Breuer’s Wassily chair in Europe, Charles and Ray Eames designed the Eames Lounge Chair for the Herman Miller Furniture Company. This ignited the popularity of lounge chairs in the US, and the first pieces were made of plywood with an aluminum base.


Poolside loungers

Whereas all the above-mentioned lounge chair types are typically made for indoor use, poolside loungers are meant for the outdoors. Some also use it during camping or picnics. 



Remember our question in the introduction — “what is a lounge chair?” Hopefully, this article was able to answer your queries about this furniture. While it may seem expensive and luxurious at first glance, a lounge chair is one of those investments that you can say that’s worth it.

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