Adding a chaise lounge to your living room gives an unexpected and sophisticated focal point. When deciding on the right chaise lounge for your home, know the intended purpose of your chaise lounge and how you are going to style the room.
For most people, when they hear the words ‘chaise lounge’, the first image that comes to mind is a more traditional style for use in a formal living or sitting room. Or maybe you think of an outdoor chaise lounge to lay by the pool. You can find chaise lounges in all different varieties of styles for both indoor and outdoor use. Indoor chaise lounges can be used in a family room, living room, study, or bedroom for a variety of purposes from serving as a stately accent piece or to be a place to relax and read the Sunday paper with a cup of coffee. Or add a series of chaise lounges to your patio or pool deck for a place to lie out in the sun and relax.
An indoor chaise lounge can be added to a living room, sitting area, or bedroom and are typically a more traditional decorating choice. However, chaise lounges do not have to be formal – there are a range of options to fit many different looks and match the current furnishings in your home. There are those that can add a more chic, vintage feel or ones that are sleek and modern. Since the shape of chaise lounges does not greatly vary, the materials used are going to be very important in dictating the style. Chaise lounges come in a variety of fabrics from leather to plush velvet, and can be found in a mix of colors and patterns. Outdoor chaise lounges are typically made of metal frames with a mesh material in the seat and back. You can also find wooden ones or all metal that you can add a cushion onto for extra comfort.
Once you have decided on the type and style think about what purpose your chaise lounge will serve. If you have decided on an indoor chaise lounge, what room will it be used in? Is it more for mid-day naps or to be additional seating for guests? If it will be placed in the family room, look for options that are going to be comfortable to stretch out on but also stand up to wear-and-tear. You want to find one that you are going to enjoy cozying up in, not one that will be just another piece of uncomfortable furniture that goes unused. You can also use a chaise lounge as extra seating while entertaining but the qualities to look for are going to be different than one used in a family room. Inherently, a chaise lounge is made for lounging and (depending on your company) many guests may feel a little awkward stretching out. Look for options that have a back and arms so it has the appearance of a settee and can function more like a sofa.
(Pictured: Klaussner Celebration Chaise Lounge - Onyx)
Even though it is last on the list, size is arguably the main concern to consider once you have decided on the type of chaise lounge you are looking for. Once you have picked an area for your chaise lounge, think about the style that will best fit that space. Will it be sitting facing out and taking up more depth? Or will it be flush and taking up more length? Make sure to measure the area because many people automatically assume that a chaise lounge is small and do not realize the variety of sizes available.
The majority of indoor chaise lounges are going to have a wood frame and upholstered seat and back. For a chaise lounge where the frame is exposed, look for woods that match the materials of the rest of the furnishings in your home. Darker woods such as mahogany and walnut tend to have a fancier, more formal feel; oak, cherry and pine are more relaxed and casual. When looking at the material of the frame, opt for hardwood solids if possible. Hardwoods such as mahogany, walnut, maple, oak, or teak are going to last much longer than composite woods, which includes plywood, hardwood solids and MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard). And while engineered woods such as MDF -- which is a mixture of hard and soft wood bits that have been compressed into board form -- are durable, they're not as strong and sturdy as hardwood. And while MDF may be stable enough for the short term, hardwood is far longer lasting.
(Pictured: Sam Moore Cosette LAF Chaise)
If you find a chaise lounge with veneers in the description of materials, do not be discouraged from purchasing. Most typical furniture you see is a combination of real wood veneers and solid woods. It does not have to be solid to be of excellent quality, in fact solid wood can have problems with cracking and splitting as weather conditions like humidity can cause solid woods to expand and contract. Most very high end and expensive furniture is NOT 100% solid, but a mix of excellent quality veneers to get great wood patterns and finishes. Keep in mind that new construction techniques almost always use sold wood and wood veneers. There is a misconception that unless it is solid it is not quality. Solid wood furniture is more likely to crack and warp, that is why most of even the highest priced name brands use veneers, it's a matter of what is the best way to do it, not necessarily that they are trying to save money on manufacturing.
Veneer refers to thin slices of wood, usually thinner than 1/8 inch, that typically are glued onto core panels (typically wood, particle board or MDF) to produce flat panels such as doors, tops and panels for cabinets, parquet floors and parts of furniture. They are also used in marquetry. Plywood consists of three or more layers of veneer, each glued with its grain at right angles to adjacent layers for strength. Veneer is obtained either by peeling the trunk of a tree or by slicing large rectangular blocks of wood. The appearance of the grain and figure in wood comes from slicing through the growth rings of a tree and depends upon the angle at which the wood is sliced.
Indoor chaise lounges can also be made with metal frames and will have a more contemporary style. Some indoor chaise lounges have skirted or banded bases where the frame is not exposed at all. The fabrics used on chaise lounges can vary from microfibers to faux leather to velvet. Some manufacturers allow you to customize the fabric and they offer literally hundreds of choices. Some fabrics are easy to clean with a spot treatment whereas others will require a professional job; it is best to contact the retailer to get specifics on fabric content if you have any questions.
Outdoor chaise lounges are typically made of aluminum but you can also find plastic or wooden ones. Aluminum is going to be your best bet for durability and longevity as it will not rust when left outside. If you are looking for chaise lounges in different colors, powder-coated aluminum will help keep the color vibrant and resist chipping. If you want something more traditional, wooden chaise lounges can give a rustic or country chic style to a patio but are going to weather over time. Depending on how the manufacturer treats the wood, it may be more susceptible to damage but from a quality outdoor manufacturer, they will process the wood to resist rotting, water damage, and insect infestation. There are also outdoor chaise lounges made of polymers constructed from plastics or vinyl that are lightweight, easy to clean, and durable. Outdoor chaise lounges will often require a cushion for extra comfort and these are typically made of foam and covered with Sunbrella fabric, which resists molding, mildew, and fading.
(Pictured: OW Lee Tamarack Chaise Lounge)