When you think of a beanbag chair, chic probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind. (But middle school and Disney Channel? Yes and yes.) However, these slouchy seats are making a comeback, though they appear just a tad different than you may remember. What was once a spheric, body-size cushion now has structure, lending your back a place to lean—because we’re not as young as we were when the beanbag was originally the It chair.
But first, a history lesson: The polystyrene bean-filled bag as we know it dates back farther than you’d think. It originated in 1968 thanks to three Italian designers: Piero Gatoi, Cesare Paolini, and Franco Teodoro. In fact, you can catch their collaborative handiwork, the Sacco, or “shapeless chair,” at numerous museums, including MoMA in New York City and the Victoria and Albert in London.
Since then it has been reinvented more times than we can count. From Ligne Roset’s Togo chair, designed in 1973, to the recent Sabine Marcelis x Hem Donut pouf, we’ve become used to seeing casual, low-to-the-ground seating in elevated spaces.
To make the look work in your home, embrace the tension of formal versus laid-back and pair a set with a boxy, angular sofa. Or if you live in a loft with sky-high ceilings, make your space look even taller with module, low-slung seating. And if you’re still not sold on your backyard setup, you’ll find that many beanbags on the market are made for outdoor use (we love Urban Outfitters’s striped number). No matter your pick, you’ll sink into a deep state of relaxation—and this time around, you won’t have braces.