A good reading chair has a way of letting you step out of the chaos and sink into your own little world, even for a few minutes. While the sofa is an innately social piece of furniture (so you have to consider the preferences of cohabitants in picking one out), a chair can be just for you. Play with shape, color, and pattern and let the seat you choose express your personal style, whether you opt for a bold statement or a serene retreat. And since you’ll probably spend hours in this spot, you don’t want to skimp on quality and comfort. That’s why we’ve consulted experts, reviewers, and our own accent chair–obsessed team to bring you the best options on the market, so you can cozy up in your personal reading nook with that novel everyone’s been talking about. Or just stream the Reese Witherspoon TV adaptation. We won’t judge.
- Best tub: Crate & Barrel Nora Tub Chair
- Best iconic: Knoll Womb Chair
- Best swivel: Serena & Lily Parkwood Swivel Chair
- Best high-back: Hem Hai Lounge Chair + Ottoman
- Best value: Lohoms Upholstered Armchair
- Best armless: Blu Dot Field Lounge Chair
- Best recliner: Macedonia Mid-Century Modern Tufted Back Fabric Recliner
- Best leather: Crate & Barrel Diderot Wood and Leather Chair
- Best club: Maiden Home The Perry Chair
- Best traditional: Pottery Barn Carlisle Upholstered Tightback Armchair
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
Fabric: When deciding between the many upholstery options out there, Catherine Dash, Domino’s market editor, recommends a clear-eyed approach that’s focused on function in addition to looks. “Truly consider your home circumstances” to ensure that the piece will last for years to come, she advises. If you have kids or pets, for example, Dash says to avoid more fussier fabrics like silk, shearling, and mohair and look instead for a performance upholstery that’s resistant to stains and wear. Most fabrics will include a blend of natural fibers (like cotton or wool) and synthetic fibers to increase the durability and cleanability. If you want to take durability to the next level, look for an indoor-outdoor fabric such as Sunbrella, or pretreat the fabric with a stain protector like Scotchguard.
Base material: With a chair, a solid foundation is essential. Dash recommends looking for frames and legs that are made from either solid wood, metal, or a combination of the two. These materials set the standard for long-term stability and beat out lower-cost options like manufactured wood (also known as MDF). “Since you’ll be curling up with a book in this chair, you want something that feels sturdy and solid,” she says.
Design: When it comes to style, it seems as if there are as many types of reading chairs as there are genres of books—from more traditional styles like wing-backs and club chairs, to the sleek lines and iconic shapes of mid-century modern designs, to brand-new silhouettes that remix the past or leave it behind altogether. As with choosing a book, you’ll need to find a chair that fits your particular style and mood. That said, comfort should always be built into the design. Look for arms that are cushioned (instead of bare wood or metal), a back that’s high enough for you to lean into (go for a back height of around 30 inches or above), and extra support from springs or webbing to really let you sink in.
Our Top Picks
Best Tub: Crate & Barrel Nora Tub Chair
Best Iconic: Knoll Womb Chair
Best Swivel: Serena & Lily Parkwood Swivel Chair
Best High-Back: Hem Hai Lounge Chair + Ottoman
Best Value: Lohoms Upholstered Armchair
Best Armless: Blu Dot Field Lounge Chair
Best Recliner: Macedonia Mid-Century Modern Tufted Back Fabric Recliner
Best Leather: Crate & Barrel Diderot Wood and Leather Chair
Best Club: Maiden Home The Perry Chair
Best Traditional: Pottery Barn Carlisle Upholstered Tightback Armchair
How We Vetted These Products
Every product in a Domino guide meets these criteria:
- They blend form and function. We believe the best-designed products reflect your personal style and are a joy to use.
- They’re expert approved. In addition to our team of editors, we tap a range of designers, makers, renovators, and all-around knowledgeable people to share their intel.
- They’re endorsed by people who actually own them. We pay close attention to real reviews from both our creative community and third-party websites to know that they pass the test IRL.
The products in this story are independently selected by (obsessive) editors. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.