Published on May 26, 2019

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Design by Nune; Chair from Sophie Pearce photo by Michael Sinclair

Recliners are the shoe equivalent of Crocs: universally comfortable but you wouldn’t necessarily want to be photographed in one. Fortunately, like perforated waterproof shoes, recliners are only a blip on the lounge seating radar—though, that’s not to discredit the fact that some people (most famously, Dax Shepard) firmly stand by their La-Z-Boy. We’re not here to hate. We just want to offer a modern alternative.

Before recliners were a thing, there were armchairs with matching footrests—a seating style that has prevailed for centuries because sitting sideways on a sofa always feels a little off. In recent decades, however, the pairing has earned an ugly reputation. Most of us can probably recall a grandmother or great-aunt who covered her set in a cringe-worthy floral fabric that, of course, had to match the curtains. Instead of thinking, Wow, it’s nice to relax for a change, you were left wondering, Gee, I hope I don’t inherit this. But what if we told you to fear matching footrests no longer?

The trend you once knew as Grandpa’s favorite way to make you feel at home is making a cool comeback. Some of our favorite furniture purveyors, including our go-to Scandinavian brands, are pushing the boundaries on coordinated comfort with clean silhouettes, plush cushion structure, and muted fabric colors. You only need one place to kick your feet up, but we went ahead and found you eight.

The One for Stronger Posture

Your work desk has done you dirty and it’s time to get your bad posture back in order. A true testament to the power of Swedish design, this high-back chair from Hem is the ultimate cure for serial slouchers. Didn’t you know: Scandinavians never slump. This mélange coral hue will look dreamy in a corner alongside a cream-colored shag rug and floating bookcase.

The One That Belongs in a Bespoke Hotel

Everyone deserves a sultry chair. Turn down the overhead lights, grab a dark ’n’ stormy, drape a cashmere throw over your legs, and slink back into this black-stained lounger.

The One That’s Better Than a Hug

Great news: You don’t have to be big spoon ever again. Aptly dubbed the “womb” chair, this curvaceous pick lets you sprawl out as if you were already beneath the sheets and in bed. When not in use, park the matching chartreuse rest in a separate corner and top it with books and magazines.

The One That’s Out of This World

This sumptuous duo brings us back to the ’60s when space-age decor ruled the planet and galactic shapes were all the rage. Best left surrounded by negative space, this otherworldly option will launch minimalists in a new trajectory.

The One That’ll Weather the Storm

We’re feeling pretty peachy about this weatherproof gem. Whether you’re looking to fill a palatial backyard or a tiny balcony, give your outdoor space a dose of vibrant flair with colored rattan. In case you take your summer naps seriously, its side piece can snuggle up to the curve of the deep seat when you want to lounge as one.

The One That Defies Gravity

All it takes is one time sitting in Jan Ekselius’s slinky Etcetera chair to forgo recliners for good. The piece is still manufactured in the same stretch-cotton velour as it was in the 1970s and comes in a variety of hues, including electric blue and this sand tone. Let its serpentine silhouette be the star of the show and stick with a neutral rug and lighting.

The One That Should Have Been at Your Birthday Party

Don’t let the humor fool you: Seungjin Yang’s tubular balloon furniture is completely functional. Each piece in the series is made with eight layers of epoxy. The best part? There are no clowns involved. A duo as fun and fearless as this deserves to be displayed alongside a wavy coffee table or in a room that’s not afraid of ceiling wallpaper.  

The Quintessential Scandinavian One

Our Nordic friends tend to be ahead on all things seating. By now, they’ve pared this comeback trend down to strong neutral fabrics and a smooth silhouette with winged arms. The extra layer of cushion on the stool symbolizes everything hygge stands for.

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