Surprisingly Soft Chenilles & Velvets Reimagine Modern Forms
Jun 08
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Surprisingly Soft Chenilles & Velvets Reimagine Modern Forms

Ah, the age-old debate – to recliner or not to recliner? I’ll admit, I’ve had my fair share of battles with my husband over this very topic. He’s a firm believer in the ultimate lounging experience, while I tend to lean more towards streamlined sophistication. But you know what they say, happy wife, happy life, right?

So when the team at Sofa Spectacular asked me to share my thoughts on incorporating recliners into modern design, I knew I had to approach this delicate subject with an open mind. After all, comfort is king when it comes to creating a space you truly love to spend time in.

As I started researching, I stumbled upon an insightful article by Courtney of Courtney Out Loud that really got me thinking. This interior designer tackled the recliner dilemma head-on, offering up some brilliant tips for reimagining these cozy staples. And let me tell you, she didn’t hold back – the woman has a way with words, that’s for sure.

Courtney made a great point about how recliners have long been associated with that overstuffed, lumbering look we all love to hate. But she also highlighted how forward-thinking designers are starting to flip the script, crafting sleek, tailored versions that seamlessly blend style and substance.

Reimagining the Recliner

One of the key takeaways from Courtney’s article was the idea of “Reimagining It.” As she explained, Canadian designer Meredith Heron is a firm believer that recliners can work in any space, but they shouldn’t look like, well, recliners. Heron works her magic by crafting custom upholstered versions that flow effortlessly into her designs, like a pair of streamlined velvet club chairs that practically melt into their pale grey and cream surroundings.

I have to admit, when I saw those chairs, I did a double-take. They look nothing like the bulky, clunky recliners I’ve come to dread, yet they still offer all the cozy comforts my husband craves. And that’s the beauty of going the custom route – you get to call the shots on everything from the silhouette to the fabric, ensuring it meshes seamlessly with your unique aesthetic.

Of course, custom pieces don’t come cheap, but Courtney highlighted another brilliant option – scaling down. As she so aptly put it, “Just like any piece of furniture, a recliner needs to be in scale with the other objects in the room. A recliner too big can adversely affect not only the design but a room’s traffic flow.”

Striking the Right Balance

To illustrate her point, Courtney showcased a few modern recliner designs that struck the perfect balance between comfort and style. The Milo Baughman Recliner 74 from Design Within Reach, for instance, features sleek lines and a lightweight, airy frame that feels more “ballerina” than “lumbering lumberjack.” And the Juno Recliner from Room & Board puts a tailored, transitional spin on the classic wing chair silhouette, making it equally at home in traditional and contemporary settings.

The key, it seems, is finding a recliner that doesn’t overwhelm the rest of your furnishings. After all, as Courtney so eloquently put it, “A recliner too big can adversely affect not only the design but a room’s traffic flow.” And let’s be honest, nothing kills the vibe like a big, bulky chair that makes you feel like you’re trapped in a corner.

An Elegant Alternative

Of course, there are times when a recliner just won’t work, no matter how hard you try to make it fit. Maybe it’s a matter of floor space, budget constraints, or even just a stubborn spouse (hey, I’ve been there!). In those cases, Courtney suggested exploring other options that can still deliver that blissful “kick your feet up” feeling.

One brilliant idea she highlighted was incorporating a lounge chair and ottoman combo, like the one showcased in the portfolio of architectural photographer David Churchill. This setup serves the same functional purpose as a recliner, allowing you to truly sink in and relax, but with a completely different aesthetic. Plus, you get the added bonus of extra seating when needed – something a traditional recliner can’t offer.

And if you really have your heart set on that reclined posture, why not consider a chaise lounge instead? As Courtney pointed out, a beautifully curated chaise can be a stunning focal point in a room, while still providing that oh-so-cozy sense of comfort. The cowhide version from Gardner Mohr Architects is a prime example, seamlessly blending style and function in a way that’s almost too good to be true.

Finding the Perfect Fit

Ultimately, Courtney’s message is clear – there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to recliners. What works wonders in one home might fall flat in another, and it’s all about finding the right balance between your personal preferences and the constraints of your space.

But the good news is, the design world is stepping up to the challenge, offering more stylish and streamlined recliner options than ever before. From the tailored elegance of the Meredith Heron custom chairs to the modern sophistication of the Milo Baughman and Juno models, there’s a recliner out there that can cater to even the pickiest of design enthusiasts.

So if you’re on the hunt for the perfect recliner to elevate your living space, I encourage you to keep an open mind and explore all the possibilities. Who knows, you might just find that the key to domestic bliss lies in the perfect balance of style and comfort. And hey, if all else fails, there’s always the trusty chaise lounge option – a timeless solution that’s sure to satisfy both your aesthetic sensibilities and your need for ultimate relaxation.

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