Wednesday, 1 July 2009 | Tags: , , , ,

Recliners are comfortable and inviting chairs, but are often the bulkiest in the room. Recently, however, designers have re-created the recliner with style and space-saving in mind. We check out some of these new options.

The Basics

  • The chair should support the natural curve of your spine.

  • The head rest should hit you above the base of the skull, in a spot that won’t result in neck kinks.

  • The arm rests should be at the right level for your arms so that you’re not scrunching your shoulders or feeling like your arms are too low.

  • Check the depth of the chair so that when you’re sitting comfortably your feet can reach the ground.

  • Your body weight should be enough to move the recliner into its desired position without requiring a big push off.

  • Upholstery can tell you a lot about a piece of furniture: the foam should be around 4 inches thick in the seat and about 3 inches in the back for optimal comfort.


Other Considerations

  • Space: because recliners recline, they can take up almost double the space of a non-reclining chair. Generally a recliner needs at least a foot of space behind, and about two feet in front.

  • If you’re set on a recliner but lack the space, look for a “wall saver” model that only needs about four inches behind the chair.

  • Leather is always considered the strongest and most durable upholstery fabric; it’s easy to clean too.

Be Aware

  • If you don’t see something you like and end up making a custom order, be prepared to wait up to three months or more.


We invited a couple of comfort-seeking professional NHL hockey coaches to kick back with us and test these recliners:

  • La-Z-Boy Forte: $599
  • Berkline Madison: $999
  • Natuzzi Elba: $1,599
  • La-Z-Boy Corbin: $2,183

Our tests and results include:

Comfort Test

  • The deluxe La-Z-Boy Corbin was popular with its handheld programmable heat and massage functions all designed to keep you as comfortable as possible; but the price wasn’t as popular.

  • The Natuzzi chair looked great, but didn’t provide the comfort of a traditional recliner.

  • The Berkline wrapped function and style into one perfectly comfortable package.


The unanimous vote went to the Berkline for its function, style and comfort in one. 

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