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Recliners are a type of chair that reclines back into a lounging position with the head resting back and the feet positioned up. Introduced in 1928 by La-Z-Boy, the company is still the most well-known manufacturer of the chair.

The design of the recliner follows the body's natural contours while sitting and leaning back. The built-in ottoman, a symbol of the recliner, was added to the chair during the 1950s. So popular was the first recliner that many other furniture manufacturers scrambled to jump on the recliner bandwagon and now sell their own versions of the chair.

Types of Recliners

Recliners are made from leather, upholstery, vinyl, or naugahyde (a faux leather) and are very comfortable chairs made for relaxing in. Recliners come in many styles including:

  • Queen Anne - a wingback recliner with curved legs

  • Club Chair - an upholstered recliner with a high back and wing-like side pieces

  • Mission - a recliner with wood slatted arm rails

  • The Arc - a recliner with no right angles in it.

Recliners have come a long way from the 1950s and 1960s when they thought of as men's chairs. There are now a myriad of styles, colors, sizes, and upholstery materials to choose from suitable for both men and women in the office and home.

Purchasing Recliners

Buying recliners is similar to buying other upholstered chairs, but there are some differences. Because recliners come in such a wide range of sizes, it pays to keep in mind who the primary user of the recliner will be as well as where the chair will be placed. To obtain maximum comfort from a recliner, it is essential to test several chairs out in the correct size for the potential user as well as to test the mechanisms, which should work smoothly.

For example, if the recliner is to be used in the bedroom by a woman, a smaller chair with fabric upholstery and a more feminine look might be in order. This style of recliner would look out of place in the TV room however, where a leather upholstered club chair look may be more appropriate. Most importantly, make sure there is enough space behind the recliner so that one will be able to fully recline in the chair.