High-styling recliners are far from the hideous chair featured on the set of Fraser.


Days like these, you just want to be like the bears and bunnies and hibernate a bit. The bed’s OK at night, but by day you’d like to at least appear somewhat upright, or your friends and family will start whispering about your mental health.


It’s astounding how many people I know are holding out buying that one piece of furniture they wish they had — the comfy reclining chair, for reading and perhaps napping.

Cost is one discouraging factor, but it’s more likely the recliner’s bad rap that has us second-guessing our need for a chair into which we can really sink. I say, we’re not getting any younger, and the future is full of all sorts of reasons to get a doze-friendly chair.

Then there’s the style dilemma. I’ve been told the original reclining chair was invented with the farmer in mind — a little luxury after his hard day toiling in the soil. Maybe John Deere had a hand in the design; that would explain the ratcheting gear-stick thing and the scissoring footrest extender that could sever an ankle like hay in a thresher. Later, La-Z-Boy improved the appeal with fully-loaded models for the fully-loaded male, featuring massage mechanisms, tufted leather upholstery, speakers in the pivoting side headrests, remote-control pocket — even a beverage (read: beer) cooler under one armrest. I don’t know one straight woman or gay man who would have one of these in their condo.

There are also not a lot of options when it comes to recliner-shopping locally. With so many moving parts, many furniture-makers won’t bother with potential malfunctions. But on a recent recliner recon tour of Bridgeport Road in Richmond, I was pleasantly surprised to discover I had a hard time resisting fashion designer Todd Oldham’s Arc Chair in a wide selection of pop-art fabrics at La-Z-Boy, as well as the Art Deco-inspired Everett recliner at Ethan Allen. Both recliners are slim-styled and don’t swallow up the average-sized adult female or limited living room space. Just don’t expect to walk away with a bargain; a good recliner starts at about $1,500 and delivery can take six to 12 weeks.