The Milan Recliner from the La-Z-Boy Designer Series.

Remember that huge, cushy, very comfortable but downright ugly recliner chair that dad loved to snooze in?

Well, we admit that even we’re seduced by the charms of a super-comfy recliner … especially after a long night of fixing design crimes. But if the recliner is one of those big, puffy traditional ones, we become conflicted!

Luckily for us, recliner manufacturers have updated the look of these chairs, with a selection that is both comfortable and stylish.

La-Z-Boy was one of the first companies to patent the famous recliner, and many others have followed with their own versions. Take a look at the La-Z-Boy website today,, and you’ll see the traditional, comfortable but often ugly recliner has come a long way since it was invented in 1928 with the so-called man of the house in mind.

And other manufacturers now produce stylish recliners as well. Just look at, www.berkline.comor www.lanefurniture.comto view the many updated versions.

The more stylish models usually feature a streamlined look, elegant legs, slimmer armrests, and usually the option of choosing among dozens of styles of fabric or leather. You can choose a traditional leather armchair look, or a more contemporary look with brushed metal legs and minimal arms. They are definitely not your daddy’s recliners.


The Carlyle Recliner from the La-Z-Boy Designer Series doesn’t even look like a recliner, but it is!

In other words, these recliners don’t look like recliners! The footrest that comes up to support your legs is hidden when the chair is in the non-reclining position, and the wooden handle that traditionally released the reclining mechanism is gone. And the styles and finishes fit in much better with the surrounding decor!

But there are some rules to keep in mind with recliners. Jeffrey and I steer away from recliners in formal spaces, like a living room where you would be more likely to be entertaining your guests. We can just imagine the lively conversation while everyone is snoozing in their recliners!

While the look of recliners has improved drastically, their function still defines them as informal. Recliners have traditionally been great in family rooms and recreation rooms, where people nap, read, watch television or whatever. And they continue to work well in those areas.

An emerging area where recliners are popular is in an entertainment room. La-Z-Boy has a recliner grouping called Matinee which is especially designed for movie viewing, with built-in cup holders and trays.

Another consideration when choosing a recliner is space. If you want a rocker type recliner, you must leave a foot of extra space behind the chair. The “wall-hugging” model, on the other hand, slides forward before reclining, and only requires four in. of space behind your chair. The “wall-hugger” at La-Z-Boy is about $50 more than a comparable rocker type chair.

Prices for reclining chairs range from $399 to $2,500 for a leather, high-end model, says Norm Abrahams, sales manager of La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries in Scarborough.

Abrahams says the company’s focus has shifted to include a younger, hipper customer looking for condo-friendly furniture. For example, La-Z-Boy’s Todd Oldham designer line has exclusive fabric in both non-reclining and reclining models.

Move over, dad! The old comfort-over-looks sensibility is giving way to a new look which is bound to be more pleasing to the female side in all of us!

Catch Arresting Design every Thursday at 10 p.m. on W Network.

Latest From ...