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Tips For Buying A Recliner - Chair

Updated on October 21, 2008

When we first started looking for a recliner for my husband they all looked pretty much the same to me. I wasn't fond of them, but I wanted him to be comfy and our sofa had died a sudden and mysterious death. I think the fact that it was ‘cheap' and the kids jumping on it might have had something to do with it's demise, but they won't confess.

So, off we went to look at recliners. After a miserable experience with furniture from the local chains, we decided to go to a family-owned store in our hometown. The store is small and had few display models, but we were able to order one that fit our room and our budget.

Size matters. Our living room is quite small and one of those lumber-jack sized recliners just will not fit. So, we were able to order a smaller one. However, when our son-in-law, who is six-foot four and built like a linebacker, came to visit, we all had quite a laugh at how inadequate the recliner was for him. He was hanging off of it in all directions. So, think about not only your available space, but the size of the person who will be sitting in it most of the time.

Quality construction. We went with a well-known recliner brand and it's held up amazingly well. It still reclines and goes back to a sitting position with ease. Cheaply made chairs won't last if you use them all the time. The materials used to build them are usually low quality that break easily or bow which means your swiveling or reclining chair may end up feeling like a carnival ride.

Upholstery. We have pets and although we loved the beautiful fabrics covering the chairs we looked at, we knew this was not an option for us. So, we went with leather. This has been a good choice for us as the pet hair doesn't stick to it and it's easy to keep clean. A fabric upholstery can be a deal breaker as even though the chair is built well and lives forever, the fabric becomes soiled and smelly and cleaning it is costly and labor intensive. Little accident's can really finish a chair off if the padding gets saturated.

There is one thing we aren't too happy about and I don't know how to find this out ahead of time, but it's something to think about. Although the structure and the upholstery are holding up very well, the material they stuffed it with is gone'. Instead of the cushy, comfy chair we started out with, we have a Flintstone model. It's hard as a rock as we're sitting on wood with leather covering. So, do some research about the various paddings and stuffings a company uses.

Think about delivery. Larger furniture stores have their own trucks and can usually deliver quickly. Smaller stores must rely on independent trucks to deliver. This can be a problem as we waited for weeks for our chair. Apparently, trucks carrying special-order items are often given a back seat to trucks filled with large orders. We were having a party and were getting quite nervous about whether the chair would be here in time. After a number of calls to the store owner, the chair was finally delivered, by the owner and his son on the day before the party. So, keep in mind that special orders do take time, sometimes a long, long time, to make their way to your home. Also, find out if they even deliver. Some stores offer amazing prices, but you have to pick your chair up and take it home yourself! Ask ahead if there is a delivery fee.

Color is also important. We joke that we buy stuff the same color as our dogs, so the fur doesn't show so much. The leather solved that problem for us, but think about how the color of the chair will work with the rest of the room. That trendy hue may seem very appealing, but trends change quickly and many folks are still haunted by colors that were in' and out' way before the furniture was ready to be replaced. A neutral shade is a better choice, you can always perk it up with trendy=colored throws and toss pillows.

Find out about any warranties and return issues. With some stores there is no turning back once an item is delivered. The law may say they have to take it back, but it may not say if you'll have to return it yourself or how much hassle they'll give you about it.

The best thing to do is take your time, measure your space and the person most likely to sit in the chair. Consider your lifestyle when choosing a fabric and color. And be patient if you place a special order.


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