Chairs, stools, sofas and couches, settees, divans, armchairs and rocking chairs... these are all pieces of furniture, designed to provide comfort and a sturdy support for one to sit on. But the laziest, most relaxing piece of furniture, designed for lounging in front of the TV or playing video games on or just to kick back with a book and relax is a bean bag.
The bean bag chair is a simple but classic furniture design prototype - it requires no setup or assembly. If you can carry it, it is the easiest thing to transport and it satisfies one and all and occupies minimal space. The bean bag is also one of the most personalized and individualistic pieces of furniture around, with one bean bag being the perfect one for its owner. For such a unique piece, one needs to make the right choice, so read on to learn how to choose the right bean bag chair for you.
How to Choose a Bean Bag Chair
To choose the ideal bean bag, look for the following key points:
The main idea behind a bean bag chair is comfort. It is the ideal piece of furniture to sink into, snuggle deep into and laze around. So it shouldn't be too small or too big for you to rest in. Bean bags are usually one-size-fits-all in size but some can be sinkholes, you might find yourself lost within. Others are designed for more diminutive frames, like for kids, so you may find yourself spilling out of the bag. Plus with company, your bean bag needs to accommodate the extra body comfortably. Sizes to consider include giant or extra large bags, adult sized and kids bean bags. Some manufacturers even specify the diameter of the bean bag, such as 5-6 feet large, which makes for a very comfy deep bag.
It's not just about size. The right shape is important in bean bag selection. Some standard shapes are:
- To really rest your back and stretch your legs out in the front, check out the pear or teardrop shaped bean bag. This shape provides good back support and is specially helpful for tall leggy loungers and for kicking back with a book.
- The sack shaped bean bag is a deeply deep sinkable shape, which is designed to envelop you, ideal for snoozing and late night TV watching.
- The flat pancake shaped bean bag is a handy multi-purpose furniture piece to have around, it can double up as a desk or table when needed. Plus it can easily accommodate two people. One can easily lie down on it as well.
- A flatter and lower-to-the-ground variant of the pancake bean bag is the cylindrical bean bag. This is a very lounging style similar in shape to a couch.
- Kiddie bean bags have the most interesting shapes, from suns, flowers and animals (birds, dolphins) to the faces of popular animated characters.
- The pillow shaped bean bag is basically a giant pillow. Some can be flattened completely to act as mattresses, others can be kneaded and pulled into various shapes. This style is also large enough to accommodate two people.
- The chair shaped bean bag is a smart style, where you can sit on the softest, cushiest chair around. A complete back support, a soft smaller couch, a perfect gaming chair.. the chair design is perfect for a small apartment or as kiddie furniture.
The Inner Stuff
You may think who cares what is inside the bean bag as long as its soft but the inner material and cushioning of the bean bag decides its softness and comfort factor. Some stuffings can be very noisy and crackling, every slight turn you take, the bag will make weird noises. A bean bag should be stuffed such that it is soft and spongy, will depress with your weight but be firm enough to support your frame. It should be durable as well, sitting on it for a long period or cannon-balling into the bean bag shouldn't destroy it.
A polystyrene beads fill is a good option, it is recyclable and strong enough to take the heaviest of weights and still remain springy. But you may need to refill the bean bag as the beans do compress with time. Shredded urethane foam is another popular filling option, springy yet fluffy. This filling cannot be refilled. Such fillings can be contained in a liner. Lined bean bags have an inner liner or container for the beans, such that you can wash the cover without disturbing the filling. These are more expensive than filled bean bags but with kids around or if your bean bag is the target of repeated spillings and stains, such a washable bean bag is a better choice, as the task of cleaning the bean bag is made easy.
The Outside Look
Bean bags are easily the most versatile and let's face it, coolest amongst any furniture pieces (aside from bubble chairs). Shape is one factor but the fabric used is not only esthetically pleasing but helps in keeping your bean bag clean and stain-free. Typical fabrics include nylon, satin, vinyl, leather, cotton, faux fur and plastic. Faux fur, suede and corduroy bean bags should be kept very far away from any staining material. It is difficult to clean stains off such bean bags and the mark does remain.
Plastic is the easiest to clean and maintain but in the summer, sitting in a plastic bean bag can get very hot! Vinyl is a very popular choice, smart and shiny looking but once again, it can get sticky from time to time. Waterproof fabrics are also a good choice for easy maintenance. Whatever your preference in fabric material, there is a bean bag for it, so select one based on your lifestyle.
Bean bags come in nearly every design and pattern known to man, so whatever your interior decor style, you can get a bean bag that will suit it. Customizable bean bags are also available, where you have a hand in the designing of the bean bag. You can even opt for a customizable cover, so if you already have a bean bag and want to change its look, all you need to do is to change its cover.
The price range for a bean bag is pretty diverse. High-end expensive models, with faux fur or stylized covers can cost at least $300-$500. But a decent price to pay is between $50-$100. Such bean bags may not be very fancy or have removable covers but they do the job.
The larger the bean bag, the higher the price and even washable bean bags with zipper covers are a lot more pricey than their regular counterparts. But the price can be justified by the uniqueness of such furniture, from its design to its usage. So the next time you go furniture shopping, pick up a bean bag instead of a chair and experience the difference. Warning: sitting on a bean bag is never a 5 minute job, you may not want to leave the chair!