The Best Reading Chairs

There's nothing like cozying up with a good book. Upgrade your living space with one of these comfortable and stylish reading chairs.

By Emily Blackwood and Jasmine Harding | Updated Oct 20, 2022 2:33 PM

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The Best Reading Chair Options

Photo: wayfair.com

Spending hours lost in a novel is even better when curled up in the comfort of a cozy seat, but not all reading chairs are created equal. The best reading chair for any living space is one that provides support in addition to comfort. Features such as an ottoman or reclining function make these chairs even more appealing.

Learn about the most popular styles of reading chairs, how to select the right one for the space, and our top picks for book lovers, from plush leather recliners to elegant accent chairs.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Sand & Stable Syloh 61-Inch Wide Barrel Chair
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Jummico Fabric Recliner Chair 
  3. BEST FABRIC: Article Mod Lounge Chair
  4. BEST LEATHER: Pottery Barn Manhattan Leather Armchair
  5. BEST VELVET: AllModern Jones 30.7-Inch Wide Velvet Armchair
  6. BEST LUXURY: Herman Miller Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman
  7. BEST RECLINER: La-Z-Boy Jasper Wall Recliner
  8. BEST SWIVEL: West Elm Cozy Swivel Chair
  9. BEST CHAISE LOUNGE: House of Hampton Deese Chaise Lounge
  10. BEST FOR SMALL SPACES: West Elm Book Nook Armchair
  11. BEST OUTDOOR: Best Choice Products Outdoor Hanging Lounge Chair
The Best Reading Chair Options

Photo: wayfair.com

What to Look for When Choosing the Best Reading Chair

For many, unwinding with a good book—or magazine (we’re not here to judge)—is a favorite way to relax. Those aiming to lounge with their literature should invest in the kind of cozy reading chair that allows them to sink into comfortably while still being supportive enough for them to hold up a book or tablet. Keep reading as we discuss which key factors to keep in mind when shopping.

Before starting an online search for some of the best reading chairs on the market, shoppers will first want to determine their style preference.

Upholstery Material

There are two general types of upholstery for lounge chairs, armchairs, and the like: leather and fabric, with fabric having several subtypes. The upholstery material chosen will directly correlate with the chair’s durability and comfort.

  • Genuine leather is extremely durable and can stand up to years of wear and tear. It’s the highest-quality (read: most expensive) upholstery available. Although it’s a strong material overall, leather is vulnerable to scratches and water damage.
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) mimics the appearance of real leather but at a lower cost. This synthetic material is more scratch-resistant and stands up better to water in comparison to real leather.
  • Polyurethane is another popular and budget-friendly fabric option. It’s waterproof and stain-resistant, and it has enhanced torsion strength, meaning it can withstand cuts and punctures.
  • Velvet has a soft feel and luxurious sheen, coming in natural and cheaper synthetic varieties. This fabric is virtually snag-proof and immune to pet scratches, but it tends to attract dust and pet hair.
  • Polyester is a water-resistant fabric favored for sofas and chairs because it resists stains and spills. Polyester velvet is particularly popular, offering the high-end look of true velvet at a lower cost.
  • Microfiber is affordable and relatively stain-resistant, and it holds its color well. On the downside, it attracts dust and pet hair and may generate static cling.

For those with children or pets, polyurethane, polyester, and microfiber are good fabric choices because they’re durable and clean easily with mild soap and water. Velvet can be cleaned using the same method. Genuine leather chairs require a specialized leather cleaner but are otherwise simple to maintain.

Frame Material

The material of the chair frame will determine how much weight it can bear and how sturdy it is. Metal is the strongest and longest-lasting option. However, if users don’t restuff the chair cushions periodically, a metal frame can create uncomfortable pressure points over time.

Hardwood is another good option because of its durability and give, though solid-wood-frame chairs can be expensive. Alternatively, manufactured wood is an affordable frame material, but it’s the weakest and generally has the lowest weight capacity.

Style and Space

For those who don’t have a specific style in mind, there are several classic reading-chair designs to consider.

  • Club armchairs are typically fabricated with leather or another thick upholstery. These lounge-type seats usually come with a footstool or ottoman, so users can put up their feet and relax.
  • Lounge chairs are designed with or without armrests. Round reading chairs are a favorite in this style, allowing the user to curl up and get cozy thanks to the chair’s softer lines.
  • Recliners are another go-to for readers, with modern styles offering features such as a swivel base, cupholders, and massage functions.
  • Chaise lounges offer a lovely space in which to lounge and put up one’s feet because of their elongated shape—plus, they look more elegant than recliners.
  • Hammock chairs have a fun look and provide a feeling of weightlessness in their enveloping fabric seat.
  • Floor chairs are designed for portability, with many options that fold up and can be stowed away when not in use. These legless reading chairs are among the most cost-effective.

The available space in one’s residence or office will also determine the type of reading chair that best suits the spot. For those who have limited space, consider a compact armchair or lounge chair. On the other hand, users can take advantage of a larger space with a chaise lounge or an oversize recliner. Regardless of chair type, however, it’s wise to measure the living or working space available before making a purchase.

Comfort and Support

Comfort and support go beyond just having a pleasant place to read. An ergonomically designed reading chair is built to ensure that it feels comfortable, even after a long period of sitting. Chairs with a tall back provide a place to rest one’s head and reduce strain on the neck. Ideally, the seat cushion will fall in that perfect middle ground between plush and firm for adequate support.

Having a reading chair with spacious armrests can provide a spot to hold up a book, beverage, or even a bowl of snacks. Users who want to kick up their legs at the end of a long day can choose a reading chair with a footrest or ottoman. These accessories can prevent foot swelling and discomfort from sitting for long periods of time. Otherwise, shoppers can purchase this foot support separately or opt for a fully reclining chair.

Additionally, think about seat depth before investing in a reading chair. For tall users or those who prefer to sit with their legs curled up, chairs with deep seats are a good choice. A deep seat is also ideal for those who like to adjust the chair settings frequently to find the perfect seating position. These reading chairs typically have a seat depth of 20 inches or more.

Our Top Picks

A comfortable reading chair is the perfect backdrop for that next page-turner, providing a supportive and snug spot to crack open a new book. Cozy up for your next read with the best reading chairs ahead.

Best Overall

Sand & Stable Syloh 61-Inch Wide Barrel Chair
Photo: wayfair.com

For cozying up and reading with a loved one—or just sprawling out alone—an oversize reading chair is a smart pick. Measuring 61 inches across, this extra-large barrel chair from Sand & Stable has plenty of space for reading and relaxing.

A solid-wood and plywood frame material make this oversize chair a sturdy choice. To accommodate one, two, or even three people, it has a 400-pound weight capacity. Foam and synthetic fiberfill provide support so the seat doesn’t sag, and a polyester-blend fabric and included throw pillow offer a low-maintenance finish. With an inviting and approachable feel and look, this oversize couch is made to be enjoyed.

Product Specs

  • Upholstery: Polyester-blend fabric
  • Frame: Solid wood and plywood
  • Colorways: Creme, gray, silver, brown, coffee, black, blue, and red
  • Dimensions: 37 inches high by 61 inches wide by 61 inches deep

Pros

  • Extra-wide seat
  • 400-pound weight capacity
  • Throw pillow included

Cons

  • Large footprint
  • Round shape makes pairing with side or coffee tables awkward

Get the Sand & Stable reading chair on Wayfair.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Reading Chair Option: JUMMICO Fabric Recliner Chair
Photo: amazon.com

Recliners make ideal reading chairs because they provide customized head and neck support as well as a place to comfortably rest one’s feet. However, the Jummico fabric recliner chair goes even beyond those features with eight massage modes aimed at relieving waist fatigue and promoting more relaxation.

Even if users choose to just recline without the massage function, the chair’s breathable fabric; thick backrest padding; broad, curved armrests; and adjustable footrest make it a desirable option. This inexpensive, modern-style recliner is available in five colors, including gray, beige, brown, light blue, and red. And users can adjust the recline feature from 90 degrees to 165 degrees.

Product Specs

  • Upholstery: Fabric
  • Frame: Steel
  • Colorways: Beige, brown, gray, light blue, and red
  • Dimensions: 39 inches high by 20 inches wide by 29 inches deep

Pros

  • Sturdy steel frame
  • Comfortable reclining design
  • 90- to 165-degree reclining angle
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Relatively narrow seat and armrests

Get the Jummico reading chair on Amazon.

Best Fabric

The Best Reading Chair Option: Article Mod Lounge Chair
Photo: article.com

Unwind from a long day and unfurl that next book or magazine in the Article Mod Lounge Chair. Not only is this seat a comfortable choice, it’s also a stylish pick for the living room, bedroom, or other favorite reading room. The deep seat and curved arms create an enveloping effect, wrapping users up while providing great support with a strong, straight back.

Polyester upholstery makes this chair a low-maintenance option. The heathered fabric adds some visual dimension, and this chair comes in four colors: a medium gray (Jay Gray), heathered dark blue (Blue Berry), warm orange (Orange Spice), and deep minty green (Spearmint Aqua). The chair sits on solid wood legs, splayed out at a slight angle to complete its midcentury-modern aesthetic.

Product Specs

  • Upholstery: Polyester
  • Frame: Unlisted
  • Colorways: Jay Gray, Blue Berry, Orange Spice, and Spearmint Aqua
  • Dimensions: 41.5 inches high by 35 inches wide by 34 inches deep

Pros

  • Stylish midcentury-modern design
  • Deep, cozy seat
  • Solid wood legs

Cons

  • Requires some assembly

Get the Article reading chair on Article.

Best Leather

The Best Reading Chair Option: Pottery Barn Manhattan Leather Armchair
Photo: potterybarn.com

There are few seating options more classic than an elegant leather chair. The Pottery Barn Manhattan Leather Armchair is a handsome choice to add to any living space. This large chair has a stately appearance inspired by the iconic 1930s club chair design, which features a high back, large arms, and a deep seat. A nailhead accent and stout wooden legs add to this chair’s tasteful look.

This armchair is available as a stand-alone chair or as a set with a matching ottoman. Shoppers can choose from 24 color options, ranging from white leather to camel tones to midnight black. SInce it’s made of real leather, this chair is a bit of a splurge but is well worth it for those looking for a high-quality reading seat.

Product Specs

  • Upholstery: Leather
  • Frame: Birch wood and engineered wood
  • Colorways: Customizable
  • Dimensions: 35.5 inches high by 36.5 inches wide by 42.5 inches deep

Pros

  • 1930s-inspired classic club chair design
  • Large range of finish options
  • Roomy and deep seat

Cons

  • Expensive

Get the Pottery Barn reading chair at Pottery Barn.

Best Velvet

AllModern Jones 30.7-Inch Wide Velvet Armchair
Photo: wayfair.com

A velvet chair can add a glamorous accent to any room. This seat from AllModern is a contemporary take on a classic velvet armchair. It features a roomy seat with soft, velvet-lined plush cushions, which make this a cozy chair for reading, while gold or black metal legs add a bit of style.

Besides its refined look, this chair is beautifully made. The frame is crafted from solid pinewood, and the inner cushions are made from three layers of medium-density foam for the perfect amount of give. The soft velvet cushion covers are removable, which makes for easier cleaning, so users can keep the chair looking as beautiful as it feels for years to come.

Product Specs

  • Upholstery: Velvet
  • Frame: Solid pinewood
  • Colorways: Dark gray, light gray, and rust
  • Dimensions: 33.4 inches high by 30.7 inches wide by 35 inches deep

Pros

  • Chic design
  • Solid-wood frame
  • Comfortable medium-density cushions
  • Removable cushion covers for easier cleaning
  • Ideal as an accent chair

Cons

  • Some colors have visible chair-leg floor protectors

Get the AllModern reading chair on Wayfair.

Best Luxury

The Best Reading Chair Option: Herman Miller Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman
Photo: hermanmiller.com

Make a design statement with an Eames lounge chair. This world-famous chair is an excellent choice for those who want to add luxurious seating to a living room, bedroom, or home library. The Eames chair not only boasts one of the most iconic designs of the 20th century but is also extremely comfortable for reading or relaxing.

This chair-and-ottoman set features a molded plywood design and a comfortable, slightly reclined seat, made to cradle the body into relaxation. Shoppers can choose a standard or tall size and pick from a range of shell and upholstery options to customize their chair’s look.

Product Specs

  • Upholstery: Customizable
  • Frame: Wood and aluminum
  • Colorways: Customizable
  • Dimensions: 31.5 inches high by 33.5 inches wide by 35 inches deep (standard chair); 17.1 inches high by 20.75 inches wide by 21.5 inches deep (ottoman)

Pros

  • Iconic design
  • Customizable finish and upholstery
  • Supportive, reclined position

Cons

  • Luxury pricing

Get the Herman Miller reading chair and ottoman at Herman Miller.

Best Recliner

The Best Reading Chair Option: La-Z-Boy Jasper Wall Recliner
Photo: la-z-boy.com

The right recliner can quickly become the comfiest seat in the house, and since users can kick up their feet, it’s the perfect reading chair. The La-Z-Boy Jasper Wall Recliner is a generous choice. With a wide seat and a high back, this large recliner is built for tall and large users—but readers of any height will likely find it comfortable. Flared pillow arms and a pillow back cushion give this plush seat relaxing support.

To extend the recliner, simply pull on the convenient side handle. The back can recline without raising the leg rest for more seating flexibility. Since this recliner is a wall-hugger model, it can be placed mere inches from the wall while still offering a full recline.

Product Specs

  • Upholstery: Customizable
  • Frame: Unknown
  • Colorways: Customizable
  • Dimensions: 42 inches high by 40 inches wide by 38.5 inches deep

Pros

  • Several customizable options
  • Ideal for large and tall users
  • Back can recline separately from leg rest

Cons

  • Lacks comfort features—e.g., cupholders—seen in similarly priced recliners

Get the La-Z-Boy reading chair at La-Z-Boy or on Wayfair.

Best Swivel

The Best Reading Chair Option: West Elm Cozy Swivel Chair
Photo: westelm.com

With a low-slung design and a range of soft fabric upholstery choices, this swivel chair from West Elm arrives ready for lounging. Featuring a wide seat and an inviting rounded shape, it is perfect for curling up with a new book.

The smaller size is ideal for placing next to a bookshelf or to create a reading corner in the living room or bedroom. Since the chair swivels a full 360 degrees, a pair of these chairs makes a great choice for furnishing a conversation nook. The medium-firm cushion is removable and flippable for easy refluffing (which might be necessary if the user spends several hours lost in a good book), and since this comfy reading chair is designed to meet the demands of commercial use, it’s a durable option to have at home.

Product Specs

  • Upholstery: Customizable fabric
  • Frame: Engineered wood
  • Colorways: Customizable
  • Dimensions: 28.7 inches high by 38.6 inches wide by 35.4 inches deep

Pros

  • Stylish low-slung design
  • Several upholstery options
  • 360-degree swivel base
  • Great as an accent chair

Cons

  • Some made-to-order upholstery options may take longer to ship

Get the West Elm swivel reading chair at West Elm.

Best Chaise Lounge

The Best Reading Chair Option: House of Hampton Deese Chaise Lounge
Photo: wayfair.com

The extended design of a chaise lounge provides the perfect place to kick up one’s feet and lay back with a good book. The Deese chaise from House of Hampton features a sumptuous look, with button-tufted details and gray microsuede upholstery.

With its metal frame, this chaise lounge is a sturdy choice (and it will support up to 250 pounds of weight), while the addition of tapered wooden legs add an understated charm. An included bolster accent pillow adds to the chair’s coziness. The simple but elegant aesthetic makes this chaise a design chameleon; it will fit right in with traditional, rustic, or contemporary room styles.

Product Specs

  • Upholstery: Microsuede
  • Frame: Metal
  • Colorways: Gray
  • Dimensions: 36 inches high by 27.5 inches wide by 64 inches long

Pros

  • Button-tufted details add charm
  • Durable metal frame
  • Includes a bolster pillow

Cons

  • Requires some assembly

Get the House of Hampton reading chair on Wayfair.

Best for Small Spaces

The Best Reading Chair Option: West Elm Book Nook Armchair
Photo: westelm.com

Living in a small space doesn’t have to mean missing out on creating a cozy reading nook. The West Elm Book Nook Armchair is a good choice for tight corners, compact apartments, or cramped bedrooms.

This chair features a timeless design with low, curved armrests; a pitched seat; and a thick cushion. Midcentury-style solid-wood legs add a modern touch to its classic look. Although this chair has a smaller seat (and also a smaller footprint), it isn’t lacking in comfort. Measuring 32.3 inches high by 26.5 inches wide by 31.5 inches deep, this chair is more compact than most recliners and armchairs, and it’s easy to disassemble, transport, and reassemble.

Product Specs

  • Upholstery: Fabric
  • Frame: Solid and engineered wood
  • Colorways: Beige and blue
  • Dimensions: 32.3 inches high by 26.5 inches wide by 31.5 inches deep

Pros

  • Small footprint
  • Thick, comfortable cushion
  • Attractive midcentury-modern design
  • Sophisticated accent chair

Cons

  • Narrow armrests

Get the West Elm book nook reading chair at West Elm.

Best Outdoor

The Best Reading Chair Option: Best Choice Products Outdoor Hanging Curved Chaise
Photo: amazon.com

The Best Choice Products outdoor hanging curved chaise is made for those who enjoy reading outdoors. With a curved-steel chaise hanging beneath a removable 46-inch canopy, this outdoor chair provides the unique experience of weightless lounging. Plus, the canopy is ultraviolet (UV)-resistant to supply the perfect amount of shade to see one’s book clearly.

The affordable chair, which is available in a range of five colors, features 2-inch foam-filled cushions and a removable headrest for extra support. However, be aware that at 73 inches long and 46 inches wide, it’s quite large and therefore requires a lot of space. Its weight capacity is 265 pounds.

Product Specs

  • Upholstery: Polyester
  • Frame: Steel
  • Colorways: Gray, green, blue, orange, red, and teal
  • Dimensions: 78 inches high by 46 inches wide by 73 inches long

Pros

  • Suspended seat gives a feeling of weightlessness
  • Removable UV-resistant canopy
  • Suitable for outdoors

Cons

  • Large footprint

Get the Best Choice Products reading chair on Amazon or at Target.

Our Verdict

With its extra-large design and plenty of room for one or two to cozy up, the Sand & Stable reading chair strikes an excellent balance between style and comfort. It’s on the pricier side, so those looking for a more budget-friendly pick will want to consider the Jummico reading chair, an affordable and comfy reading chair with a useful massage feature.

How We Chose the Best Reading Chairs

A good book can draw a reader into a new world for hours—but reading in the wrong chair for a long time can leave the user feeling uncomfortable and sore when they come back to reality. The right chair can make reading a cozier experience.

When choosing the best reading chair, comfort was our top priority. Each chair we chose had several comfort features, including a supportive design, ample cushioning, and comfortable armrests, as well as extras such as a reclining back and adjustable footrest or massage functions. We also looked at consumer reviews, selecting chairs that show real-life evidence of comfort and adaptability to fit different interior design choices.

When it comes to furnishing a home, style is as important as comfort for many shoppers. We kept aesthetics in mind when choosing our top picks, selecting chairs that have an attractive design and come in a range of upholstery options so shoppers can choose a seat that suits their style. Lastly, we chose reading chairs from a range of price points, from budget-friendly to luxury, so shoppers can find a suitable choice for their home.

FAQs

Now that you’ve explored the options for some of the best reading chairs, it’s time to answer any remaining questions. Below, check out answers to a few questions you may have about reading chairs to ensure you choose the right one for getting lost in a good book.

Q. Do you need a reading chair? 

Although a reading chair isn’t a necessity, it is a nice piece of furniture to invest in. The best reading chairs on this list were chosen for striking a good balance between coziness and support, so the user can stay comfortable while settling down with a good book.

Q. What style of chair is best for reading? 

Several chair styles are suitable for reading, but the most popular styles include club chairs, lounge chairs, and recliners; these chairs are usually designed for comfort, making them a good choice for one’s reading nook.

Q. What makes a good reading chair?

A good reading chair typically features a sturdy metal- or wood-frame material, plush yet supportive cushions, a high back, wide armrests, and—depending on the user’s preference—a place to rest one’s feet.

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