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When the world feels overwhelming (and it feels overwhelming quite a bit these days, doesn't it?), few things feel better than curling up in your favorite reading chair with a good book.
The best reading chairs serve as welcome invitations to kick back, relax, and get lost in a great story while forgetting the day's troubles. And they should be comfortable enough to support you through even the longest, most epic narratives.
But what's comfortable for someone else, might not be comfortable for you, so it's important to consider your needs and ergonomic preferences before committing to a reading chair for the long-term.
Meet the experts
To create each guide on Living Cozy we consult a number of experts. In this article you'll hear from:
According to Lianne Leventhal, interior designer and owner of Beyond the Common, “The best reading chair is one that’s comfortable for you based on your body proportions and preferences."
"In general, reading chairs should look and feel inviting and comfortable. In my opinion, the most important thing is that a reading chair has arms that are comfortable and wide enough in case you want to place a book, snack, or beverage on it, or comfortably lean on them.”
Of course, a good reading chair should also look great, helping to elevate your aesthetic with a beautiful design without sacrificing comfort.
But finding a reading chair that checks all of your style and comfort boxes can certainly be a challenge. Here, we're highlighting the very best reading chairs based on factors like style, comfort, and price point to help you create the kind of peaceful reading retreat that you and your household deserve.
The 16 Best Reading Chairs for Any Space and Budget
The Park Swivel Armchair is perfect for kicking back with a good book. It's designed for comfort and features a deep seat with back and seat cushions that offer cloud-like comfort. It can also turn 360 degrees so you can change your view and perspective of your room at any moment. The seat cushion is removable and all cushions are supported by a webbing and spring suspension system.
The Park Swivel Armchair is available in a range of upholstery options: velvet, bouclé, vegan leather and grey fabric. The vegan leather has black mesh backing for leather breathability in all cushions.
Featuring a plush, comfortable seat and a versatile design, the Downing Chair from Maiden Home is a stellar addition to any household. It's highly customizable, allowing you to choose from luxe upholstery, like mohair, leather, and performance textured linen, and it can be purchased with a matching ottoman to help you create the ultimate in relaxing reading nooks.
According to Andra DelMonico, lead interior designer for Trendey, “The Downing Chair looks elegant and doesn’t immediately scream 'reading chair,' making it perfect for placing in your hallway nook, under the stairs, or in the living room.”
DelMonico also loves this modular chaise lounge chair for its comfy design: “The Espresso Aero Armchair is perfect for reading in. Stretch out on the chaise and place your favorite drink on the attached table platform. The large cushion will support your back and head as you settle in.”
Not only does this lounger chair offer a comfortable place for you to enjoy a great book, but it also makes it easy to sip a hot beverage thanks to built-in side tables and arms that can shift from left to right at any time. Its modular design means it can also be paired with a variety of matching pieces from the brand, like the Espresso Aero 3-Seater Sectional and the Custom Asher Armchair, for a truly cohesive look.
If you have very particular style needs, then you'll love this accent chair from Interior Define for its nearly limitless customization options. You can choose everything from the style and finish of the legs to the cushion fill and upholstery.
The upholstery comes in virtually every color of the rainbow, making it easy to find the perfect hue to complement your aesthetic, whether you're looking for a sophisticated neutral or a vibrant pop of color. And the seat cushion's medium depth means the chair will feel comfortable to a wide range of body types.
One of the best reading chairs for large spaces, this beauty's ample size is ideal for all-day lounging. Yoselin Castro, senior interior designer at Mackenzie Collier Interiors, particularly recommends it for open-concept rooms:
"If the reading chair is being added to an open-concept room, a ‘chair and a half’ can be ideal for the space. These types of chairs are usually slightly larger in size and can accommodate up to two people (snuggly). [This chair from Maiden Home] is a perfect example and suitable option for someone working with ample space.”
With its tufted back cushion and matching ottoman, the Slope Nomad Armchair features a modern design that will look fresh for years to come. In addition to being beautiful, the chair is an especially great option for busy households that see a lot of traffic.
The upholstery's tight olefin fiber weave is scratch- and stain-resistant, making it ideal for households with pets or little ones. Plus, it comes with a built-in USB charger and power cord so you can charge your reading devices with ease. It also has plenty of customization options including your choice of wood or metal legs.
With its clean lines and elegantly simple silhouette, this Mid-Century inspired accent chair will enhance any room it lives in. You can choose from performance fabric upholstery that comes in a variety of hues, or opt for a rich brown or black leather chair. Allform's modular design also means you can pair this armchair with other pieces in its collection at any time.
Even better, the chair's hardwood frame comes with a lifetime warranty, so it's truly built to withstand the test of time. And you can enjoy it all risk-free thanks to the brand's free trial, which lets you try it out for 100 days—if you're not fully satisfied, you can return it for a full refund, no questions asked.
A favorite of Lianne Leventhal, interior designer and owner of Beyond the Common, this accent chair is a conversation starter to be sure. It belongs to Inside Weather's 100% modular Bondi collection, which means you can optionally purchase matching sectionals and ottomans to find the perfect arrangement for your space.
The chair is composed of a FSC-certified solid ash hardwood frame and 100% recycled down alternative, so it's equal parts durable, sustainable, and comfortable. And each cushion and pillow comes with a removable cover for easy washing and nylon casings, which offer a water-resistant shield.
“This chair is super comfy and has a really small profile for a small space," raves Danielle Driscoll, interior designer and editor of Finding Silver Pennies. The swivel chair's small footprint means it's great for enjoying a good book in a small reading nook, but it's so comfortable you'll feel like you're relaxing in a much bigger chair.
The seat cushion is composed of soy-based polyfoam wrapped in downproof ticking for a cloud-like experience, while the 360-degree swivel function means you won't strain your neck when you turn around and tell your family that you'll need at least 30 more minutes with your book.
This ultra-comfy recliner features a tufted cushion and tapered roll arms, giving it a timeless appearance that will work in any decade, but its unidirectional webbing suspension system built on an engineered plywood frame are nothing short of futuristic.
Thanks to its versatile design, you can seamlessly transition this chair from your reading nook to your living room or home office: “Not your typical recliner, the style of this chair is modern and it can be used as a regular accent chair!” suggests Castro.
Crafted with a solid wood frame, this accent chair's long, tapered legs give it a hint of retro flair, combined with a clean silhouette and deep-seated design that will let you comfortably curl up for hours with your favorite book.
Speaking of comfort, the velvet upholstery is oh-so-soft and it comes in five neutral hues, including light gray, rust, and dark blue, so it can complement diverse color palettes. And at less than $500, it's one of the more budget-friendly options on this list.
If you're a major interior design enthusiast like we are, then you might also be obsessed with Amber Lewis, an incredible interior designer whose California-cool aesthetic is revered far and wide. And she's taken her signature aesthetic and applied it to this chair collaboration with Anthropologie.
The chair's low-slung arms and squared silhouette are perfectly on trend, while the feather-filled cushions provide the kind of comfort that will make you want to skip out on any responsibilities and spend the whole day reading.
Recliner chairs are a reading nook's best friend, offering effortless comfort that's perfect for a rainy afternoon spent digging into a good book. And this option from BenchMade Modern looks as good as it feels.
“The Gough Recliner Chair is nice because it has a high back and supportive arm rails," said DelMonico. "Its curved design helps give it an ergonomic shape for maximum support.” The chair also comes with a discrete footrest for extended comfort, which you can neatly tuck under the chair when you're not using it.
Just looking at this cushy chair from Article makes us want to stop what we're doing and sink into it for hours. Its soft, sumptuous curves are both trendy and inviting, and the three neutral colors it comes in—black, white, and gray—will never go out of style.
Style it with a cozy throw blanket and a nearby plant or two for an instant reading nook, or use it as an accent chair in your home office for when you need to relax and recharge.
You can't go wrong with a good club chair, especially when it looks as great as this one. Featuring oak wood legs and luxe upholstery, the chair is highly durable, while the two hues it comes in—olive and blonde ash—can easily work with all sorts of aesthetics.
The chair's airy silhouette makes it a particularly great fit for small spaces, since it won't visually overwhelm a room, but it's the kind of chair that will truly work with any space, whether it's a teeny reading nook or an expansive, open-concept living room.
When it comes to affordable design, it's tough to beat IKEA, which consistently offers beautiful, design-forward options at budget-friendly prices, like this timeless armchair. The chair's bentwood frame, curved armrests and high back make it comfortable for long reading sessions in your nook, but the versatile design makes it serve equally well as a living room, sunroom, or home office accent.
The designer-approved chair also happens to live in the home of Danielle Driscoll, interior designer and editor of Finding Silver Pennies, so purchasing one would put you in great company: “We actually just bought one for our sunroom. It's so comfortable and it's a great price.”
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Where Should You Place a Reading Chair?
Once you decide on the perfect reading chair, it's time to figure out where to place it. If you're like many people, then reading can be a challenge when you're surrounded by noisy distractions, so Andra DelMonico recommends that you, “Place your reading chair in a quiet space in your home. This could be in the bedroom, office, or living room. It could even be a small nook under your stairs."
Speaking of nooks, the beauty of a cozy reading nook is that you can create one virtually anywhere—all you need is a little bit of empty space. According to Lianne Leventhal, "There are a lot of fun opportunities to be had when creating a comfortable nook space. Though bedrooms are often a perfect spot, reading chairs are equally at home in a living room or family room as long as the space allows it. Shelving and a place to store books, a fireplace, or even a window seat can transform any corner into a spot for a reading chair."
"There are a lot of fun opportunities to be had when creating a comfortable nook space. Though bedrooms are often a perfect spot, reading chairs are equally at home in a living room or family room as long as the space allows it."
To make your nook cozier and inviting, Leventhal suggests that you, "Dress it up with your favorite novels, a few unique knick-knacks, and a chunky knit blanket to add another layer of that cozy home library feel.” Of course, it never hurts to add a plant or two there, as well.
"Once you get your new reading chair home, figuring out the best place for it is really determined by where you are in your life," adds interior decorator and designer, Lindsey Machado. "A reading chair would be totally appropriate in a main living space (living room, family room, etc.). But, if you are trying to create a quiet haven for yourself away from the hustle and bustle of life, it would be better suited in a quiet bedroom."
Ideally, wherever you create your reading nook it will also be close to an outlet that you can use to plug in your reading light. But if your space doesn't allow for it, you can use an extension cord to extend the reach of a nice reading lamp, stapling the cord along your baseboards if you want to make it more discrete. You can also purchase a portable reading light that you can clip right onto your book and take with you to whatever cozy spot you land on.
Kelly Weimert is a writer, editor, and interior design expert with 10 years of experience writing about design and home decor. She's written for interior design publications such as MyDomaine, Apartment Therapy, Domino Magazine, and Hunker. When she's not writing or editing, she's probably busy obsessing over how to beautify her home.
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