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For many, recliner sofas are reminiscent of the eyesores prominently displayed in the living rooms of our parents growing up… which is to say, they’re known for being less than aesthetically pleasing.
Now, however, reclining couches are available in a variety of stylish options – from the very modern to the very traditional. According to interior designer Kevin Francis O’Gara, with their ability to adjust to exactly the positioning your mood requires, “recliner sofas can add a new level of comfort to your living room.”
Our team put together a guide to nine of the best recliner sofas of 2022, as well as information on styles, features, and more to look for when shopping for one.
Meet the experts
At Living Cozy, we produce our content alongside interior design and home decor experts. In this guide, you’ll advice from:
The Couch by Homebody is completely modular and designed for comfort with the option to add reclining seats to your chosen configuration. Each reclining module is fully automatic and instantly adjustable, with just 2 inches of clearance necessary at all times.
The Couch is made with a 5-layer eco-friendly down alternative foam seat, ergonomic head rest, edgeless armrests and endless configurations. Plus, your choice of seven colors and three upholstery materials. One color selection (Velvet and Beach Day) includes A/B two-tone seat cushions so you can mix up the design of your sofa by simply flipping the cushions.
With power reclining seats and easy-to-clean microfiber upholstery, the Skye Microfiber Power Reclining Sofa allows you to adjust your positioning to maximize comfort. Whether you’re chatting with friends, binge watching a new show, or looking to take a nap, this sofa adjusts to whatever position fits your activity of the hour. Its transitional style fits in with most living room aesthetics, while pillowy armrests and head cushioning ensures that you’re always maximally comfortable.
The contemporary Coburn Two Piece Motion Sofa reclines for increased comfort– without sacrificing style. The power sofa is upholstered in Crypton, a performance fabric that easily withstands the spills and stains that come with the everyday. The sofa comes highly recommended by expert Kevin Francis O’Gara for its emphasis on comfort and style. While the sofa reclines with the push of a button, hidden controls ensure that they’re not an eyesore.
The made to order Whitney Sofa accommodates all living spaces with a variety of upholstery to choose from. The power recliner ensures that you’re always able to lift your feet up, and comes with two accent pillows and reversible cushions. Plus, two built-in USB ports allow you to easily make sure that your devices are charged up and ready to go.
With a waterfall back design and plump, pillow top arms, the Tulen Manual Reclining Sofa is designed for comfort. The dual motor sofa fully reclines so that you can relax while watching a show or hanging out with family or friends, while 100% polyester upholstery makes for easy spot removal.
This reclining 3-seater from Furniture in America brings relaxation to your home with its padded armrests, oversized headrests, and plush cushioning. Manual levers allow you to lean back and lift your feet up easily, while easy-to-clean faux leather lets you relax when the inevitable stains and spots occur. The sofa is also available as a reclining loveseat with a luxurious center console that features cup holders.
The Italian crafted Gio Power Reclining Sofa brings an element of luxury to your living room. The sofa’s contemporary silhouette is stylish as well as adaptable to all aesthetics, while its power foot and headrests allow each seat to adjust to the most comfortable positioning. The sofa is also available in durable top grain leather to warm up your living space, as well as two different sizes.
The Leisure Power Reclining Sofa by Crate & Barrel offers endless options for lounging thanks to its independently operating back cushions and footrest. Recommended by Kevin Francis O’Gara, the sofa is part of a collection that features many different configurations, including a power recliner chair and sectional. Dog owners and parents alike can breathe easy after purchasing this sofa, as its upholstery is easy to spot clean with soap and water.
The power reclining Pearce Square Arm sofa by Pottery Barn brings a classic feel to any home. The sofa is available in a variety of colors, textures, and fabrics. Recommended by Kevin Francis O’Gara, it continues to impress with its timeless design, down-wrapped-blend cushions, and use of certified nontoxic materials.
With a waterfall back design, chenille upholstery, and a pillowy headrest, the Southgate Reclining Sofa can transform your living space into a next level home theater. Manual levers allow you to adjust the sofa’s back and footrests– making the possibilities for comfort limitless.
In addition to comfort, the sofa is built for everyday use from the whole family. 100% polyester fabric makes for an easy spot clean, while heavy duty spring support prevents sagging.
The first thing to consider when purchasing a new sofa is sizing. This is especially true when working with reclining sofas, as there needs to be enough room for the sofa when upright and reclined.
When measuring for a recliner sofa, expert Sara Chiarilli advises “first knowing if you’re working with a wall hugger, or a traditional recliner,” as “wall huggers actually move down and out when reclining, while traditional reclining sofas move backwards.”
More specifically, Chiarilli says that wall huggers only need to be about two inches of space from the wall, while traditional recliners need up to 25 inches of space to fully recline. So, when measuring for your recliner sofa, make sure you have the space to accommodate one– you’ll need more than you think.
Another element to consider when purchasing a new sofa is upholstery material. Choosing the right upholstery material for you often depends on your lifestyle needs and style preferences.
For example, those with kids and pets often choose sofas made from performance fabrics, such as microfiber, which are specifically designed to withstand dirt, spills, and are easy to spot clean. However, others may like the look and feel of materials like leather or velvet. Take a look at our guide to choosing the best sofa fabric for more information on upholstery, day-to-day maintenance, pricing, and more.
From wall hugger recliners to lever handle recliners, there are many different styles and features to look for when shopping for a recliner sofa. However, the biggest choice to make while searching for your perfect recliner is between power recliners and manual recliners. We’ve outlined both choices below, as well as a few more main features:
Power recliners: Power recliners use a motor instead of a spring to power into their desired position. Plug your recliner into a wall outlet and, with the touch of a button, adjust the seat and footrest into position, making for an even more luxurious experience to some.
Manual recliners: Manual recliners are adjusted using a pull handle or lever that moves your seat into position. Unlike power recliners, there’s no need to plug your recliner into an outlet. Manual recliners are often more affordable, but are seen as less luxurious to some.
Wall huggers: Wall huggers are recliners known for their space saving configuration that slides the seat and footrest forward as you adjust your seat into position– requiring less space behind the sofa to operate. These sofas are perfect for those shopping for a recliner that will easily fit into a small space.
How to Style a Recliner Sofa in Your Home
Compared to recliners of the past, recliners today have come a long way in terms of style. The difference between a recliner and a traditional sofa “can be very subtle,” according to O’Gara, who recommends styling recliners with a couple of throw pillows and a blanket. “But don’t overstuff it,” O’Gara advises, “as this will get in the way of the reclining function.”
For many, the space between a recliner and the wall can be tricky to style. Sara Chiarilli recommends adjusting the layout of the room so that the reclining sofa can float within it. Additionally, Chiarilli suggests “looking for round cocktail tables to allow for the space needed for the foot rests to come out into the room” and to plan on using floor plants and baskets to soften the lines of the sofa, and to hide cords or the back of the sofa. “Use floor outlets wherever possible, and mix in great lighting like floor lamps to make the space flow,” adds Chiarilli.
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Recliner Sofa FAQs
What are the disadvantages of a recliner sofa?
While there are many benefits to recliner sofas, like anything, there are also disadvantages. Sara Chiarilli says that recliner sofas often require a lot of space due to their bulky design, making them less than ideal while shopping for small spaces.
When it comes to design, recliner sofas tend to be limited in design options when compared to non-motion sofas, as designs tend to either be very modern or very traditional– with little in between.
Is a reclining sofa good for your back?
The short answer is yes, reclining sofas can actually help your back. While many think that sitting upright reduces the risk of back pain, sitting at 90 degree angles for long periods of time puts a lot of pressure on your back muscles. By sitting in a reclined position, you’re reducing the pressure put on your back– helpful in reducing back pain.
Where should you place a reclining sofa?
When deciding on placement for your reclining sofa, make sure to factor in space between your sofa and the wall for easy reclining. Some choose to place their sofa in the center of the room for a “floating” look, so that leaving additional space against the wall is not needed.
When should you opt for a power recliner sofa over a manual one?
When considering whether to purchase a power recliner or a manual one, consider your ability to plug your sofa into an outlet, as well as the strength and mobility of the people using the sofa. For some, it’s helpful mobility-wise to use electronic controls over manual ones.
Additionally, electronic controls tend to be hidden in the couch, making them visually appealing. If this is important to you, a power recliner is your best bet.
Sasha Weilbaker is a freelance writer with bylines in Thrillist, Business Insider, and The Vegetarian Times. She's particularly interested in the intersection of sustainability and materials. In the wild, she can be found cycling around New England, scouting coffee shops, or obsessing over new podcasts.
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