When someone says “bean bag chairs”, what comes to mind? A shiny monstrosity in the corner of your teenage bedroom, next to your pet rock and your lava lamp? A hippie chair from the 1970s? Are you struggling to get comfortable in a lumpy bag of pellets?
If you’ve never known a good one, then perhaps.
Invented in the 1960s in Italy as a non-conformist answer to traditional furniture, bean bag chairs slowly grew in popularity with the post-war design movement.
Unfortunately, poorly made hippie chairs with cheap materials gave them a bad image with some shoppers. And their association with alternative lifestyles means that bean bag chairs have rarely been taken seriously in the mainstream.
If they seem like a fun item but without much quality, put those assumptions aside for a moment. With the modern designs available, bean bag chairs can be chic, stylish and great for your wellbeing too!
Here are some ways bean bag chairs can make a big difference to your lifestyle.
Bean Bag Chairs Are Relaxing and Versatile
Bean bag chairs are super relaxing! Anyone who’s had the experience of sinking into one after a long day can confirm it.
Like a memory foam mattress, the filling works with the body, rather than against it, helping you to achieve the ultimate comfortable seating position.
What we think of as “traditional” hippie chairs and tables are not always good for us. High rates of back pain among office workers show the negative impact of sitting in one position on a rigid chair for hours on end. Sitting slumped over a keyboard or in rigid positions with constant pressure on the same areas can create sore spots that lead to more chronic pain if left untreated.
Standing, sitting on the floor on cushions or mats, or using bean bag chairs are great ways to switch up your sitting and lying positions, which can be great for reducing back pain. The Japanese have understood this for a long time. With their tradition of sitting on the floor or kneeling on cushions and the West is slowly catching up.
Instead of opting for traditional furniture that will have you sitting in the same position you’ve been in all day, choose a bean bag chair for your lounge and enjoy the benefits of mixing up your seating options.
They’re Safe for Children and Pets
If you ever owned a bean bag in the last decades of the 20th century, you might have had the experience of trying to vacuum up thousands of tiny beads from your carpet after one of the seams gave way.
Traditionally older and cheaper bean bags are full of very lightweight polystyrene beads.
Microbeads are great for moving the bean bag around but not so great for health and safety: the choice of material meant that they were so prone to static electricity that they’d stick to almost anything, including people and pets. More dangerously, they could easily be inhaled or ingested as they were small and light.
Unfortunately, these older chairs didn’t contain any safety measures to prevent this.
Modern, high-quality bean bag chairs now have a second bag inside which contains the beads, as well as an outer cover, so there’s far less likelihood of those beads exploding all over your floor and causing a safety hazard.
However, for the ultimate safe option, consider each material your chair contains.
- Lead-free vinyl
- Natural lambswool – this is an excellent material for regulating body temperature, keeping you cool in the Summer and warm in the Winter
- Eco-friendly wood shavings or shredded foam
If you do choose to opt for polystyrene beads as a filling, a double-bagged bean bag is a must.
Bean Bag Chairs Are Stain Resistant and Durable
Is your furniture a magnet for coffee, wine and other highly staining liquids? Or do you have children who always forget to take their shoes off before curling up on the couch? Dirty shoes lead to ugly footprints on your upholstery (and goodness knows how many germs from the street!).
A bean bag chair with a wipe-clean cover (like leather, or that lead-free vinyl mentioned earlier) will make cleaning a breeze. If it gets filthy, you can unzip the cover to clean it deeply, or easily replace it if it gets too damaged.
Extra covers are also relatively cheap compared to trying to reupholster an armchair or couch, and you can get virtually any fabric you please.
Are you Redecorating? No need to get rid of that chair. Just slip on a new cover!
Good quality bean bags will come with a warranty, so always check for this before you buy.
They Can Be Great for the Environment
Perhaps you’ve been put off of buying a beanbag chair because you heard that the pellets or outer fabric are bad for the environment?
Poor quality chairs may be bad for the environment. Better quality bean bag chairs use eco-friendly materials like shredded foam or even recycled polystyrene beads. No trees need to be cut down, and they’re so durable that you won’t need to buy another for a long time!
You Have a Huge Amount of Choice
There are so many different types of bean bag chairs that you can find something to fit into your lifestyle easily!
Take all of the different shapes and sizes. Here are some popular choices.
If you’re one of the 70% of Australians who play video games regularly, your play sessions can benefit from a gamer chair!
A gaming bean bag chair consists of a deep bucket seat and a high back to give you support and avoid that dreaded “numb-bum” experience from sitting for hours in one spot.
Bean Bag Chairs That Look Like Regular Furniture
If you’re not yet ready to take the plunge and forego traditional armchairs wholesale, then why not get a bean bag chair? You may even find one that looks exactly like regular furniture, but will still provide you with all of the benefits that the bean bag filling can bring?
What could be more relaxing than sinking into a bean bag chair while outside in the middle of Summer? With outdoor bean bag chairs, you have this option. Outdoor bean bag chairs use materials that can withstand different weather conditions and the dirt and moisture of being outside.
And Much More!
Here are some additional options:
- Bean bag chairs for your pets
- Massive bean bags that can double up as beds
- Small, round bean bag chairs which are firm enough to use as ottomans
- Bean bag cushions
- A huge bean bag chair
This list isn’t even an exhaustive list of the choices available.
As for covers, there are options now that can complement any interior decoration theme, so there’s no need to worry that a bean bag chair will clash with your chosen shades. And if you want a new look, unzip the cover and put a new one on!
You can even get branded bean bag chairs that can move an office, co-working space or waiting area into the 21st century.
They Can Be Great for People with Autism
Bean bag chairs can be an excellent choice for people with autism. Because they’re highly adaptive, they can create a feeling of security and safety – similar to a weighted blanket.
The research of Dr Temple Grandin has emphasised the need for “deep pressure touch” in some individuals with autism. And bean bag chairs can appeal to this need with their firm fillings which provide sensory feedback.
The Right Chair for You
So now that you know about the different chairs you can buy, how can you tell if you’ve got a good one?
And how do different types of bean bag chairs complement different lifestyles and activities?
It all depends on how you want to use it!
As we said above, a good chair works with the body. The right chair should be:
- Filled just enough to support your weight, while not being overstuffed
- If it has a structured shape (like an armchair or gamer chair), it should also have a firm enough base so that you’re not wobbling around
- When you sit down, you shouldn’t feel like you’re drowning in the chair, or like it’s unstable
- However, it should be yielding enough so that you’re not seated on top of it
Also, consider stitching and fabric quality. Tight, even stitching is a sign of quality. If you’re buying online, you can request fabric swatches from the online store to check before you buy.
From Hippie Chair to the Ultimate All-Rounder
Bean bag chairs are an excellent option for anyone who wants a relaxing, eco-friendly and durable piece of furniture for their home.
While they may have started life as “hippie chairs” with more appeal to alternative lifestyles than mainstream shoppers. People are finally beginning to realise that these chairs are deserving of a place alongside futons, recliners and day beds. Bean bags are now a versatile piece of furniture that can be a staple in any modern living room. And the day of the velvet corduroy hippie chair is long gone!