What is a chaise lounge? Types, styling tips and more

Written by

04 July 2023


5 min read

From Ancient Egypt to being a 16th-century status symbol of the French aristocracy, the chaise lounge has a fascinating history and has long been considered a luxurious and elegant way of lounging and relaxing.

A chaise lounge is a sleek alternative to a traditional armchair or sofa, but if you have yet to hear the term 'chaise lounge', you may be wondering what it is and why you should consider one as a seating choice for your home.

A chaise lounge presents a stylish substitute for a conventional armchair or sofa. Featured product: Gina Recamier Right

What is a chaise lounge?

A chaise lounge is a type of furniture that’s a hybrid between a chair and a daybed. It features a lengthened seat that allows someone to stretch their legs without the need for an ottoman or footrest. The term "chaise lounge" is derived from French and literally translates to "long chair." It typically has a backrest at one end and is often upholstered with cushions for added comfort.

A brief history of the chaise lounge

Chaise lounges have a rich history that traces back to ancient civilisations. In Ancient Egypt, they were used as daybeds made from palm sticks, while in Ancient Greece, they were known as "klines" and were used for lounging and sleeping. The design we are familiar with today became popular in France during the 16th century and was a symbol of luxury and enhanced social status. Over time, the chaise lounge evolved and became popular in different cultures, with various styles and designs.

Throughout the course of history, chaise lounge designs have evolved, adapting to changes in style and function. Featured product: Retreat Chaise.

What's the purpose of a chaise lounge?

The primary purpose of a chaise lounge is to provide a comfortable seating area for relaxing, reading, sitting, or even taking a nap. It's also a versatile, multidimensional piece of furniture that will add an elegant touch to your living spaces.

Chaise lounge vs. sofa: what's the difference between the two?

While both chaise lounges and sofas are used for seating often as part of a living room furniture suite, there are distinct differences between the two. A chaise lounge is generally designed for a single person to stretch out on, whereas a standard sofa typically accommodates multiple people. 

Chaise lounges usually have only one armrest, a back support or a high headrest on one end, while sofas have a backrest and armrests that span the length of the furniture. You may also have come across chaise sofas and other high-quality furniture pieces in a suite, such as stools, chairs and tables. 

A chaise lounge can sometimes come as part of a wider furniture suite that includes a table and chairs. Featured product: Gina Module Center.

What types of chaise lounges are available?

There are various types of chaise lounges available, each catering to different preferences and uses. Some common types include:

  1. Traditional chaise lounges are often upholstered with rich fabrics and may have intricate wood carvings.
  2. Contemporary chaise lounges have a more modern design, often with cleaner lines and minimalistic features and often act as a lounge chair.
  3. Reclining chaise lounges feature an adjustable backrest that can be angled for comfort; reclining chaise lounges can act as a long footstool or a long seat.
  4. Outdoor chaise lounges are made from materials suitable for outdoor use, like rattan or weather-resistant fabrics.
Outdoor chaise lounges are often built from hardy materials such as rattan and weather-resistant fabrics that help retain colour and minimise UV damage. Featured product: Gina Module Center.

How to use a chaise lounge in your home

There are plenty of different ways you can place and use a chaise lounge in your home, here are some design tips:

Balance out other furniture with a chaise lounge

When incorporating a chaise lounge into your home, try to ensure it complements the room's scale, aesthetic, and function. To do this, choose a unit that is proportionate to the room size and existing furniture and try to place it in a location that doesn't hinder movement. The chaise lounge should work in tandem with other furniture, balancing their visual weight. Opt for a style, material, and colour that align with the room's decor. Assess its intended use, and ensure it offers comfort for activities such as reading or resting. 

Get creative with accessorising your chaise lounge

Don't hesitate to accessorise your chaise lounge with items like throw pillows or blankets; there are plenty of different options and combinations that you can use to give your chaise lounge a personal touch. 

Use a chaise lounge as a sofa alternative in a small space

In smaller living spaces, a chaise lounge can serve as a compact alternative to a traditional sofa. It provides a comfortable seating area without taking up too much space and can also be used in a guest room or spare bedroom as a sleeping or additional seating option.

Chaise lounges are a good seating option to consider for large open spaces. Featured product: Calmo 3-Seater Chaise 95 Metal Fredericia.

Combine a chaise and sofa

Combining a chaise lounge with a sofa can create a spacious and versatile seating area for larger spaces. This combination is sometimes sold and referred to as a "chaise sofa," which is essentially a sofa with an extended chaise section. 

You may also want to pair an existing sofa with a chaise lounge unit, particularly if their styles complement one another. Positioning a chaise lounge alongside a sofa can create an L-shaped seating arrangement which is suitable for multiple people, perfect for creating a cosy corner, ideal for reading or lounging. If you want to add additional seating in a small room, pair a chaise lounge with a smaller sofa or chair.

An interesting seating option to consider

A chaise lounge is a flexible, fashionable furniture item that can elevate the comfort and look of different areas in your home. By getting to know the various styles and learning how to incorporate them effectively, you can pick the perfect chaise lounge to meet your requirements, and begin to enjoy the various benefits they can bring to a space. 

Related article: Types of coffee tables - The best options for your home

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