In Praise of the Chaise

 Regency style recamier or chaise

Regency style recamier or chaise

Janet Ramin - Maybe it’s the wintry weather outside or the advent of the new year that lures me to lounge around and daydream of new projects, but I started to wish I had a real chaise to support my aching back. The chaise or lounge chair is one of those furniture pieces that almost everyone wishes they had but never really have the room for. The chaise is quite decadent, the form sinuous; it forces the occupant to lie back, relax, daydream, and basically ignore everyone else.

The chaise is such a favorite form that it shows up in famous artwork, such as the painting of Madame Recamier by French artist, Jacques Louis-David. In fact, the poser and painting was so memorable, the chaise became forever known as the recamier in France and in design circles. The photo above shows a similar recamier, in the Regency style.

Madame Recamier by Jacques Louis-David
Madame Recamier by Jacques Louis-David

I began to hunt around for the perfect chaise. If you want complete support and stability, we have the heavily cushioned and upholstered contemporary style such as the Fata chaise offered by ddc. Those who prefer a more streamlined but still supportive chaise may choose the Starlet by Barbara Barry. The clean, simple lines complement many contemporary living rooms and still offer thick cushions. 

Fata chaise by ddc
Fata chaise by ddc
Starlet chaise by Barbara Barry
Starlet chaise by Barbara Barry

For those who don't quite want an antique looking piece or a contemporary chaise, I found this wonderful transitional piece from Northwest Woodworkers' Gallery. Made of cherry and leather, this chaise designed by Curtis Erpelding, reflects mid-century styling with the updated lines of a more contemporary look. 

Chaise by Curtis Erpelding from Northwest Woodworkers' Gallery
Chaise by Curtis Erpelding from Northwest Woodworkers' Gallery

A personal favorite of mine is the George Nelson Chaise Model 5490. Nelson designed a modern and ergonomic interpretation of the chaise. The seat follows the curvature of a person’s back and the delicate curvilinear legs mimic the cushion lines.

Chaise lounge #5490 by George Nelson
Chaise lounge #5490 by George Nelson

Another modern style chaise – this one following a rectilinear form – is the Pierrot King Dormeuse designed by Glenn Thomas for ddc. The Dormeuse recalls the International style chaise by Mies van der Rohe, but with a backrest that can be raised up or down for added comfort. 

  Pierrot King Dormeuse from ddc

Pierrot King Dormeuse from ddc

Whether you prefer minimalist styling or the more upholstered traditional look, the chaise is both a visual showpiece for your home as well as the perfect place for relaxation and a little dreaming.

Janet Ramin is an Interior Design Student Advisor at Sheffield School. Interested in learning more about furniture? Take a look at Sheffield School's Complete Course in Interior Design. At Sheffield, you'll learn how to transform a space, create color schemes, and select furniture, lighting, and accessories.