Four Facts From The Recliner Renaissance

After years of hiding in Dad’s den - or garages converted into rumpus rooms - the recliner is making a come-back. Hot new designs, styles and motion now make the recliner one of the most comfortable and good-looking seats in the house. And a stylish new entry from an established manufacturer is leading the way for a design renaissance of the gliding recliner market.

When the recliner first appeared in 1929, consumers fell in love. The love affair lasted for decades, but turned tepid in the 1980s and 1990s. The mid ‘90s introduction of the gliding recliner – the marriage of two comforting motions – failed to reignite the romance. As tastes trended towards more high-end design, consumers seemed willing to sacrifice the comfort of reclining and the relaxation of gliding in favor of furniture that fit better with their design visions.

“Manufacturers have responded to consumers’ desire for more design-friendly recliner styles,” says Alain Bellefleur, vice president of research and development for Dutailier, international makers of high-end gliders and recliners. “Our research shows that consumers want a recliner that is comfortable, but that does not look like a stereotypical recliner. They want to relax in style, with a recliner that has the trendy look of a stationary chair.”

Recliner fans and design enthusiasts alike have long agreed that the traditional recliner “look” – puffy upholstery, bland colors and fabrics, floor-eating size and the ubiquitous reclining handle – is not design friendly. Here are four trends and facts from the recliner renaissance that prove this is “not your father’s recliner:”

1. Many modern recliners have hands-free motion. You can move the chair through its full range of motion without using a side-mounted handle. Many manufacturers no longer even put handles on their chairs.

2. Consumer interest in gliding recliners is on the rise – as much as 50 percent last year, according to Dutailier’s research. Most manufacturers, however, are still producing gliding recliners of the big, clunky, “Dad’s favorite chair” design. Dutailier’s Comfort Recliner is the only recliner to combine gliding and reclining motions in a variety of up-dated, design-friendly styles. The Comfort Recliner is currently the only gliding recliner that doffs the skirts once used to hide the gliding mechanism. The chairs stand on four stylish legs, providing a more appealing look without sacrificing the superior quality of reclining and gliding movements.

3. Virtually any look you like in a stationery chair – wing back, modern, retro, country, executive, or club – is available in a reclining version. Materials now range from simple fabrics to plush leather. The Comfort Recliner offers the same design versatility in a gliding format.

4. Size – one of the biggest objections to traditionally styled recliners – is no longer an issue. “We know that the large size of old style recliners turned off many buyers,” says Bellefleur. “But more conservatively sized options, such as our Comfort Recliners, not only fit virtually every décor, but every size room as well. Now, it is possible to have a stylish, gliding recliner in a modestly sized master bedroom.”

Michael Sinclair