Bean bags conjure up images of your child’s playroom or your teen’s cluttered bedroom. You might see yourself slumped in after school with a plate of pizza sandwiches. But beanbags have had a renaissance and are surprisingly stylish.
Beanbag chairs have a simple design, as they are usually a foam-filled sphere covered with soft fabric. Now these chairs have been given a makeover and come in all shapes, sizes and materials to bring some serious coziness to your home.
Here’s what you need to know about bean bags.
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The history of bean bags
The beanbag chair originated in 1968 when the Italian designers Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini and Franco Teodoro. Inspired by post-World War II innovations, the designers sought a “shapeless” chair that embraced a relaxed and non-conformist design.
The original design is known as the Sacco chair, aimed at the carefree hippie communities of the 1960s and 1970s, students and young professionals.
The style of these chairs took off and in 2002 the beanbag got a rectangular update from the Finnish designer Jukka Setala who designed the ‘Fatboy’ beanbag chairs. Rather than a ball-shaped design, the Fatboy beanbag chair took on a rectangular shape that could be positioned to sit up straight or recline.
Reasons to buy a beanbag chair
Beanbags, while flimsy and shapeless, can be chic and cozy, offering a low-to-the-ground option that you can melt into. Unlike your recliner that has to stay put, a beanbag chair can be carried around so you can take it from a reading nook to a game night in the living room.
Beanbags come in all shapes and sizes (and not just for the kids’ playroom). Beanbags are flexible in how you position them, so you can lie flat or sit up straight. The classic Fatboy beanbag chair is a great example of how versatile a beanbag chair can be. With its slim profile, this bean bag chair is easy to toss in a closet when you need it out of the way.
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The design is stylish and fun
As predicted by design experts, soft, rounded edges are all the rage. The curves of the beanbags fit perfectly with this trend.
Variations on the classic bean bag design are all the rage. Elegant models take shape, dressed in sleek leather covers, such as this modern recliner) from West Elm.
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Floyd recently launched their Squishy Chair, a brightly colored chair that pays tribute to the Sacco chair. With its foam-filled design, it adds playful seating to your home while still looking modern rather than childish.
In addition, beanbags are getting bigger and bigger and expanding into sofas. The Matilda sofa from Urban Outfitters sits right on the floor, just like any old beanbag chair, and offers the plush padding and feel of a beanbag chair – just with a little extra texture to maintain the shape of a sofa.
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They are comfortable for everyone
While beanbags have been given a stylish makeover, even the more traditional designs are optimal for those looking for cozy seating.
Leigh Harrington, our editor-in-chief of Home, tried out Moonpod’s best-selling beanbag chair and praised it for its super comfy seating – it’s the most coveted chair in her house on movie night. The Moonpod stays upright, so it’s easy to store or store if you need some extra space.
Bean bags can also be great for those with accessibility needs. Contributor, Jaclyn Greenberg, says the Yogibo Lounger has been a game-changer for her son with cerebral palsy. Greenberg says the Yogibo Lounger provides a comfortable and supportive seat for her son.
Both Moonpod and Yogibo bean bags are machine washable. You can take their outer covers off and throw them in the washer and dryer – much easier than pulling out your armchair upholstery cleaner.
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Prices were correct at the time this article was published, but may change over time.