A great reading chair is practically a requirement for bookworms. A good, comfortable seat will make your time spent curled up with a good book more relaxing.
To help you find the ideal chair for you, we consulted design expert Jen Stark, founder of Happy DIY Home, and researched top options, looking at different styles, materials, sizes, and comfort. Our favorite chair is the Burrow Block Nomad Armchair, which offers thick, layered cushions for extended seating, plus custom fabric and armrest options and an included ottoman.
Burrow Block Nomad Armchair with Ottoman
Thick, layered cushions
Custom armrest options
There wasn’t anything we didn’t like
Whether you’re reading a book, watching TV, or scrolling through your phone, this classic chair offers maximum comfort and clever, convenient features you’ll love. The cushions have three layers of foam and fiber and feature a plush cover, so you’ll never want to leave the chair. The chair doesn’t recline, which is why we love that the ottoman is included, and you can endlessly customize the look of the pair. There are five scratch- and stain-resistant fabric options, from crushed gravel to brick red, and there are six wood finishes for the legs. We also love that you can choose from three armrest shapes and heights for the best fit. The back cushion is even reversible — one side is tufted for a classic look, the other smooth and contemporary.
The precision-milled Baltic Birch frame is sturdy and prevents warping, and there’s a built-in USB charger and 72-inch power cord. Buyers complement the smart and stylish design and simple assembly.
Price at time of publish: $1,190
Dimensions: 34 x 35 x 33 inches | Frame Material: Baltic Birch | Cover Material: Olefin fiber | Weight Capacity: | Adjustable: No
Jummico Fabric Recliner Chair
Chair manually reclines
The Jummico recliner chair is an affordable option with more than 9,000 positive reviews. Covered with a soft and durable linen material and thick padding, this chair has a high contoured back with a padded headrest or extra comfort, an exquisite ergonomic armrest design, and a retractable footrest. The seat is average depth and width, but the chair manually reclines and can be adjusted from 90 degrees to 165 degrees so you can stretch out while you’re relaxing, reading, or napping.
This recliner doesn’t take much effort to put together; the backrest just slides and clips into the bottom seat. The rubber feet add protection for wood floors, and there are six colors to choose from.
Price at time of publish: $150
Dimensions: 29 x 20 x 39 inches | Frame Material: Wood | Cover Material: Linen | Weight Capacity: 265 pounds | Adjustable: Yes
Best with Ottoman
Castlery Madison Armchair with Ottoman
Only available in two color options with the ottoman
Settle in and stretch your legs out on the Madison Armchair with Ottoman. We love the Midcentury modern styling of this set, with its round bolsters, slim, supportive armrests, and tapered legs. The upholstery features classic biscuit tufting, which is a method of stitching that forms squares instead of diamonds, and which doesn’t rely on buttons to tuft. The result is a linear look that’s commonly used in a mid-century aesthetic. The back cushion and bolster covers are removable so you can blot spills easily.
The seat and headrest are filled with foam and the cushion is filled with fiber, and the seat is fairly relaxed and deep, which all allow you to get comfortable and settle in for a while. This set is offered in both fabric and leather options, and you can order it without the ottoman if you don’t need that.
Price at time of publish: $1,108
Dimensions: Armchair: 41.9 x 38 x 34.1 inches; Ottoman: 34.1 x 25.6 x 17.9 inches | Frame Material: LVL Plywood Frame, Rubber Wood Leg | Cover Material: 80% Polyester, 20% Cotton | Weight Capacity: 330.7 lbs. | Adjustable: No
Best Chaise Lounge
Kelly Clarkson Home Trudie Upholstered Chaise Lounge
Available in multiple fabrics
No assembly required
The main cushion is permanently attached
When you want to relax and read, this traditional chaise lounge is an ideal pick. Made from a solid and engineered wood frame, and wrapped in neutral upholstery, this chaise blends perfectly with both modern and classic furniture. The reversible cushions are thick and firm but comfortable, and the square back and rolled arms round out the classic style, while the short tapered feet offer a rich brown finish. This chair also provides the perfect perch to stretch out your feet.
With more than 55 water-resistant fabric options to choose from, this chair could easily fit in a family room, den, or nursery. Buyers suggest taking advantage of the free fabric samples to ensure you’re happy with your final choice.
Price at time of publish: $850
Dimensions: 310x 41 x 61 inches | Frame Material: Solid and manufactured wood | Cover Material: Polypropylene/Olefin | Weight Capacity: 250 lbs. | Adjustable: No
Pottery Barn Westan Leather Armchair
Rustic wood and leather design
Roomy seat cushion and back
Plush, padded seat cushion
This leather reading chair is both rustic and refined and versatile enough to blend into any setting from contemporary to country. The solid wood frame features rounded arms and legs that provide great support and stability, withstanding a weight capacity of up to 250 pounds. Its plush padded seat is filled with foam and fiber batting, and it’s wrapped in top-grain leather for a luxe, natural feel. The leather will soften with use and develop a rich patina.
While the chair doesn’t recline or come with an ottoman, the seat is wide and deep, making it a roomy place to cuddle with a good book. The only thing we don’t like is that the back frame is only 13 inches high, which doesn’t give us enough head support.
Price at time of publish: $2,049
Dimensions: 28.5 x 33 x 30.5 inches | Frame Material: Solid parawood | Cover Material: Top-grain leather | Weight Capacity: 250 lbs. | Adjustable: No
Best for Small Spaces
Baysitone Accent Chair with Ottoman
An ergonomically curved chair back
Easy to assemble
Taller people may think the back is too low.
This overstuffed chair will cradle you in exceptional comfort while you relax, read, or just watch TV. The velvet fabric adds a touch of luxury, and the button tufting on the upholstery gives this chair a classic look. The back has an ergonomic curved design, and the ottoman is plush enough to relieve your tired legs. The low-slung arms keep things roomy, and the 360-degree swivel base allows you to simply turn to grab a remote or another book.
The chair is easy to assemble, and the steel frame is sturdy and durable. It’s available in 10 colors from gray to beige to green. The small profile makes it an ideal addition to smaller spaces, but we wish the back of the chair was a little taller; it might not be a good choice for taller people.
Price at time of publish: $270
Dimensions: 33.5 x 31.73 x 33.78 inches; ottoman: 19.29 x 15.94 x 16.73 inches | Frame Material: Metal | Cover Material: Velvet | Weight Capacity: 250 pounds | Adjustable: Yes
Best Classic Armchair
Christopher Knight Home Boaz Floral Fabric Armchair
Removable, washable cover
Cushions may be too firm for some
This striking traditional-style armchair features a bright, mood-boosting, statement-making floral pattern. The smooth upholstery, elegantly turned dark brown birch wood legs, and stunning nailhead trim all fuse together to create a custom look. This chair has a seat depth of 32 inches, which makes it an excellent option for taller people, but it gives others plenty of space to sink back and settle in. The 100% polyester cushion is semi-firm, and the padded arms provide plenty of plush comfort.
The cover is removable and hand-washable so you can keep your chair looking new. Each leg features a plastic pad, which is designed to protect delicate floors. The chair arrives in three pieces, but assembly is quick and easy.
Price at time of publish: $292
Dimensions: 32 x 28.75 x 32 x 34.5 inches | Frame Material: Birch wood | Cover Material: Polyester | Weight Capacity: Not listed | Adjustable: No
La-Z Boy Paxton Chair & A Half
Generously oversized seat
Endless color and fabric options
Ottoman is a separate purchase
The La-Z Boy Paxton Chair and a Half invites you to kick back and get cozy. It has clean, crisp lines and a structured silhouette that will blend with most spaces. The Paxton features a generously deep and wide, T-shaped cushion, low-profile wood legs, and a blown-fiber-filled cushion for fullness and shape retention. This chair is wide enough to stretch out in, and there’s even enough room for two to snuggle. It’s also an “extra tall scale” so it will be comfortable for those who are 6’3” and taller. No matter what your color scheme is there are over 350 fabric and pattern combinations to choose from. And if you’re not sure, you can order free swatches. A matching ottoman is sold separately.
While this chair is more expensive than other options, the high-quality fabric and filling options along with the sturdy construction make this a quality purchase.
Price at time of publish: $1,749
Dimensions: 52 x 42 x 38 inches | Frame Material: Not listed | Cover Material: 87% Polyester; 13% Acrylic | Weight Capacity: Not listed | Adjustable: No
Joss & Main Harbour Upholstered Armchair
Elegant velvet upholstery
Quality design details
Springs in cushion
The back height seems low
The classic armchair got an elegant upgrade. The kiln-dried hardwood frame is immensely durable, and the foam filling is upholstered in luxurious, inviting velvet. Quality details in the Harbour Upholstered Armchair, like turned feet, a tight back, a streamlined silhouette, and rolled arms create a timeless, modern look. The cushions also have springs in addition to the foam, offering added stability and preventing cushion sag. The cushions are also removable and reversible, and they can be dry-cleaned or spot cleaned.
One thing we don’t love is the seat back is only 13 inches high, which means it only reaches shoulder level, leaving your head without a place to rest.
Price at time of publish: $710
Dimensions: 32.5 x 38 x 37 inches | Frame Material: Kiln Dried Hardwood | Cover Material: Velvet | Weight Capacity: 500 lbs. | Adjustable: No
Room & Board Eos Swivel Chair
It swivels 360 degrees
Generously wide and deep
Feather cushions tend to compress
Whether you’re enjoying movie night or a great book, this luxurious round chair is the place to perch. The chair is a generous 51 inches wide, which is indulgent for one and wide enough and cozy for two. The seat is a deep 41 inches, allowing you to sink back in comfort against the feather- and down-filled cushion. The seat cushion is a blend of down and foam, so it’s cushy but offers a fair amount of support. Plus, this chair comes with three accent pillows.
The textured fabric is fade-resistant and dog- and family-friendly. There are four fabric options available for immediate delivery, or you can custom order your chair, choosing from more than 230 other fabric and leather options. We love the 360-degree swivel, so you can easily turn to look out the window or watch the TV. This chair is also available in a 42-inch width.
Price at time of publish: $1,899
Dimensions: 51 x 51 x 34 inches | Frame Material: Wood | Cover Material: 64% polyester, 36% acrylic | Weight Capacity: Not listed | Adjustable: No
Pottery Barn Wells Tufted Leather Swivel Recliner
Deep tufted fabric
Three metal options for the base
There wasn’t anything we didn’t like
Put your feet up in this handsome leather recliner. Styled with a modified wingback silhouette, this piece makes a statement in your home. Featuring exquisite details like deep tufting, sloped arms, and a metal base that’s available in a brass, silver, or bronze finish, this reading chair swivels a full 360 degrees and it manually reclines as well. However, it doesn’t tilt or rock. Just note that you'll need 20.5 inches of clearance from the wall to fully recline.
The frame is built using kiln-dried engineered hardwood, which prevents warping, splitting, or cracking. The non-sag steel springs provide plenty of cushion support. There are four quick-ship fabrics to choose from, including dark brown leather, but there are more than 30 made-to-order fabrics available if you choose to customize your chair.
Price at time of publish: $2.399
Dimensions: 33.5 x 37.5 x 39 inches | Frame Material: Metal | Cover Material: Leather | Weight Capacity: 300 pounds | Adjustable: Yes
Overall, we recommend the Burrow Block Nomad Armchair with Ottoman for its thick, layered cushions, customizable arms, multiple fabric options, and sturdy frame. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly choice, the Jummico Recliner Chair has a sturdy frame, multiple reclining angles, and a built-in footrest.
What to Look for in a Reading Chair
Comfort is vital when it comes to reading. Jen Stark, home improvement expert and founder of DIY Happy Home says that each reading chair style offers unique features and benefits, but the seat should be wide enough to accommodate a person comfortably and allow for some movement without feeling cramped. You'll want to go with a chair style that'll keep you comfy and relaxed for hours on end, such as a design with a relatively tall or rounded back. Otherwise, consider an oversized chair or even one with a recliner so you can put your feet up. A chair-and-a-half is an excellent choice, too, as it offers a broader and deeper seat. If you like to lay back while reading, consider getting a chaise lounge.
For one, it's essential to find a design that'll fit your space. Whether you're placing it in a designated reading nook, bedroom, sunroom, or office, make sure to measure (and re-measure) before ordering carefully. In terms of a specific size, “The seat should be wide enough to accommodate a person comfortably and allow for some movement without feeling cramped, Stark says. “A seat width of 20 to 25 inches is usually considered ideal,” she continues. “A seat height of 16 to 18 inches is standard; this allows the feet to be flatly planted on the ground, which can improve posture and prevent discomfort," she adds.
Upholstered chairs are usually a little softer, and you can often find stain-resistant options. The texture is also important: bouclé upholstery, for example, is plush and cozy, while a fabric like microfiber is designed to mimic the feel of suede or leather. “Microfiber is soft, durable, and easy to clean,” says Stark. Leather-upholstered chairs tend to be more expensive, though they typically last longer.
The frame material is also important. If you want something with a higher weight capacity or built to last for several years, look for a chair with a solid wood frame—even better if it's kiln-dried. Some recliner frames are steel, which is generally considered a high-quality, long-lasting material.
What is a reading chair?
A reading chair is a perfect place to sit and read books, watch TV, or scroll through your phone. By necessity, a reading chair should be comfortable; you should be able to sit in it for hours. Reading chairs should be relaxed but supportive. Reading chairs should have a high, firm back that provides back and neck support while you read, and they should have a plush cushion for your seat. Armrest are essential to helping you hold your book or magazine, while you read; the shape and style of them can vary, but they’ll determine the look and feel of your chair.
Where’s the best place to put a reading chair?
According to Stark, the best place to put a reading chair is in a quiet, comfortable spot where you can relax and focus on your reading. “A reading chair placed near a window can provide natural light and a view, which can be relaxing and inspiring,” she says. “It’s important to choose a location that is free from distractions, such as a quiet room that’s away from high-traffic areas or noisy appliances,” Stark recommends.
How can you create a reading nook?
A chair tucked into a cozy corner can provide a comfortable and private reading nook suggests Stark. It’s important to have a place to put your feet up like a pouf, ottoman, or bench. A side table is also important so you can set down your book, coffee, or wine. It’s also a good place to charge your eBook. If there’s enough space, a bookcase displaying your library is a nice addition. Lighting is also important. Placing creating your nook near a window will provide natural light, but you should have a table or floor lamp so you can read at night.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Maureen Farrar is a contributing writer who covers home design for The Spruce. To learn more about reading chairs, she interviewed Jen Stark, home improvement expert and founder of Happy DIY Home. Keeping Stark's insight in mind, Maureen then narrowed her selections based on style, size, material, and price considerations.