Leather Chairs and Ottomans
If you are currently scouring the market for the best leather chairs and ottomans there are a few things you should know before you buy. You can save yourself some serious time by just going over this guide and deciding exactly what you want before you go out and shop. The photos and descriptions below should make it super simple for you to essentially design the leather chair and ottoman of your dreams.
Before we go into how to choose your dream chair or ottoman, answer this question real quick. Are you just looking for the best prices and deals on leather chairs and ottomans? It is very likely so as the majority of buyers do not buy online without trying in person. If you do fall into this category and you are simply looking for the best price on chair brand X, don’t leave just yet. I urge you to re-evaluate what chair and ottoman you think you want, and really go through this guide to make sure that the product you end up with is God like. I mean you’re going to love your chair more than your spouse! Seriously, when my wife asks me if I want to come to bed for “special time”, I usually reply,” No thanks. Suzy (my chairs name) is givin’ me the soft touch right now and I don’t think you can match it.” If you’re going to spend upwards of a $1000 dollars on a chair and ottoman set, why not make it so kick ass that you are constantly late because it’s SO damn comfortable that your body melts into it and you fall asleep.
So internet shoppers please don’t leave. I urge you. Read this article, go to your local Mor Furniture or Jeromes Furniture store and try stuff out. But don’t just try it out, specifically look for the things I’m about to reveal to make sure you cover all your bases when it comes to lounging. Bring a pen and paper and write down all the models that meet your check list. That’s right, it’s all about the checklist. You put your kids through school, why not your leather chair and ottoman? They’re gonna take way better care of your ass (pun intended) than your kids will, so they had better get an A+ on your final exam! Once you’ve got your top 5 or 10 chairs, I doubt you will find that many if you are really looking for something that satisfies all your preferences, then you can go online and look for the specific model and price shop. That is the best way to get a leather chair and ottoman barring a lucky find in the Jerome’s clearance section.
So here is how this guide will break down. We need to start broad and work our way in. So let’s begin with the basic question. What do you want as your base setup? Do you want a stand alone leather chair? Do you want a leather sofa set? Do you want an ottoman, coffee table ottoman, storage ottoman, or ottoman bed to be a part of the couch or chairs? Let’s go over each choice with some example photos so you can start to really imagine how your room will look and more importantly function and feel. For each category or feature below, make a checklist for you to take with you and mark off which features you want in your end result.
We will classify leather chairs into two groups, recliners and non recliners.
Non Reclining chairs will have no foot rest obviously and will most likely require an ottoman.
If you don’t want a chair with an ottoman then you will probably want a recliner. Here are some photos of typical reclining chairs:
These are all stand alone recliners but perhaps you would like a full sofa set. Most leather sofa sets have 2-3 seats that recline and also have sections that are very useful with trays and cup holders.
Another feature to consider is that the reclining sofa units usually come with ottomans as well so you can have an ottoman and recliners all in one place. The ottoman can then feature a number of other options (all covered in our ottoman section). Let’s talk about some of the pros and cons of having a full set of recliners in sofa form:
- plenty of room for everyone
- lots of cup holders and remote and other storage space
- cheaper than buying 2 stand alone recliner chairs
- reclining units tend to only have one full arm rest.
- one of the recliners is usually armless and cannot be moved around on it’s own and is pinned to the sofa style setup
- recliners get in the way of the ottoman pushing it too far away from the sofa to be conveniently within arms reach.
Specific features of a Recliner
Recliners today come in two different styles. There is the traditional manual handle or push button reclining system in which you just push a button or handle and the feet of the chair come shooting up, or there is the newer electric recliner that operates on electrical power. The electric systems force you to hold a button down for 30 seconds for the chair to reach full reclining status.
If you’re going for the traditional recliner you usually have two options:
|Handle system||push button system (non electric)|
The handle system is probably the oldest method. With a handle you get a little more control over the button. With a handle it is possible to control intermediary positions a lot easier. You can just crank the handle half way to get a half reclining position.
Button System (manual)
The button system is just a push button. You push it in and the reclining section sort of flings out violently taking all prisoners in it’s way. It’s a great way to stop your dog from bothering you while you eat. Just fling the recliner in his direction and deliver a quick and swift blow to those begging puppy dog eyes. Take that Rover, that’ll teach you to go lay on the rug like you’re supposed to. That is the one flaw in my opinion of the button system, there’s no intermediate position. It’s full recline (with force), or no recline at all.
|Button System (electric)
These new school electric recliners take some getting used to. With traditional leather chairs, once you’re in the recline position, you have to swing your feet downward (with quite a bit of brute force) to get it to latch back into place and free you of its vices. If you attempt to do this with an electric recliner you’ll be in for a very slapstick comedy home movies kind of story. See the electric reclining system must be controlled only by the electric buttons. If you try to swing it shut nothing happens. The recliner remains locked and the whole chair flings forward tipping you out of it and spilling your pot pie all over the place. It’s kind of funny. If you’re friends ask you how you get out of recline mode just tell them to swing their feet down violently to snap it back. Good times!
If you can get over this flaw and get used to it, there are some advantages of an electronic recliner. With these leather recliners you can have full and total control of your seating experience. With old recliners you lack this control. You can hold the button down for 2 seconds, 10 seconds, 20 or 30 seconds or whatever you wan until the optimum seating angle is achieved and the planets and stars align, creating a utopia of relaxation. And it’s not just one button. There are two so if you you go too far you can simply push the other button to “edit undo” your previous command. Quite nifty. It’s also nice when you are trying to recline and not spill your beer. With handle recliners the motion is somewhat jerky. It’s smooth Barry White sailing on this ride to incline. MMM baby is it ever smooth and soft. You feel like you are at a massage parlor and they are leaning you back to give you some sweet sweet pleasure.
My only beef with this system is the length of time it takes to recline fully. To get fully reclined it takes upward of 30-40 seconds on most chairs with this option. In this fast paces society that is too long. (They should have a “recline speed” button where you can select how fast to recline. You hear me chair companies? Huh?!! Make it happen! The other flaw (so I lied, there are 2 flaws) is that with traditional handle recliners, the handle only controls the feet and the upper back section is free for you to swivel at your convenience to create multiple feet and back combinations. The electric recliners raise the feet and tilt the back simultaneously, inhibiting the choices a bit. The 3rd flaw, if you want to call it a flaw is that these systems require power, so you may have a plug to hide depending on where you place it in your room.
These are all serious serious issues. You should study up, think hard and decide whether electric is the way to go for you.
Now that you have decided which type of leather chair you want, recliner or not, and you have picked out all the features of the recliner that you will want, lets talk about the most important factor of all. Comfort! This is where you simply have to go and sit in a chair and try for yourself. Most leather chairs tend to have certain quantifiable properties however that should help you save time in the search for all your check list items. I will divide this section into two categories, 1. cushion thickness, and 2. “the slick factor”.
Cushion thickness is like 3 flavors of steak. Rare, medium rare, and well done. You got your super cushy super tender, puffy, squishy rare steak. This flavor of cushion melts in your mouth. No really, it really is kind of like a rare steak. You feel like you are falling into cloud. You almost feel like you sink into the chair. The cool thing is that it’s so soft you feel like you’re sort of hovering in mid air. Truly cloud like. This is my personal favorite. I mean cmon’ who doesn’t want to feel like they are sitting in a cloud?
Look at those beauties. Those cushions look like Simon Cowell’s biceps trying to burst open out of his tight black shirt. Sexy
For those who don’t like the sinking feeling, you should sink your teeth into a nice medium rare steak cushion. These types of chairs aren’t quite as puffy as the rare steak, and not quite as hard as the well done steak cushions. If Goldilocks were drinking porridge in one of these chairs, this chair would be just right. Not too firm, not too soft. These types of cushions also probably easiest on the eye. Some of the real puffy soft cushions have a little Stay Puft Marshmallow man syndrome going and look more like a Mount Everest goose down jacket than a chair. Then on the opposite spectrum the hard cushions are so tight they look like an uptight secretary at a board meeting that’s biting her tongue because she has to take a shit and she’s clenching so tight she’s about to explode. The medium rare cushions are the most normal looking. They look like a chair. Yeah like a normal chair. A chair that’s inviting, but not too inviting.
The third kind of cushion thickness is pretty much anything you would find in a luxury automobile. Sit in any Mercedes, Bentley, BMW, Maserati, Cadillac, or whatever and they all have the same similar leather seats. There is almost to cushion to it. I’m not saying it’s hard or anything, but it lacks the padding of the other types. It very much relates to the next category, the slide factor. But all in all it’s the most sleek looking chair style, especially in the more modern designs. It is also less likely to crack as soon as the poofier types, so keep that in mind. Here are some examples:
That’s really all there is too it with cushion types. It’s all about comfort and your personal opinion. You will not know unless you try every specific model in person.
The last thing to mention about cushions is that you will sometimes find chairs that fit into 2 different categories. You can usually tell by analyzing the arm rests of the leather chairs you are looking at. All the same rules apply like above. Here is an example of a medium cushion with hard arm rests.
There are lots of other combinations as well. Just keep in mind what type of arm rest you like. Not just the cushion factor of the arm rest but also the shape, round or flat like above.
We won’t get into massage chairs on this page because to be honest, if you really want a massage chair, you are not going to find as many chairs that have this feature. So in doing this you will make it less likely to find a chair that has everything that you want. I will report more on leather massage chairs on a different page.
Rocker or Swivel
One of the last features to consider is whether or not you like to rock in your chair, or swivel back n forth. Most rockers will do both, swivel and rock, but not all. There’s really not much to report on this as it is simply a personal preference. Just add it to your check list as an option to consider.
Leather Desk or Computer Chairs
These are a little beyond the scope of this blog but we will discuss them here anyway. Really computer chairs will have a very similar checklist to a leather chair. You will have different padding types to choose from, as well as different arm rests. The only unique thing about them that you want to determine is how you like the chair to tilt. Some tilt way back and have fancy locking mechanisms on the tilting. Then of course there is the height adjustment. Most of the chairs today are ergonomic in design. Just make sure you pick out one with your preferred cushion type, arm rest type and swivel motion. Here are some examples. Try em out next time you’re in the furniture store.
Check out this white one. No arm rests whatsoever. I can tell you from working on a computer all day that these suck ass after about 4 hours. Your elbows feel like you’re feet after a full day at Disneyland. Not fun. Avoid the at all costs. Go with something that has padding. Your arms with thank you.
These types of chairs even come with matching ottomans in some cases. Make sure your ottoman passes your ottoman checklist. That’s it for these desk and computer chairs.
That being said that is everything you need to think about when making your check list for the perfect dream chair. The only thing left to talk about is ottomans and ottoman styles.
This section is really so large that a good portion of it will be found elsewhere. There are plenty of other pages on this site dedicated to the different types of ottomans, just check out those specific pages in the top navigation bar. This particular page will be focused on how to pick out leather chairs and ottomans as a combination or dynamic duo. If you want to see the most bizarre and weird ottomans, or better yet how to make your very own personal custom ottoman, check out the cube ottoman home page. So the following is everything you need to know about picking out a leather ottoman to match your leather chair or sofa.
Unlike leather chair cushions, you will not find as many options in the leather ottomans. There are really only two prominent designs, hard or soft. Here are examples of both to clarify:
Note that these types of ottomans with softer cushioning seem to be not as popular when buying with an accompanying sofa set or chair. I really don’t know why but that’s just the market right now for leather chairs and ottomans.
These types of ottomans seem to be the most popular amongst leather ottomans for leather chairs. This particular hard ottoman however is among the minority of hard ottomans. The majority of hard leather ottomans will have stitching patterns on the cushion like so:
This however is flat stitching. You’ll find even more of the stitched hard leather ottomans with the little indentations. I don’t even know what they are called. If you do know what they are called, please leave the answer in the comments sections below. They look like this though:
They obviously do this to make it match the majority of leather chair styles that you will see. The question you should ask yourself is, do I want a flat cushioned ottoman or a non flat ottoman? I personally don’t like the little indentations, especially on the harder cushions because my feet tend to slide right into one of the little holes and i don’t like how my heel feels when it is resting on this little button. Some of the ottomans like this actually have little round buttons at the bottom of these chasms. It’s really quite annoying. It may look cool but I don’t like it. If you aren’t a complete picky freak like me this might not bother you. The point is for you to not overlook this aspect of the product and determine your preference in this feature. Remember, we are trying to design the perfect leather chair and ottoman system for you. Attention to detail is key.
Functionality Versus Appearance
Leather chairs and ottomans are usually sold in pairs. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to settle for the ottoman that is designed as a pair for the chair. You may opt for a more functional ottoman. It just depends upon how you answer this question. What is more important, looks or functionality? If you want really large storage ottoman that has trays or a bed built into it then sacrifice the vanity of a matching set and get a nice storage or ottoman bed that will satisfy your requirements.
Here are some photos of the matching ottomans and chairs / sofas. Notice how awesome they look as a pair. Do you really want to break up this pair?
Now lets look at some of the leather sofa sets with matching ottomans. Some of these really match the sofa well and look exactly like one of the seats. It’s like trying to pick out which twin is which.
Now lets move on to more functional ottomans. There will be more information about these ottomans on subsequent pages. Just see the navigation bar for more info on other ottomans like ottomans trays, beds and round ottomans. Here is an overview though of some more functional ideas to consider.
To Tuft or Not to Tuft. That is the question
Another feature to consider is whether or not you like tufts in your furniture. I would opt for tufted furniture just because I like the word tuft. Not only do tufts look cool, they feel cool. Watch how a 5 year old will play with the tufts, running his fingers down the indentations until he reaches the dark chocolate center where a button is sometimes found. Do you really want to deny your child the chance to play in a world of tufts? Do you support P.A.T? (Parents Against Tufts). If you are a member of P.A.T. then you should be stoned to death. There should never be a house or office or public arena without tufts somewhere. Tufts just breathe and emit sophistication. When you think tuft, you should think about golden royal thrones with red tufted velvet upholstery. The richest kings of Europe would never sit in a tuftless chair. Think about that…Also think about shopping here for your tufted chairs and ottomans.
There’s really not a whole lot to say. It’s an ottoman with a bed. It’s about all you can expect from a couch bed, Small and uncomfortable with springs that dig into your back. Then again, you guests will likely be the ones using it so who the hell cares. Just get one that looks good and throw your mother in law on it when she visits. For a little more information, visit our ottoman bed page.
Ottoman trays are pretty much just serving trays that are large, and usually the shape of most ottomans, rectangle or square. So you could go the conventional route and just buy a tray for your ottoman. Or you could be a baller and have an ottoman that has cushions that flip over and convert to trays like this one.
This is pretty freakin sweet. Not only does it function as an ottoman with built in serving trays. It also boasts rather large storage underneath. Pretty convenient. For more information on ottoman trays and ideas, check out our ottoman tray page.
The above example leads to the next functional ottoman, the ever popular…
For the best ideas on the multitude of storage ottomans available, check out our storage ottomans page. Here is a quick overview however. It’s pretty simple isn’t it? A storage ottoman has storage space! Wow really? Yeah really. It can be very nice, especially when you have one of those super huge storage ottomans. You can fit all your couch blankets or even your kids in them. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone kept an entire civilization of Ewoks or Gremlins in their storage ottoman. They are spacious to say the least. Here are a few examples of the non huge ones.
This last one sort of gives me an idea. These things look like Jack N the Boxes. Someone should make a Jack N the Box ottoman for their kids. That would be awesome.
Visit our round ottomans page for full details on these rarer ottoman styles. They are worth mentioning though if you are opting to not go for a matching leather chair and ottoman and want a more stand alone versatile ottoman that can function in a multitude of ways. There are so many weird styles in the round ottoman world. They have weird tassels and frays hanging from them and sorts of other weird bed skirts and dressings. Again check the round ottoman page for the weirdest of these. It’s my experience that the round leather ottomans are much harder to find in the furniture stores. Probably because cube or rectangle ottomans make more sense when trying to match to a chair or sofa set. Here are some examples anyway so you can visualize if it would work with your dream setup.
That’s about it for ottoman features. Again, this is just an overview. The rest of the site goes into grave detail about all aspects of ottomans.
Congratulations! If you made it this far through the guide, I commend you. You now have sufficient information about your dream leather chair and ottoman. Your checklist of features should now be fully compiled. The next step is to go to your local furniture store and start finding chairs that meet ALL of your criteria. Yes all your criteria! You are trying to get your dream chair aren’t you? Then don’t settle. This will actually save you a ton of time if you go to a huge store like Mor Furniture. They have so many leather chairs and ottomans that you can simply walk down the aisles and at a glance go,”Nope, too cushy. No, doesn’t have indentations. Nope, arm rests are too puffy. Nope not electric.” etc, etc.
Now you can have a super targeted list of 3-4 super awesome dream leather chairs or ottomans. Make sure you write down the brand name and SKU or model number. Now is the time to go online and search for the model number. Try using google shopping and sort from least expensive to most.