All You Need to Know About - Furniture Series: Chaise Longue

A chaise longue is an upholstered sofa in the shape of a chair that is long enough to support the legs. The Merriam-Webster English dictionary defines a chaise longue as “a long reclining chair”. In turn, The Cambridge Dictionary describes one as “a long, low seat, with an arm at one side and usually a low back along half of its length, that a person can stretch out his or her legs on”. Yet, in modern French, the term chaise longue can refer to any long reclining chair such as a deckchair. A literal translation in English is “long chair”. Finally, in the United States, the term longue chair is also used to refer to any long reclining chair or daybeds. 

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Origins

The modern chaise longue was first popularized during the 16th Century in France. They were created by French furniture craftsmen for the rich to rest without the need to retire to the bedroom. It was during the Rococo period, though, that the chaise longue became the symbol of social status and only the rarest and most expensive materials were used in their construction. 

Is a chaise longue practical?

Although the elongated part of the chaise longue is designed to be used as a footrest, it is also very practical as a seat for the whole family or visitors. The chaise longue provides comfort while sitting upright but they’re designed for one person to stretch out upon, making them perfect for relaxing, reading or napping. Structurally, they are essentially sofas with the backrest at only one end.

What is the point of a chaise lounge?

Currently, the chaise longue is seen as a luxury item for the modern home. They are often used to complement a home’s décor such as living or reading rooms, or as a stylish boudoir chair for bedroom seating. Besides being beautiful and elegant, the chaise longue fits with incredible grace in the most different environments of the house, and in each of them, it assumes a different functionality and use. 

How long is a chaise longue?

Typically, the overall length of the chaise longue varies between 73 and 80 inches. Still, the overall length of the seating area of the chaise longue range between 42 and 48 inches. Correspondingly, the overall height of the chaise longue varies between 35 and 40 inches. Lastly, the overall width of the chaise longue is between 25 and 30 inches.

Varieties and different terminologies 

The spruce website has made a precise compilation about the different types and terminologies of this versatile furniture.

            Long Chair: the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians had resting couches. But in terms of modern furniture, the first daybed developed in the late 1600s, when the headrest of a pallet started to resemble a slanted chair back. Resting on six or eight legs, these pieces were really more like elongated chairs, and not very comfortable in comparison to more cushy versions

        Chaise long: trust the French to add comfort to life—and furniture. Around the 1720s, they developed the chaise longue (which literally means “long chair” in French). Basically, it is an elongation of the newfangled bergère, or a closed armchair, on six feet allowing the sitter to stretch out comfortably. It is typical of Régence, Louis XV and Louis XVI styles. The back was high, with encircling arms, and both it and the long, padded seat were usually upholstered. Originally, they were open-ended, as in the walnut Louis XVI-style example here; later versions developed footrests and backrests running down the length of the piece or came in two sections.

           Duchesse: the original Duchesse was a type of upholstered daybed or lounge chair, a variation on the chaise longue, with a rounded headrest and six to eight legs. It developed shortly after the original square-backed chaise longue, in the first quarter of the 18th century, in France, as part of the early Rococo style of Louis XV. Sometimes there was footboard at the end of the piece, similar to the head, but lower. This version was known as the Duchesse en bateau (“duchess in a boat”).

           Duchesse brisée (Broken duchess in French): this word is used when the chaise longue is divided into two parts: the chair and a long footstool, or two chairs with a stool in between them. The origin of the name is unknown.

           Récamier: a récamier has two raised ends and nothing on the long sides. It is sometimes associated with French Empire (neo-classical) style. It is named after French society hostess Madame Récamier (1777–1849), who posed elegantly on a couch of this kind for a portrait, painted in 1800 by Jacques-Louis David. The shape of the récamier is similar to a traditional lit bateau (boat bed) but made for the drawing-room, not the bedroom.

           Méridienne: a méridienne has a high headrest, and a lower footrest, joined by a sloping piece. Whether or not they have anything at the foot end, méridiennes are asymmetrical daybeds. They were popular in the grand houses of France in the early 19th century. Its name is from its typical use: rest in the middle of the day, when the sun is near the meridian.

           Fainting Couch: in the mid-19th century, a particularly curvy type of méridienne was popularly known as a fainting couch—so-called because the heavily-corseted ladies of the period might collapse upon it to catch their breath. These daybeds were often oversized and wide enough for two—suggesting that a lady might swoon onto one for something more restorative than a nap. This late Classical Revival example, circa 1835-1845, is attributed to Duncan Phyfe and Son.

           Turkish Fainting Couch: as the 19th century progressed, new coil-spring technology made daybeds ever plusher and more comfortable. Like other pieces of furniture, they reflected the Victorian taste for the oversized, the ornate, and the unique. “Turkish-style” pieces became the rage in the second half of the century, modelled vaguely on Middle Eastern couches with skirts, tufted upholstery, and tassels.

            Arts and Crafts Daybed: The 19th century seems to have been the daybed heyday. After that, its vogue lessened, due perhaps to the smaller rooms and the faster pace of 20th-century life. However, it continued to be made, in styles reflective of the relative period or maker. Yet, the term “daybed” also started to include furniture that had built-in mattresses (what we’d now call a sofa bed). Even if they weren’t literally sleepers, stylistically these pieces seemed more bed- than sofa-like. Interestingly, it’s a very masculine sort of daybed—almost the polar opposite of the feminine fainting couch.

How to use a chaise longue

A modern chaise longue tends to be used as it was traditionally – as a sofa or daybed for lounging on. However, these timeless sofas can also be used to make a stylish statement in the home, thanks to the fact that they come in a range of different colours and quality fabrics.

Placement

If the chaise longue is to be the focal point, then it would be a good idea to place it in the main seating area. They can make a gorgeous accent piece in a larger room. If the chaise longue is to occupy an empty corner, then create a vignette around it with a side table, books, a floor lamp or a rug. A rug beneath it in a contrasting colour or striking pattern can also help to bring focus to it. Placing a chaise longue by a large window is just stunning! A gorgeous place to relax and admire the view.

Chaise Longue in the Living Room

The living room is one of the environments that benefit most from the chaise longue because it can assume various functions. Not to mention that it adds an extra charm in the room, breaking with the traditional sofa scheme and armchairs. If the living room is small, it is worth betting on a chaise longue as an alternative to the traditional sofa. However, if the room is larger, it can come as an extra seating option in place of other furniture such as the aforementioned armchairs.

Another common way to use the chaise longue is as a room demarcation, especially for living rooms integrated into the dining room or the kitchen. Try placing a chaise longue on the border between one room and another and you will see the aesthetic and functional differential.

Chaise Longue in the Bedroom

The chaise longue in the room is a mess. This furniture brings a unique comfort and welcomes to the environment. Positioned near the window, for example, the chaise longue becomes a perfect resting place and also an excellent reading corner.

The chaise longue is still a hand on the wheel when dressing, as it helps in changing clothes and shoes. A good idea is to even put the chaise longue in the closet if you have room for it.

Chaise Longue on Balconies and Outdoor Areas

The chaise longue can be used without fear in outdoor areas such as balconies, gardens, gazebos and even around the pool. Taking care only to combine the material with the environment so as not to risk deteriorating your furniture. In these places, the chaise longue is perfect for moments of relaxation and ensures a super visual for your outdoor area.

Accessories

 

A chaise longue is a statement on its own, but you can draw more attention to it by adding a few well-placed accessories. The most popular accessory to add is a cushion. Not only do they look great, they can help carry over a colour theme and also add comfort. Also popular are the throws. Try adding some interesting textures such as faux fur. You may wish to match the pattern of something else in the room, such as the wallpaper or curtains, to your chaise longue. The easiest way to do this is by adding a cushion in the same fabric.

IVMA's Recommendations

Based on Amazon’s Best Reviewed

Now that you are equipped with absolutely all the information about this gorgeous piece of furniture, we believe that you are ready to make your choice. Below is a list of our recommendations.

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 Make sure measuring your space before anything else then choose the style that best matches your home and that’s it!

Stay safe & buy smart,

I.