As spring arrives, our thoughts turn to the lazy days of summer, and the pleasures of relaxing in the sun on the patio, or by the pool. If you don’t have an outdoor chaise lounge, you can’t possibly enjoy this experience in real comfort, because it’s the only piece of garden furniture that enables you to stretch out to your full length and relax completely. Whether you want to read, doze, chat, or just soak up the sun, an outdoor chaise lounge is a must-have item, to bring indoor comfort to your outdoor space.
What is a Chaise Lounge?
The term chaise lounge is unique to US English, and is an Americanization of the French chaise longue, which means long chair. An indoor chaise longue, or chaise lounge, is usually a luxury item of furniture, which is the length of a sofa, but is designed for one person to recline on — it’s often highly embellished, and fitted with sumptuous fabrics, in styles originating from 18th century France. A chaise lounge outdoors usually refers to products which are also called sun beds, sun loungers, garden recliners and recliner chairs.
In fact, the term outdoor chaise lounge can cover a wide variety of very different styles and designs, with only one thing in common — they all offer the ultimate in outdoor comfort and relaxation. The basic design consists of a frame made of a hard material, such as wood or metal, with a head section that can be raised or lowered, so that you can lie flat or sit up. Most wood models have wooden slats across the back, while more inexpensive ones have a vinyl or canvas material attached to the frame itself.
However, there are plenty of variations on this basic style. As well as the head section being adjustable, the foot section can also come as a hinged unit that can be lowered — usually only on the fabric models. Some styles have arms, which can be adjustable or non-adjustable, and some are fitted with wheels at the back, which makes them much easier to move under the shade of a tree if the sun gets too hot.
Among the different materials for an outdoor chaise lounge chair, wood is especially popular. Most are made of a weather-resistant type of wood, like teak, eucalyptus or red cedar. A wooden outdoor chaise lounge is heavy, so unless you intend to keep it in one place all the time, you should ensure you buy one fitted with wheels. Plastic is also very popular for an outdoor chaise lounge — it is very durable, and won’t dent, chip or scratch. It also has the advantage of being very light and easy to move around, as well as being easy to clean and maintain. Plastic models tend to be more expensive than those in wood but are very attractive.
Tubular metals are also often used for frames — most often aluminum or steel. These may not be as weather resistant as other frames, but they are easy to move around, and quite comfortable. You can also find very attractive outdoor chaise lounges in wicker. It is light and easy to maintain, although some wicker models — not all — do not have adjustable head sections, so that is something you should check.
Cushions to Increase the Comfort
Some outdoor chaise lounge chairs come already fitted with cushions, but many do not, and, for these, the outdoor chaise lounge cushions have to be bought separately. Cushions add not only comfort, but pattern and color, to your garden furniture. They can be found in a wide range of materials.
The best outdoor chaise lounge cushions will obviously be weather resistant. Some will be made of soft leather, but otherwise the most serviceable ones are made of a high quality acrylic material, such as that from Sunbrella, often with a light polyester filling. Most are long rectangular single cushions, which cover the whole chaise lounge, but it’s also possible to find two-piece cushions, with separate sections for seat and back.
There is no limit to the colors you can choose for outdoor chaise lounge cushions. Warm shades like beige, pink and orange add brightness to the area, greens and blues look cool in the hot sun, while white brings a touch of sophistication — and of course there are an infinite variety of striped and patterned fabrics. Your outdoor chaise lounge may be part of a patio set, including table and chairs, armchairs and umbrella, and of course you will want all these to match up. Blazing Needles and Greendale Home Fashions are among the best-known names for outdoor chaise lounge cushions.
Most outdoor chaise lounge chairs come as a single item to accommodate one person, but some are created to hold two people side by side. The outdoor double chaise lounge is a perfect way to add to the pleasure of relaxing outdoors, and can be a delightful and romantic addition to your poolside, patio or gazebo. An outdoor double chaise lounge will sometimes have a solid double-sized frame, wide enough for two cushions side by side — or possibly a double cushion, similar to a daybed — and will have separate head sections, which can be adjusted independently of each other. With some models, the two sides of the whole frame will be independent of each other.
You Won’t Regret It
When you get home after a hard day’s work — looking wistfully at the sunny outdoors through the office window — the one thing you want more than anything else is just to flop down and lounge in the sun. The only piece of garden furniture on which you can do this is the outdoor chaise lounge, and every day you will be increasingly thankful that you decided to get one — or preferably more than one, to save family arguments. It will pay for itself many times over in the sheer pleasure it gives you, and the air of sophistication it brings to your outdoor areas.
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