What You Need to Know About Buying a Bean Bag

It might seem like buying a bean bag chair would be a simple, straightforward process; more about choosing a color than anything else. In fact, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration to make sure you end up with a quality chair that you can enjoy time and time again. This guide covers the most important elements of buying a bean bag chair, giving you the tools to make an informed purchase.

Seating Design

You’re going to come across a few different seating styles when it comes to bean bag chairs, with the most common being the traditional “bag” design that gave them their name. These chairs are sometimes going to be less expensive because the design doesn’t give you much room for sitting options, since they are basically cushions that have a little extra give. The issue with these is that they can be more prone to going flat or falling apart, and they can be uncomfortable for taller people to sit in.

More modern bean bag chairs may feature a rectangular design that gives you more flexibility in how you sit on it. You could lay it out flat and sit right on top of it, or position it upright and create a free form chair that has more motion. Alternately, there are also bean bag chairs that resemble actual chairs, with back and arms built right in. Each of these seating styles can appear in chairs with different price ranges, so it comes down to your preferred sitting method to determine which chair suits you best.

Filler Material

Long gone are the days of simple bean filling, as today’s bean bag chairs use several different materials. You might see bags that come with polystyrene beads or a manufacturer-specific brand of beans, which all give you that classic feel and plenty of pliability. Basically, if you see a chair that is filled with beans or beads, then you know that you’re going to be able to move its shape quite a bit to create the shape that you want. They may not always hold that shape once you get up, but while you’re sitting you’re going to get that flexibility to create what you need.

The other type of material that is most commonly used in bean bag chairs is foam, which is much sturdier than beans. A sturdier material does mean that you usually aren’t going to be able to reshape it as much as beans, but it does mean that you’re going to have more cushioning when you sit. Some models even use memory foam that conforms to your body shape, so that you can relax more easily and don’t have to worry about the beans breaking or spreading away and leaving you with a flat seat.

Cleaning Method

If you have children, cleaning methods are going to be a top priority for you. Even if you don’t have kids you’re still going to want to look for a chair that’s easy to clean so that you can keep using it for as long as possible. All it takes is one spilled drink or plate of food, and your bean bag chair might never be the same again. If you’re very serious about being able to clean your chair, look for one that has a removable cover and is preferably machine washable. This way, you can unzip the cover and put it into your washing machine any time you need to clean it.

If you still want to keep your bean bag chair clean, but don’t want the hassle of always taking off the cover, then look for one made out of a stain-resistant material. There are plenty of chairs out there with nylon or composite covers that don’t hold on to stains like fabric does. Typically, you can just use a damp cloth to wipe away any spills and you’re good to go. As an added benefit, these covers are also often water resistant, which means that you don’t have to worry about damaging the inside of the chair if you spill any liquids on it.

Cover Material

Though the cleaning method is definitely the most important aspect of the cover material, it also affects your actual sitting experience. Many older style bean bag chairs have vinyl or plastic covers that can get very uncomfortable during hot weather, so you might want to avoid these if you live in a warm area. Nylon covers are going to be more comfortable than plastics, but might still be a little rough for most people.

If you want your chair to be as soft as possible, you’re going to want to look for one with a microfiber or microsuede material, which are soft like fabric but give you more protection against stains and spills. These covers aren’t going to withstand stains as well as others, however, so just know that you’re going to be making a slight trade-off for the extra plushness.

Overall Size

Whenever you’re buying a new piece of furniture, even if it’s something casual like a bean bag chair, you always need to measure the space that you’re going to put it in before you buy it. This helps you avoid getting something that’s too big and swallows up the room, or that might get in the way of your other furniture. You’re going to want to make sure that there’s enough room to walk around the bean bag chair and access any doorways or closets easily, especially if you’re buying one for a child’s room.

The other reason you need to know the overall size of the chair so that you can make sure it’s actually big enough to sit on. If you’re a six foot tall guy like me and buying the chair for yourself, then you wouldn’t be happy trying to sit on one that’s only a few feet wide. The chair doesn’t have to be as tall as you for you to sit on it, but it should have dimensions that are proportional to yours for the most comfortable use.

Safety Concerns

Thankfully there aren’t too many safety concerns when it comes to buying a bean bag chair. One of the biggest comes from models that have removable covers, since they usually use zippers. If you have kids, you’re going to want to make sure that the zippers are on the bottom and have some form of covering so that the kids don’t get their fingers pinched if they happen to touch one. Double stitching is also good, because it means the chair is sturdier in its build and less likely to break apart while you’re sitting on it.

Factoring in Style

The final thing you need to think about when choosing your bean bag chair is its look, because you just won’t enjoy sitting in it as much if you don’t like how it looks. There are a lot of chairs out there that come in a wide range of colors, so you should be able to find one that you like and that fits in with your home décor. This is also a benefit if you have kids that would want to choose their own colors, since it lets you tell them apart.