The 10 Best Adirondack Chairs
10. Leigh Country TX
- paint is waterproof
- optional professional assembly
- doesn't fold up for storage
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
9. Shine Company Catalina
- supports the upper back
- nice wide armrests
- frame is a bit smaller than others
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
8. Patio Sense Coconino
- includes an outdoor cushion
- very comfortable to sit on
- weave is not puncture-proof
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
7. Lifetime Faux
- material is stain-resistant
- matches many decor styles
- screw holes don't line up perfectly
|Rating||3.5 / 5.0|
6. Phat Tommy
- made in the united states
- finish is smooth
- can become stained easily
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
5. Outdoor Interiors Eucalyptus
- weathers to a nice silvery finish
- naturally resistant to decay
- ergonomic armrests
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
4. Trex Outdoor Furniture
- doesn't warp or crack over time
- easy to assemble quickly
- back is slightly curved
|Brand||Trex Outdoor Furniture|
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
3. Polywood Palm Coast
- color doesn't chip off
- stands up well to frequent use
- not prone to splintering
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
2. Highwood Westport
- made with proprietary materials
- stainless steel hardware
- 40 inches in height
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
1. Polywood Classic
- comes in 13 stylish colors
- wipes clean with soap and water
- straight back design
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
Choosing An Adirondack Chair
The Adirondack chair is instantly identifiable thanks to its wide armrests and a slanted back made from slats. Although at first glance Adirondack chairs appear uniform, you’ll actually find quite a few variations among models. These differences generally separate into two categories: those that impact aesthetics and those that impact functionality. Many combinations of these features are possible, so there’s an Adirondack chair for just about everyone.
On the aesthetic side, you’ll find type of wood, color, and style alternatives. Natural wood variations are perennially popular, since they’re neutral and fit in nearly any home. Teak, eucalyptus, cedar, and pine are common woods craftsmen choose for these chairs, as are durable plastics designed to resemble hardwood. Wood or plastic can be stained or painted all the colors of the rainbow, from deep red to light violet. Style variations offer somewhat more narrow choices, since this chair has a recognizable shape and design. You’ll find important, subtle differences, though, such as narrower or wider arms and varying numbers of slats.
When it comes to functionality, probably the biggest concern after comfort is durability. After all, these chairs are most commonly used as outdoor furniture, so it’s important that they can stand up to the elements. Ways that manufacturers make these chairs long-lasting include adding UV-resistant coating, using stainless steel hardware, and choosing paints or stains that are proven to withstand rain and moisture. A quality paint or stain can also make cleanup much easier, perhaps in the event that a guest becomes a little too gestural with a glass of wine or springtime pollen coats your furniture.
One last thing to think about is whether you’ll take your chair with you when you go to the beach, outdoor concerts, or the park. If so, look for foldable models that provide portability. These usually collapse to a relative flatness so that you can pop them in and out of your car’s trunk.
A Few Decorating Tips and Ideas
Many people think of an outdoorsy, rustic style when they consider decorating with Adirondack chairs, but these versatile pieces deserve much more credit. Thanks to classic, simple styling, an Adirondack chair will fit into nearly any type of décor, including shabby or vintage chic, contemporary, glam, industrial, coastal, and more. They provide a blank canvas and can function as a focal point, contrasting element, or simple fade-into-the-background utility piece. Weatherproofing options render them appropriate for both indoor and outdoor use; try them as comfortable and attractive seating for gazebos, patios, verandahs, living rooms, gardens, and more. And don’t worry — you won’t need a degree in interior design to effectively decorate with these chairs.
For instance, one simple way you might use your Adirondack chairs is to create a cozy reading or conversation nook. To encourage lingering, add soft goods for comfort. You might throw a sheepskin rug over the seat and back rest to provide a soft, luxurious touch. Pillows will provide neck and head support, while a throw blanket gives warmth on a chilly evening. Try soft goods in bold colors that contrast the chair for an eye-catching visual statement.
If you’d rather not cover up your chairs, but you still seek to draw the eye and make a statement, you might try painting your pieces. Since the Adirondack chair offers a reasonably large canvas, creative owners have gone far beyond simple one-color paint jobs in order to make a personal statement. World maps, animals, team names, beach scenes, and even portraits are just a sampling of the many unique ideas for giving your new chair a distinctive look.
You might think about the pieces you’ll pair with your Adirondack chairs, as well. A wood-slat table offers a stable space for extra beverages or books, and a footrest lets you prop up your tired legs. If you live in a sunny area, a beach umbrella might be necessary for some shade. For uniformity of design, keep these pieces all in the same style, or try a mix for a modern, eclectic flair.
A Brief History Of The Adirondack Chair
The Adirondack chair has a fairly straightforward origin. In 1903, Thomas Lee was visiting his summer home in Westport, New York, with his family. They had scenery and tranquility but, unfortunately, no comfortable place to sit and enjoy them. To fix this problem, he designed what he called the Westport plank chair. With his family, he tested prototypes until the chair was comfortable — an excellent perch for enjoying a cold beverage. It so happened that Lee had a friend named Harry Bunnell, a carpenter, who needed extra income during the winters. Lee lent the plans for the chair to Bunnell, who recognized its potential. He filed for a patent, which was published on July 18, 1905.
Although Bunnell continued to sell the Westport chair for the following 20 years, the chair didn’t receive its exact contemporary shape until the 1930s, when Irving Wolpin received his own patent for a version of the design with a more rounded back. Many claim that it was Wolpin who gave the chairs the name of Adirondack, although others argue that the name came about due to its popularity in the region of the same name. Nowadays, carpenters and manufacturers put their own design touches on these chairs, which have come to be called Muskoka chairs, as well, especially in Canada. These chairs remain popular thanks to the comfortable seating they provide in a range of styles and price points.
As for Thomas Lee, many surmise that he couldn’t have been too upset with Bunnell for patenting his design because he never took any official legal steps to reclaim what was, by all rights, his. Perhaps he was happy for his friend, despite the fact that he wasn’t even aware of the patent until after it was granted. On a more positive note for Lee, he is remembered as the creator of this classic and beloved piece of furniture even today, so at least he ended up with fame, if (perhaps) not wealth.