Adirondack Chairs: All Types of Options
We do not think that Thomas Lee, the father of the Adirondack chair, was meant to take over luxury living when he first invented this chair. Yet his design has made an impact worldwide. This chair style is now the highlight of outdoor lounging in commercial and residential spaces.
A Brief History Of The Adirondack Chair
Consumers with outdoor spaces almost always go for this chair because it offers comfort, versatility, and an aesthetic appeal. And it started this way in the early 1900s.
Thomas Lee’s family wealth allowed them to own a charming vacation home in Westport, near Lake Champlain, surrounded by the Adirondack Mountains. Young Lee was so connected to this home that when he dropped out of Harvard, he chose it as his primary workspace.
The Victorian furniture in the home was lovely, but it did not satisfy Lee’s need for a durable and comfortable chair that could handle the terrain of the Adirondack Mountains. Thus he began designing and finally settled on an 11-wood piece design in 1903, naming it the ‘Westport Chair.’ It was simple, low, spacious, slanted, and came with a footstool and wide armrests.
Since Lee was committed to ventures and hobbies in multiple communities, he did not stay in Westport to develop the chair. Instead, he passed the designs to his carpenter friend Harry Bunnell.
Bunnell developed the chairs from softwood and hardwood. He removed the footstool, narrowed the seat, and patented his design in 1904. Despite the competition, he held the market for the next 20 years until New Jersey inventor Irving Wolpin patented the ‘Adirondack Chair’ in 1938.
His design had thin wood slats, wide armrests, a high back, and a contoured seat. This is the Adirondack chair we know and love today. Even with modern variations, manufacturers retain many aspects of the Wolpin design.
Classifications Of Adirondack Chairs
There are many styles of Adirondack chairs available to end consumers. Variations in design serve functional and decorative purposes, as you will learn further down in this entry. But first, explore the different classifications of Adirondack chairs. These chairs can be classified according to:
Today, manufacturers make Adirondack chairs from various materials. While wood was the initial raw material, the development proved that multiple alternatives improve comfort, function, and durability. So, end consumers purchase Adirondack chairs made from:
- Wood. Manufacturers often use teak to make wood Adirondack chairs. Teak creates resilient and durable Adirondack chairs, plus good resistance against weather. While teak Adirondack chairs require regular maintenance, many end consumers still prefer them for their aesthetic appeal.
- Poly lumber. Manufacturers use recycled plastic to make poly lumber, which makes Adirondack chairs. Poly lumber is a durable and resistant alternative to wood, beating the natural fiber in weather resistance, insect damage, and maintenance needs. Poly Adirondack chairs also come in multiple colors.
- Metal. While aluminum Adirondack chairs are not very popular, they offer a sense of uniqueness to their consumers. Aluminum Adirondack chairs are lightweight, durable, and resilient. They also hold well against most weather conditions but are not the best for comfort considering the competition. Still, they are ideal for budget shoppers.
- Injection molded plastic. Injection molded plastic is an affordable material that makes it easy to maintain Adirondack chairs. These chairs are lightweight, but they lose color with sun exposure. Still, some consumers chose them for their endless color options and affordability.
Another way that we classify Adirondack chairs is through their function. The function in that where and how end consumers will use them. End consumers get Adirondack chairs for various purposes, but the most common applications include:
- Patios. Patio Adirondack chairs are common in residential areas. End consumers prefer Adirondack chairs in patios because patios are big and can accommodate Adirondack chairs without hindering movement.
- Decks. Similarly, people with large decks also get Adirondack chairs. End consumers make them cozier by adding pillows and cushions.
- Restaurants and cafes. Many eateries with outdoor dining sets are turning to the comfortable Adirondack chairs for resting and eating spaces. The availability of colors and designs makes them appeal to consumers.
- Balconies. Residential and commercial balconies can also be seen with Adirondack chairs. However, due to limited space, these chairs are often in ones and twos for these spaces.
- Gardens. Garden spaces benefit from Adirondack chairs. Their wide spaces are perfect for these wide chairs for lounging in nature.
- Parks. And lastly, public parks also have Adirondack chairs ranging from small to comically large. The small chairs often appear in children’s playgrounds.
Adirondack chairs come with various accessories that serve comfort or functional purposes. The most common accessories you will find include:
- Ottoman. Adirondack chairs come with permanent or detachable footstools. They are ideal for lounging and consumers with mobility issues. They are often curved or straight for natural resting.
- Side table. Adirondack chairs with side tables are joined at the armrest and usually come in pairs. The side table sits between the chairs, facilitating a sturdy surface for food and drinks. The side table is popular among eateries.
- Rocking legs. Some Adirondack chairs have rocking legs instead of regular ones. You could say it is a modern take on the classic rocking chair. It is ideal for consumers with newborn babies or anyone who enjoys rocking.
- Cup holders. The cupholder feature appears in the armrest of the Adirondack chair. It is a professionally-hollowed space that fits standard cups and bottles. It prevents spilling and accidents. Some even have enough space for a mug handle.
- Storage compartment. Other Adirondack chairs come with a storage drawer or compartment attached to the bottom of the seat. It is ideal for putting small items like chargers, magazines, books, remote controllers, etc.
- Foldable. While this is a feature, we classify it as an accessory because it comes in handy. Consumers who go for foldable Adirondack chairs understand the importance of a storage plan and making it work with limited space. The items can be folded and stored when not in use. It maximizes space and improves longevity.
Types of Adirondack Chairs
Manufacturers have gotten creative and crafted different types of Adirondack chairs for consumers with various needs. Some are practical, while others are decorative. But we can confirm that they are functional.
In the spirit of providing end consumers with their options, below is a list of the most popular types of Adirondack chairs. This is just a basic list as there are more choices in the market and even more to come.
Traditional/ Classic Adirondack Chair
The traditional or classic Adirondack chair has a contoured seat with a slanted back and a seat that leans back. It also has short legs with a front slat that supports the knees. It is very close to the original Adirondack chair by Wolpin. The number of slats varies. But they are often five to seven, with rounded edges.
Adirondack Chair with Ottoman
This chair comes with a permanent or detachable ottoman. The ottoman is a footstool that can stand as a seat. This style offers the convenience of kicking your feet up. It also offers extra seating space for hosting. It is common among consumers with residential homes, people with mobility issues, and senior citizens.
Adirondack Lounge Chair
The Adirondack lounge chair is a good option for poolside lounging and sunbathing. It has an extended straight ottoman, like a pool lounge chair with an Adirondack design. For extra comfort, some lounge Adirondack chairs come with cushions. They put end consumers at a 45-degree slanting angle, like a sit-sleep position.
Double Adirondack Chair
The double Adirondack chair is what it sounds like, two Adirondack chairs joined by a side table. The double chair has two separate slatted backs, and they can each have their own two armrests or one on the opposite side, then a side table in the middle. These are great for lounging while dining with a friend.
The Adirondack love chair is a type of double Adirondack chair built for couples and people who do not mind sharing their personal space. The chair has a large slatted back with two peaks joined in the middle. There is no separating side table or armrests. Instead, it sits like a couch with an armrest on each side.
Children's Adirondack Chair
This is a mini-version of an Adirondack chair that accommodates young people. It is small, meaning kids can easily get in and out of the chair. It can take on any style, but most stick to the traditional design. Some come with a cup holder to prevent spills, while others have a high-chair table for easy access to food.
Faux Wood Adirondack Chair
The faux wood Adirondack chair is made from poly lumber. Poly or plastic lumber is often known as faux wood because it mimics the look and texture of natural wood, only that it is plastic. Consumers love this version because it has the aesthetic appeal of wood, without the maintenance demands, plus a favorable price tag.
Wicker Adirondack Chair
Wicker Adirondack chairs are made from wicker. Wicker is a weaving style, not plant. Rattan is the plant material used to make wicker furniture. Wicker Adirondack chairs have a natural appeal similar to wood. They are stylish, and most people get them for the aesthetic appeal, especially in garden settings. They are also popular in coastal regions.
Folding Adirondack Chairs
Folding Adirondack chairs, let the consumer fold the chair when it is not in use. The chair is made from wood, plastic, or metal, with hinges at the sides that let the consumer fold the chair. They are ideal for space management and proper storage when not in use.
Adirondack Chair with Cup Holder
As the name suggests, this chair has cup holders. The cup holders are often on the armrests and look like what you would find on recliner seats. They are ideal for holding drinks to prevent spilling. They fit cups, bottles, and sometimes mugs.
Modern Adirondack Chairs
The modern Adirondack chairs take minimalism to a new level. The back slats are two to four in number and have a very plain design. The front slat is thinner, and the seat is not as far back. They have thinner armrests and often come in solid colors. Most are made from poly lumber.
Trendy Adirondack Chair Styles in 2022
The classic/traditional Adirondack chair
Nothing beats a classic, and the popularity of the original Adirondack chair design proves it. Sure the slats may be fewer or more, with a different shape, but the standard slated back, contoured slanted seat, and low legs are a favorable choice for consumers in 2022. They offer comfort and unmatched aesthetic appeal, ideal for any setting.
Children's Adirondack chairs
Since the pandemic required social distancing, more people have become accustomed to family time. Many families bonded in their backyards, triggering the need to accommodate every member. So, the small Adirondack chair designed for kids is flying off the shelves this year.
Adirondack chairs with ottoman
End consumers want comfort and luxury, and the ottoman Adirondack chair is the ideal lounge partner. It comes with an attached or detachable ottoman to facilitate leg support. This way, consumers lean back into the chair and kick their feet up. Lounging is welcome among consumers making this style a hot item.
Rocking Adirondack chairs
The rocking Adirondack chair is another favorite among new parents, seniors, and even middle-aged people. The modern twist on the rocking chair makes a dramatic appearance among end consumers. And it has nothing to do with age, only the love for rocking.