The Best Garden Chairs To Hang Out In
When I was in my teens, I had a friend, Justine, whose parents had a hanging chair in their living room. This was the late eighties and the three piece suite was King. Sofa's had multiple layers of padding and were generally always velour in a variety of pastel colours. Ours was pale blue with a thin stripe, a classic of the time, upholstered in velour in it's entirety. Whatever your views on this interior era, those sofas were made for relaxing, almost like a bed in the living room. Michel Ducaroy created the iconic Togo sofa (padding paired with style) back in the seventies and instigated an influx of sofas which not only looked good but were also ridiculously comfortable. Sofas that were for actually sitting on whilst also looking seriously stylish. Whenever I think of eighties sofas, I'm always reminded of the Soul Glo sofa scene in Coming To America (die hard eighties film addicts will know what I'm talking about).
Anyway, Justine's parents hanging chair was off the scale cool at the time. Eighties traditional home decor was standard layout - suite complete with matching pouffe, alcove units, side tables - and veering away from it was considered very alternative. Made of bamboo and completely circular, it was filled with cushions and took up most of the room but it was totally aspirational and was held in complete awe by myself and others. It had an element of excitement; when you sat it in, it felt daring and luxurious. We all wanted one.
Two years ago, I picked up a hanging chair from Home Bargains, a shop which wins the award for the most random selection of items ever known to man. Positioned in between the wedding stationary and the female sanitary products, it sat proudly with a 'Home Delivery Only' sticker on it for the quite frankly ridiculous price of £99. Hanging chairs were having a comeback and I'd been desperate to buy one but hadn't managed to find anything under £300. Despite that fact I only had about 60p in my current account, I decided it was a purchase that couldn't be missed and handed over the credit card feeling joyous. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the worst Summer for a decade, so I moved it into Ella's room where it stayed for the next few years, adorned with a selection of worn knickers, discarded school uniform and Primark receipts.
When I was planning my new garden area this year, I didn't want it to look too matchy matchy but I didn't want to have the completely uncoordinated look that I had channelled last year. I'm a big fan of inside outside furniture - furniture which is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, thus saving you from the issue of storage over the colder months. Last Summer, I merrily dragged my French Riviera suitable furniture outside, but omitted to take into account my innate laziness when it came to bringing it all back in again. As a result, my bamboo sofa (purchased for a song at the Community Furniture Warehouse) tolerated wind, rain and, yes, snow over the Winter and is looking more Steptoe & Son than St Tropez. I'm going to sand it down and respray it but my lesson has been learned - the more weather tolerant furniture you can have in your garden, the better.
So my pergola is finished and the hanging chair has been rescued from the pit of hell that is my daughters room and returned to it's rightful place in the sun. I've created an informal living space using a juxtoposition of pieces - a low backed garden set from JYSK, some bamboo plant stands to use as drinks tables, a canvas print on the wall, a hammock chair, a large indoor rug that I will move back into the house following the Summer months. And, of course, the weatherproof bargain hanging chair, which already has people fighting to sit on it whenever it's nice enough to be outside.
I've pulled together an edit of what's out there at the moment to add that element of excitement to your outdoor area - I didn't quite manage to beat my Home Bargains purchase but I've got pretty close. Plus, of course, the obligatory blow the budget options.
So that's my round up of the best of the best. Hanging chairs bring the fun element into your garden design which in my opinion is an essential when planning any type of social area. With the added bonus of looking just as good inside as they do outside, they are the ideal multi functioning furniture item. And still super cool, even thirty years later. Right, when will the fully upholstered plush velour three piece be returning?