the wingback recliner

by | Oct 24, 2022 | Living Room, My House | 35 comments

Years ago, when I first had issues with my shoulder, I cracked a joke about recliners.  I was in the ER for severe shoulder pain from calcific tendonitis and the doctor suggested I sleep in a recliner to take some pressure off my shoulder.  I looked at him and said, “Do I look like someone who would have a recliner in my house?”  I just meant it as a joke and it probably wasn’t too effective given I was wearing an oversized hoodie, sweatpants, and Crocs.  I probably looked exactly like someone who would have a recliner.  Anyway, all of this is to say that I had to eat my words when Jeff was desperately shopping for a recliner I could sleep in after my shoulder surgery.  And, I had to admit two things.  First of all, recliners are pretty awesome.  Second, recliners have come a long way from looking like something plucked out of a Winnebago.  In fact, there are recliners that look like very traditional pieces of furniture like wingback chairs and rolled armchairs.

You’re all so savvy that I’m sure these two relatively recent revelations to me aren’t new at all to you.

My mom has a wingback recliner and you wouldn’t even know it’s a recliner.  I sat it in when we were staying with them and it was surprisingly comfortable.  It’s not as comfy as an overstuffed recliner, but it’s perfect for reclining and watching a movie.  As we were moving furniture back into the living room after the floors were refinished, I imagined getting a wingback recliner to put next to the sofa.  With this set-up, we could have comfortable movie-watching seating for our family of four.  Two could sit on the sofa, one in a wing chair with a footstool, and one in the recliner.  Since this is our only sitting room at present (I’m using the formal living room as a studio), I want to balance comfort and aesthetics carefully.

So, I’ve kept an eye out for a wingback recliner on Facebook Marketplace and one finally turned up last week for $40.  For $40, I can try it out and see how we like it.  The chair isn’t perfect, but it is pretty comfortable and it’ll be a fun upholstery project.  Of course, I am going to reupholster it!  I might use the fabric on the bolt behind the chair, but that will likely be the curtains.  I’m still deciding.

wingback recliner | miss mustard seed

When we first brought it into the room, I threw a couple of quilts over it, but it looked like I was trying to hide something really hideous and that just wasn’t the case.  The chair was improved by taking off the quilts and just letting it be until I get to it.  With an antique blue and white quilt folded over the back, a comfy cable knit throw, and a pillow that ties in the green just enough, it works.

wingback recliner | miss mustard seed

I’ve never recovered a recliner before, but I think I’ll be able to figure it out.  I plan to do a bit of a hybrid of upholstery and slipcovers, so certain pieces, like the back, arms, and seat will be removable and washable.  The moving parts will likely be reupholstered, but we’ll see as I get into it.  I’ll share the process, but if you want to see how to make a slipcover for a wingback chair, you can find a video slipcover series HERE.

wingback recliner | miss mustard seed

It’s been so nice to have this room usable again with the finished wood floors!  We still have a lot to do in here, but it is at least a comfortable place to sit and relax.  We condensed two pretty large rooms into this one smallish room, but we really love it.  It feels inviting and just right.  Just enough…not too much.

wingback recliner | miss mustard seed

Jeff and I picked up a few other small pieces last week, so I’ll be sharing those, too…

35 Comments

  1. Sharon M.

    I am thrilled to see the Brooklyn sofa!! I got mine almost 1 year ago and I love it!!

  2. Patty

    Do you still have the beautiful buffalo check sectional? That was such a beautiful piece.

    • Jodie

      No, she sold it.

      • Cindy pegram

        I am starting to think a recliner needs to be apart of every home especially as we get older. I recently fell and broke my shoulder. I have been sleeping in a recliner for two months now . We had to hurry and buy what could be delivered within a few days since I was coming home from the hospital. It is a movie chair and while comfortable does nothing for the style of our room. Hubby says it is staying so as I sit here I’m trying to figure out the new furniture placement and if we need to get another one!

      • Carol

        You were lucky to find a chair in a color that will work until you reupholster it.
        I’ve been wanting to do a recliner slipcover for quite some time. I’m anxious to get your help with that!

  3. Margaret

    The healthcare facility where I used to work had a number of these in the lounge. They looked decent even though they had to be upholstered in a fabric that could be wiped clean, and they were comfortable. They also have a much smaller footprint than a “Winnebago recliner”. I am stealing that.

  4. Patricia Kasparian

    Great find! I cannot sit for any length without putting my feet up. I always want an ottoman and those can be awkward and take up floor space between you and the coffee table. These are the solution, and they’re also stylish. I need to look for a pair of small recliners!

  5. Kathy K

    I agree with you…I swore I would never have a recliner. Then 9 weeks ago I felt faint at the top of my stairs but passed out and tumbled down. I broke my back, some ribs and my foot. I ordered a recliner from a well known company. It is sleek, modern and has a power lift. I’ve been pretty much living in it and am very pleased. I never would have imagined I’d become such a fan.

    • Babs

      What happened to you is my biggest fear! I want to move into a one level home so I don’t have to climb stairs especially when carrying laundry, etc. Wishing you a speedy recovery. You are a very lucky lady…Laura Ashley died falling down the stairs.

      • Kathy K

        Thank you. I consider myself very fortunate and lucky to be alive.

    • Judi murray

      Kathy please be careful. Hope you are being given lots of pain meds. Praying from Michigan for fast recovery for you.

    • Michele M.

      Oh my word, how AWFUL, Kathy! How scary! You poor gal. WOW. Well I am very happy you found yourself a nice looking power lift recliner. You really and truly need it!!!!

  6. Betsy

    If that’s a Lazy Boy the back comes off. Really simple to reupholster.

  7. Babs

    We had to get a recliner when my husband couldn’t find a comfortable position to sleep and also could not get out of a chair due to horrible Lyme disease. It had to be electric since he was not able to even use the lever on the side. Thankfully, he has fully recovered and doesn’t need the chair. We use it in his office to watch movies, etc. It’s leather and quite comfortable especially when a wooly throw is added into the mix.

    I always thought they looked hideous but they do serve a purpose. The newer ones are quite attractive and not so large. I admit to being a “recliner snob” but I am in recovery.

  8. Mary Ann

    I found that reupholstering a recliner was easier because it can come apart. Looking forward to seeing how you pull your home together and add your style…..I have followed you for years and have never not liked any of your choices!

  9. Sheila

    I willl never allow one of those overstuffed oversized recliners in my house. I think they are much too large for most houses and ugly as heck. On the other hand, I own a Laz y Boy recliner couch. You can’t tell it’s a recliner couch unless you use the recliners and over the years we haven’t used them much. We are probably one of the few customers who walked into Laz y boy and bought regular non reclining club chairs. They look great with the couch.

  10. Kim

    I own a chair just like this Lazy Boy that you found. $40.00 is nothing compared to buying new. Mine has lasted 25 years but the fabric has faded and is now showing wear. I’d be very interested to see a video tutorial if you create one when you get around to reupholstering this chair.

  11. Vicki

    My husband and I have had Lazy Boys for many years. We tried a few others and nope Lazy Boy is the best! One of the comments was about the back of the chair, yes the back slides out. They have many styles that don’t look like the older recliners too!

  12. Bea

    I’ve never liked the look of recliners either but many have evolved during the last few years and now I even have a pair of them in my basement. That room started out as a sitting room and became my inventory room. In fact my business has taken over most of my house and I’m not exactly happy about it. But that’s a story for another time. Your living room has really come together and that is definitely a plus for you!

  13. Elle

    Hello friend! I too, have memories of recliners-like the Dad on ‘Frasier’ with the duct tape repairs. But now, I would put recliners in every room in my home if that could bring my hubby back. Many thanks for this post.

  14. Robin

    I have this very recliner (in a muted gold) and I’ve been wanting to make a slipcover for it. I’ve even purchased a lovely raw linen to do it in, but I haven’t had the courage to tackle it yet! So, I’ll be looking forward to seeing this project when the time comes.

  15. B Folk

    I am also a “recovered recliner snob”! There are many models today that are so much more sleek, dare I say beautiful, than even 15 years ago. we have a smallish living room, but want to have enough seating for family and friends, where everyone isn’t uncomfortably squished together in a row on couches and loveseats. My solution is to have our three-seater sofa, two “stationary” chairs, and 4-6 high-end folding chairs. Those, plus our four kitchen table chairs, would be enough. We bought a power recliner several months ago and just got a swivel rocker delivered two weeks ago. Since we are on the Dave Ramsay plan, the folding chairs will have to wait.
    I had planned on the recliner for the eventuality of me or hubby needing it in our “old age”. Didn’t know it would be sooner, rather than later, when I was diagnosed with two different cancers at the beginning of the year! Surgeries made it hard if not impossible to use a hand lever on a recliner, or get comfy or get up and down easily, so the recliner came in very handy. Both our recliner and swivel rocker are made in the U.S.A. by Stanton Furniture. They are good-looking, well-made, warrantied, comfy and the right size. Many furniture stores carry Stanton furniture, check them out (not a paid endorsement:))
    Marian, you are dealing with the type of house that many have (a ranch), so you have quite a few readers who will appreciate the modifications you are making to your new home.

  16. mary m

    After a severed tendon in my hip/serious surgery/bed rest and an iron brace for six weeks a rented ugly pop up recliner was my salvation. Oh it was ugly. lol Looks like you have a real jewel. I followed your chair slipcover video and I know you can master this project.

  17. CathyR

    Best purchase I ever made was my LaZBoy wingback recliner. It has to be 22+ yrs old Andy the mechanical parts are guaranteed for life. It reclines without “a gearshift “ and looks great to this day.

  18. Irene Kelly

    I have a Lay z boy just.like that in a light blue color in my office. And I must say it looks almost new because I have kept it covered all these years. And since I do not have the sewing skills I plan to get my guy to cover it all I need is to get to Calico Corners to buy the fabric. Speaking of fabric that roll of blue fabric looks like a much brighter blue than you usually use? I prefer your old palette of lighter blues !

  19. Andrea

    Add me to the recovering recliner snobs! Mine is also blue & was $40 at a thrift store. It looked brand new and for $40 I thought I would hold my nose & take it home just to test the concept. It’s not even big or puffy but still so comfy some visitors prefer it to sleeping in the guest room. Never say never!

  20. JC

    I’m right there with you on the recliner idea, but they have come a long way. My husband works in healthcare and is on his feet a lot. I got a sofa with a chaise thinking that would do the trick, but he REALLY wanted a recliner. I was able to find one that is comfortable and looks like a regular chair which is a win in my book!
    What a great find and it looks to be a LazyBoy! I think it will look great in any of those fabrics in the photo. I really like the top bolt in the basket, but can’t tell if the pattern will be too big for the chair. Looking forward to seeing what you decide and sew. Please do make a tutorial. Your tutorials are always easier to follow :).

  21. Teresa

    As I write this, my hubby is on our reclining sofa sound asleep! Our reclining sofa is leather and is a modern, cotemporary style with track arms. My other two reclining chairs are fabric with modern track arms and rock/swivel. Reclining furniture has come a long way and gone are the days of big, bulky, man-cave looking reclining furniture. So Marian, as an ex-recliner snob, welcome to the club!!

  22. Kris

    I have thus exact recliner in a slightly different blue upholstery. It’s over 30 years old and has held up well. I had a cover on it for many years, so the upholstery is in good condition. I have been confused when I heard people saying that pretty recliners are a new thing. They have been around for several decades now! My mom had a lovely wingback recliner with electric controls for managing getting into a reclining position. Gone are the days when the Frasier recliner was all you could get.

  23. Addie

    Ahhh….I had to chuckle as a I read this. As you were trying to defend your “mistake comment” on recliners you dug yourself a much deeper hole. You went to people that wear hoodies, sweatpants and Crocs. If that wasn’t enough you hit the Winnebago crowd next. AND then to top it all off you even took a shot at dear ole mom!!!! lol….Or at least that is the way it read to me. I was laughing!!! Of course, anyone that has been around knows you would never feel bad about any of these ‘styles”
    or ever make down comments on any of them. Just came to me in a funny way.
    Please believe me when I say this comment was for fun…….I am MORE then tired of this ultra sensitive world we are now living in!!!!

  24. AnnTN

    We’ve had several rocker recliners since my son was a new born(he’s 33 now). It was so much easier to rock and feed him than the typical nursery recliner. He’s grown and gone, but we still have a recliner. We always will.

  25. Kim

    My parents always had a recliner for my dad, and it was extremely tasteful and classic, not ugly or puffy, even back in the ’70s if you can believe it. I have fond memories of us 3 kids fighting over who got to sit in it for watching movies on TV, and seeing my dad have his traditional 3 pm afternoon nap every day to recharge after work before tackling the house chores! Fast forward to photos of my dad reading stories to my kids in the recliner. I have always wanted one, for the versatility that everyone here points out, and I have always known that there are nice ones available, especially nowadays! Hopefully we won’t ever have to make an “emergency” purchase due to illness or injury. I know my husband secretly wants one, so it won’t be a hard sell at all!

  26. Beth

    A recovered recliner rejector, we now have recliners in three rooms—our primary bedroom, the front living area, and the sunroom. Here’s my list of acquired information for those seeking to purchase their first recliner as a recliner is as individual to one’s body as a pair of shoes. (1) Torn shoulders/repaired shoulders often cannot tolerate an exaggerated shoulder roll. (Same principle applies to back issues—kidney rolls can be problematic.) 2) LaZBoy’s website includes an effective tool to determine the style that works for one’s physical structure. (I.e. short, tall, etc). (3) It is difficult to select “matching” recliners for a room when primary users are different in body style—one solution is to select the same fabric for the two different styles. (4) Electric function allows for infinite adjustments—just huge, allowing the recliner to remain “custom” as the body changes or if the chair is used by multiple folks. (5) LazyBoy “wall saver” style (seat and leg riser moves primarily forward, allowing smaller rooms to host recliners. (6) When shopping and trying recliners, sit in them long enough to determine whether the style actually works for your body—try shopping at the end of the day when weary as opposed to earlier in the day (before body challenges set in!). We are so fortunate to now have a wide selection of recliners from which to choose—the uninformed typically cannot “guess” that they are sitting in a recliner until told! (Having been through torn shoulders, wrecked knees from riding accidents, and two hip replacements, I think they are essential to a home.)

  27. Adrienne

    I have this exact recliner except in red! I tried slipcovering it, but as you noted since it…*cough cough* RECLINES, this was not a great plan. I really hope you share the process whenever you do get around to recovering it because i’d love to do that with mine too. I think a deep blue tartan fabric would be gorgeous.

  28. Cynde

    Your post made me laugh. Recliners are such a challenge. My husband and I shopped for months, he wanted comfort, and I needed it to look beautiful and not like a recliner…..we finally came to a compromise at Ethan Allen, what we found is very nice looking and not at all like something from starship enterprise or Star Wars. It was a challenge for sure. What you found is so nice, I can’t wait to see it reupholstered.

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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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