19 Best Reading Chair and Accent Seat Contenders, According to Architectural Digest Editors (2022)


There are a few important criteria that a seat must meet to be considered the very best reading chair. For starters, it needs to look the part. Next, your reading chair should be willing to work double duty as an accent chair, whether it’s nestled in the reading nook of your living room, in a home office, or somewhere in your bedroom. It also needs to be durable—something that’ll last for a good deal of time and through late night reading sessions, without breaking or succumbing to wear and tear. But perhaps most important of all: It needs to be comfortable. Remember, this is a reading chair, so when you look at it, it needs to spark a strong urge to curl up with your favorite book and a beverage of your choice.

If you weren’t already aware, there’s an abundance of reading and accent chairs out there. And we’re talking an overwhelming amount⁠: More than 50,000 results come up when you search “accent chairs” on Wayfair. Sure, they all look nice on a computer screen, but anyone who’s accidentally purchased an especially stiff chair knows not to judge a piece of furniture by the professionally-taken store photo. Here at Clever, we really wanted to sit and marinate to find the greatest options out there. So, we rounded up 16 chairs, and then reclined, assessed, scrutinized, and graded them. Some we loved, others not so much! Keep scrolling to find out which chairs made it to the top of our list.

Reading chairs

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The Ellary is made by female-founded OKA, and everything about the chair feels classic: the shape, a backrest that’s a few inches short of a wingback, the solid wood legs with brass wheels at the bottom, the timeless linen upholstery. The Ellary is the interior design equivalent of a classic pair of loafers. It’s also pretty spacious—clocking in at 34 inches in height, 31 inches in width, and 32 inches in diameter—so any sitter will have ample space to recline back with their favorite book and feel comfortably nestled on the thickly cushioned seat.

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Sixpenny is known for approaching high quality comfort with a natural, simple, cozy, and eco-friendly eye. That’s certainly the case with the Neva chair, which ditches the traditional wood frame in favor of an entirely slipcovered design reminiscent of something you might’ve sat in as a kid at daycare, but this time it’s way more chic. Underneath the slipcover, you’ll find three different layers of high density foam (for comfort and support) sandwiched between a mix of feather down and poly fill. The Neva’s shape is unassuming in a space, but its structured lines and plush cushions make it stand out as a great-looking and especially comfy reading chair for your living room or bedroom. Buy it in faux fur, linen, velvet, or canvas, all available in a variety of colors (and see which combinations will work with your space beforehand with the 12 fabric swatches Sixpenny lets you order for free). It’s also available as a sectional sofa (which, yes, we also reviewed!) if you want to round out the set.

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