Lez’hur Ledger: To recline, or not to recline? That’s a pretty stupid question

October 2, 2014

Nothing says “leisure” like sinking into a plush recliner after a long day of not reclining.  Let’s be honest with each other here for a second.  You want to recline. I can feel your desire to recline in my muscles, in my pores, and in my perfectly straight spine resulting from nearly a century of awesome lumbar support. “But how can I recline,” you might ask, “when Georgetown doesn’t offer students recliners?” Well, luckily for us, recliner heaven is as close as Dulles, VA.

 I went to Belfort Furniture in Dulles to test out some recliners for your consideration. Winner of the North American Home Furnishings Association’s “2012 Retailer of the Year Award” (they really want you to know that they won this, by the way), Belfort Furniture is a recliner gem tucked away in the vast sewage-town that is Dulles.

As soon as I entered Belfort Furniture, I began sampling the local fare. The first recliner that took my breath away was the Belfort Signature Motion Salazar Casual Power Recliner with Lumbar Support in burgundy and listed at only $899—a real steal for anyone familiar with the world of recliners.  The BSMSCPRWLS lives up to its name regarding power and lumbar support. Reclining in this beauty feels like lounging on a lightening bolt curved like a human back.  Pad-over-chaise with contrast stitching seat? Check. Available in leather? You bet it’s available in leather. Believe me, this recliner has got it all.

Another star performer was the Hooker Furniture Reclining Chairs Traditional High Leg Reclining Chair with Tufted Recliner which, despite the name, was anything but traditional.  Sure, this chair had some of the qualities of your grandfather’s recliner, like rolled arms and nailhead trim, but it comes revamped with “high density foam core wrapped with virgin polyester fibers” and a “special ticking.”  Just when you think things couldn’t get any better, it turns out that this chair is imported—good news for all you Europhiles out there.

The most charming recliner that I had the pleasure of sampling was the Palliser Westside Contemporary Pushback Chair with Curved Track Arms. Before you get all pissed off that I referred to a pushback chair as a recliner (for those unfamiliar with the debate, the question of whether or not a pushback chair is a recliner has raged for decades in the chair community), please read my dissertation published in the May 1986 publication of the Journal of Furniture Studies on the matter [disclaimer: This does not actually exist]. The PWCPCWCTA boasts a classic design straight out of the 60s, the kind of thing you’d see on Mad Men or in photos of the set of Mad Men.  Cubic and sleek with an interwoven 100% elastic webbing coil, the PWCPCWCTA appeals to minimalists and fans of Mad Men alike.

While I may have tried out some stellar recliners, it is important to note that not all recliners are created equally. For example, sitting on the Bastrop DuraBlend-Steel Contemporary Bonded Leather Match Rocker Recliner was like riding a roller coaster made of stones straight to hell. The BDSCBLMRR feels unsteady to the point where sitting on it inspires real fear. By the time that I mustered up the courage to rise from the chair, I had spent 45 minutes paralyzed and drenched in sweat, but that’s what happens when you make a recliner with a cushion core.

After visiting Belfort Furniture, I can say with complete certainty that the world of recliners is not nearly as doomed as many say. Its golden age may have passed, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some incredible recliners still being produced today. So, to the recliner skeptics out there, I say this: make the trek to Belfort Furniture with an open mind, try out some chairs, and see if you still feel the same way. Maybe you’ll love it. Maybe you’ll hate it, but then you’d be wrong. As I always say, love, live, recline.

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