Many things, primarily sitting and lying down, possibly even taking a nap. They are primarily used for the purposes of resting, kind of like a big cozy armchair but not quite as inviting… unless you know already how comfy they are.
A chaise longue is technically any upholstered chair with a long space that you could recline on and put your feet up. Where traditionally they were found in the beautiful boudoirs of 16th century France, they’re slightly less fancy these days.
In modern homes, you’ll find them as an accent piece rather than a requirement for sitting, for instance at the foot of one’s bed, in the living room or dining room… pretty much anywhere you can close your eyes and relax on it!
Some folks will even utilize them in their hallways or entryways, as a great place to sit down and put on (or take off!) your shoes instead of trying to balance on one leg. They add instant class and sophistication to any room.
As they tend to be a lot prettier than their sofa counterparts, it’s possible that the most houseproud of homeowners will have a chaise longue for decorative purposes only - with nobody allowed to sit on it! That feels like a waste of money, though.
You may well have seen that the chaise longue is associated with Freud and other psychologists performing psychoanalysis, allowing the therapist to observe a patient reclining but out of their eyesight. This was done to remove any bias whilst chatting.
Curious folk can even go to the Freud Museum in London if you want to see Sigmund’s chaise itself, as it’s on display! The chaise is still used to symbolize a therapist’s office in art and films to this day, though you might not find them in as many offices.
Are chaise longues in style?
That depends on who you’re asking! Like all furniture, a chaise longue comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, so there’s certainly one out there to match with pretty much any aesthetic style or home decor you could have.
Not only are they a fantastic focal point or centerpiece, but they can also be used as space fillers if you have an empty-looking spot in a room that you’re not sure what to fill with. It’s probable that everyone who visits will remark on its beauty.
Given they’ve managed to stick around since the Ancient Egyptians it’s clear they are a timeless piece of furniture that increases the class and improves the ambiance of your room. Even saying chaise longue feels fancy, let alone owning one!
If you do a swift Google search, you’ll find that hundreds of manufacturers continue to produce them, including Swedish furniture giants IKEA. Their continued popularity is evidenced by the demand to keep designing and making them.
Another good thing about chaise longues is that they are low profile with a much smaller footprint than your typical couch, which means they can be positioned in front of windows, by a fire, or in another focal place, without blocking the view!
Plus, they are a great way to trick the eye and offer forced perspective, making a smaller room look bigger than it is. Where a backless chaise longue can be placed in the middle of a room and still look elegant, a couch would take up all the room.
It’s also worth noting that if you feel a room looks boring and bland, with all of your furniture at matching right angles, you can really mix up a space with a chaise longue and provide an excellent conversation starter for guests, all at once.
Are chaise longues practical?
They can be - it just depends on your situation! For instance, in a home with a bunch of little children running around and putting their sticky fingers all over everything (as kids like to do) then it’s probably not the best furniture to opt for.
That said, chaise longues are incredibly versatile pieces that are easy to style and fit in any room. They’re usually a lot smaller and easier to shift than a regular sofa or armchair, being more lightweight (depending on what they’re made of) too.
Not only can you really stretch out your legs when it’s just you, but if you have an unexpected guest (or multiple guests) then it can be busted out as a spare chare for anyone who can’t fit on the usual sofas and chairs.
It could also be used as a makeshift bed for kids if you have a sickly little one who won’t sleep in their own room, or even an emergency overnight bed if you’re having a spontaneous sleepover and there are no other options. Make sure to give pillows!
If you really wanted to push the boat out, or just accommodate multiple people without using hefty couches, then you can easily have more than one chaise in a room and not take up any more space than is necessary for seating.
Can two people sit on a chaise longue?
Yes! Most chaise longues seat one person stretched out fully, two people sitting comfortably side by side with plenty of room to move, and you could probably even have three people on there at a push if there’s no room anywhere else.
That being said, it definitely does depend on the people in question. For instance, you could probably get about four little kids on a chaise longue with ease, but two or three teenagers? Absolutely not, unless you want a fight on your hands.
If you’re planning to get a chaise for your living room and it’s just the two of you at home, you’ll definitely be able to fit, but you’d probably be better off with one each so you can both stretch out comfortably. Just for decor purposes? One will be fine!
It is worth noting that most chaise longues were designed to be sat on by yourself, but that doesn’t mean that’s how you have to use them!
Can you sleep on a chaise longue?
Hypothetically, yes, but it might not be the most comfortable night’s sleep you’ve ever had! They are of course designed to be laid on by one person, who can stretch out their legs all the way to the edge - but were not made specifically for sleeping on.
When there are no other options available, you can definitely use a chaise longue in the place of a bed for a night or two, but teenagers and adults on the average to tall side will probably find their feet dangle off the edge a little.
It wouldn’t necessarily be uncomfortable - after all, they were crafted as a comfortable place to recline and relax, even take a nap on if you’d wish. It’s just that, given the choice, a bed with a proper mattress is definitely going to be better.
For the taller and wider folks amongst us, or those who struggle with back pain - or mobility issues in general - it’s going to be more of a hindrance than a help to use a chaise as a spare bed successfully, but you could probably cope once or twice.
When it comes to a kid or an adolescent, however, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t sleep soundly and comfortably, though again, a bed is always going to be the best bet, if you have the luxury of choice.
How long is a chaise longue?
Well, the English translation is “long chair” - so you can guess it’s pretty lengthy!
The average chaise longue is between 70 and 80 inches in length from back to front, usually with a height of around 40 to 50 inches top to bottom.
Do be aware that not every chaise is the same, and these estimations are not laws by which the manufacturers are bound! You can probably find much longer and much shorter chaises if that’s what you’re after, or even commission your own design.
Plus, although the length of the average chaise is between 70 and 80 inches, that’s the total length itself - the actual space you’ll have for sitting or reclining is between 40 and 50 inches, which is still ample room! It’s about the same as a loveseat.
If you’re going to be getting a chaise that comes with its own pouf, ottoman, or footrest, remember you’ll need to accommodate for the additional length that added extra will require when planning out where it should go.