A sturdy outdoor chair with a laid-back posture and wide, flat arms, the Adirondack chair has a lot to recommend. It generally stays where you put it, can withstand harsh weather, and has arms that double as cocktail tables.
Most importantly, though, “it just screams summer,” says Ann Stillman O’Leary, an interior designer from Lake Placid, NY, who has written books on the Adirondack style.
The first Adirondack chair was designed in 1903 by Thomas Lee, in Westport, NY, Ms. O’Leary said, to meet very specific requirements: “He was looking for a chair that was comfortable, not a lot of fluff and a glass could hold.”
Lee’s chair used solid slabs of wood, but numerous manufacturers have since modified the design, most notably with wooden slats that provide better drainage. “We now have fan-backs, shell-backs, wave-backs and round-backs,” said Ms. O’Leary.
Whichever style you choose, “there’s no wrong place to put an Adirondack chair,” she added.
What is the best material for an Adirondack chair? Wood is a classic choice, said Ms. O’Leary, “but for my lifestyle right now I use high-density polyethylene,” which offers maintenance-free durability.
Do wooden chairs need to be painted? Paint or stain is not essential, but it will extend the life. Without it, wood — such as teak, ipe, and cedar — will weather over time.
How many Adirondack chairs do you need? Maybe two overlooking a view or four around a fire pit, Mrs. O’Leary said. But keep in mind that Adirondack chairs take up more space than most chairs, she said, “because the backs of the legs stick out.”
Modern Folding Adirondack Chair
High-density recycled polyethylene chair with folding mechanism
From $319 at Polywood: 855-935-5550 or polywood.com
Red cedar chair inspired by Gerrit Rietveld design
$275 (or $400 fully assembled) at Dan Benarcik: danbenarcik.com
The classic Adirondack
Teak Chair With Stainless Steel Fasteners
$599 at Teak & Table Outdoor: 912-661-4300 or teakandtable.com
Westport Adirondack Chair
High-density recycled polyethylene chair inspired by Thomas Lee’s 1903 design
$895 at Loll Designs: 877-740-3387 or lolldesigns.com
Paso Teak Adirondack chair
Teak chair with angular design
$749 at Crate & Barrel: 800-967-6696 or kratandbarrel.com
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