Guide written by:
Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton
Pouffes and beanbags are great for adding comfy decor or extra seating to an indoor or outdoor space. Small to large, round to square, there are plenty of models to choose from and a variety of materials and fillings to consider. Read on to find the right beanbag or pouffe for you!
Beanbags and pouffes: the basics
Whether used as a footrest for your sofa or as additional seating, beanbags and pouffes are hugely versatile items that can be used indoors or outdoors. In fact, these furniture items are just as at home in the garden or on a deck as they are in the living room or bedroom!
From upholstered pouffes to ottoman-style storage benches, your choice of pouffe will really depend on functionality, comfort and your design preferences. Alternatively, why not go for a beanbag chair? Invented by three Italian designers in the 1960s, beanbags have enjoyed something of a revival in recent years. And with a variety of super-sized models now on the market, a beanbag chair can be a really fun addition to any space!
To find the right pouffe or beanbag chair for you, you will need to start by picking a format. Pouffes come in all shapes from typically round models to more unique designs. In fact, you can find just about any style these days – even cupcake-shaped footstools! You'll also have to think about size. Do you want a child-sized pouffe for a playroom or an extra-large beanbag chair to stretch out on?
In terms of materials, you need to think about both the cover material (e.g. fabric, PVC, leather, cotton or knitted) and the type of filling you would like (i.e. foam or form-fitting polyester balls).
There are three basic styles of pouffe:
- Solid pouffes or ottomans: these models may feature legs, and often provide extra storage space for tidying away household items.
- Soft-filled pouffes: somewhere between a cushion and a chair, these pouffes usually feature a fabric or leather cover and are filled with beads or foam.
- Inflatable pouffes: while not the most comfortable option, these pouffes can come in handy as additional seating when needed and are easy to store once deflated.
Beanbag chairs come in a whole range of shapes making them great for adding a decorative touch to a room: round, square, rectangular, gamer-style, heart-shaped, star-shaped... there's one for everyone!
You'll also find a wide variety of colours and patterns from gold to zebra-striped beanbags. It's even possible to find light-up models equipped with LED lights!
Choosing the right size of beanbag chair
The size of your beanbag chair will, of course, depend on what you plan to use it for as well as the amount of space you have. The diameter of the chair will dictate the size of the seat but the height will also play a role in its overall comfort – bearing in mind that the higher the backrest, the more comfortable you will be.
A children's beanbag chair will only need to measure around 40 cm in diameter and 50 cm in height.
From that point, you'll find a range of sizes right up to extra-large models. Some beanbag chairs can stretch to 180 cm in height and 150 cm in diameter! These models are particularly popular at the moment but be careful not to pick a model that is too big or you run the risk of your space feeling a little cramped.
Picking a pouffe material
Your choice of material will depend on the style of your home, how much you're willing to clean the pouffe, your budget and any additional requirements you may have (e.g. indoor/outdoor use).
Pouffe cover materials
Pouffe covers come in a wide range of materials. If you plan to use the pouffe outdoors, the cover must be weatherproof and able to stand up to both the rain and UV rays (to prevent fading). If you are looking to decorate a child's room, be sure to choose a pouffe that is stain-resistant.
A pouffe with a removable cover will be much easier to care for, especially if the cover is machine washable.
If you are in the market for a solid pouffe, a wooden model is a great idea. You can choose from a number of species including pine, teak or ipe. Exotic woods are naturally moisture-resistant so could be an interesting choice for outdoor use or in a bathroom or kitchen.
As an extra bonus, these pouffes can always stand in for a stool!
PVC or polyester pouffes
Perfect for outdoor use, PVC and polyester pouffes are water-resistant and very easy to sponge clean. If the cover can removed, it may also be machine washable.
These materials come in a wide variety of colours.
These days, there is a fabric pouffe to match every type of decor in terms of both material and colour.
Depending on the fabric you go for, the pouffe may be suitable for outdoor use; cotton, for example, works fine outdoors. On the other hand, materials like velvet or faux fur are best kept indoors as they tend to stain easily. If you have pets, it's best not to go for a sensitive material as pouffes will often be mistaken for a pet bed!
A real throwback to the '60s, these fun pouffes have swung back into fashion in recent years.
Often used as footstools (rather than additional seating) these pouffes can feature a soft or firm filling but are best kept for indoor use.
Leather and faux leather pouffes
Depending on their design, leather pouffes can range from bohemian in style to a more high-end look. They're durable and easy to care for but can be pricey and scratch quite easily.
Faux leather pouffes are great for smaller budgets, but the material does stick to bare skin!
Pouffe and beanbag chair filling
Soft pouffes and beanbag chairs generally come with one of two types of filling: polyester beads or foam.
Usually in the form of flakes or crumbs, foam is comfortable but does tend to lose volume over the years.
Polyester beads are great for fitting to the shape of your body and they don't tend to get as squashed as foam. They will therefore usually last longer but it can be quite disastrous if your pouffe springs a leak!
Guide written by:
Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton, 48 guides