A woman relaxes and smiles on a bean bag in the sunshine.

How I found the perfect shape for Armadillo Sun bean bags

...and why they're the comfiest chairs you'll ever sit on!

A woman sits comfortably reading a magazine on a bean bag chair.

What is the best shape for a bean bag?

 A bean bag that:

1) sits like a chair with support between the shoulder blades and under the knees;

2) is outrageously comfortable but not so soft that the sitter slumps awkwardly; and

3) feels relaxed but holds high enough off the ground that getting up is a breeze.

Back in 2017, when the idea of Armadillo Sun was emerging, the perfect shape for a bean bag was what kept me up at night.

My interior design clients were searching for outdoor seating that was ultra-comfortable; luxurious but laidback; completely weatherproof; and with more than a soupçon of style. Traditional outdoor furniture was not cutting the mustard!

I knew a garden bean bag was the answer: a product they might not expect, but yet ticked all the boxes.

Key to success would be achieving a cleverly shaped bean bag that delivered on comfort and support - and looked good too. It would not be the bean bag stereotype of a sunken, flabby, circle of fabric.

I worked on a design that sits you gently upright, perhaps to read but most importantly to chat. I wanted a sociable shape! It lifts you off the ground sufficiently so it’s easy to get in and out of. 

I started with a cube-type bean bag, but the back was just too high. Adopting a triangular shape allows the shoulders to relax naturally, rather than pushing them forward.

To encourage a good sitting position, the top of an Armadillo Sun bean bag chair stops at the point that the spine goes down between the shoulder blades. I created 12-15 versions before hitting on the dimensions that keep your head in alignment with your spine, without tilting it forward.

Two people sit comfortably on garden bean bags in the sunshine around a pool.

What's in the bag is what's important

What's inside a bean bag, is just as important as its shape. For the perfect balance of softness and support, the filling needs to be right.

Armadillo Sun bean bags use premium beans – never foam which would soon be a soggy sponge if left outdoors in the British drizzle. The high-quality beans don’t absorb water and hold their shape - they'll only need a top-up every 3 years or so.

The quantity added to each bean bag chair has been carefully calculated and is something we have worked hard on. Too few beans and you'll be sat slouching with your bottom millimetres from the ground. Too many and the bean bag is round and uncomfortable.

There is art (and a little science) to getting the filling just right!

When choosing the volume of beans to add, we’re particularly aware of leaving space for the beans to move and shape themselves around the body of the sitter. We also ensure that the chair is plump, not saggy, under the knees so it's easy to get up out of.

A man relaxes on a supportive triangle-shaped bean bag chair with a back and wide seating area.

A bean bag to lie on

Once I was happy with a bean bag chair to sit on, I wanted a lounger for sunbathing.

This design was a challenge! It called for the same supportive shape but with the option to lie flat.

After many (many!) revisions, we perfected the bean bag lounger. From a distance, it looks similar to the Armadillo Sun bean bag chair but, when you sit down, the difference is clear. This shape sits you back at a loungey 45-degree angle. Lift your hips and the beans shift up to support a horizontal lying position.

The lounger is perfect for front-lying too because your shoulders can drop down around the sides of the bean bag, preventing backache.

A laughing woman relaces back into a large bean baag sun lounger in the sunshine on a pool patio.

Image: an Armadillo Sun bean bag lounger is larger and longer than a bean bag chair. It is carefully shaped to sit you at a relaxing 45-degree angle and, with a quick shuffle, allow you to recline fully.

For the absolute ultimate in sunbathing and relaxation, we created the luxury cushioned sun lounger. More chaise longue than bean bag, it's large, soft, and the perfect shape for serious comfort - yet still fully weatherproof for leaving outside all year

If you're looking for 5* resort-level luxury in your own back garden, then this is the bean bag for you!

A stylish grey and white patterned chaise longue sunlounger made from fabric and filled with beans is sat invitingly on a sunny patio.

Image: the Armadillo Sun cushioned sun lounger is a bean bag shaped for decadent comfort. Inviting and fully weatherproof, it's an absolute showstopper!

Can a bean bag be comfortable?

Absolutely yes! But it needs to be the perfect shape with a good amount of filling.

I think we've achieved this with the Armadillo Sun bean bag chair! However. the true arbiters of success are our customers.

Here’s some feedback we've received over the years, but do browse all the Armadillo Sun bean bag chair reviews.

"So so comfy!" Jane. M., Tunbridge Wells

“I am absolutely delighted with our two bean bags. They are such high quality and look great in the house and in the garden. I broke my back six years ago, and this is by far the most comfortable seat I have come across since. The support is excellent.” James H., Cardiff

“It is the most comfortable chair that I have, and I use it every day. When my friends come to visit, they often ask to sit in it.” Virgina P., Cheltenham

“Really supportive to sit on and they hold their shape beautifully. Well made and look great.” Anna K., Ipswich

If you would like to try a bean bag chair for yourself, please come and join us for a sit-down at our showroom in Kent.

Get in touch, or sign-up to our newsletter, for our next open day and to book a slot.