Yes, yes, emphatically yes!
Choose the right bean bag and treat it as the piece of luxurious furnishing it is – not as an after-thought lobbed in a corner – and it will not only look good but be the talking point of a stylish living room.
The humble bean bag was first brought to life by talented Italian designers looking to create an innovative, convention-breaking piece of furniture.
It deserves its spot in your living room.
Image: grown-up colourways, like this grey and soft red bean bag, make stylish additions to a living room.
Three steps to a bean bag with grown-up style
Bean bag chairs radiate character and laidback style – you can’t sit po-faced on a bean chair; it insists you relax.
However, the bean bag does come with baggage and something of an (unfair) stereotype. Do you imagine scraggy dorm rooms, Love Island pool décor, or 1970s stomach-churning fabric designs?
Let me banish those images from your mind!
Armadillo Sun bean bag chairs are modern, classy, attractive, and, most importantly, useful additions to a thoughtfully-styled room.
Make the most out of your bean bag and enjoy the self-indulgent comfort it offers without sacrificing style.
Image: Armadillo Sun bean bags are made from soft luxury weatherproof fabric and are perfect for indoor-outdoor use, making them a beautiful, but versatile, piece of furniture.
Step One: choose the right bean bag
Which shape is best?
The variety of sizes and shapes of bean chairs available today is boggling. I recommend choosing one with structure. Firstly, because a more defined shape will provide back support and will be easy to get up out of. Secondly, to ensure that your bean bag holds its place in your living room, and does not splat or slouch on the floor looking messy.
We use a teardrop design for Armadillo Sun bean bag chairs and loungers. The original sacco bean bag was a similar shape. It works because it retains the ability to mould around the sitter’s body whilst still maintaining its shape – something that simple bean-filled sacks do not.
This is a classic design, sleek and streamlined, that fits right into a contemporary interior and is incredibly inviting.
From a practical perspective, the teardrop shape allows you to sink back into the chair, without the fear of needing a lifeboat to haul you out. The firmness of the filling provides plenty of leverage if you like to use a little push from your arms to get yourself up.
How to choose the colour of your bean bag?
However, choosing a subtle shade – like our bestselling pumice grey – provides a mature, refined touch that is a fantastic juxtaposition with the naturally casual look of a bean bag.
(We create custom bean bag furniture too so we can match colours with existing decor.)
What should a bean bag be made of?
Now-a-days the choice of fabrics for your bean bag is vast, from leather to plastic to wool to faux fur. Choose something to suit your aesthetic, but I advise a nod to the practical. For a really useful piece of living room furniture, don’t rely on style over substance – choose comfort, fuss-free maintenance, as well as something that looks gorgeous!
I recommend ensuring that your bean bag is made from fabric that is stain-resistant and easy to clean.
What’s inside your bean bag is almost more important than the outer fabric. Make sure that your bean bag is filled fully and properly and that the beans are high quality and will hold their shape. This will allow the beans to move freely, to give that lovely hug the bean bag is known for, but without the sagginess.
At Armadillo Sun we have very deliberately chosen not to include an inner bag. The beans tend to clump and stick within it, leaving uncomfortable bumps and gaps in support for the sitter. Instead, our beans free-flow around the outer bag and are easy to top-up from a zippered opening. We recommend a top-up every 3-4 years to keep your bean bag full and airy.
Armadillo Sun fabric is stain-resistant and can be wiped clean with soap and water – or take it outside and jet-wash it!
I really don’t like foam-filling for bean bags – I find them to be bumpy and lumpy. Plus, as foam is absorbent, they are a bit of a nightmare if you spill your drink on them.
Whatever fabric you choose, a high-quality finish is essential. You absolutely cannot risk seams splitting and beans escaping. I double-stitch every one of our bean bag chairs and loungers, using my years of experience making bespoke and designer soft furnishings.
Step Two: put your bean bag in the right place
I chose to make bean bag furniture for my customers because I wanted to offer them something flexible and versatile – use it outdoors on the patio, on the lawn, by the pool, or inside in front of the TV. Bean bags are lightweight and movable.
However, when you're creating a beautiful living room, please don’t lob a bean bag in a corner hoping it’ll work. Like every piece of furniture you choose, it must have a function and a purpose for it to belong in your living room.
Image: have a role in mind for your bean bag, whether for reading and relaxation, or conversation and socialising.
What's missing from your living room?
With their unconventional shape, bean bags can change how you use your living space. They allow you to think differently about your seating because their height means you can position them in places you wouldn’t put a chair or sofa. For example, you don’t need long walls to set bean bags against and they can be comfortably placed in front of other seating.
Think about the atmosphere you want to create in your living room, and where you’d love a comfortable spot to lounge but where you have never considered putting a chair.
Perhaps you love a cosy place to chat as a family after a long day at work and school but, like so many of us, your furniture is positioned to focus on the television. Add bean bags, turned the other way, towards the sofa or chairs, and encourage conversation.
Maybe there's a spot where the children often play and, as children do, insist that you are close. A luxury bean bag, low and at their level, makes play-time fun for you too!
Image: a bean bag sits flat on the floor and is lower in height - perfect for creating a seating area in front of large windows without blocking the light.
Take advantage of the low height of a bean bag
Whilst a bean bag can create a cosy nook out of an awkward corner, they are brilliant in the centre of a room too. In open-plan designs, where you may not want a solid piece of furniture blocking the flow of the room, they fit wonderfully.
Bean bags work well in front of large windows where a sofa would block the light or the view. They sit easily in front of other furniture, creating seating at different levels.
Double-up for balance
I love having two or more bean bag chairs in a room. They are designed for socialising so two together look natural and balanced.
Set two on either side of a fireplace, or with a floor lamp between them, for an inviting conversation spot.
Embrace the versatility
Saying all this, the function and position of a bean bag does not have to be fixed. Pick it up by the handle and move it whenever you need to!
Image: a bean bag is perfect for offering seating in a space where you would not put a traditional chair or sofa.
Step Three: give your bean bag the right style
You’ve got a high-quality piece of furniture and identified the role and function it's fulfilling in your home. So now the fun bit: styling and accessorising!
Design a space for your bean bag
Frame it! Use a circular rug and low side tables; add a standing lamp and create a loosely-defined area for your bean bag.
Enjoy making a space that functions at a lower level. You could even drop the height of wall art or framed photographs. Perhaps hang a plant close by.
Accessorise your bean bag chair
If you’d use cushions and throws on your sofa, do the same on your bean bag. Layer textures and patterns to make it extra inviting.
Have fun with how your bean bag sits with other furniture
Think about the structure of traditional furniture versus the looser form of a bean bag. You could surround it with square end tables and a wall of rectangular framed prints. Or put it between two tall straight bookcases to emphasise height.
Step Four: enjoy it!
I’ve added a fourth step because all this dictation of ‘right’ place and ‘right’ style makes me itchy! If you enjoy the comfort and style of a laidback bean bag, then use it in your living room. It will always look good if you love it and use it!
Come and visit us at one of our events in 2024 for a sit-down and to try a luxury bean bag chair for yourself.
Image: create a luxurious and stylish space for relaxation with a bean bag
Armadillo Sun makes premium luxury bean bags from a converted barn in the Kent countryside. Founder Caroline Lomax discovered the high-quality, indoor-outdoor fabric she uses to make all her furniture when on holiday in the USA. She wanted to recreate the fuss-free, laidback, outdoor living she saw on her travels, and Armadillo Sun was born.