Comprehensive Walk-through To Bean Bag Chairs

 bean bag furniture
Christina Hanson By Christina Hanson | Editor

By now, you've probably come across bean bags in different kinds of living spaces, but have you ever wondered how these versatile pieces of furniture came to be? Who invented the first bean bag? To get these answers and more, let's take a look at the history of bean bag chairs.

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1The History of Bean Bag Chairs

Amusingly, the Sea Urchin Chair existed well before the modern beanbag chair became popular. The foam that was used to make the sea urchin chair would ideally adapt to the users. While at the Royal College of Art, Roger Dean was the first person to introduce the Sea Urchin Chair.

The Sea Urchin Chair became very popular in the mid-1960s, and soon after, Italian designers introduced a pretty interesting chair in 1969. This was known as the Sacco, and it was the closest chair to the conventional bean bag we know of today. The aim of the Italian designers was to create the right kind of chair to suit the needs of every user while remaining stylish and practical. Originally, the Sacco had a headrest and was typically made of high-quality leather.

The chair was ideally filled with Thermocol pellets, which are now substituted by PVC pellets and polystyrene beads. The Sacco became an instant hit because the chair could easily adjust to the person who sat on it.

The bottom line is that the Sacco was quite similar to the bean bags we have today, and it effectively met the casual lifestyle needs of people in the 1970s. During the 1970s, the bean bags chairs made from durable leather started making their way into different stores and households around the world. The beanbag chairs for adults filled with Styrofoam pellets were very similar to the high-quality bean bags in use today. What people liked most about the beanbag chairs is that they could ideally adapt to the shape of the body. Further, the chairs were portable and lightweight, meaning they were easy to carry around.

During the '90s, the beanbag chairs became something very casual and found their place in almost every household. During this time, the more versatile forms of bean bag furniture such as sofa, couch, and recliners were also being developed.

In the '90s, some children were injured while crawling inside of the beanbag chair, and this prompted a major breakthrough in the design of bean bags. The Consumer Product Safety Commission gave guidelines stipulating that any beanbag chair should be sold only if they are childproof.

The beanbag chairs of today are commonly made from safe, washable fabrics. The materials used also don't tear down easily, and the fillers used are significantly more reliable than the Styrofoam and other kinds of pellets used earlier. Beanbag chairs also come in a wide range of shapes, color, and sizes. So, what are the different kinds of beanbag chairs? Are the bean bag fabric covers removable and machine washable? Read on to find out more.

2Types of Beanbag Chairs

Beanbag chairs have become some of the most popular room accessories in the modern household. In simple terms, a bean bag is a form of a sealed bag made of leather or other durable fabric, which is filled with dried pellets, fillers, or beans. Regardless of how big a bean bag is or the shape it takes, they only have one goal - providing you with comfort at all times.

3Classifying Beanbag Chairs According to Size

Bean bags can be categorized into different sizes. There are bean bags designed for adults, other for teens, and small children. Those designed for kids are usually the smallest, and can fit children who are up to about 4' 6" tall. Those designed for teenagers are slightly larger than those meant for kids, and can accommodate teens who are up to 5' 2" tall. Kids who are looking for more space for growth can get the bean bags designed for teens.

The adult bean bags are unsurprisingly huge. They usually come in circumference ranging from 140 inches to 150 inches. There are also extra-large bean bags for adults as well as double extra-large adult bean bags.

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4Classifying Bean Bags According To Shape

Bean bags are available in round, square, or elongated shapes. The most popular shape is round, and these are usually shaped like a large ball. This shape makes them ideal for relaxation especially when you want to also engage in activities such as watching movies or playing video games.

Square bean bags are also pretty common, though they are mostly used as a footrest or an ottoman. There are also game beanbag chairs, which come in round shapes and are wide at the base and start to narrow towards the end point. Kids bean bags can ideally take the shape of anything, including animals, a flower, or a basketball.

Beanbag chairs can also be categorized based on the kind of filling they use. For instance, there are bean bags filled with polystyrene beads. The beads are very lightweight, allowing the user to move the bean bag to any comfortable position they want. Other bean bags are filled with shredded polyurethane foam, which serves as a cushion.

Chances are that you will also come across bean bags with natural fillers. Just as the name suggests, these bean bags use dried beans, rice, or other similar natural materials as fillers. You can even chose bean bags with a mixture of different kinds of natural fillings to suit your needs and tastes.

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5What Are Bean Bags Made Up Of?

There are different kinds of fabrics used to make bean bags. Keep in mind that the fabric you choose should ideally provide the level of flexibility, style, aesthetics, convenience, and support you're looking for in a beanbag chair. Choosing the right materials for your bean bag chair can make all the difference in the world.

Faux leather is one of the most common fabric used on bean bags. It essentially gives the bean bag an excellent, sophisticated feel of pure leather, of course minus the hefty price tag of 100% leather. Faux suede is another popular choice, which is made from pure polyester and it mimics the velvety, soft look and feel of real leather quite closely.

Another reason why people prefer buying faux suede bean bags is that the material is very easy to clean and maintain. Plus, faux leather doesn't come with the hefty price tags of real leather, making them relatively affordable. Bean bags specifically designed for use outdoors are typically made from pure polyester, and are usually available in a wide range of exciting colors. The polyester fabric essentially makes the outdoor bags not only durable, but also easy to clean.

Most of the kids bean bags are made from 100% cotton, colorful fabric. As you probably guessed, cotton is soft, strong, machine washable, and quite practical. Many bean bags for kids usually come with removable cotton covers, which are easy to machine wash and allow for easy cleaning and maintenance.

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6DIY Bean Bag Chair: DIY Bean Bag Chair

Your kids will enjoy having a snuggly spot of their own, and it's the perfect time to create an adorable bean bag for yourself. The best thing about this project is perhaps the fact that you won't have to buy expensive supplies. All you need is to invest in a high quality material for filling the bean bag, and it's easy to find this in your local stores.

If your child loves a certain superhero or cartoon character, you can use this tutorial for making a bean bag for kids to make a unique gift for them. Keep in mind that this tutorial is not complicated or intimidating, even for those who haven't done such DIY projects. Plus, you don't need to have a long list of supplies.

To start, you need 2 pieces of fabric of the colors of your choice. Cut the 2 pieces in sizes 45"x 32". You may choose identical pieces or choose different colored fabrics to create a two-toned effect.

Along with the pieces of fabric, you'll need a sewing machine and a zipper. If a sewing machine isn't available, you can always go for hand sewing. Lastly, you'll need about 3.5 cubic feet of bean bag filling.

Place the pieces of fabric together, with the right side facing towards the inside, and get rid of the fraying with a zigzag stitch along the edges.

Place the pieces of fabric together, with the right side facing towards the inside, and get rid of the fraying with a zigzag stitch along the edges. Stitch straight so that the 2 long edges are attached together securely. Small stitches are recommended in order to provide the much needed durability.

Lastly, open the fabric straight and then sew in a zipper securely to the unsewn side. Since the bean bag will only be used by kids, it's important to pay careful attention here to ensure the zippers are not exposed. A good idea is to use invisible zippers, which will be hard for the kids to spot.

Now fold the stitched fabric together like a hot dog bun, and remove about 6" of the fabric so that you're left with a symmetrical curve along one side. Close the end with secure straight stitching. Lastly, open the fabric straight and then sew in a zipper securely to the unsewn side. Since the bean bag will only be used by kids, it's important to pay careful attention here to ensure the zippers are not exposed. A good idea is to use invisible zippers, which will be hard for the kids to spot.

Also, keep in mind that the bag fillings are a choking hazard, especially for small children. Curious children might attempt to access the zipper and pour out the little pellets. Ensure that they fully understand how they should use the bean bags before handing them one to play on.

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7Maintenance Tips for Bean Bags

As mentioned earlier, the bean bag chairs can have a variety of fillers including polystyrene foam, PVC pellets as well as natural dried beans. Many people choose to buy bean bags for their home as the bean bag fabric spreads easily to provide comfortable sitting to the occupant.

Beanbag chairs can be easily found in a wide variety of fabrics, for indoor as well as outdoor use. Needless to say, the outdoor bean bags are created from fabric that is weather resistant but this fabric also requires some care and maintenance.

It is extremely important to follow the instructions given by the manufacturer when it comes to using, storing and cleaning the bean bag chairs. In case the bean bag chair has a removable cotton cover, it's recommended to remove the cover in order to wash it in a washing machine.

As per the manufacturer's instructions, the cover of bean bag chair can be washed in warm or cool water. It's recommended to use a mild detergent, and you can then machine or air dry the cover.

In case the bean bag chair is filled with loose filler, take a container or a secure plastic bag to keep the filler out of reach of the children. This filler can be placed back into the sack once you have washed and dried the bean bag cover and you can continue to use the bean bag.

It's easy to clean bean bag chairs made of polyester by wiping it clean with the help of a wash cloth that is dipped in warm soapy water. You can use a soft toothbrush to scrub off any stubborn spots on your bean bags. It is important to wipe your bean bag dry once you're done with the cleaning.

You can use a suede eraser or a damp cloth to clean bean bag made of faux suede. A metal suede brush can be used for gently rubbing off the stains and any other kind of marks on the fabric.

It's recommended to spray your faux suede bean bag with protective fabric in order to keep it looking as good as new.

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8Getting Rid of the Dust on Your Beanbag

If your faux suede, polyester or faux leather bean bag chair has a huge buildup of dust, it's recommended to use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of the excessive dust particles before using a damp cloth to wipe it clean.

A mild detergent may be used to rub off any remaining spots or stains on the fabric of a bean bag chair.

Thick velvet or silk is also used to make bean bag chairs but these fabrics are a bit challenging to clean. To get rid of the stains on these fabrics, it is recommended to use a soft cloth dipped in a mild detergent solution.

To remove the stains, you should clean in a circular motion until all the stains have disappeared. You should let the bean bag dry in a natural manner once you're done with the cleaning.

Frequent washing is not required for leather bean bag chairs. The only thing you need to do to get rid of the dust on a bean bag chair made of leather is a clean towel.

You may also use a damp towel to clean the surface and get rid of stains and spots.

It's recommended to avoid using harsh chemicals and detergents for cleaning the bean bag chair. You should also apply a leather conditioner on your leather bean bag chairs every 3 to 6 months to keep them shiny and looking like new.

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9Machine Washing Beanbag Cover

Machine washing or hand washing your bean bag cover is fine in case the instructions say that the cover is made from machine washable material such as denim or cotton. You need to keep the filler safe in a container or a plastic bag while the washed cover is drying.

In case vinyl, faux leather or real leather has been used for making your bean bag, there is no need to remove the bag cover for washing. You can take a soft cloth or a soft damp sponge dipped in a mild soapy solution to clean the bean bag.

Using abrasive chemicals or harsh detergents to get rid of spots and stains on your bean bag can permanently damage the bean bag fabrics or make it brittle. Ideally, it's recommended to use dishwashing soap or surface cleaners to get rid of dirt and stains from your bean bags.

When you take proper care of your bean bag chair, it will not only extend the life of the chair but will also keep it looking like new. In case you are going to use mild detergent and warm water for cleaning the bean bag, it is recommended to use circular motions, and you should never scratch or rub the fabric in an aggressive manner.

You should never soak your bean bag chair in water to clean it. That's true. You should never do that even if you discover a thick layer of dust on the bean bag chairs, and you should always use a soft bristle brush or cloth dipped in mild detergent to get rid of the stains and dirt.

Specialty cleaners that are specifically designed for cleaning gentle fabrics are also preferred by some people. You should never use any abrasive cleaning agents or tools for cleaning the bean bag until it has been clearly stated by the manufacturer.

Helpful tips for taking care of your bean bag:
The bean bag chair should always be kept on a smooth surface such as a carpet, rug or tiled floor. The bean bag should never be placed on any kind of rough service including concrete as it's likely to damage the fabric.

You should also keep your pets away even if they want to lay down on the plush and soft bean bags. The sharp nails of your furry friends will most likely puncture the bean bag fabric. You can always buy special bean bags for your pets to allow them to have some fun.

Most of the high quality bean bags available in the market are made from high quality material and are stitched securely. However, it is important that you never let your kids or yourself jump on the bean bag as a bean bag may burst.

You should always remember not to use any sharp objects such as knives or blades while you are sitting in your bean bag chair. You don't want to have ugly marks on your bean bag chair but having sharp metal tools around can result in those marks.

It's recommended to always buy bean bags with safety locking zips. As mentioned earlier, the beans used in bean bags are dangerous and may lead to suffocation and in extreme cases, even death if these are eaten by young kids.

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10Safety of Bean Bags

Similar to other furniture, bean bags may also result in injuries when used in an improper manner without any safety measures. Keep in mind that even seemingly harmless pieces of furniture such as clips, bassinets and high chairs have been held responsible for deaths and injuries of infants and young kids.

You need to keep in mind that severe injuries and death can be completely avoided by making sure that the bean bag chairs as well as other furniture is designed as per the safety regulations.

Regulatory bodies in developed countries have set up safety standards and the bean bag chair manufacturers have agreed to comply with those standards. Injuries and accidents have been associated with bean bag chairs for long but these new safety standards have greatly reduced this risk.

The majority of the safety concerns associated with bean bag chairs relate to the zippers used in the manufacturing. The latest safety standards state that a bean bag chair should not have any zipper or a permanently disabled zipper in case it is not intended to be refilled.

You should also make sure that the fabric used for making your bean bag chair is sturdy and does not rupture or tear easily. Also, there should be a double secure stitching on the inside of the fabric to ensure that the seams of the bean bag chair don't rupture.

The modern safety standards also require manufacturers to include a warning label on their products warning buyers about the dangers of suffocation and choking. It is your responsibility to ensure that young kids are never allowed to use bean bags unsupervised. Also, bean bag chairs for kids should be used only if the kids are old enough to clearly understand the associated risks.

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11Having Fun with Bean Bags

Overall, bean bags are fun and a nice addition to any home. To ensure the safety of bean bags for your family members, you need to ensure that the zipper in the bean bag is tightly closed at all times, the fabric is durable and has strong seams.

Bean bags offer a number of advantages over traditional chairs and sofas when used in the right manner and your family will love using bean bags. So, don't wait any longer. Get your favorite bean bag chairs today.

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Bean bag chair buying guide
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