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Great TV Watching Chairs If Your Sofa Faces Your TV In Your Living Room And You Need To Sit Sideways (And You Don’t Want A Swivel Chair)

One of America’s biggest design problems is that the “living” or “front” rooms in older homes (1930 for instance) weren’t designed for TV watching – thus forcing designers, homeowners, renters, and parents to struggle to arrange a TV and comfortable furniture in a way that works and doesn’t look dumb. Despite what Orlando says (read our heated debate that ended our friendship here -JK), the TV over the fireplace is often the only real option, with windows and/or doorways chopping up the rest of the room. I’m helping two close friends decorate their new/old homes and they need a lot of the same problems solved. Both want comfortable warm homes, both have 100-year-old traditional, homes and both want them to feel charming yet modern (one is going more “DudeBro PNW Lodge” and the other more “Anthro/Soho Home”). And y’all both have their more “formal” living rooms where the only real configuration is for the sofa to face the fireplace/TV and thus they need side chairs that can either swivel to see the TV or chairs that you can lounge on sideways to see the TV (both have basement TV rooms but their families like to watch tv upstairs together at night). Cue Tom Cruise accepting the mission!!! But with less intensity!!!

So in order to figure out what the formula for this is, I sat on a lot of chairs (not all below, but many). The swivel chair seems like the obvious answer (and just might be the best solution) but one of my friends wanted me to explore other chairs that could simply be laid on towards the TV. The key to this VERY specific need is a supportive yet soft back that leans back (not too vertical) and soft arms. Ok, let’s dive into what I’ve been looking at. FYI, I am going to be referring to my friends as “R” and “N” just to give them some privacy:)

Roswell Chair-And-A-Half

This is the top contender right now for R’s living room – The cushion of the back + height of the arm + large scale means that this is very floppable sideways or normal-ways (technical term designers use). The only thing to think about with this is that since it’s so big your room needs to be able to handle it (and the sofa needs to be big too). We might use this in the corner, easily pulled into the room – but I need to do more measuring to make sure it’s not too big. Boy do those rounded arms look comfy.

Atlanta Loveseat

This was the top contender for N’s house, but it MIGHT be too big to allow the pass-through space we need. It’s 48″ wide which IMHO isn’t a loveseat but is def bigger than a normal chair. However, it absolutely looks like the tweens could lay on it sideways to watch TV but is so much more elegant than a lot of swivel or comfy chairs (also V splurgy).

Luanna Swivel Chair

I decided to keep swivel chairs off this list for now (there are SO MANY, so just keeping them separate). But this swivel chair looks like a normal accent/club chair. It’s giving comfy traditional vibes (rather than a swivel chair that looks more cool and clubby). Again, the rounded arms and the lean of the back make this look extremely ergonomic (and the velvet doesn’t hurt, although it comes in lots of fabrics and colors).

Cigar Accent Chair

Now the reason I pinned this one was because it reads more as a living room chair which we want in N’s house, but A. you could easily rotate it because it is lighter, and B. the arms would be easy to swing your legs over should you let your kids on chairs sideways to watch TV (we do).

Wythe Oversized Leather Chair

This is another one that can’t be in every room and stylistically it’s very specific (V. “70s basement”), but if you have the space for it, it looks so cool, comfortable, and incredibly easy to flop your legs over the sides of it! The arms look supportive enough to be mini “backs” too. I haven’t sat in this but I’m tempted to run to Crate & Barrel to give it a whirl.

Banks Accent Chair

I’m convincing myself of this one RIGHT NOW. OOH boy that looks comfortable. I’m not sure if it’s really heavy (so hard to angle towards the TV) or light, but def easy to flop sideways on. Oh dear that looks comfy.

Petrie Velvet Mid-Century Chair

The EHD team all agrees that Midcentury is actually coming back already (just as some websites are finally catching on that it was out for a few years LOL) and I’ve sat on this chair many times. It’s very comfortable and could be easy to angle or snuggle sideways on. This is starting to become ridiculous how much I want to be able for these tweens to lay sideways on a chair, but as a mom I get it!!

Crawford Accent Chair

Another cozy chair that is GORGEOUS and would be easy to angle or easy to flop over. Jake Arnold’s collection from Crate & Barrel is incredible.

Lounge Chair And A Half

Admittedly this chair looks pretty simple but in a corner or in a family room, the scale, proportions, and angles lend itself to hours of TV watching. Those of us who like to hang out and chat while sitting crisscross apple sauce will be happy here.

Le Tuco Shearling Accent Chair

I have this chair and while it on the smaller size, it’s extremely comfortable when sitting sideways (with legs over the side) as well as normal:) Add the ottoman and if you have a smaller space that needs filling, this chair is so unbelievably cozy. Just make sure that your sofa doesn’t have a really high back (not over 32″) or will dwarf this chair.

Humphrey Armchair

I also own this chair and tried it out sitting sideways and it was GOOD. The back leans in a way that makes it easy to sit sideways and watch TV. I’ll demonstrate on stories 🙂

So that’s what I’m looking at! Stay tuned for more challenges I’m trying to solve. xx

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2 months ago

This is the kind of pressing problem we need addressing! (Not even being sarcastic, which is unusual for me.)
I like nearly all of these chairs in their own right. I say for sideways sitting/sprawling, you’ll often want a cushion against the arm, particularly if the arm is vertical – so it’s best if the chair isn’t too narrow. And then you can go cushion shopping too!

2 months ago

Just bought an Otis swivel chair from Room & Board for just this problem: narrow long living room in an 80 year old house. I’ve tried plenty of chairs over the years and the only one that solved the how-to-watch-TV-without-hurting-your-neck issue is … drumroll … the swivel chair. No more having to move the chair every time someone wanted to sit in it to watch TV. Now I’m not a big fan of swivel chairs as a rule but the Otis one just works. Best of all, it’s well designed so you can’t see the swivel mechanism (which is what bothered me about most swivel chairs). Problem solved.

🥰 Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  LouAnn

I’m going to look at these for the first time, because of your comment. Thanx.😊

2 months ago

I’m trying to imagine what sort of super strict parents don’t allow their kids to watch tv sitting sideways!!
I think they all look comfy except the Atlanta love seat which doesn’t look comfortable at all.
I’m with Orlando re tvs over the fireplace, not for style reasons but because I find that uncomfortably high.
I think that part of the issue is that in an era where most houses have 20 screens (exaggeration) most magazines and photographers still try to pretend the tv doesn’t exist and they are never in photos – it would help if they were.
Forget the kitchen – the heart of our home is where we watch tv, and I don’t even watch that much tv!!
I look forward to seeing which ones make the cut!!

2 months ago

The chairs are great options, but I’m going to need a moodboard for DudeBro PNW Lodge! That made me giggle!

2 months ago

We have this issue even though the TV is in our basement lounge area in part because it is long and narrow – when they finished the basement they opted to split it lengthwise and leave half as a “shop storage” area and the other half for sitting. Having lived with it I wish it were different but I am unlikely to invest in changing it. Soooo we solved with a TV wall mount arm that swivels, allowing for a slight diagonal viewing area when we have three of us watching and more straight on to the couch when it’s just two. Our third seat option is a wide comfy chair from Crate and Barrel that allows for a slight corner sit if needed. Just wanted to suggest that the TV can also be adjustable if that helps.

2 months ago

Well, it’s spendy, but Ilse Crawford designed a chair just for this:

2 months ago
Reply to  Lia

Fun find! But aesthetically, I think there needs to be two of them for it to look visually appealing.

Molly Phillips
2 months ago

150 year-old house owner here and I was THRILLED to open the blog today and see the picture of the TV over the fireplace. Alas, that is where ours must reside, Orlando be QUIET. You touched on it, but a lot of those big modern chairs-and-a-half overtake a room that was made for furniture scaled much smaller. We have a sectional, a Pottery Barn recliner (the compromise with my husband, but it still looks better than LazyBoy) and…wait for it….a swivel chair.

I would like some help on how we can hang our Frame TV – we’re scared to attach it to the original brick on the chimney since it’s so much softer than modern brick but I would LOVE to be able to fully decorate a mantel.

🥰 Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Molly Phillips

There are special bolt-screws that are reallllly long , for this issue.
I don’t know the proper name.

2 months ago

A short sofa with high and soft-ish arms solved this issue for us. The ‘must have’ for me are the high arms so you can lean back. Bonus points: your dog can sit at the other end with you!

2 months ago

So many beautiful chairs! The Atlanta loveseat is 100% my favorite but I don’t think it would be great longterm as a sideways chair – you’d crush that little pillow and end up leaning on the wooden arm (aka not cozy). I think you need padded sides. Look forward to seeing the final picks!

2 months ago

I like all these chairs individually, and I’m sure they would work in the room, but I would encourage you to go bolder. This is a very symmetrical room, with the trim and traditional fireplace all enhancing the symmetry and fracturing visual interest. The symmetrical layout of the furniture seems extremely conventional and, if I may say so, a little boring. And it’s not functioning well either (hence the side-watching). Why are we even looking for a chair? How about a circular or irregular sofa? Something to contrast/complement the very traditional architecture? Or at least a corner sofa with some round 70s lines? Take me out of my comfort zone!

2 months ago

I love a swivel for these purposes. We have two, with a table between, so they can face the room….or face each other over a heated game of Monopoly. Or they can face the tv. Endless options.

2 months ago

I’m on Orlando’s side. Sorry! The problem is that a lot of the living rooms in these old houses are small. Putting the TV over the fireplace pretty much forces you to look up at it in a small room. Not ergonomic at all. I also don’t like sitting on chairs sideways because that tends to cause issues with their structure. All that being said, I LOVE the Atlanta loveseat. Very stylish.

🥰 Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Paula

Yessss! That’s why I can’t do it.
Science says when the TV is high, you get dry eyes, squint, etc. It’s not ergonomic and causes neck strain.

2 months ago

I helped my daughter plan out furniture in her living room, which has a big fireplace in the center of the longer wall. We hung the TV directly opposite the fireplace at eye level. She got a couch and two lounge chairs that had swivel mechanisms added recently. There’s a coffee table in the center of the seating near the fireplace. It works really well for four or five people to gather around the coffee table and talk – and she has some seating cubes for additional guests when needed. For TV watching, laying on the couch and pairing the swivel chairs – one to sit in and one for feet works really well. For large group TV watching, she shifts the couch and chairs so they directly face the TV (rare event). I like that the room doesn’t feel designed around the TV, get works well for TV watching.

2 months ago

Swivel chairs are the only way to go in this situation. We have 2 of these, and they are so versatile!

2 months ago
Reply to  Aquagirl809

Those are cute (honestly wasn’t expecting them to be when I saw the La-Z-Boy link)!

2 months ago

We have exactly the same dilemma in our small living room. We live in London and our home is relatively traditional, so this might not fit with the style of the rooms you’re designing, but I’ve placed a long sofa opposite the TV and then a small upholstered settee on the side (
I think the settee works because the kids and I can lounge with our back against the upholstered side arm and our legs stretched out, whereas on a chair legs might need to either bunch up or spill over the opposite arm? Can’t wait to see the finished rooms!

2 months ago

We have a layout where the couch faces 2 arm chairs, and the TV is behind the arm chairs, facing the couch. Adults take the couch for optimal viewing, kids take the armchairs and are sprawled in every which direction on furniture anyway regardless. But our velvet ikea armchairs are low and wide and allow for TV watching sprawled sideways, upside down, right side up, etc etc. It’s ikea so not incredible quality but they’re functional and nice to look at.

2 months ago

The solution to this problem is a Lamino chair with an ottoman. They are SO lightweight and SO comfortable and look good with all styles. Truly worth their classic status!

2 months ago

Perhaps get the swivel effect w/a kit. Just did that for a fav chair & it’s best of both worlds.

2 months ago

I love in a 1930s cape cod with a 26′ x 10′ living room. Such a challenge! We have one stressless Paris highback lounge chair (swivel, recline, total euro ergo) that everyone fights over and a wooden scandic MCM daybed/chaise that we actually trimmed down by a few inches to make it work in the space. You can fully sprawl but you can sit with your knees up while leaning back.

🥰 Rusty
2 months ago

My living room is on the small side; has 1 fireplace wall; 2 double swing-door walls; leaving ONE NOTMAL WALL!
I now live by myself (Yaaaaaaayyyy!!! Feels SO good, every freakin’ day!!!), so I sit in my 1930s big ol’ club chair to watch TV – part of a set with two chairs and a sofa . If I have one vusutor staying over (I generally don’t watch TV with visitors – it’s about connecting through communication), TV watching is fine, but more than one guest is waaaay impossible with what I have.

2 months ago

I would not trust either of my teens not to put a foot thru the sides of the splurgy wicker seat. And in general, my teens are well behaved. They just aren’t thinking about the furniture when a sibling walks by and swats at them. My teens do sit sideways and have done so for a decade. They ruined the first chair and I bought a chair and a half. It is a better size for them now. So keep in mind, kids do grow.

2 months ago

Swivel chairs can work, but are dangerous to me: with my first one I accidentally knocked over an antique lamp and broke shade. My swinging around hit tables, etc. and the dogs were always jumping on it and moving it.
Some of these fixed examples here though have such tall straight arms — I don’t think those would be comfy.

Cici Haus
2 months ago

Ha the first chair was called the Roswell and I thought “how fun! I live in Roswell so that’d be neat.” Then the next one was the “Atlanta” – I live in Roswell, outside of Atlanta and thought okay now that’s really funny! This is a helpful post though! I’m a sideways chair sitter for sure.

2 months ago

I always struggle to find the perfect chair! How do you submit design questions for the EHD team?

2 months ago

I was just having a discussion with my wife about purchasing the perfect television chair. This was helpful, we both like different options (of course).

1 month ago

I love, love, love that you test your chairs sitting sideways. For me, it’s a must, yet I have always wondered if someone was secretly thinking “what is she doing?!?” Ha, ha, no more. It’s EHD approved. 😊