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Guest Post:  Adirondack Chairs are Essential for Rustic Exterior Design

Guest Post: Adirondack Chairs are Essential for Rustic Exterior Design

In today’s guest post, you can learn the history of Adirondack chairs, and how they can be used to boost your home’s style.  Not only do they look good, but Adirondack chairs are also made for comfort – perfect for a lazy summer afternoon.  And, learn why you may want to consider a wood Adirondack chair over a plastic one.

Reclining on the beach, staring into the open sea, and sipping on a cold beer are iconic images of paradise and Corona advertisements. However, Adirondack chairs are not meant only for the beach, but also for home decoration.

wood adirondack chairs

Photo courtesy Landsted Companies

What does Adirondack mean anyway?

The origin of the word “Adirondack” was actually used to by the Iroquois to insult the Algonquin tribes of the northeastern United States and Quebec region of Canada. The word translates to “bark eaters”, describing the Algonquin tribe’s propensity to eat the innards of white pine bark, a valuable food source and vitamin C supplement. Subsequently, a mountain range in New York was named the Adirondacks.

In the early 1900s while on vacation near the Adirondack Mountains, a man named Thomas Lee was able to craft a new type of chair perfect for the outdoors. This chair was characterized by a contoured seat and rounded backrest. It is also sometimes known as the Westport Adirondack chair. Westport was the town in which Lee was vacationing in.

Characteristics of Adirondack Chairs

There are a number of styles of Adirondack chairs. Check out the Adirondack chair pictured below. This painted wood version would be at home in both rustic and modern settings. This is also a typical design for Adirondack chair and as you can see there are certain qualities that set Adirondack chairs apart from other outdoor chairs. Some of the typical characteristics of an Adirondack chair, which can be seen in this image, include wide armrests, reclined seat, and rounded backrest. A common feature of these is seat adjustability, enabling the user to tilt the seat back or forwards catering to the user’s preference.

painted adirondack chair

Plastic vs. Wooden

While a plastic Adirondack chair is cheaper, more portable, and resistant to sun/water/insect damage, a wooden Adirondack chair is more valuable for rustic decorating styles and has other benefits. As wood is a natural material, the simple fact that a wooden chair can be cut, sanded, and constructed by oneself without complicated chemical manufacturing does something to promote rustic decoration. You would not have seen homeowners in the old days, or a self-sustaining country family, using plastics as building materials. Instead, this was almost entirely done using wood materials. One of the main draws of this rustic chair design is that while it is simple and typical of the countryside, it is also classy and fashionable.

Wood Adirondack chairs are fantastic for exterior and interior home decoration and complement any type of home style.  But, they often best fit with rustic design.  Not only are wooden Adirondack chairs comfortable to slip into and relax as you sit in the sun and experience the outdoors, but they are also fully customizable with paint or chair covers and you can even build them yourself. Wooden Adirondack chairs are also able to support more weight than a cookie-cutter plastic chair and it will last longer with proper upkeep.

Claiming an Adirondack chair to be just ‘another chair’ is inaccurate and now you know why. It is often interesting to learn the origin and original rationale behind some of these products since oftentimes they are taken for granted.  Functional purpose and history exist behind all of our everyday products including the Adirondack chair.  Now that you know a bit of the background about Adirondack chairs, give them a try outside your home to create a comfortable summer retreat.

Lisa Henfield is an exterior designer who spent a few years designing table covers for hotels in Las Vegas. She mostly writes about her design experiences, providing tips on outdoor furniture for both businesses and the average person’s home. When she isn’t changing the design world one table at a time, she can usually be found practicing her skating at a roller rink.

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