The recliner chair represents a staple piece of furniture in many living rooms and dens. People like the recliner because it has the characteristics of both a chair and a lounge, which makes the chair a comfortable addition to a room. However, the desirable characteristics of the chair also determine the average life of a recliner -- facts that you should keep in mind as you shop for your next chair.
According to "Good Housekeeping," the average recliner lasts about 10 years, provided that you take care of it. When you're looking for a recliner, you want to give about equal weight to both your budget and the durability of the chair — important factors considering recliner prices range from a couple hundred dollars to $5,000 as of July 2011. For example, if you bought a durable, expensive chair, it may actually last too long for your tastes. It may not match the other decorative elements in the room, but you'll feel reluctant to get rid of it. On the other hand, the chair that didn't cost you much but has broken down after only a couple of years isn't a bargain, either. The combination of these two factors will get you the chair that will best work for you.
Taking proper care of your recliner offers you one of the best guarantees that you'll have a recliner for the full duration of its expected lifespan. Don't get into the habit of sitting on the recliner's arm rests or back, especially when the recliner is down because doing so breaks it down quicker. Also, instead of pushing on the footrest with your feet, use the reclining bar at the side of the chair when you want to put the footrest down. Pushing on it with your feet can bend the metal. And take the time to tighten the screws and knobs on the inside of the chair to keep it in shape.
A couple of features more related to the outside of the chair have some bearing on how long a recliner will last. Choose a foam density rating on the cushions of at least 1.9. This rating ensures that the cushions will withstand day-to-day use of the chair. In terms of upholstery, look for leather if it's in your budget and you're looking for the longest lasting material for the chair's fabric. Wool counts as the second most common choice because it lasts a long time and proves more resistant to stains.
Several types of features go into the construction of the frame of a recliner. The right choice of these elements also gives the chair a longer life. On the simplest level, choose a chair that has levers instead of the push-back models as it will last longer. Avoid materials like press board on the inside of the chair. Look for a recliner that features hardwood and heavy screws in its construction. If your budget doesn't allow for the expense of hardwood, your next best option in terms of the frame material is plywood.