If you’d love an Eames chair, but don’t have the budget for the official one, you should absolutely go for a good replica.
You might say I’m a tiny bit obsessed with the iconic mid-century modern style of the Eames chair. But there are a lot of them out there and the prices do vary considerably. That being said, there’s a replica for every budget and even the high-end ones are still several thousand dollars cheaper than the real thing.
But here we will get straight into the picks. So let’s start with my top recommendation, theiconicchair. This one is not the cheapest but it’s by far the quality and closest to the original design that you can get.
|Our Top Choice: Highest -Quality (And Most Faithful to the Original Design)||Mid-Century Plywood Chair by The Iconic Chair|
Save $150 Use Code: COMFYZEN150 at theiconicchair.com
|Best Mid-Priced Eames Chair Replicas:||1inchome Mid Century Eames Replica Plywood Lounge Chair & Ottoman|
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|Alternative to the 1inchome Replica: ||Rimdoc Lounge Chair and Ottoman|
(Identical to the 1inchome)
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|Best Budget Option: ||Aniline Leather Lounge Chair with Ottoman by TOOMOO |
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Our Top Choice | theiconicchair.com
Highest Quality and Most Faithful to the Original Design
First, off the bat, I’m gonna say, it’s not the cheapest one you can get, but this is by far the most popular replica that people go for – simply because there are no half measures here.
You are getting something that looks and, just as importantly, feels as close to the original Eames design as you are gonna get – without going overboard and paying several thousand more for the real deal.
For a start, theiconicchair (still part of, and formally known as Urban Furnishing) is a well-established company that has the widest selection of replicas out there. They’ve been manufacturing their Mid-Century Plywood Lounge Chair and Ottoman for close to 10 years now. They’re incredibly proud of that, and no wonder, they clearly know what they are doing!
For me, what really makes the theiconicchair.com replica stand out from the rest is the outstanding attention to detail that this replica has.
If you know your Eames, you’ll know that those gorgeous flower crease buttoned cushions should each un-hook from their shell. There’s a clip system that allows you to do this.
The huge advantage is that you can replace, repair, or reupholster any one of them if you ever need to and that will, in turn, extend the life of your chair to – well, practically forever.
The theiconicchair replica has that same clip system which is a detail above and beyond the norm. Lower quality chairs always have fixed cushions, often just stapled in place (if you’re lucky, you might get Velcro).
Next, if you take a look at the shells underneath you’ll see they are veneered on the inside – not just the outside. That’s a detail that you’d generally only get with the real thing.
This chair, until recently, came with high resilience PU-injected foam cushions. The original, in case you were wondering, also has foam cushions (though the very first one was stuffed with feathers).
Replicas or not, they’re all filled with foam (or in some cases memory foam). Foam is foam, I hear you say – except it isn’t!
There’s a lot of debate about whether a replica Eames could ever feel as soft and comfortable as the real thing. What makes the original so comfortable is the use of open-cell foam. It’s much softer than closed-cell foam and way less dense than memory foam.
Danny from theiconicchair.com recently informed me that they have upped their game, and now also use premium open-cell foam for their cushions. Compare this detail to others out there and you’ll get why we think this one is far superior to anything else.
In terms of style, if you take a look at the feet, you can see that this replica is based on the Herman Miller chair. It’s the same black, die-cast five-point aluminum base, that Charles and Ray Eames designed more than 60 years ago.
The sketch below gives you an idea of the two official styles, but if you want to stay as authentic to the original 1956 design as possible, then you should go for a Herman Miller replica.
Next, we turn to the leather quality of the cushions as well as the overall comfort of the chair.
The cushions are full grain semi-aniline leather imported from Italy which provides the perfect combination of quality and durability, as you’ll see below:
- Aniline leather is the highest quality leather you can get – only a few percent of the world’s leather qualifies for this category. Aniline is a water-soluble dye that soaks all the way through the leather to give the leather color and bring out the grain. It doesn’t, therefore, disguise any imperfections and that’s why only the finest quality Italian Napa leather can be used.
It ages beautifully, but it is sensitive to watermarks and grease stains, so it’s not the best choice for families with young children or pets.
- The Iconic Chair replica is Full-grain semi-aniline leather. The process for this is very similar but there’s a fine protective coating of insoluble pigment on the surface.
This makes the chair much less sensitive to water or grease marks. So it’s a far better choice for families with young children and pets.
Additional details, often lacking in lesser quality replicas, include rubber shock mounts underneath the armrests and between the head and the backrest which allows for flexibility, deep buttons to create that famous Eames flower crease, as well as the 15-degree fixed tilt and 360-degree swivel which are stipulated in the original design.
I know haven’t mentioned the quality of the plywood shells yet, but they are spot on. Made from whole sheets of high-quality FAS-certified cuts of hardwood. 7-py plywood just like the original.
Available in an impressively wide range of color options – this is something you generally only get with a real Eames – this replica is also available in the Tall Version. This adds an extra 2.5″ to the height, which if you are taller, you may find more comfortable.
There’s a fair amount of debate about the size of the Eames chair. But this actually based on a misconception about the design. People think the top shell is designed to support the head. The top shell is there to support your shoulders. Take a look at this video showing various people of different heights sitting in the chair, if you need help choosing the correct size.
What We Like:
- Faithful to the Original Design | This is an excellent reproduction of the Herman Miller Eames chair.
- Removable Cushions | While lower-quality chairs have fixed cushions, often just stapled in place, this chair comes with premium open-cell foam cushions that are removable, simply unhook them from the shell.
- Veneered Shells both Inside and Out | The attention to detail is outstanding on this chair.
- Upholstered in Full-Grain Semi-Aniline Leather | Imported from Italy, the chair offers the perfect combination of quality and durability. It’s also less sensitive to water and grease stains than full aniline leather.
- 7-ply Wooden Veneers | Kiln dried as in the original. Also available in a choice of different woods.
Buying Factors to Consider:
It’s not the cheapest. If you want the look and are prepared to sacrifice the extra details, to get a cheaper chair you should also consider the I Inchome, the Rimdoc or Furgle, or the ToMe chair – all of which are cheaper.
Best Mid-Price Eames Chair Replica: Mid Century Lounge Chair with Ottoman by 1inchome
Mid-Price Eames Chair Replica
The 1inchome is our clear winner in this lower-priced category.
First off, if you compare it with others we’ve seen that are made from faux leather or leatherette, this one is high-quality machine-stitched top grain leather.
It also features 7-ply high-density natural laminated wood which makes it a more faithfully copy of the original, than the TOME, for example, which has “new 8- layers” of laminated wood.
You also get a good choice of veneer finishes including walnut, palisander, and black ash (which is an alternative to ebony ash ) – all of which are options you could choose from if you were to go for the official version.
The chair ticks all the essential boxes that an authentic Herman Miller style chair would, including having that natural incline to the correct fixed angle of 15 degrees.
It doesn’t have detachable cushions (as you’d no doubt already have guessed) but that’s one way to cut down on cost without compromising the look or the overall quality of the chair.
With this one, you can even choose between normal size or an upgrade which is the taller version.
What We Like:
- High-Quality Genuine Leather | Many replicas in this price range aren’t made from leather at all.
- Well-Made and Close to the Original | It would take an expert to know it’s not authentic unless, that is, you get very close and look for clues.
- Good Price | It’s reasonably priced for a chair and ottoman set.
Buying Factors to Consider:
It won’t feel quite as soft as our first choice which features super-soft open-cell foam, but as a reproduction of the mid-century iconic Eames, it would make a stunning centerpiece to any living space, as well as a relaxing and comfortable place to lie back and put your feet up.
It’s a well-made chair, built to last, and nicely finished, complete with tufting and buttons.
Check the latest price and color options for Mid Century Lounge Chair with Ottoman by 1inchome on Amazon.
Alternative to the 1inchome Replica: Mid Century Lounge Chair with Ottoman by Rimdoc
Budget Full Leather Option
Mid Century Lounge Chair with Ottoman by Rimdoc
We wanted to include the Rimdoc in our top picks because it’s another very good choice. In fact, there really is nothing between this one and the replica chair and ottoman we have just looked at.
And that’s because they are essentially the same chair.
1 Inchome and Rimdoc are registered at the same address in NYC.
For that reason, we won’t go into details on this one as the spec is just the same. It too is made from high-quality machine-stitched leather. It also features a 7-layer plywood frame and a coated black aluminum base.
One thing I do want to point out is that just because the chair has only recently been reintroduced after being absent for some time, there aren’t yet many customer reviews for this listing, but be assured this chair has been a very popular choice with customers in the past.
Do check the latest price and color options for Mid Century Lounge Chair with Ottoman by Rimdoc on Amazon if you are interested in this one, – particularly because the prices between the Inchome and Rimdoc often do vary.
Lowest Price Leather Option: Leather Recliner with Ottoman by TOME
Lowest Price Option
Leather Recliner with Ottoman by TOME
This is a great lower-priced option to go for. Unlike many replica chairs, in this price range (the Barcelona chair replica budget options being a case in point), this replica actually retains the look of the original Eames.
The fact that it stays faithful to the original Herman Miller design down to black-coated aluminum five-point base means there’s nothing cheap looking about it.
For us what makes this one stand out from others in this price range is that it’s not made from PU or fake leather, it’s actually made with real leather upholstery.
Where it does differ from the others we’ve looked at – and indeed from the original design is that instead of the traditional 7- layer plywood frame stipulated in the rules for the modern authentic design it has a somewhat unusual 8 -layer plywood shell.
Draw from that what you will, to us it indicates the plywood is of lower quality and the extra layer is there to compensate so the shell’s sturdiness isn’t comprised. That being said, the 8 layers of plywood do give the shells a slightly more robust appearance which to us, and customers who went for this chair, is aesthetically pleasing, and overall if you were to compare this one with the higher quality replicas it wouldn’t look out of place.
The shell is made by hand, the cushioning consists of a memory foam filling, and the chair even has the rubber shock mount detail, connecting the head and backrest that high end, and indeed the original chair all have.
What We Like:
- Good Value For Money | It’s a good copy that’s stayed faithful to the original design. For that reason, there’s nothing cheap looking about it and it is good value for the price.
Check the latest price of Leather Recliner with Ottoman by TOME on Amazon.