“a special refuge from the strains of modern living”
There are few chairs that have achieved a truly iconic status not only in furniture design but in the world of modern art. The Eames chair with matching Ottoman – officially titled Eames Lounge (670) and Ottoman (671) – are well-deserving recipients of such acclaim. The original, mid-century, Eames lounge chair and ottoman reside in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Designed by a husband and wife team, the chair and ottoman were released in 1956 after years in development. Charles and Ray Eames began working with molded plywood in the 1940s and the design of the lounge chair was based on Charles’s vision of a chair with the look of a “well-used first baseman’s mitt.” He intended for it to be “a special refuge from the strains of modern living.”
Authentic Eames chairs are rare and sort after. From authorized manufacturers Vitra and Herman Miller, you can expect to pay upwards of $5,000.
There are, however, some good replicas for those of us who love and appreciate the cool, classic, contemporary design but can’t justify the huge outlay.
To that end, we’ve compiled a guide to the best ones out there, based on the quality of materials, and faithfulness to the original, authentic design.
Our Top Picks for the Best Eames Chair Replica
|Editor’s Award||Replica Rating||Brand|
|Highest Quality – Aniline Leather||5 Stars||Decorific NYC Premium Reproduction Lounge Chair|
|High Quality – Top Grain Aniline Leather||4.5 Stars||Mid Century Plywood Lounge Chair & Ottoman by Modern Sources|
|Best Mid Price Range||4 Stars||Modern Sources Mid Century Eames Replica Plywood Lounge Chair & Ottoman|
|Alternative Mid Price||4 Stars||Mid Century Lounge Chair with Ottoman by Rimdoc|
|Best Budget Option||3.5 Stars||Happybuy Lounge Chair with Ottoman|
Click below to jump to each topic in this guide.
- Highest Quality Aniline Leather
- High Quality – Top Grain Aniline Leather
- Best Mid Price Range
- Alternative Mid Price
- Best Budget Option
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Other Eames Replicas We’ve Reviewed
Highest Quality – Aniline Leather: Decorific NYC Premium Reproduction Lounge Chair
Highest Quality – Closest to the Original
This Aniline Eames lounge chair and ottoman replica is by far the highest quality and most faithful to the original you can get.
It may have a higher price tag than the other replica’s we will be looking at and indeed it costs more than the cheaper Italian leather option by the same company, but it still comes in at several thousand dollars cheaper than an authentic one.
A little digging will confirm that Decorific NYC have, as they claim, been manufacturing this mid-century chair and ottoman for over 15 years, remaining true to the original, using the highest quality Aniline leather, and, as specified in the modern version of the authentic chair, 7- ply engineered wood veneer, kiln-dried to prevent warping or cracking.
We have previously talked about Aniline leather in our Barcelona chair replica guide but in brief:
Unlike lower quality dyed leather that has a coating of paint on the top to add color and disguise markings and imperfections, sometimes a layer of paint so thick, the leather has a leather grain texture stamped back into it on the top, aniline leather is dyed using only aniline dye.
Anyline is a translucent, water-soluble dye that’s used along with oils, to soak all the way through into natural, tanned leather to add color and richness while still retaining all the leather’s own natural characteristics including the grain and softness.
Only a few percent of the world’s leather production qualifies as aniline as only the highest quality Italian Napa leather can be used for the process.
This chair and ottoman features hand-stitched (lock stitch #301) aniline leather upholstery over PU injected high-density memory foam modular cushions, wrapped with Dacron, which is synthetic silk.
The result is a perfect combination of comfort and breathability.
The cushions are also removable and feature a zipper for cleaning, cushion replacement or reupholster.
The 7-ply wooden veneers are made from first and second-grade American timber sourced only from USA, Canadian and Brazilian companies and FAS certified to use only the best log cuts. They are then kiln-dried and finished with 4-layers of UV curved, no wax Italian lacquer.
The chair also features high-quality silicone shock mounts for durability and a sturdy five-point foundation stainless steel base on which the chair swivels a full 360° as per the original design.
Measuring 32 3/4″ in width and depth, by 32″ high, the dimensions also adhere to the original classic Eames. It’s also naturally reclined, designed that way to take the weight off the lower back, but just as in the original, it isn’t adjustable.
What We Like:
- Faithful to the Original Design | The details adhere well to the original including correct dimensions, fixed-tilt, and hand-stitched high-quality leather including tufting and buttons.
- Hand-Stitched Aniline Leather | This type of leather only looks more beautiful with age. It’s the highest quality leather you can get.
- 7-ply Wooden Veneers | Kiln dried as in the original and lacquered for protection and to bring out the grain. Also available in a choice of different woods (see the link below).
- Modular Cushions | PU injected high-density memory foam cushions, wrapped with synthetic silk for comfort and breathability.
Buying Factors to Consider:
This is an exceptionally high-quality lounge chair and ottoman made from premium aniline leather. While it’s very true to the original, it is more costly than our other options and due to the high-quality of the natural leather, you need to take care not to scratch it, or let it get water, or grease-stained. So this option may not be the best choice for homes with young children or pets. In this case, you should opt for one of the other options we will be looking at in this guide.
Check the latest price and color options for Decorific NYC Premium Reproduction Lounge Chair on Amazon.
Check the latest price for other color, leather and wood options in this range on Amazon.
High – Quality Top Grain Aniline Leather: Mid Century Plywood Lounge Chair & Ottoman by Modern Sources
High – Quality Top Grain Aniline Leather
From the name of it, you’d be forgiven for thinking that top grain aniline leather is higher quality than aniline leather. But while aniline leather is actually the best quality, being made from soft Italian Nappa leather, dyed all the way through, top-grain Aniline leather does have its advantages.
Top grain aniline leather, has a thin coating of insoluble pigment on the surface of the leather. This means the quality of the leather used doesn’t have to be quite so high and we can see this reflected in the price tag. That said, it’s still higher-quality than Italian leather alone and there’s a huge difference between it, and the standard cheap leather chairs out there.
The advantage to top grain aniline leather is that it’s less sensitive to water or grease stains so it is it’s a more practical and durable option, for homes with families and pets.
There’s a wide choice of leather colors available with this option.
The set also features a 7-ply laminated veneer frame as per the original and it’s available in a range of wood finishes. It has the correct recline angle of 15° and a full 360 ° swivel.
Dimensions: Chair L35.4″ x W35″ H31.5″
What We Like:
- 100% Top Grain Aniline Leather | Imported from Italy. The coating means it’s a little more hard-wearing than aniline leather and less sensitive to water or grease stains.
- Range of Color Options | If you are looking for a color option other than black brown or cream, this option has a good range.
Check the latest price and color options for Mid Century Plywood Lounge Chair & Ottoman by Modern Sources on Amazon.
Best Mid Price Range: Mid Century Lounge Chair with Ottoman by I Inch
Best Mid Price Range
This is another good reproduction of the original.
While it’s not made from as fine quality leather as our first choice, it’s priced accordingly and maybe more practical in terms of durability and scratch resistance for homes with young families and pets.
Unlike many cheap copies that are made from faux leather or leatherette, this one is made from high-quality leather, machine-stitched to a high standard.
It features 7-ply high-density natural laminated wood in a choice of wood veneers including walnut, palisander, and black ash (an alternative to ebony) all of which are variations of the original.
It has the natural incline of the authentic chair, to the correct fixed angle of 15 degrees.
You can choose between normal size or choose between upgrade 1 or upgrade 2. These sizes are somewhat confusing as there is very little difference between them except to say upgrade 1 is taller than the normal size and upgrade 2 is wider. To give you more an idea you can see the sizes in the table below.
Whichever you choose they are very similar but generally an inch or so larger than the original. The original also has a choice of size between classic and tall, (which measures 33.5″ high).
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 | This one, depending on the color and finish is very affordable and reasonably priced, especially considering it comes as a chair and ottoman set.
Buying Factors to Consider:
It won’t feel quite as soft as our first choice 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 well-made, built to last, and nicely finished, complete with tufting and buttons.
|Size Guide for Chair||Length”||Width”||Height”|
Check the latest price and color options for Mid Century Lounge Chair with Ottoman by I Inch on Amazon.
Alternative Mid Price: Mid Century Lounge Chair with Ottoman by Rimdoc
Alternative Mid Price
We wanted to include the Rimdoc in our top picks and there really is nothing between this one and the replica chair and ottoman we have just looked at.
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-stiched leather. It also features a 7-layer plywood frame and a coated black aluminum base.
Check the latest price and color options for Mid Century Lounge Chair with Ottoman by Rimdoc on Amazon.
Best Budget Option: Happybuy Lounge Chair with Ottoman
Best Budget Option
This is a great budget option to go for. Unlike may replica chairs, in this price range, the Barcelona chair replica budget options being a case in point, this one actually retains the look of the original Eames.
The fact that it stays faithful to the original Eames design means that there’s nothing cheap looking about it.
The upholstery is not leather but it is PU leather. That means that a thin or split layer of leather has been coated with polyurethane. The effect will feel smoother than natural leather, and it will durable too but not as long-lasting as full leather. It does have the advantage, though, in that it’s easier to clean.
It even has the 7 layer plywood frame stipulated in the rules for the modern authentic Eames design. It also has a black coated aluminum five-point base.
That said, if you were to compare this one with the higher quality replicas you would be able to tell that this one is cheaper by the less than full 6″ of cushioning.
Chair Dimensions: 32.25″W x 32.25″D x 33.75″ H
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 Happybuy Lounge Chair with Ottoman on Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an Eames chair comfortable?
Eames chairs are in fact, very comfortable. Released in 1956 after years in the development stage, the Eames lounge chair, and ottoman was intended to have the look and feel of a “well-used first baseman’s mitt.”
The Chair’s ergonomic design follows the natural contours of the body and incorporates a permanent recline or semi-reclined position, it was designed for comfort not just to be cool and admired.
Does the Eames chair recline?
The original Eames chair has a recline that’s built into the design. It’s was originally designed this way in order to take the weight off the lower back. It doesn’t however recline, the tilt is fixed to an angle of 15 degrees.
How is the Eames Chair Made?
The Eames chair consists of three cushioned shells with wooden veneers, a seat, a back, and a headrest, which gives the chair its floating appearance. Each shell is made up of 7 layers of molded plywood, though the original chair was designed with only 5.
Originally the cushion’s fillings were “all feathers and down”. Today, however, authentic Eames are filled with 6″ of urethane foam and upholstered with high-quality leather including two tufted buttons to each cushion. The seat and the ottoman cushion are the same size and interchangeable with each other.
The base has 5 legs for the chair, and 4 for the ottoman.
Additionally, the chair is able to swivel 360° and has a fixed recline of 15°.
Other Eames Replicas We’ve Reviewed:
These are the products that didn’t quite make our top picks, but they’re still pretty good so you might like to take a look:
This another decent budget option that has the authentic look. The cushioning is, however, a lot thinner than on the more high-end replicas models.
- 7-Layer Plywood.
- PU Leather.
- 360 swivel.
High-Quality Aniline Leather
This is not a cheap option but it’s still several thousand dollars less than the original. It’s an excellent reproduction.
- Premium aniline leather, including piping & buttons.
- High-quality 7-ply laminated veneer.
- 360° swivel function and fixed backward tilt of 15°.
Complete Your Eames Look
Made for children, this 8″ tall genuine Vitra Eames elephant would make a cool addition to any living space. It’s a lovely gift idea. It’s actually affordable for the real thing.
- Made from polypropylene, dyed throughout.
- Available in other colors and a larger size if you prefer.
- Approved according to the GS and CE safety standards
Eames Replica Bird
This is a very affordable replica of the Bird popularised by Eames. First made in 1910 the Eames’s had one in their home. It’s beautiful, definitely on my shopping list!
- 10.63″ tall.
- Made from environmentally – friendly non-toxic resin.
Vitra Eames Mobile
For a cool mid-century look, this genuine Virta Eames mobile designed in 1941 is very moderately priced.
- Mobiles were hung from the ceiling in Eameses’ apartment in Los Angeles.
- It’s made from aircraft plywood, with a black lacquered finish.