Adirondack chairs are just as popular now as they were 100 years ago, so what’s all the fuss about and what do you need to know about them?  Let’s take a look at adirondack chairs in detail.

Adirondack chair with footstool and side table

This is my friend Jenni’s Adirondack chair with footstool and side table, available from Binglebar

How do I Say Adirondack?

It may seem silly to start with this, but many people including me struggle with saying the word Adirondack.


The emphasis is on the RON part of the word.

The chair comes from the Westport region of New York, east of the Adirondack Mountains.

Adirondack Chairs - Spring House Hotel

A row of Adirondack chairs ready and waiting for guests at The Spring House Hotel on Rhode Island

History of the Adirondack Chair

There is a great article on the history of the Adirondack chair on Apartment Therapy.  Basically it was invented by a guy called Thomas Lee around 1903 who wanted a comfortable outdoor chair for his lakehouse in upstate New York.  After testing several designs, his family decided on a chair with a gentle recline and wide arm rests, which we now know as the Adirondack chair.

Anatomy of an Adirondack chair

Adirondack chair from Polywood Outdoors

Anatomy of an Adirondack Chair

The Adirondack chair is characterised by the following design features:

  • The chair has a deep seat which slopes downward from the front to the back
  • The chair back is often curved or fanned and is at a reclining angle to the seat
  • The arms of the chair are flat and wide, perfect for resting drinks on
  • The seat is quite low to the ground
  • Traditionally the chairs were built from timber, but are now available in a number of materials

Are Adirondack Chairs Comfortable?

Yes and No.  The chairs are designed so that your bottom sits on the lowest part of the chair and your legs are angled slightly upwards.  You back is fully supported by the back of the chair and your body is reclined backwards from your legs.  If you use a footstool with the Adirondack it’s like sitting on a lounger.

Adirondack chairs in garden

These are my old Adirondack chairs.  Unfortunately they did not last being left out in the weather, and have subsequently fallen apart, so I am on the hunt for some new ones.

I personally find the recline of adirondack chairs to be comfortable, and I love that you can rest a drink or book on the wide armrests.  What I find a little uncomfortable about the chairs is that you are sitting on a hard surface rather than a cushioned one, which brings us to cushions.

Can I Use Cushions with Adirondack Chairs?

Yes.  Scatter cushions look beautiful on an Adirondack chair, however I personally find a square cushion a little uncomfortable, as the chair is designed so you are in the recline position with your back fully supported by the back of the chair.  A cushion can sometimes cause you to arch your back.

Adirondack chair with Sea Cova cushions

These stunning cushions are from Sea Cova

If you want extra comfort on your Adirondack chair, you can use a specially designed cushion.

Adirondack Cushions

These chair cushions are from Hay Needle in the US.  I’m yet to find cushions here in Australia.

Where to Buy Adirondack Chairs

So now that your sold on the look of an Adirondack chair, where can you buy them in Australia?  Here are some of the best chairs I’ve found this summer:

Where to buy Adirondack chairs Australia

Adirondack chairs available in Australia:

Other stores like Big W, Kmart and Bunnings offer budget adirondack style chairs seasonally, so keep your eye out for them.

One more thing to consider is durability and maintenance.  Timber chairs will eventually deteriorate in the weather and may need regular oiling or painting.  Chairs made from polywood are largely maintenance free apart from some cleaning.

Do you have an Adirondack chair?  I want to see it.  Tag me on Facebook or instagram to share a photo of your chair.