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Know Your Furniture: The Chaise Longue

Posted by Larry

Know Your Furniture: The Chaise Longue

Good morning to you all,


This new series entitled “Know Your Furniture”,  is intended in part to remedy a particular injustice in the furniture world. We’ve all been there, standing around a kitchen or living room, cocktails in hand listening to a super-snobbish friend or neighbor describe in excruciating detail the profound nature and exquisite history of their newest furniture acquisition. The group around you listens politely, maybe they have some idea of what this self styled furniture guru is talking about but you wouldn’t be surprised if they were just as clueless as you and were simply employing the exact same strategy that has you looking fascinated, smiling and desperately trying to nod and sigh in the right places.

So in this new series, the idea is simple, we take a piece by piece look at some of the more sophisticated and obscure pieces of furniture out there, and we all become pretentious interior design know-it-all’s together.

I thought we might begin with the often mispronounced and misunderstood Chaise Longue (pictured above) . Correctly pronounced [sheyz lawng, cheyz; Fr. shez lawng] chaise longue is the modern french equivalent for “long chair”, and has been routinely mispronounced since the mid 18th century.

A term that can be used to refer to what we more commonly know as “lounge chairs“, the chaise longue is making a strong comeback in the modern furniture world. At the height of their popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries, the chaise longue was customarily used as a fainting couch for women wearing tightly-fitting and blood flow-restricting corsets. Thankfully, today it is simply another couch-like option that will give your living room or deck a more sophisticated feel.

Parenthetically, “chaise longue” is not to be confused with “chaise”, which come from the same french background, but actually refers to a light two- or four-wheeled traveling or pleasure carriage, with a folding hood or calash top for one or two people.

Adding chaise longue to your arsenal of furniture terms will give you the ability appear knowledgeable and informed to a designer or retailer and best of all, to be ready when that pretentious neighbor mispronounces it at her next “show off my new furniture” house party.

If you happen to be in the market for a chaise of your own, check out the selection here at Madison Seating. And of course, if you do decide to purchase one, do the neighborly thing and invite your friends for drinks so you can share the experience, just remember it’s “sheyz lawng” because there is always that prudish know-it-all in the crowd who will be all too happy to correct you if you get it wrong …

Bye for now.

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