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If you’re heavy, finding furniture that looks great for more than a couple of months can be incredibly difficult.
Even though the average BMI is rising year after year, most furniture companies and stores have no idea how to help out a larger clientele.
When I was trying to figure out what, exactly, makes for the best furniture for heavy people I went to 3 different furniture stores and talked to several clueless salespeople.
In fact, nearly all of them could quote the lengths, widths, fabrics, and other features of their furniture but not a single one could tell me the weight capacity without checking with the manufacturer.
It didn’t take long before I realized that almost every piece of furniture suitable for heavy people (I took a 500lb capacity as the bottom limit) has features and attributes that you can look for and easily recognize.
Do You Need Specially Designed Furniture If You’re Fat?
The truth is, more people need heavy-duty furniture than they think.
If you weigh over 225 lbs, you are over the weight capacity of most folding chairs, camp chairs, etc.
At a weight of 250-300 lbs, you’re over the weight limit of most recliners, couches, stools, etc.
It may seem surprising that a couch would have such a low weight capacity but, remember, furniture weight capacities are given per seat. They also come with the assumption that the weight is spread evenly across the furniture.
So, for example, if you go looking for furniture for heavy people and end up buying a 3-seater couch with a 600lb weight capacity. Each seat of the couch has only a 200lb capacity. Not nearly enough for a big and heavy person.
|Furniture Item||Average Weight Capacity|
|3 Seat Couch||800lbs|
|Dining Room Chair||250lbs|
As you can see, most overweight couples need to have furniture that is built with a high capacity. However, instead of giving you a laundry list of all the pieces of furniture for heavy people that I could find, I’m going to teach you how to find your own.
That way, you’ll be sure to get something that you lose with the exact weight capacity and other attributes that you need!
7 Furniture Buying Tips For Big And Heavy People
1. Buy Commercial Furniture
One of the biggest mistakes that heavy people make when shopping is to buy furniture meant for home use. You are probably already aware that this furniture doesn’t last very long.
The problem is, it’s not meant to last. It’s meant to wear out so that you buy more.
Buying furniture that is meant for commercial use (such as at a restaurant, in a waiting room, etc) will ensure that it has a much higher weight capacity, is more well-made, have hardwearing fabric, and will last you for years!
And it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable either. There is pretty much every style, color, and type of commercial furniture available for heavy people that they can use in their own homes.
2. Best Frame Material For Heavy Duty Furniture
Many pieces of furniture (even handcrafted ones) are quite poorly built. If you’ve ever turned over a couch to look at the frame it usually looks like something the builder pieced together out of scrap wood. Because they did.
When you are shopping for furniture, look for options that specifically state what the frame is made out of. “Wooden Frame” is not enough in this case.
We want a frame that is made out of either metal or hardwood.
If the builder doesn’t specifically state the frame material as one of their marketing points you can bet there’s a reason for that. Most likely they went the cheap route and it won’t support your weight.
3. Choose The Best Fabric
We, heavy people, are hard on things and that includes fabric. The stress level an overweight person puts on furniture fabric is far greater than a small person. This often leads to the fabric tearing away from the joints which can be very difficult to fix aesthetically.
Even if a couch can support your weight, a poor quality fabric will leave it looking lumpy and worn out before its time. My parents have a couch that, while still super comfortable, has been relegated to the basement because its microfiber covering is worn smooth and has developed an oily-looking black hue. Not something you want to show people.
Leather, while not the most comfortable, can be extremely durable if it is well cared for.
4. Look For The Sturdiest Fasteners
Another common failure point is where the fabric is attached to the frame or to other fabric. If it is simply stapled to the wood or sewn to other fabric (like a couch cover) then it will not stand the test of time.
The most hardwearing furniture fastening is large old-fashioned-looking rivet staples that cover the arms and edges of a couch or furniture. This spreads out the load of the largest area and can help preserve the fabric.
In non-stuffed furniture (such as dining room chairs) look for bolts that go through all the attachments and joints. This will enable you to tighten them when needed. Small bolts or screws tend to break or pull out when a plus-size person decided to sit down.
5. Choose Furniture Without Legs (When Possible)
When I shop for furniture, I also imagine playing the bridge-builder computer game I played in 4th grade. The idea was to draw a bridge over a river that would support cars. If you drew any long straight lines with support, you could guarantee that they’d break. Furniture works the same way.
The best example of this is a couch. The most commonplace for the frame to break is the center bottom section. It is the longest (and therefore weakest) part and can snap in half if not supported.
The easiest way to support it is to simply remove the legs from your couch or buy a couch without legs, to begin with. This removes the possibility of the legs breaking, allows the floor to support the subframe of the couch, and makes it so that you don’t have to vacuum underneath!
6. Get High-Density Foam
If you’re overweight and want your furniture to be comfortable long-term, you’ll need some high-quality foam that holds up to your weight. Not only does low-quality foam lose its shape quickly, but it also looks terrible, isn’t comfortable, and doesn’t help distribute the weight over the frame.
7. Choose A Style That Won’t Show Wear
If you’re plus size, you’re going to put additional wear on your furniture. There’s no getting around that. So make sure you choose a style of furniture that isn’t going to show wear quickly.
For example, if a couch with square perfectly square cushions and straight lines is used by a heavy person the small sags and misshapen bits will become apparent very quickly. Instead, opt for overstuffed furniture. This gives you more padding for support (that will, in turn, last longer)
Where To Buy High-Capacity Furniture
Most furniture stores actually do have furniture in stock that is suitable for overweight people, they just don’t know it.
If you want to buy your furniture locally, visit a dedicated furniture store with lots of options. This will give you the best chance of finding something with the weight capacity you need.
Personally, I prefer to buy furniture online. This allows me to check the exact specifications (weight capacity, etc), talk to the manufacturer, read reviews, etc.
What’s more, I don’t have to pick it up and can have it delivered straight to my door! (often for free)
The 3 Best Brands Of Furniture For Big And Heavy People
If you are overweight, avoid store-brand furniture. Instead, opt for well-known styles from brands that have been around the block.
Three brands that I will mention specifically are:
Ashley – Ashley Homestore is a massive chain that sells its own brand of furniture as well as other options. Because of the sheer amount of inventory they carry most people will be able to find something that suits their needs.
Lane – I discovered Lane’s line of big man recliners a couple of years ago and haven’t moved much since. They have recliners suitable for people weighing up to 500 lbs as well as other furniture options.
Flash Furniture – If you’re in need of heavy-duty patio furniture, kitchen chairs that hold 800 lbs, or other high-capacity furniture, Flash Furniture has exactly what you need in a wide range of styles.
Can I Make My Existing Furniture Hold More Weight?
If you can’t afford new furniture, there are a few hacks you can use to make your existing set-up work better for big and heavy people:
- Take Off The Legs
- Add A Screw Into The Joints. Extra movement can destroy the frame and fabric. If you can keep your furniture solid and rigid it will last longer.
- Restaple Fabric Before It Tears. If there are stress points in your furniture or its fabric, adding some support before it becomes catastrophic will save you a future headache. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
- Add A Plywood Support. Adding a plywood sheet underneath the cushions of your couch can help distribute the weight more evenly across the frame. I have a friend who is north of 500 lbs and has used the same couch with a plywood sheet under the cushions for several years.
However, before you assume that you can’t afford heavy-duty furniture, be sure to check out some of our reviews. We do our best to find options that not only support lots of weight but look great (and do so without breaking the bank).
Furniture For Heavy People Reviews and Tests: