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Finding clothing as a plus size girl or big guy used to be the biggest challenge in the world. Ten years ago if I wanted to find t-shirts that fit at my local mall my only store option was “Big Dogs” a big and tall store with Mastiffs and St. Bernards on all of their clothing. You can bet that I was the height of fashion.
Thankfully, the clothing industry has caught up with the reality of the world and is providing clothing for people like me and everyone else I see walking around every day.
But do you know who is struggling to catch up? The furniture guys.
You’d think that creating heavy-duty furniture would be a given and that most chairs and couches would be suitable for plus size people. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong. At least, the chairs that my fat behind has broken would disagree with you.
While finding plus size furniture has been made much easier by Amazon and online furniture stores it still takes some detective work. Since looks can be deceiving, it often requires a message to the manufacturer and combing through pages of reviews to find out if a piece of furniture that looks plus size actually has the required weight capacity.
Well, we did that for you! I’ll be totally honest and say that, while I do own several of the things I’m talking about here, I don’t own all of them. I haven’t even sat in all of them. The ones that I do not own however were chosen by inquiring about weight capacities, knowing what makes heavy-duty plus size furniture, and reading thousands of reviews (literally).
What makes great plus size furniture?
While every piece of plus size furniture is different, there are a few commonalities that will ensure that they have the highest capacity possible. I’ll be sure to hit the specific in each section but, in general, plus size furniture with a high weight capacity will:
- Have a steel or solid wood frame. The mantra of the furniture industry seems to be: if the customer can’t see it, make it as cheap as possible. As a result, most couches and chairs will have particle board or scrap wood under the hood. If a listing or sales card doesn’t specifically mention the quality of the frame, you can bet that it’s because its not quality.
- Have highly durable fabric. Many pieces of otherwise great furniture fail because the fabric either wears out, starts looking like crap, or tears away where it’s stapled/riveted to the frame. I worked at a boy’s home and I lost count of how many times I had to staple the fabric back into place on poor abused couches. Address the issue upfront and look for durable fabric that is both sewn and stapled/riveted into place.
- Dense foam. If you’ve ever bought a used couch, it’s obvious what spots were used the most. With long term use and the buildup of grime most types of cushioning stop rebounding and providing the cushioning you probably want. Look for a high-density foam padding that is designed for heavy use.
- Beefy legs/joints. Most pieces of furniture that break do so in the same places. Chairs have backs or legs break off, couches break right in the middle, and camp chairs have the legs bend. The strength of the weakest areas will tell you how strong the entire piece is.
With those things in mind, you should be able to look at any piece of furniture and, couples with the manufacturers’ claimed weight capacity, make a judgement about how sturdy and durable it is likely to be.
The Best Couches for Plus Size People
Plus size couches are fairly easy to spot. Look for chunky options that are built for commercial use or high traffic areas. Designer pieces may look nice but often are meant for a more decorative function than actual use.
Also, look for a couch with either very short legs or no legs at all. If you want to increase the weight capacity further, you can remove the legs (most of the just unscrew) which allow the bottom frame to be supported by the floor.
Stone & Beam might just be the best brand that Amazon has ever created. Their extremely durable pieces are some of the best plus size furniture options available. They have strong frames, minimalist legs, and lots of cushioning that most users say is both comfortable and long-lasting.
This couch, the “Lauren” is a down-filled, extremely attractive, and deliciously comfortable couch. If you’re interested in finding out more about this you can read our full review of it here.
Stone & Beam also comes in first as our favorite plus size couch. It has all the benefits of the sofa (including a hardwood frame) while providing the obvious benefit of increased seating.
If you want to check out our full review of Stone & Beam sectional and other options (some with recliners) you can see those here.
Dining Room Chairs for Plus Size Families
If you’ve read my article on The Best Dining Room Chairs for Heavy People then you’ll know that I have a penchant for restaurant chairs. After all, they’re made to look great, support plus-size individuals, and last forever! What’s not to love?!
Flash Furniture’s “Hercules” line contains furniture of every type that is specifically meant for plus size individuals and these chairs are no exception.
While they are marketed as restaurant chairs, these will look at home at any dinner table, have a comfortable amount of padding, and boast and impressive 500lb capacity that will support all but the largest users.
Plus Size Recliners for Extra Large Comfort
If there is a piece of plus size furniture associated with big guys more than others is would be a plus-size recliner. The padding, the comfort, the reclining…just the thought of mine makes me want to get out of my desk chair right now.
Given the prevalence of fat guys and the popularity of recliners you’d think that finding a plus-size recliner with a high weight capacity would be a piece of cake but it simply isn’t the case. In fact, most furniture stores only offer chairs that come with a capacity in the 250-300 pound range. Not enough for a guy my size.
A recliner is one of the best pieces of plus size furniture for extra large comfort.
If you’re looking for one of the best pieces of plus size furniture for extra large comfort, Lane has you covered.
Lane has been making big man recliners for plus size comfort for decades and I dare say they have mastered the art.
This chair, the Stallion, has an extremely strong frame, durable fabric, and firm (yet comfortable) foam padding which, when all put together, gives this chair a full 500lb capacity. Get yourself one!
Plus Size Lawn Chairs
If you’re looking for a traditional plus size lawn chair, I probably can’t help you. Around here we only have two kinds of outdoor chairs, patio chairs, and folding camp chairs.
Camp chairs are meant to be lightweight and minimalist by nature so it’s nothing short of incredible that ALPS Mountaineering has created a camp chair with a high capacity than most sofas or recliners! In fact, this extra-large chair has a whopping 800-pound capacity. Not only is it super tough, but it’s comfortable, good looking, and can be used in almost every place and situation.
Plus Size Patio Furniture
Finding plus size outdoor furniture isn’t an easy task. As a big guy, I can’t imagine myself sinking relaxingly into a chair woven out of wicker or some sort of fronds. I need something with a metal frame which, in our age of disposable commodities, is a rarity.
My wife and I finally had a patio for the first time this past summer and we knew it was time to invest in some high quality plus size patio furniture. I knew I wanted something as hefty and long-lasting as the metal chairs that have been sitting on my grandpa’s patio for 35+ years but such things are extremely hard to find.
Instead, I ended up with a much more attractive and comfortable set from SunHaven which will support up to 500lbs!
Plus Size Beach Chairs
When I was growing up as a fat kid, I assumed that fat people and the beach just didn’t mix. At least that’s what I assumed when my parents either refused to go to the pool/beach or always wore extra clothing to cover up. I figured one day I’d “age out” of the beach and just want to stay home in my recliner.
At least until I found the perfect plus size beach chair to spend my sunny days in!
The Big Boy Backpack Chair from Tommy Bahama is wide, hefty, and supports over 300lbs! While this isn’t quite enough for some users (and I’m definitely a bit over the edge) I trust this chair more than the flimsy wholesale ones that people are selling with a claimed capacity of 500lbs.
Plus Size Rocking Chairs
I don’t know if you’re even allowed to be a big person if you haven’t spent an evening sitting on a heavy-duty rocking chair watching the world go by.
If you haven’t yet had that experience it will be made much easier by a company named Amish Casual.
Their pressure treated all hard-wood rocking chair is handmade to perfection, giving it a weight capacity of 600lbs. If that sounds like it’s for you, get yourself a plus size rocker today!
Ordering Plus Size Furniture Online: Things to Consider
When ordering furniture online (especially plus size furniture) it’s extremely easy to get caught up in the pictures and smooth descriptions and end up with something that you don’t want and have no use for. To avoid this happening to more people than is absolutely necessary here are a few things to consider before buying plus size furniture online:
- Find out the actual seat width: There’s nothing quite like buying a high capacity chair only to find out that you can only fit one butt cheek on it. Many high weight capacity pieces of furniture that are not strictly marketed as “plus-size” are just average size seats with average size widths. To avoid getting a chair that you won’t actually fit in, go, and measure a chair that you currently own and like and measure the actual distance between the armrests. Just be aware that some companies try silly tricks to make you think their seats are wide than they are suck as measure from edge to edge even though are rests take up space)
- Seat Height: Getting into or out of a plus-size chair can be a challenge as a bigger guy or gal. If you have mobility issues then be sure to read about the chair height and measure you can be sure that you won’t get stuck!
- Weight (can you move it): I’ve heard many stories of huge couches being delivered curbside to people who have no way to move them inside. What’s more, I’ve heard of lift-chairs being delivered to disabled people who were unable to move them, set them up, or use them in any way. If you’re buying furniture online be aware of who is going to deliver the item and where to. That way you can pay for extra delivery and set-up services if need be.
- Overall Feel (Type of Foam and Fabric): This is the hardest thing to get a feel for when buying online furniture but, if you read lots of reviews, it’s typically fairly easy to get an idea of how people view the quality of the item overall.
- The colors may not be quite correct. Everyone’s computer screen shows colors a little bit differently so if you’re trying to match colors to something online, be sure that you view as many pictures as possible to get a clearer idea of the true color.
Despite the above list, buying furniture online has become my preferred shopping method for outfitting my house. Most local stores not only have abysmal selections of furniture but they have pushy salespeople who are more than willing to push you into purchasing an item that they know nothing about. When I was first shopping for a high capacity computer chair the sales-dude literally told me that any chair I picked was fine…even though I was replacing one that had broke in half on me.
So when it comes down to it, finding the best furniture for plus size people really isn’t all that hard. Mainly because there isn’t that much of it to be had. The real problem is that you have to wade through a massive amount of “other” stuff to find it.
I doubt that you’ll need to buy every product above and refit your entire house, but if you’re buying new furniture, I always recommend that you buy a heavy-duty option if possible.