Forget everything you think you know about the humble beanbag. It’s no longer a slightly naff item of furniture or even an after-thought when it comes to interior design. Beanbags are back, and today’s offerings are seriously cool – enough to warrant some 300,000 posts dedicated to them on Instagram.
Why do we love a beanbag? Well, what other piece of furniture can you literally flop into at the end of a bad day? Or drag from room to room at whim without doing your back in?
Replacing your sofa to match your decor is out of the question when you give a room a design overhaul, but an artfully placed and well-chosen beanbag is an easy and affordable way to inject a little life or colour into your interior.
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It’s also a fabulous addition to a child’s bedroom or playroom, too: never outgrown, unlike a toddler chair, and beanbag chairs for kids offer a really comfy place to rest tired limbs after a long day at school – our five-year-old tester gravitated towards the beanbag chairs over the sofa.
Whether you want to create a quiet corner for reading or simply supply an extra seat for when their friends come round, a beanbag is a brilliant way to add flexibility to an older child’s room without filling it with furniture.
There are a few things to consider before you buy a beanbag, though. First, size matters. We slightly underestimated how enormous some of the beanbags on this list were, and we had to momentarily consider moving house just to accommodate at least one of them. We’re joking, but only sort of.
A giant beanbag is a lot of fun as a feature in a room that can handle something so imposing, but you can quickly feel overwhelmed if you choose a beanbag that just takes up way too much space.
Next, think about what sort of fabric will withstand life in your house. We adore the velvet beanbag we tried, but we reckon it won’t look so lovely after a few months of being stroked by sticky fingers. And while a wipe-clean bean bag is a must-have if it’s going in a child’s bedroom or playroom, it can feel a bit too utilitarian if you’re going for a more sophisticated vibe.
Think about what’s inside the beanbag, too. Beanbags have traditionally been stuffed with styrofoam filling, but anyone with any regard for reducing the stuff that ends up in landfill or damaging our oceans and environment (which should be all of us, of course) will want to choose something more eco-friendly.
Some of the beanbags we tested seemed overstuffed with filling at first but this soon settled down after use. And you can always remove a little of the filling if your beanbag seems a bit too full – just remember where you put the filling so you can put it back if, in years to come, you want to put a little life back in your beanbag.
The bean bag dove and oyster: £199.95, The Big Beanbag Company
We’ll be honest; this was a contender for our best buy before it even arrived because of its eco credentials – we love that it’s made using thread manufactured from recycled plastic bottles and filled with compostable plant-based filling. Once we unboxed it, we liked it even more. It’s the perfect size to provide an extra seat without dominating a room. We really like the chair-like structure – comfy for your back – and the fact that the cotton fabric is durable without being utilitarian. Best of all, in a house full of kids, you can remove the outer bag and pop it in the washing machine. All boxes ticked.
Extreme lounging monster b bag: £164.99, Hayes Garden World
Made from breathable splash-proof fabric that can be wiped clean, this enormous beanbag is filled with polystyrene beads that absorb body heat so it moulds around you when you’re nestling into it. It’s lightweight yet durable and the handle makes it really easy to lug around. Plus we think it’ll withstand years of abuse from rambunctious children.
Designer velvet retro classic bean bag: £63.99, Great Bean Bags
We didn’t expect to love a mustard-yellow velvet beanbag as much as we love this. It’s gorgeous! The fabric is super-soft and the handle makes it easy to move from room to room. Available in a range of sizes, it’s seriously stylish and looks much more expensive than it is.
Kaikoo wipe clean lounger: £99.99, Very
More of a gigantic lounging cube than a classic beanbag, this is suitable for use outside as well as indoors and the polyester cover is shower-proof and wipe clean, so it’s definitely garden-friendly. But be warned: getting out of this can be quite the challenge.
Wayfair seater bean bag lounger: £59.99, Wayfair
This one’s also suitable for indoor or outdoor use, and we think it’s a great price for a large, durable beanbag with a high back. It’s available in lots of bright colours so it’s just the ticket for injecting a bit of fun and colour into an indoor or outdoor space.
Washable bean bag: £52, GLTC
This is perfect addition to a younger child’s bedroom. The removable cover is machine-washable and it’s super easy to move around, even for little ones, thanks to the little handle at the top. It comes in five designs, from dinosuars, bunnies, stars or zigzags.
Bonkers Baby bean bag chair: £55.99, Happy Beds
This is a great little chair for popping near the TV or anywhere that little ones might want to plonk themselves for a rest. The fabric is water-resistant and easy to clean, so you can use it outdoors too.
Grey star beanbag chair: £49, JoJo Maman Bebe
Fancy creating a cosy reading corner for a little learner? This cute beanbag chair is ideal. It’s suitable for use from one to four years old, and much easier for little ones to clamber in and out of than a standard bean bag or full size chair.
Nobodinoz sahara bean bag: £76.95, Scandiborn
This is a funky twist on a conventional beanbag, and takes up way less room but provides the perfect spot for a little bit of laidback lounging.
i-eX gaming chair bean bag: £74.99, Beanbag Bazaar
Made from high-quality faux leather, this gaming beanbag chair has a reclined high back and a bucket seat, which apparently creates the ultimate gaming position. Judging by how long our teen tester has been sitting in it whilst glued to a screen, that sounds about right.
The verdict: Beanbags
The Big Beanbag Company beanbag is our favourite. It’s hard-wearing, comfy and stylish but most of all we love that it’s a truly ‘green’ beanbag that won’t harm the environment. Guilt-free chillaxing at its best.