What is an Adirondack Chair–and Why Do You Need One?

What is an Adirondack Chair–and Why Do You Need One?

Although not everyone knows Adirondack chairs by name, most people can recognize their signature design. These comfortable chairs have been filling backyards and covering beaches for over a hundred years, and they are just as popular today as ever before.

If you have been looking for the right chairs to go with your outdoor decor, the Adirondack chair should absolutely be on your list. At highwood®, we offer comfortable Adirondack chairs and outdoor furniture to match!

Let’s discuss the history behind these chairs and why so many people prefer them. 


What is an Adirondack Chair?

The Adirondack chair, sometimes referred to as a lawn chair or Westport chair, is a style of chair that has been growing in popularity since its introduction in the early 1900s. Known for its broad armrests, wide back, and slanted design, these chairs are a staple in places with warm weather. Perfect for drying off after a swim or for lounging with an ice-cold drink, Adirondack chairs have been a symbol of American culture for generations.




The Adirondack Chair: History and Popularity Throughout the Years

The first Adirondack chair was designed by Thomas Lee, a wealthy New Yorker and nature enthusiast who understood better than most the comfort a high-quality chair can bring to outdoor living. From the moment he started designing this chair, he had one simple goal—to create the perfect outdoor chair.

If the popularity of the Adirondack chair is anything to go by, he succeeded in his quest. Since that initial design, Adirondack chair history has grown into a legacy. Their changing designs can be seen in images throughout the last 120 years of American history due to their continuous popularity.

Named after the iconic Adirondack Mountains, where Thomas Lee enjoyed spending his time, the original build was meant to improve outdoor living. To create  a comfortable seat designed for various terrains, Thomas Lee prioritized making the design strong and sturdy. These features make it highly versatile across a variety of environments while also contributing to the space and comfort these chairs offer.

Although Thomas Lee designed the original Adirondack chair, he offered its design to friend and carpenter Harry Bunnell to help support his business in 1904 when many people were flocking to natural spaces during the Wilderness Cure craze. Bunnell made his own modifications to the design, and the chairs flew off the shelves. His design went on to inspire others, eventually reaching Irving Wolpin in 1938, who is responsible for the modern Adirondack chair we know and love today.

Over a hundred years later, these chairs can be found across lawns, on beaches, and in the mountains all around the world.


Learn more Adirondack Chair history from our newest YouTube video! We also have a variety of outdoor living videos on our channel to check out.



Top Reasons to Add Adirondack Chairs to Your Outdoor Living Space

Plenty of great designs are introduced to the world each day, but only a select few make it through the ages. There are several factors that have contributed to the success of Adirondack chairs throughout history. Let’s explore what makes these chairs so great. 


The broad design and sturdy armrests make Adirondack chairs (like our Westport Adirondack shown below) a natural staple in outdoor furniture because they offer exceptional comfort for a variety of needs and body types. Children can climb into them to enjoy a popsicle by the lake, just as easily as a parent can collapse into one at the end of a long workday. Comfortable Adirondack chairs are a game-changer when it comes to outdoor living.



Adirondack chairs were designed to manage well on a variety of surfaces, and they certainly live up to their initial design. These chairs are spread and sturdy in such a way that they allow for comfort on uneven terrain. From sandy beaches to your own backyard, Adirondack chairs offer a consistent seating experience. (Manhattan Beach Adirondack chair shown below).



While early versions of the Adirondack chair were exclusively made using specific types of wood, these chairs have been redesigned countless times to offer more variety. Their iconic build can be spotted from across a lake,  but today’s Adirondack chairs are available in different colors and materials to accommodate different needs. This makes it easy for you to find the perfect one to match any outdoor space, whether you want a classic Adirondack chair or a modern one (Italica Modern Adirondack Chair shown below).



For more inspiration, explore our collection of Adirondack chairs and matching furniture!


What do you think about these American seating staples? We want to hear in the comments below!


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