Maximizing Your Game Room: Chairs, Sofas, and Beanbags
Many times as gamers, we focus on building a great collection of games, consoles, and audio/video equipment and tend to forget about the other pieces of our gaming environment that can actually make a significant difference in our entertainment experience. In this “Maximizing Your Game Room” segment, I’ll step away from your typcial gaming hardware and look at the “softer” side of your gaming environment.
Seating, in particular, can make a huge difference in longer gaming sessions as the comfort level and posture can vary between different types of seating. There is not a perfect solution for game room seating since different types of seating suit different gaming environments. However, there are a number of unique options for gaming relaxation and I hope to show you the benefits and drawbacks of each in order to help you choose your best option.
If you typically play games on your PC by yourself (either PC games or emulated consoles), you may want to invest in a higher-quality office chair.
I would definitely stay away from really cheap office chairs if you can afford it as they are usually quite uncomfortable and tend to break often.
More popular chairs like the Herman Miller Aeron have been praised for their comfort level and design, but they tend to be quite pricey and don’t always hold up as well as they should. There is also the Mirra, which is the Herman Miller’s more affordable alternative. If you want to look through some cheaper brands, take a look at other office chairs on Amazon.com
- Great for small spaces and small screens
- High comfort for individual players
- Usually maintains good posture
- Quality chairs are quite expensive for a single seat
- Aren’t very practical or attractive for large setups
- Can break fairly easily
Sofa / Couch
The couch is probably one of the most common seating arrangements for large living room environments that have larger screens. However, for those that are starting out with their own place, budget can keep you from getting a nice one as well. For the typical gamer budget, I recommend checking out IKEA or checking your local furniture chain’s clearance section. Sometimes you can find a good deal.
- Great for party console gaming
- Quite comfortable
- Allows you to lay down
- More practical for other entertaining situations
- Nicer-looking couches can be quite pricey
- Take up a lot of space
- Difficult to move around
Think of it as a one-person couch, but the recliner may serve as a great living room seat for the single gamer or a complement to a full couch. There are many different styles and manufacturers, but La-Z-Boy is the most common recommendation for big-time comfort. Other options include Ekornes’ Stressless chairs, which, according to some, put La-Z-Boy to shame. They comfortable and supportive in addition to well-padded armrests (bare wood armrests suck for gaming). They come in 2-3 sizes per style, so you can get the one that fits you best.
- Doesn’t take up much space
- Very comfortable
- Attractive if combined with a couch
- Practical for other entertainment uses
- Not very easy to move around
- Can be quite pricey
- Higher price-to-seat ratio than a couch
You would think that a chair made specifically for console gaming would be your perfect choice, right? Well, while they have some positive aspects, they are far from the most practical solution. They are easy to move and place closer to the TV, but are basically one-size-fits-none, and the padding is typically very thin. Many models also are void of any armrests. Finally, since they are a new and trendy piece of furniture that is specialized, they are not the most cost-effective solution either. If you are interested, take a look at the selection at Amazon.com
- Easy to move
- Some have specialized hardware like built-in subwoofers
- Not very comfortable
- Not much of a value
- Most aren’t very stylish
The oft-overlooked genre of seating has most of the advantages of a specialized gaming chair with added flexibility, style, and value. A top-quality beanbag can be molded into a number of positions and will actually hold a comfortable shape quite well. They are also easy to move, store, and transport which make it great for apartment dwellers and students that don’t want something big and bulky.
Personally, I have a black Sumo Omni that I have been quite satisfied with . Unlike some cheap beanbag chairs, the “beans” inside are a bit bigger and more durable which results in a long-lasting ability to maintain its shape while being comfortable. You can flatten it out and you can lay out easily on it. Fluff it back up and it will have plenty of extra space providing adequate neck support so you can actually lean back. Cram it up against a wall and the neck support is amazing. Most quality beanbags like the Sumo Omni or products from LoveSac or FOOF, will run you around the $100 range with shipping included. While the price initially sounds high, I’m sure a lot of it goes to pay for the shipping.
On a side note, as a person that moved 6 times, to three different corners of the US in the matter of three years, I can appreciate the advantages of light and flexible furniture. I fell into the temptation of going with inflatable furnature, but was severely disappointed with the discomfort and constant leaking from even the “best” blow-up furniture. While the beanbag chair doesn’t compress down quite as much, it is the best compromise for the frequent mover.
- Infinitely adjustable
- Easy to move & hide
- Modern look
- Relatively inexpensive
- Not suitable for a formal setting
- Not practical for more than one person