How to Buy a Recliner for Small Spaces

How to Buy a Recliner for Small Spaces

By: Mandy Anderson

Small space living has its own set of demands and challenges. Choosing furniture that’s comfortable but doesn’t cramp your space or style can be a decorator’s worst nightmare. Especially when you have your heart set on reclining furniture. Recliners traditionally require more space to stretch out and recline, but how do you accommodate your comfort needs without denting the walls in your rental? Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing the perfect small-scale recliner for your space:


Look for a recliner with a full width of less than 35 inches. Less than 35 inches will be a good fit for most spaces, but you can find recliners that are as small as 29-30 inches. A couple inches can sometimes make all the difference. A push-back recliner or one with a sleek, low profile handle might be a better choice than a recliner with a protruding lever.  

Smaller Scale Recliner
Recliner with Depth of 35" - Torrox Recliner by Ashley Furniture

Distance from the Wall

Wall Hugger or Wall Saver recliners are designed to recline even when placed close to a wall. When you tilt the headrest back, the mechanism pushes the seat forward, saving space behind the recliner. This allows you to place your recliner as close as 2-3 inches from the wall. But with any recliner, it’s a good idea to check with a salesperson to verify how close you can place your recliner to the wall.

Wall Hugger Recliner
Wall Hugger Recliner in Action - Costilla Recliner by Best Home Furnishings

Does it Fit Through the Doorway or Stairwell?

Traditional recliner mechanisms, especially ones made of heavy grade steel, are durable but can be extremely heavy. If you intend to move your furniture by yourself, or you need to carry it up several floors, check the weight beforehand. Ask the salesperson how much the recliner weighs or try and lift it (carefully) in store. If you have your heart set on a power recliner, please remember that these require an electric motor that can add extra weight.

Consider a Modern Recliner

Some styles of modern recliner come in a two piece, recliner and ottoman set instead of an attached leg rest. These styles are easier to set up, because you can carry the chair separately from the ottoman. These styles also tend to be smaller and lighter, because they don’t usually have a metal reclining mechanism. Having a separate ottoman is also handy because you can move it out of the way and save space in your room when the chair’s not in use.

Modern Recliner and Ottoman
Recliner Showcasing Modern Design - Muldal Recliner and Ottoman by Fjords