Best 10 Books About Chairs

We all sit in chairs each day, but many of us never stop to think about them unless we’re shopping for a new one. Books on chairs can discuss things like design, how to build them, or even tell wonderful stories about them.

The possibilities are endless, but not all books are created equal. Join us as we look at our picks for the ten best books about chairs in 2018!

Criteria for Selection of the Best Books on Chairs

Chair and furniture enthusiasts have discerning tastes when it comes to their personal furniture. That same level of commitment should be applied to their reading materials as well. When we set out to find the top 10 books on chairs, these are the things we looked for:

  • Excellent Art: Chairs are about form and function.  When you are reading about design or the history of your favorite style, pictures are paramount. We looked for books that brought visuals to life.

    Whether that was through high-quality pictures, excellent art, or detailed patterns, we wanted visuals to be a standout feature in every book on this list.
  • Strong Focus: The books on this list represent the best options in their respective categories. The top design, DIY, and children’s stories about chairs are all represented on our list. While the topic of chairs was our first requirement, we also looked for unique applications of the subject.
  • Great Reader Feedback: No single book is going to please everyone, but we wanted to seek out books that were well-received by customers who have purchased and read them in the past. Specifically, we wanted books that captivated their readers and excited them about the chairs contained within. 

The Best Books About Chairs in 2019

A chair book can cover a wide range of topics. Below you will find our top picks for chair books in several different categories. These are the perfect books to read while relaxing in your furniture of choice.

BEST BOOKS ABOUT CHAIRS IN 2018

A Small Image of Cover Page of Books About Chairs: 1000 Chairs

Best Book About Chair Design

A Small Image of Cover Page of Books About Chairs: Best Book About Building Chairs

Best Book About Building Chairs

A Small Image of Cover Page of Books About Chairs: Best Fictional Book About Chairs For Kids

Best Fictional Book About Chairs For Kids

A Small Image of Cover Page of Books About Chairs: Best Therapeutic Chair Massage Book

Best Therapeutic Chair Massage Book

Rating

5.0

4.5

4.0

4.0

Price

$$

$$

$

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Book Title

1000 Chairs

Chairmaking & Design

Down the Back of the Chair

Therapeutic Chair Massage

Author(s)

Charlotte & Peter Fiell

Jeff Miller

Margaret Mahy

Ralph R. Stephens

Who It’s For

20th-century chair design enthusiasts and collectors.


Full biographical and historical data. One chair per page.

Beginners who want to build their own chairs.


Includes patterns, designs, and basic skills to learn. 

A great children’s book about all the things that get lost in the cushions of chairs.

Anyone looking to improve their therapeutic massage chair technique.


Includes full- color illustrations and photographs.

Number of Pages

664 pages

199 pages

32 pages

304 pages

Available Formats

Hardcover

Paperback

Paperback, Kindle

Paperback

Publisher

TASCHEN

Linden Publishing

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

LWW

Best 10 Books About Chairs - Top Pick

A Small Image of Cover Page of Books About Chairs: 1000 Chairs

Best Book About Chair Design

RATING

PRICE

$$

Book Title

1000 Chairs

Author(s)

Charlotte & Peter Fiell

More Details...

Best 10 Books About Chairs - 2nd Choice

A Small Image of Cover Page of Books About Chairs: Best Book About Building Chairs

Best Book About Building Chairs

RATING

PRICE

$$

Book Title

Chairmaking & Design

Author(s)

Jeff Miller

More Details...

Best 10 Books About Chairs - 3rd Choice

A Small Image of Cover Page of Books About Chairs: Best Fictional Book About Chairs For Kids

Best Fictional Book About Chairs For Kids

RATING

PRICE

$

Book Title

Down the Back of the Chair

Author(s)

Margaret Mahy

More Details...

Best 10 Books About Chairs - 4th Choice

A Small Image of Cover Page of Books About Chairs: Best Therapeutic Chair Massage Book

Best Therapeutic Chair Massage Book

RATING

PRICE

$$

Book Title

Therapeutic Chair Massage

Author(s)

Ralph R. Stephens

More Details...

Top 10 Books About Chairs in More Detail

Our Top Pick: 1000 Chairs

5.0

Summary

The 1000 Chairs is incredible 624-page book chronicles the design of chairs from the 20th century. Each page is dedicated to a single chair and packed with information about its history and design.


For collectors and design enthusiasts, this book is a must-have.

Cover page of 1000 Chairs by Charlotte & Peter Fiell, featuring a red chair

Best 10 Books About Chairs: 1000 Chairs

The book that tops our list is the revised and updated edition of 1000 Chairs by Charlotte & Peter Fiell. Available in both hardcover and paperback, this book is an overview of the most unique and exciting chairs of the 20th century.

Each page of the book is devoted to a single chair. This offers wonderful focus and beautiful photography that lets each featured piece of furniture stand out. Each page also includes information about the creator and the history of the piece.

The text is in English, French, and German as well. This is part of the Bibliotheca Universalis series, which focuses on cultural phenomenon and creations in beautiful collectible volumes. The publisher, TASCHEN is known for this series and their focus on providing culturally profound volumes like this one.


Chairs: Catalogue of the Delft Faculty of Architecture Collection

This book is the first time this Netherlands collection of chairs has been compiled into a single book. For over a century, this collection has informed and inspired designers. The book incorporates over 240 chairs into its pages.

Cover page of the book, Catalogue of the Delft Faculty of Architecture Collection, featuring 35 different chairs

A  detailed description that speaks to the design and history of the furniture is paired with key pieces in the collection. There are designs here from the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth century. 


Design of the 20th Century

Cover page of the book, Design of the 20th Century by Charlotte and Peter Fiell, featuring a wooden chair on a blue background

This book bills itself as the “bible of 20th-century design.” The book delves into designs with galleries that combine graphics with art that showcases everything from Art Nouveau to minimalistic options.

The book is a deep look into the colors, shapes, and functions of chairs created throughout the 20th century. Customers really enjoy the depth of the galleries and the quality of the art, but they have said that the text could be larger.

Nostalgia is powerful in this book as readers have said they enjoy seeing chairs that they encountered in the past. The short and concise sections of encyclopedia information are very useful for those who are studying chair and furniture design.

The only other complaint that customers have reported is a lack of consistency in the way each designer is portrayed. One customer pointed out that Herman Miller is given a lot of space and content in the book, while a designer like Gaudi only receives a few lines.

Other than that, this is one of the best received books on our list. It is valuable from both an educational and hobbyist standpoint.


Chairs

This book by Judith Miller takes a hard look at the last 400 years of chairs in one large collection. It begins with designs from the late 1600s such as the Wainscot Chair, and follows these designs all the way into the modern day chairs like Tom Dixon’s Wingback.

Whether you’re someone who wants to learn more about the evolution of this furniture, or you are an expert looking to expand your collection of books about chairs, this book and its 400 photographs will meet and exceed many of your needs.

Customers have provided glowing reviews on this book. One customer was shocked at how useful the book was for reupholstering antique furniture, so it offers value beyond simple reading.

Cover Page of the book, Chairs by Judith Miller

Now I Sit Me Down: Klismos to Plastic Chair - A Natural History

Now I Sit Me Down is a book that answers many of your burning questions about the history and origins of modern chair designs. It begins with the folding stools of ancient Egypt and runs all the way into today’s options.

Cover Page of the book, Now I Sit Me Down: From Klismos to Plastic Chair: A Natural History, featuring three books laid flat on a chair in a blue room

Stories about the creation of these chairs pair extremely well with hand-drawn illustrations and descriptions about a wide range of designs. It also looks into what your chair says about your tastes, values, and other characteristics.

Customers rave about the way the book is written. Since the author himself is an architect, he focuses on the little details that perhaps many other books fail to capture.


Chairmaking & Design

For those who want to become chair designers themselves, this book provides patterns and tips for building seven different types of chairs. Each section is designed to provide the skills needed to build up your knowledge and your skillset.

Cover Page of the book, Chairmaking & Design by Jeff Miller, featuring a person building a wooden chair

Construction and design fundamentals are instilled throughout the book as well, which feeds into an appendix that covers oils and waxes. This is the perfect book for both beginners and experts who want to heighten their skills.


Designing and Building Chairs: The New Best of Fine Woodworking

The articles in this book are reprinted from “Fine Woodworking” magazine. They are designed to help you answer questions about chair building and design. The detailed explanations pair with plenty of information on a variety of chair designs.

Cover Page of the book, Designing and Building Chairs, featuring an old man with glasses polishing a rocking chair

Novice woodworkers can use this book to build the foundations of their skills. The articles will empower you to make sturdier and more functional chair designs.


Down the Back of the Chair

Chairs carry a lot more than our weight. We tend to attach memories and emotions to our furniture. This is the idea behind children’s books like Down the Back of the Chair. This book is based on the phenomenon that so many things tend to get lost inside the cushions of chairs.

Cover Page of the book, Down the Back of the Chair by Margaret Mahy and Polly Dunbar

It stars Mary, who suggests that her dad’s keys were lost in the back of a chair. The book chronicles all the things she finds while searching for her dad’s keys. It’s a fun book that is great for children who lose things in the cushions of their chairs.


Peter’s Chair

Peter’s chair is a story about siblings and the rivalries that form between them. Author Ezra Jack Keats tells this story about Peter’s baby sister. His father decides to paint her cradle a pink color and then moves on to try and paint Peter’s beloved chair.

Cover Page of the book, "Peter's Chair" or "La Silla de Pedro" by Ezra Jack Keats

This does not go over well. Peter decides to run away with his dog to protest this change to his furniture. It’s a fun children’s book that explores the changes and challenges of a family that is growing.


Therapeutic Chair Massage

Cover Page of the book, "Therapeutic Chair Massage" by Ralph R. Stephens, featuring a woman massaging a man in a portable massage chair

Our final book is Therapeutic Chair Massage, which is an educational book about massage techniques and how to perform them using a therapeutic chair. It has over 250 full-color illustrations and photographs spread across instructions on various topics.

Things like massage strokes, techniques and routines are all covered. The book also goes into information on the equipment you’ll need, hygiene, sanitation, and much more. The techniques in the book are also backed up by critical thinking questions and case studies.

Ultimately, this therapeutic chair massage book is the perfect collection of foundational material for someone who wants to practice seated massage techniques. Customers have said that they found new ideas and techniques based on the book, even if they have been practicing massages for some time prior.


Our Verdict on Our List of the 10 Best Books About Chairs

Books about chairs discuss a huge range of topics. Whether it’s a look at history, design, or just a fun story that you can share with your children, chairs make for a great topic in our modern literature.

Our top pick is a book that takes a hard look at the designs and inspiration behind chairs of our modern world, but every book on our list brings something unique to the table

RELATED ARTICLES

REFERENCES & RESOURCES

HomeLibraryBest 10 Books About Chairs


Whether you’re interested in the history of chair design, need a good children’s book, or want to make a chair of your own, these are the ten best books about chairs!
  • Chair Institute
  • January 23, 2019
  • Library
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