It's the Summer of the Retro Lawn Chair– and We've Got Our Spritzers Ready
If there's one thing you'll never hear us complain about, it's the strides outdoor furniture has made toward becoming as indoors-like as possible. We'll always love a good patio sofa and the buttery soft outdoor cushions that sit atop it. But there's something about those throwback metal and webbed lawn chairs that make them a close second in terms of coziness: nostalgia.
Fredric Arnold might not be a name that rings a bell for most Southerners, yet you would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't recognize the inventor's most memorable creation. It was 1956 when Arnold first patented his aluminum folding seat—aka the lawn chair—and it didn't take long for its appeal to grow. If you meandered down any suburban side street in the early sixties, you'd find a couple clinking cocktail glasses on their front lawn, perched in Arnold originals. (In its prime, his company churned out around 14,000 of them a day.) It wasn't until the casual-furniture market usurped the practical but not plush folding seat that these picnic staples got relegated to the garage.
But if you understand the genius of the webbed chair as a smart, resourceful, and—yes—stylish specimen, you might rethink its placement. After World War II, a surplus of aluminum (used for aircraft) prompted many creatives, including Arnold, to find new uses for the lightweight metal. With the postwar housing boom leaving many Americans with yard space to spare, Arnold decided to fashion a comfy, portable seat for alfresco hangouts. And it wasn't just utilitarian; it was also sleek, paying homage to the early modernist movement (as did its all-metal cousin). While it may not have the panache of an Eames lounger, the lawn chair has something better: status as the sidekick for your best summer memories.
Portable, affordable, and compact, lawn chairs are practical for toting to your friend's backyard while also offering a larger dose of personality than your average camping chair. We don't have plans of stashing these nostalgic gems away anytime soon. Want to bring vintage style into your back—or front—yard? Here are eight options to shop right now.
Novogratz Poolside Roberta Rocking Chair
BUY IT: $130; amazon.com
Whether you're having coffee on the front porch or toasting the end of the workweek on the front lawn, this weather-resistant steel rocker makes for the perfect landing spot to sip and sway.
Lawn Chair USA Folding Aluminum Webbing Chair
BUY IT: $70; walmart.com
It doesn't get any more All-American than a classic web-strapped folding chair—unless that webbing is red, white, and blue. These patriotic outdoor seats are perfect companions for all your summer fun, from Labor Day picnics and 4th of July barbecues to lazy days by the beach or lake.
Crosley Ridgeland Metal Outdoor Lounge Chair
BUY IT: $169; homedepot.com
There's nothing old-fashioned about this scalloped-edge metal armchair which, despite its midcentury inspiration, looks sleek and modern on a front porch. Available in red and turquoise, it's also a great way to add a punch of color outdoors.
Heather Dutton Aurora Sling Chair
BUY IT: $150; target.com
Bring '70s vibes to your backyard with this collapsible sling chair. While the portability makes it extra convenient, it's the chic patterns that'll have all your neighbors swooning (and asking where you got it).
Griffith 3-Piece Outdoor Set
BUY IT: $190; amazon.com
The perfect little retro set for sipping happy hour spritzers on the front lawn, these "Key Lime" green tulip chairs and table come with a powder-coated finish for the ultimate in durability.
Benner 2-Piece Folding Chair Set
BUY IT: $109 for two; wayfair.com
Stripes are about as traditional a pattern as you can get for summertime, and this set's faded red colorway gives it an especially vintage vibe.
Flash Furniture Patio Arm Chair
BUY IT: $97; amazon.com
Looking for a budget buy that's equal parts retro and contemporary? This one's top notch (and available in a round or square back). As one Amazon reviewer said, "I can see why these chairs don't stay in stock for very long."