Been there, done that?

Looking for furniture that’s trendy, comfortable and colourful? How about a bean bag? This furniture-piece that first found fame in the 1960s-70s in the West has reinvented itself, carving a niche for itself in modern home decor all over the world.

The classic, taller, pear-shaped bean bag chair provides better back-support. Bean bags today come in various shapes and sizes. The flatter pancake-shaped bean bag accommodates two or can be used in place of coffee-tables and ottomans. Bean bag couches need not necessarily be in conventional dimensions. There are recliners for those into gaming. There are bean-bag bed designs incorporating a bean bag pillow too! Little bean bags specially made for kids are also available.

Bean bags are available in outdoor models too. These are water-resistant and hence can be left on the balcony or the patio. Some people even like to ferry it out to the beach for sunbathing. Obviously then, the bean bag isn’t merely plonked in front of the television. It’s lugged about the house, depending on the particular design’s suitability - say, near the fireplace, in the middle of the living-room, the bedroom, kids’ room, teenager’s favourite haunt, darts room, play-room, patio, balcony, on the lawn outside...the possibilities are endless. Bean bags specially crafted for your pet too ensures you don’t need to vie with your pup or you kitten for comfortable seating! Some corporate companies are even including it in conference-rooms for protracted brainstorming sessions.

If your kid is in a dorm, the bean bag makes for ideal seating there too. A penthouse, a tiny apartment, bachelor-pad, all superbly play host to bean bags. Reason? These pieces afford frameless seating that nestles around your body-shape as you sink into them economise on not merely money but also on space. What makes a bean bag so comfortable? It is filled with polystyrene beads or pellets that compress as you sit down and slowly ease till they support your body’s contours. More commonly recognised by the brand name ‘Styrofoam’, these little beads are responsible for the relaxing experience that the bean bag has come to offer. Of course, the filling can also consist of eco-friendly alternatives like popcorn seeds and dried peas or rice. But, with a bag-burst, the scattered filling attracts insects, pests or rodents. Plus, one has to make sure there’s no moisture where they are placed.

However, the classic bean bag tends to flatten with time. Refilling it with polystyrene beads that bounce about at will is a hassle. Today, polystyrene foam provides greater comfort and back-support in addition to being sturdy and durable. As for the fabric, there’s large variety - vinyl, leather, denim, fun fur, corduroy...bean bags with liners can be unzipped for washing. Absence of a liner permits only spot-cleaning with mild soap.
Negative aspects to be wary of include flammability, ingestion of filling by toddlers and the possibility of their being smothered in huge bean-bags. Guard against these.

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