What is a Deck Chair?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A deck chair is a type of folding chair which was originally designed to be used on a ship's deck. Today, deck chairs can be found in all sorts of locations, including landlocked hotels, but they continue to be used for the same purpose as their nautical forbearers: lounging. The deck chair's design is intended to be extremely comfortable, allowing a sitter to wile away many hours sitting in the deck chair.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

Because deck chairs were originally designed to be used on ships, they were typically made from very sturdy, durable materials which could withstand salt spray and wind. Teak was the classic wood of choice for traditional deck chairs, and the seats were typically made from heavy duty canvas. Modern deck chairs may be made from teak or other woods, but they can also be made from metal and plastic; canvas continues to be the material of choice for seating, because it is able to withstand heavy weight and weather, in the event that the deck chair is left outside.

The folding design makes a deck chair very easy to move and store, which can be extremely useful when space is limited. Early versions of the deck chair only unfolded into one position, usually with a tilted back to promote relaxation. Modern deck chairs are often adjustable, and they may include features like foot rests to make them especially comfortable, along with accessory pillows to soften the back of the deck chair.

Hotels, resorts, and other facilities which cater to vacationers tend to have an abundance of deck chairs, particularly around public areas like pools and patios. Often, the number of deck chairs is less than the number of guests, leading to fierce competition for deck chairs during the busy season. By convention, people may mark “ownership” of a particular deck chair with a personal item like a bag, book, or towel, and moving these items to take possession of a deck chair is generally frowned upon.

Some people also like to use deck chairs at home, typically bringing them out in the summer months, when it is enjoyable to be outside, and storing them in the winter. Deck chairs may be scattered across a lawn, deck, or porch for people to lounge on; thanks to their light weight, they are easy to move when people want to relocate. Deck chairs may also be taken along on hiking or camping trips so that people have a comfortable place to sit.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


@ocelot60- We spend a lot of time camping at our local lake resort, and take our deck chairs with us. In the evenings when everyone is cooking around an open fire, it is easy to move the deck chairs wherever we need them, and spend hours relaxing and enjoying the trip.


@ocelot60- Another great use for deck chairs is placed around a natural pond or lake. In these locations, they are perfect for fishing or having a picnic around the water. That are also very easy to fold up and take indoors at the end of the day.


Deck chairs look great around a home swimming pool. They provide comfortable seating in between swims or for napping in the sun. They also provide the feel of a vacation right at home, and bring back great memories of times spent at beach resorts.

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