What Is an Acrylic Chair?

Dan Cavallari

An acrylic chair is a piece of furniture made from acrylic, which is a type of plastic. The chair often has a transparent appearance, and as a result is sometimes known as a ghost chair. While most acrylic chair models are completely clear, some are tinted certain colors to give the chair added definition and aesthetic flair. A clear chair often resembles glass, though acrylic is generally more durable than glass. It can be more susceptible to scratching, however, so after time, the chair may develop a patina of scratches or other scores.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The specific design of an acrylic chair can vary significantly according to the designer's plans, and the chairs can look quite ordinary, or they may feature a more modern, experimental design. Acrylic is fairly easy to mold into different shapes, and several methods exist to accomplish this, so the possibilities for acrylic chair designs are often quite a bit more diverse than chairs made from other materials. The material tends to be fairly strong, though it can crack or otherwise break when a direct impact or load is placed upon it. Its strength does, in general, surpass that of glass, making it a much safer choice for furniture.

Sometimes the acrylic can be combined with other materials when constructing the chair. Wood and metal are often used in conjunction with acrylic to enhance both the strength and the aesthetics of the chair, even though most acrylic chair models are entirely acrylic. The combination of materials is usually a preference left up to the designer, and while strength advantages can be had by combining materials, it is not always necessary. Folding deck chairs, for example, do not need to be exceptionally strong, and they are reasonably attractive when made only from acrylic. They are also easier to clean and maintain when made only from acrylic, since the plastic is generally resistant to water damage.

Most models of acrylic chairs are not upholstered, though higher-end chairs meant for indoor living will very often feature upholstery and cushioning for added comfort. The upholstery can change the aesthetic of the chair quite drastically, since the acrylic is usually clear enough that the upholstery can be seen from all angles. This will certainly enhance the comfort of the chair in most cases, though a chair with upholstery is likely to cost more than chairs without.

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