Beanbags have been around since the 1970s and are a popular casual seating option that’s cheaper and more flexible than a sofa or couch.
As with everything in life that has a choice, using beanbags as seating comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Beanbags are a great option for many different needs, but they’re not always the most suitable seating choice, so it’s important to consider both their pros and cons.
First let’s consider some of the reasons why so many people love beanbags:
One of the biggest advantages of beanbags is that they’re so affordable compared to other types of furniture. Many people associate beanbags with college dorms and teenager bedrooms and this is because they’re an easy way to add seating to a room when you’re on a tight budget.
If you can’t afford a couch or armchair but you need to add some extra seating to a room, a beanbag or two can be very cheap compared to other types of seating. You always have the option of upgrading to other types of chairs or a couch later.
With their soft and squishy interior that molds itself to the body shape of whoever sits in them, there’s no denying that beanbags are incredibly comfortable for sitting and sleeping.
You can sit in a beanbag any number of ways including sitting upright, lying on your side, lying on your stomach, or sitting cross-legged, and the beanbag will change shape to support your spine.
Pregnant women also find beanbags accommodate their bump easily and enable them to lie on their stomachs – a position that would be impossible on a normal bed or couch.
Easy to Clean
Beanbags with removable covers can simply be unzipped and thrown in the washing machine (or cleaned by hand if preferred). This makes them much more practical than upholstery that can only be spot cleaned.
This feature makes beanbags a preferable seating option if you have small kids who are likely to spill drinks and food, or pets that get hair everywhere or have a bad habit of using your furniture as a toilet. No need to spend hours dabbing at marks and spills with stain remover – just take off the covers and wash them.
Even beanbags with non-removable covers can be scrubbed and left out to dry in the sun. As the filling repels water, they’ll dry quickly and won’t attract mold when damp like traditional upholstery.
Light, Compact and Can be Moved Anywhere
One of the most appealing things about beanbags is their portability. This makes them a popular option for outdoor seating as they can be moved around into different seating configurations or to make the most of the sun or shade.
They’re a great option for additional seating when you have guests as you can keep them stored away and just bring them out whenever you need some extra places to sit.
As they’re light and soft, beanbags are easy for even children to move and won’t damage your flooring.
Fun, Stylish, and Flexible
You can get beanbags in a huge range of sizes, shapes, colors, and patterns to suit any room or use. Not all beanbags are round – you can also get them in the shape of chairs or novelty shapes that can act as a focal point in a room.
Choose fabrics to suit the decoration of your room and you can even choose some extra covers in a different design if you want to switch up your interior décor from time to time.
You can also get waterproof fabric beanbags that are suitable for use outside and can even be used in the pool!
If you’re already sold on the advantages of beanbags, it’s worth taking a moment to also consider the disadvantages. Beanbags aren’t suitable for everyone and every situation so make sure to think about their downsides too before you decide to buy:
Difficult to Get Up From
As beanbags are so soft and low to the ground, they may be difficult to get up from for those with mobility problems such as the elderly and pregnant women.
Not as Durable as Other Furniture
The filling inside beanbags does flatten over time and will eventually need replacing. The covers are also often not as durable as upholstery on other furniture so in most cases beanbags won’t last for decades as a good quality couch or armchair might.
Difficult to Dispose Of
Most beanbags are filled with small expanded polystyrene balls (EPS), which need disposing of carefully when you want to throw them away so that they don’t pose a danger to the environment and wildlife.
EPS beanbag filling isn’t biodegradable, however it is recyclable and depending on your location, you may be able to leave it on the curbside to be picked up, or take it to a recycling center.
EPS balls can also be harmful if inhaled or swallowed so if beanbags are to be used around small children, the covers must be secured and strong so that children can’t open them.
If you’re particularly eco-conscious, you might want to consider an alternative filling such as buckwheat. This won’t be as light or comfortable as normal filling but if you’re looking for a 100% eco-friendly option, it’s a good alternative.
Dangerous for Small Babies to Sleep On
Because beanbags are so cozy and comfortable, they seem to make a perfect sleeping place for infants. However, babies should always sleep on a firm surface and beanbags are not a suitable sleeping surface as they pose a suffocation risk.
Beanbags should be safe napping places for children over the age of 12 months.
Beanbags are often used in school as casual extra seating, as they are portable and inexpensive. However, some teachers have discovered they’re actually a little too comfortable as their pupils are falling asleep!
While being too comfortable is unlikely to be a problem for beanbag users at home, it might be in a learning environment. Some teachers suggest only to use beanbags for relaxing activities such as reading rather than active work, and to keep only a few beanbag chairs to act as a special treat for good behavior in class.
Beanbag or Chair? The Choice is Yours!
Now that you know all of the pros and cons of beanbags, you can make the decision if they’re right for you, or if another type of seating would be a better choice.
If you’re still not sure, you won’t lose out much by taking the plunge and buying a beanbag or two to try them out. Most beanbags are very affordable and if they don’t work out for you, you can pass them on to someone else – there’s always someone who’ll be happy to take them off your hands!