The Papasan Chair – A Design Classic With Many Different Versions

How can something have a classic design when there can be so many different variations for its design? It’s simple actually. The Papasan chair which is also known as a bowl chair is more of a style than the name used to describe a particular piece of furniture.

papasan chair

Why Is It Called a Papasan Chair?

True Papasan chairs are made of rattan, feature a circular or moon-shaped design, and are capable of safely supporting the body weight of an average person. Of course, some individuals attempt to exceed this restriction, but we cannot confirm or refute their accomplishment.

Although no one knows for certain where it originated, the best guess is the Philippines. However, some historians disagree, claiming that Filipinos are not the sitting kind. According to another notion, it will originate in Japan, Korea, or Thailand.

While in South Eastern Asia, the seats were referred to as Ratan. During World War II, the Americans gave it the name Papasan, a Japanese phrase that means “honoring father/elder.”

Following World War II, the chair became such a popular item in the Western world that it evolved from its original raffia design to one with a cushion. Regardless of the design, it is still the modest Papasan, as the Filipinos refer to it.

How to Measure for a Papasan Chair

How to Measure for a Papasan Chair

Measuring a room to accommodate a papasan chair is a little more difficult than measuring for other chair types. The base of the papasan chair is significantly smaller than the top. You must consider the amount of area taken up by the papasan’s cushion, not just the floor space.

  1. Before purchasing a chair, measure the cushion or look up its dimensions online. They range in size from 46 inches round to 78 by 58 inches oval. Take notes on the measurements.
  2. Determine the location of the chair in the room where you want to place the chair.
  3. Calculate the area in which the chair will be placed. The region should be slightly larger than the cushion’s size. For instance, a 46-inch papasan requires a minimum of a 48-inch square of floor area. Additional space is preferable so that the person seated in the chair does not collide with furniture or the wall.

How to Wash a Papasan Chair Cushion 

Papasan chair cushions are upholstered in polyester and include a polyester core, which provides durability and comfort. After a while, Papasan cushions will require cleaning, and purchasing a replacement cushion is not always feasible, so here is how you can clean it.

  • Place the cushion in a bathtub filled with upholstery shampoo and water.
  • After that, scrape any soiled areas with a stiff bristle brush.
  • You will need to step on the cushion to remove any remaining water. As simple as this method may appear, it can cause stress on the fibers.
  • Allow it to air dry in the sun. Then tap the cushion vigorously to puff it up.
  • You can also use the washing machine, setting the cycle to Delicate.  If your machine is insufficiently large, bring it to a laundromat equipped with enormous, industrial-sized washing machines.
  • Should you own a large dryer, you can also dry the cushion inside.

Additionally, here are some extra tips that might come in handy.

  • Addressing the stain immediately after it occurs is an excellent approach to remove it and prevent the stain from setting in your chair.
  • If your cushion coverings are water repellent, simply spritz the stain with soapy water or an upholstery stain remover and wipe it clean.
  • Avoid using chlorinated bleach as it can discolor the surface.
  • Visible indentation is an issue that can occur on couches and chairs in high-use areas.
  • Flipping the cushions on a regular basis restores them to their natural fluffy and soft state.

Papasan Chair Design Ideas and Inspirations

First introduced in the U.S. n the 1950s, the Papasan chair became really popular in the ’70s. It continues to be used in interior designs around the globe, being appreciated for the comfort it offers and simple and practical design.

First introduced in the U.S. n the 1950s, the Papasan chair

The seat rests in an upright frame, traditionally made of rattan but which can also be made of sturdy wicker or wood.{found on pier1}.

Papasan chair planter

The design of the chair is rather simple but also versatile and able to adapt to a variety of decors. Here, for example, the chairs looks bohemian and chic, with a subtle feminine appeal.

Papasan chair planter

The bowl-shaped chair has an adjustable angle so it can adapted to the user’s preferences. This makes it particularly comfortable and great for sitting areas and living rooms.

Papasan chair planter

Because of its rounded edges, simple and friendly shape and adjustable seat, the Papasan chair is wonderful for children’s bedrooms or playrooms

Papasan chair planter

You can remove the base and turn the seat into a swing. You can attach rope or sturdy cord and hang it outside for the kids to enjoy. Surely, adults wouldn’t mind relaxing in it as well.

Papasan chair before and after renovation

Even though the Papasan chairs are incredibly comfortable, they rarely seem to match most of the interior, especially those with a rattan base. You can easily solve that problem with a quick and easy makeover.{found on sofancyblog}.

The Mamasan chair – the double seat version.

The Mamasan chair – the double seat version.

The double-seated version can also be turned into a swing. A version more appropriate for adults this time.

Papasan chair planter

The Double Papasan chair can also be used as a daybed. A super cozy option for the reading corner for example.{found on localwisdom}.

Modern Designs.

Modern Designs.

We’ve mentioned that there are several versions of this chair and designs inspired by it all over the world. This is a modern version and, as you can see, the design is simplified and also a little less bulky. The thin metal base is the biggest improvement.

Papasan chair planter

And this is the cute little version for cats. With a design inspired by the Papasan chair, this cat bed is super cozy and has the ideal shape for cats to cozy up inside and take a nap.

Papasan chair planter

Furniture designer Jamey Garza came up with this chic piece: a chair with a round, leather seat and a sleek and thin metal base. Notice the resemblance with the Papasan chair but also the obvious differences between the two.

Papasan chair planter

Cradle is a rocking chair with a design that’s all about comfort. It has a round wooden frame resembling half of a nutshell and a comfy cushion seat. You can curl up inside and take a nap in style.{found on coroflot}.

Papasan chair planter

The Sunflower Chair is a combination between a comfy chair with a round seat and a bookcase. It’s ideal for reading corner as it lets you store your favorite books right there within arms reach.{found on ohgizmo}.

Recycling the Papasan chair.

Papasan chair planter

This classical and flexible chair has a lot to offer, even after it stops being useful as a chair. Then it can be turned into a planter. You can make a lovely miniature garden for your patio or even to display inside the house.

Papasan chair planter

Somehow, the rattan base seems to better complement the planter than it did the actual chair.


Is a Papasan Chair Worth It?

It really depends on what you most expect from a chair. Papasan chairs can be extremely comfortable, which is why a lot of people consider them to be worth it. However, they tend to take up more space compared to other chairs, so if you have a really small space to work it, they might not be worth it.

How Does a Papasan Chair Work?

A papasan chair is a huge bowl-shaped chair that can be adjusted in height. The bowl is supported by an upright frame made generally of rattan, but occasionally of durable wicker or wood.

The chair’s cushion is often made of a thick velveteen cloth stuffed with cotton fluff, akin to a futon. The cushion of classic papasans can be removed and utilized independently of the robust frame. Papasan chairs typically measure between 35 and 60 inches broad and 35 inches deep.

Who Makes Papasan Chairs?

If you’re looking to purchase a papasan chair, you want to consider looking into brands such as Christpher Knight, OSP Home, Flash Furniture, or Better Homes & Gardens.