Bean Bags: The Ultimate Guide

Posted by Adrian Perez on

When you think about a bean bag, you probably defer to some image in your mind from your youth. Those brightly colored vinyl, PVC filled sacks your best friends all had in their rooms bring back memories - smelly, sweaty, memories of playing Atari for hours, or talking on a landline phone. Thankfully, times have changed, and along with cell phones and uber-advanced gaming systems, we now have much better options for comfortable, casual seating.

The bean bag has evolved from a stick-to-your-skin pleather college dorm accessory to a multi-functional piece of furniture that can be easily used in any home space, in any room, to add comfort, décor, and functionality. But how do you know what type of bean bag is right for your needs? With so many options for color, fill, and versatility, it can be overwhelming to make a decision. Not to worry, we're here to help.

Not only does CordaRoy's produce the most comfortable, high-end, and multi-functional furniture, we know a thing or two about bean bags and are here to deliver to you the ultimate guide to finding a bean bag that fits your needs and space perfectly.  

What exactly is a bean bag?

Glad you asked. Let's look at a brief history of the bean bag. Though there's much debate about when and where bean bags originated (some say they originated in Native American communities while others attribute their first appearance to students of tai chi in ancient China), there is substantial evidence that bean bags used as furniture first entered the groovy scene in the 1960s.

The very first bean bag was not filled with beans or pellets of any sort, but rather blocks of foam, much like you'd see in pits at a trampoline park or gymnasium. About nine years after this prototype hit the market, an Italian designer developed a leather bag filled with small pellets, and thus, the new bean bag as we know and love it today was born.  

So what makes a bean bag a bean bag? It's pretty simple. Essentially, a bean bag is a comfy, lounger pouch made of various materials such as microsuede or shag, filled with some type of pellet, bean, or memory foam. When we consider bean bags used as furniture, we are obviously looking at pieces that are larger than say, a cornhole game bean bag, and are adequate for seating people. These giant bean bag chair pieces can be used for multiple purposes, although the most common use is likely for comfortable, casual seating.

Using a bean bag as a recliner for additional seating, whether it's in the game room, living room, or any small space, can save room and create a statement in a living space like no other piece of furniture can. There are extra-large sizes, full size or youth sizes and everything in between.

Here at CordaRoy's, we take that functionality one step further by providing a seating space that also doubles as bedding. You're literally getting a bed and a lounge chair in one piece of beautiful, cozy furniture. The functionality of our products doesn't stop there. We also produce bean bags that convert from ottomans to bed pillows making the perfect home decor. We even make a pet bed for your favorite furry family member.

What’s Inside?

As you might imagine, what's inside a bean bag is a huge determining factor for its comfortability. The filling also plays an important part in how the bean bag molds to the body of the person using it and holds its shape when it's not in use. Here's a breakdown of what you can find inside the most popular bean bags on the market.

  • EPS and EPP beads. The most common type of bean bag fill are expanded polystyrene beads (EPS) and expanded polypropylene (EPP) beads. Essentially small, Styrofoam safe beads, these are the little white pellets we all remember bursting out of the bean bags of our youth. While EPP beads are biodegradable (unlike EPS beads which are not), they are extremely flammable, making them an unpopular choice for consumers. Regardless, EPS and EPP are polymers that are cheap and easy to produce, making them a popular choice for manufacturers of low-end bean bags.  

  • Beans, rice, and grains, oh my! Harkening back to the bean bag's humble beginnings, some bags are still filled with natural fillers such as actual beans, rice, and grain. The main problem with a naturally filled bean bag is the sheer weight of the bag. Consider a 40X40 inch bag filled with dried kidney beans. That's not something that's going to move around without a lot of effort. Another deterrent that prevents manufacturers and consumers alike from the use of natural fiber-filled bags is the risk of insects and deterioration of the natural fibers inside. No matter how tightly sealed, the use of natural fibers always carries a risk for attracting pests and breaking down more quickly than other fillers.

  • Polyfoam stuffing. A newer, more popular alternative to foam pellet and natural fiber filling is polyfoam. CordaRoy's bean bags contain polyfoam stuffing exclusively. That's because our bean bags aren't just bean bags; they're convertible furniture pieces as well. Each CordaRoy's bean bag contains a mattress filled with 100% safe polyurethane foam. Our foam is environmentally safe and contained within a child-safe liner with locked zippers. The foam is cut into randomized pieces to ensure that not only the mattress is comfortable for a sleeping user, but the chair is also moveable and comfortable for a seated user. The pieces of foam allow the mattress to move freely inside the bean bag cover, so the bean bag maintains its shape while also conforming to the body of the person using it.

Uses of Multi-Purpose Bean Bag Furniture

Maybe you've never considered using a bean bag in your living space, and we think that's sad! There is quite literally a piece of bean bag convertible furniture for every age and stage of life, as well as every living space. Don't believe it? Here's your proof:

  • Reclaim your guest room. Ah, the guest room. The one room of the house that must remain in pristine, untouched condition year round so that it is acceptable for use by house guests that may occupy it for one week. What if you could reclaim that space and make it a room that not only entertains your occasional overnight guests but also serves your family every other day of the year? With a CordaRoys convertible bean bag, you can do just that. Our chairs provide attractive, low-key seating while hiding away a luxurious guest bed inside. Simply remove the outer cover, and your mattress pops out. A little fluffing and you're guests are on their way to a restful night's sleep. And we know one size never fits all. That's why we offer our convertible bean bag chair/beds in numerous sizes; from youth, full, queen, to the king, there's a convertible bean bag for any space and for any amount of guests. The options don't stop there. The mattress is completely customizable by adding or removing filling for a firmer or softer feel.

We haven't forgotten about extra pillows either. CordaRoy's bean bag pillow pods cleverly disguise guest pillows in their shell. The ottoman is great as a footrest or as additional seating, and never compromises comfort or design.

  • Get the most out of every space. Most of us aren't sitting in a 20,000 square foot space, but even if you are, you still deserve to get the most out of your living area, and utilizing bean bag convertible furniture can do the job for you. Bean bags allow you to continually arrange and rearrange a room with little to no effort. Want the television on the opposite wall? Simply move it, and the bean bags can be tossed to the other side too. Need more space in the playroom to host a birthday party? Not an issue-just toss the bean bags into the closet to make space for tables and games. Bean bags are also great solutions for what would be "lost space." Take, for instance, a small niche in the corner of your bedroom too small for a dresser or chair. Turn it into a reading nook by tossing a bean bag into the space and a small floor lamp. Bean bags are also the perfect solution to "what to put in the loft" or "how to add additional seating in the living room." The bonus with a CordaRoy's bean bag, though, is the hidden gem inside. Each CordaRoy's bean bag cleverly disguises additional bedding, making them perfect for sleepovers, overnight guests, or even kids who haven't yet taken a liking to their own room (no more cramped nights in mom and dad's bed)!

  • Provide seating for all the guests, every time. You experience it every time you host a gathering in your home-the need for additional seating. But keeping ten folding chairs in your coat closet isn't exactly functional, and your guests probably won't feel comfortable sitting for hours on those fold-and-go specials either. A bean bag chair is the solution for all your seating needs whether this is to lounge around while playing video games or to add a statement piece. Available in a plethora of shapes and sizes, a bean bag chair can accommodate multiple guests comfortably without taking up space once guests leave. Owning a bean bag chair or chairs means never having to give up the "good seat" in the house ever again. You and your guests will be amazed at how comfortably and easily bean bags add seating to your space without compromising style. 

Styles of Bean Bags

We know what bean bags can do-add space where there was none, provide additional seating and bedding for guests, and add flair to any room. However, our bean bags available in different styles and textures? Can you really find a bean bag to fit any decorative design? Absolutely. Remember, these aren't the poly bead-filled, vinyl gaming chairs you remember. While we already know a bean bag is a filled sack, the shape of the sack and the type of filling can transform a bean bag into a classy piece of multipurpose furniture. Here are some classic examples of bean bags.

  • Classic Round. This is the most common and most recognizable bean bag available. Just like its PVC filled, vinyl skinned ancestors; this bean bag is round and ready for seating. You'll find it around the media center, in the bedroom, playroom, the reading nook, and the main living space. These bean bags can range in size-from children's to adult, to multi-seater. A classic round bean bag is a great addition to any room and adds stylish, never-gonna-get-up style seating appropriate for anyone. The CordaRoy's difference is in the filling. At CordaRoy's, we provide bean bags in sizes ranging from youth to king, with each size containing a different sized mattress. When you purchase a CordaRoy's, you're purchasing two pieces of room furniture-a bean bag chair and a mattress-in one. The best part is the genuine comfort of our products offer. Our bean bags practically beg you to come have a seat, and you won't find any pockets of air or missing polyfill holes when you plop down, either. Additionally, our customers report the mattresses always provide a comfortable, ergonomically awesome night of sleep.  

  • Removable, interchangeable covered bean bags. Gone are the days when the bean bag you purchased with your credit card must stay the same color. Now you can change your bean bag's cover to match your mood, the season, refill it, or simply to clean it. CordaRoy's bean bags come in multiple fabrics, like microfiber fur, velvety chenille, classic corduroy, luxurious faux fur bean bag, vegan leather, plush velour, and terrycloth. No matter your style or texture tastes, there's a bean bag cover for you. Within each fabric family, you'll find a great mix of classic colors. Our colors are vibrant, fade-resistant, and on-trend. There's no limit to the different ways you can style your bean bag with the use of removable covers.

  • Ottoman bean bags. Newer to the scene than their chair cousins are small ottoman or "poof" bean bags. These bean bags have really gained popularity as a staple of the bohemian chic or "boho" decorative theme. Perfect for dorm room lounging! You'll find these little comfort pods in living rooms, college dorms, kid's bedrooms, and the like. The great thing about ottoman bean bags is that they're small enough to be dragged out of sight (if you so desire) when they're not in use. They're quite easily tucked into a corner or under a table to create more space. Simply drag them back out when you want to rest your feet or need an extra spot for a guest to sit. Of course, with a CordaRoy ottoman, you get more than you expect. Our pillow pods are ottoman sized bean bags that conceal not one, but two emperors (larger than a standard king) sized pillows! No more cramming extra pillows in your tiny linen closet. Make use of the year-round with a pillow pod.

Care of bean bags

We've already discussed how our childhood memories of bean bags included sweaty, vinyl bean bag chairs that stuck to our skin and had a certain "aroma." Wiping them down with a cleaning rag was about the best we could do. Thankfully, today's bean bags are fully cleanable and much more durable than ever before. With the outer shell of a bean bag being so fully customizable, it's easy to pick a fabric that is either stain-resistant or easily cleaned. You should always refer to the manufacturer's care guidelines, but in most cases, the outer shell of your bean bag can be cleaned with a damp cloth and/or mild soap and stain spray.

CordaRoy's bean bags take it one step further, allowing you to remove the entire outer shell and toss it into the washer for a spin. While you should always read the care label, all CordaRoy's bean bag covers are currently machine washable. They're even safe for use in the dryer. This is a real game-changer. Additionally, the CordaRoy's bed protector is washable too. 

Almost no bean bag filling, however, is washable in any way, so it's incredibly important to make sure the filling is protected at all times. Especially damaging to the inner filler of a bean bag is moisture. Exposing the bean bag filler to moisture can seriously shorten the life span of your bean bag, and in severe cases render it completely unusable. Most bags come with a protective inner sack that guards the filling against moisture or other external damage. CordaRoy's inner mattress fill is enclosed in a childproof sack that keeps little hands and spills away.

Bean bags have evolved from the unpleasant, cheap seats of our youth to the best bean bag chairs that are respectable, comfortable home furnishings. They add comfort, style, and functionality to any space they occupy. They are fully customizable, with fabric and color options being endless. Bean bags are manufactured with more safety in mind than ever before. The fillings can be environmentally friendly and childproof. CordaRoy's bean bags offer the additional versatility of hiding a bed inside each bean bag. With a bean bag chair/bed at your fingertips, there's truly no limit to the ways you can use your space and still accommodate houseguests.  

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