I was doing my daily 10 minute live on Instagram recently when my stream-of-consciousness monologue was prompted by a viewer query about a good, stylish, and affordable lounge chair. I immediately thought of IKEA’s iconic POÄNG chair. Of all the pieces of furniture I’ve ever had, the POÄNG is unquestionably one of my favorites.

It’s really easy to snob out about a piece of IKEA furniture that is so inexpensive and ubiquitous, but I have always thought the POÄNG was special. I bought my first one when I moved into my Downtown Cleveland apartment in 2017, and I really don’t know why it took me so long to get one. It’s so comfortable, with a molded plywood, U-shaped construction that gives it a nice rocking movement when you sit in it. And aesthetically? It’s a sexy chair with a nice midcentury flair and a twist of Japanese chic. Treat yourself to the companion ottoman, and you’re in for an even better ride. 

Photo: Simbarashe Cha for The New York Times.

Designed in 1976 by Noboru Nakamura in collaboration with IKEA’s former head of design Lars Engman, the chair was originally called the POEM chair. Though the design has remained essentially the same since its creation nearly 50 years ago, there were some minor tweaks and improvements made in the 1990s, including new wood finishes, better construction, a lower price, and a new name (POÄNG).

Last year, a very generous friend gifted me an Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, which is probably my favorite chair ever made. (Over the top. I know.) My limited floor space forced me to make a painful sacrifice, and I gifted my beloved POÄNG to a neighbor, who constantly tells me how much she loves it. But if I ever come into a space with more room, the first new piece of furniture I want to add to my expanded conversation pit is a POÄNG with dark brown wood and Gunnared upholstry. It’s just so good.

And if you’re still wondering about it, know that the famously frugal IKEA founder and billionaire Ingvar Kamprad, who died in 2018, owned the same POÄNG chair since 1978. Fabulous.

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