The Eames plastic chair: exploring a design classic with Lionshome

Eames chairs by Vitra

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The Eames plastic chair is a design classic. It’s been in production since 1950 and looks just as fresh and exciting now as it did back then. 

According to its designer, Charles Eames: “Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose”.

He certainly achieved that with his classic plastic chair, which effortlessly combines practicality and style. The plastic seat is designed to mould itself to your shape, yet the elegant little legs keep it looking light and graceful.

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In recent years I’ve fallen in love with the mid-century look. It still feels fresh and exciting, yet it’s simple enough to sit well alongside designs from other periods. In my house I combine an original Ercol sideboard and a mid-century inspired sofa with bits of simple furniture from the nineteenth century and even IKEA. It’s a mix that works.

But I’m yet to own an Eames plastic chair. 

Like all design classics, the Eames chair, has inspired lots of imitations. Imitation is the best form of flattery – especially if it means that those of us with smaller budgets also get to enjoy a little bit of design history in our homes.

Where do you start to find one? With so many Eames-inspired plastic chairs out there it’s hard to know where to start looking. Which is where a site like Lionshome is incredibly helpful. Type ‘Eames chair’ into their search and they’ll instantly curate a collection for you to choose from. So much easier than trawling though lots of magazines and web searches.

When I typed in Eames plastic chairs, the first thing I found were the real things. The original design by Charles Eames, manufactured by Vitra, who’ve been making them since the fifties. They’re still being made to the same design. It’s been tweaked a little – the original fibre-glass reinforced polyester resin has been replaced with modern polypropylene – but it’s still essentially the same.

It can be yours, admittedly for quite a hefty price tag of between £300-400. For one chair.

Luckily, there are a lot of Eames-inspired alternatives out there for less than £100. The Lionshome site gathers them together so you can choose between the classic original and the cheaper versions, like this one (£57.50):

Eames-inspired chair

Or you could try one with metal legs (£57.50):

Eames inspired chair

Do you love Eames-inspired chairs? Would you choose the original (and probably best) or something more affordable?

This post was written in collaboration with Lionshome Home and Living. All words and ideas are my own. 




  1. April 26, 2017 / 7:46 pm

    I have replica chairs in Back and so wish I had got various shades of blue and grey but I still love them they are so stylish. I love Lions home to what a great site x

  2. April 26, 2017 / 10:06 pm

    I’ve just replaced my dining chairs with these eames chairs, although admittedly not originals. They’re comfy and practical, and that’s even in white!! Love em’!

  3. April 27, 2017 / 8:31 pm

    Lizzie, I love Eames chairs – such a classic design. My sister has some Eames-inspired chairs and I love them. I’d certainly go for ‘inspired’ at those prices. I’m popping across to look at the Lionshome website now. #HOMEETC

  4. April 29, 2017 / 6:58 pm

    Yay this is so timely!! I’m looking for an Eames-imitation style rocker for our bedroom makeover and posted on instastories asking for recommendations!! What a great idea to curate all the alternatives in one space Xx #HomeEtc

  5. May 1, 2017 / 7:03 pm

    We have dining chairs which were possibly inspired by Eames … a similar look and feel. I must admit, while I love the style, sitting for anything length of time on plastic is not overly comfortable. They certainly look good, though.

  6. May 2, 2017 / 10:32 am

    Charles and Ray Eames were such an amazing couple!!! The fact that their designs are still as fresh and relevant today, as when they were first made is extraordinary. The RAR rocker is one of my fave chairs ever!! One day I’ll have a real one!!! Have just been and looked at the LionsHome site — they’ve got some fab stuff on there!! Thanks so much for sharing Lizzie xx #HomeEtc

  7. May 2, 2017 / 12:09 pm

    Confession – we have “Eames inspired” chairs from eBay. I’d love the real thing, perhaps one day! I also love how practical they are with 2 small kids – they are very easy to wipe down. I find them comfortable too. #HomeEtc

  8. May 2, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    These are my favourite chairs in the world. They look great with every table I have ever seen them with.
    I am heading over to lion home for a look.

  9. May 2, 2017 / 7:21 pm

    These chairs are fab. Such a classic style! Loving the bright colours tooxx

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