Why Are Eames Chairs So Expensive?

why are eames chairs so expensive

Why are eames chairs so expensive? If you fancy reading design magazines or have stumbled upon a photo with a #midcenturymodern hashtag on Instagram, chances are you’ve come across the famous “Eames Chair.”

The Eames Lounge Chair is an iconic leather and wood seat, with a six-legged base often coupled with a coordinating ottoman.

It is one of the iconic symbols of midcentury furniture up to this time, and it remains a ubiquitous statement in contemporary, modern, and traditional homes.

But what makes the chair so unique? And what makes Eames chairs so expensive?

Keep reading to understand what makes it so unique and expensive.

First, let’s look at its history, design, and manufacturing process.

The History of Eames Chair

let’s go back a little to the year 1940-1949 at the reputable Cranbrook Academy of Art.

This Michigan school gave rise to design talents like Eero Saarinen, Florence Knoll, and Harry Bertoia.

That’s where Ray (known as Ray-Bernice Alexandra Kaiser then) and Charles Eames initially met.

After graduation, they relocated to Los Angeles, where they established the Eames Office and started experimenting with inexpensive materials like plywood and plastic to build furniture that could be mass-produced easily.

“When Charles and Ray Eames shaped a piece of furniture, they usually took a human-centered approach,” says Amy Auscherman, Brand Heritage and Archive head.

Herman Miller has continually produced the chair since its debut.

However, the Lounge chair was their take on luxury—a recreation of the classic club chair with technology and a keen eye for comfort.

This was their initial endeavor at creating a luxury item planned as an heirloom,” says Auscherman.

ColorBlack and White
MaterialRosewood, Leather
Ergonomic DesignThe angle between the backrest and the seat cushion is 110°, scientifically inclined to relieve the pressure on the spine. And the seat cushion is tilted up 15° to relax the hip and leg muscles. Curve support is comfortable and ergonomic.
100% Full Grain Italian LeatherFlexible hand-stitched construction with a supple 100% Full Grain Italian leather upper offers style and durability. It provides a waxy, natural, and slippery feel.
Stable and Easy CleanAluminum Alloy Star Base ensures a sturdy stance. Leather and wood design make it durable and easy to clean, High-density and sturdy design offer stability enough to support 330lbs.
Widely UsedMid century chaise lounge can be integrated into various decoration styles. The chaise is suitable for the living room, bedroom, and other leisure areas, you can relax after a long day working. Enjoy your relaxing time if you want to read, watch TV, or nap.

The Design

The initial Eames was manufactured in 1956 featured a frame created using the “Kazam! machine” to force together thin layers of wood veneer.

It is made to sit at the best angle for comfort and ergonomics and crowned with upholstery with supple, luxurious leather.

According to the Eameses, the material was meant to give the seat a warm, receptive appearance of a well-worn first baseman’s mitt.

“The chair gets its inspiration from a classic English Club Chair but is additionally a technological innovation that gives a new definition to beauty,” reveals Auscherman. 

The Manufacturing Process

Herman Miller still produces authentic Eames Chairs today.

At the same time, the company may have modernized the bentwood process since the Eameses Kazam experiments; the process remains almost the same as the process used for the first-ever Lounge.

This is a great chair for a tall and heavy person.

“Starting from the plywood molding to each seat cushions individually sewn, every detail is attentively scrutinized throughout the process to ensure every lounge going out our door is of equal quality as the ones that built the brand decades ago,” Auscherman assures.

The company has also created a way of guaranteeing that each chair has the best leather.

“We use a particular cutting table that can scan every leather hide for flaws and uses that information to dictate the best cut for the leather hide,” says Auscherman.

What Makes Eames Chairs So Expensive?

You might think these lounge chairs are expensive to manufacture; thus, the high price is not the case.

While the manufacturing of Eames chairs requires premium materials and finesse, we can guarantee that Herman Miller does not spend half the money they charge on manufacturing.

Over time, the Eames chairs have been branded as a statement piece.

The company’s smart marketing campaigns highlighting the distinct and comfortable design of the chair made it the most sought-after piece of furniture in the United States.

Eames chairs came to be the furniture equivalent of driving a Porsche or wearing a Rolex.

However, you are not just paying for the hype.

The Eames chair radiates luxury and quality. An Eames chair can last you for decades! Also, they are extremely stylish and a great investment.

It is guaranteed to modify a room’s visual appeal without too many changes.

These chairs aid the proper posture and keep you comfortable without damaging your spinal health.

Midcentury furniture is an up-to-date trend in the interior décor world.

No piece is as symbolic of midcentury furniture as the amazing Eames chair. It’s the perfect balance between contemporary and vintage, and you would want.

With the request for midcentury furniture increasing, it explains why Eames chairs go for such excellent prices. It also works as a great chair for Scoliosis.

What Makes Eames Chairs Special? 

The comfort Eames chairs have to proffer makes them highly coveted pieces of furniture even today.

The chair is built with three hollow wood shells, each consisting of layers of plywood and a unique grain on the upper veneer layer.

Different reviewers claim this chair is just as comfortable as a regular club chair, despite its reduced weight and smaller dimensions.

The chair’s beautiful build has made it popular for workplaces and residential spaces.

Eames chairs feature a midcentury and vintage design.

But, its timeless appearance allows it to fit into any setting. If you are looking for a classic or Boho look, the Eames chair will go well with your décor of choice.

Essentially, the craftsmanship of the chairs makes them stand out.

Ray and Charles Eames passed years ago, but Herman Miller has kept their legacy.

The company made some changes to the manufacturing process, such as modernizing the wood bending process.

Nevertheless, the attention to detail remains constant to conserve the original vision.

How to Identify an Authentic Eames Chair

There are many fake Eames chairs in the market.

So ensure you are paying the price of an authentic Eames chair for a real Herman Miller-manufactured Eames chair.

Here are a few things to look for to confirm if your Herman Miller is real:

  • The chair leans back automatically to suit your position. If the reclining feature is not seamless, it probably isn’t the real deal.
  • There should be about 5-7 layers of plywood inside the chair. Former models will have five or more, while recent Eames chairs will feature seven layers.
  • The original Eames lounge chair should also be capable of rotating  360 degrees.
  • The distance between the top of the headrest and the floor of an authentic Eames Lounge Chair is 32 inches. It is not unusual for many lookalikes to be 10 inches or even taller than the authentic one.
  • There will be no screws clumsily sticking out from the outer plywood shells.
  • Eames ottoman features four legs extending from the base, not five as featured on replicas.

What Is the Weight Capacity of an Eames Chair?

You can look forward to the Eames lounge chair accommodating as much as 300 pounds. For Eames ottomans, the weight limit is 200 pounds.

Compared to other options in the market, these weights are considered fair. Herman Miller uses top-notch materials to ensure these chairs are incredibly sturdy.

It has premium leather and a durable 7 ply veneer shell.


Eames chairs are statement pieces that have a timeless appearance and can last for decades. They retain their value well if they are adequately maintained.

But are they worth the hype and price? Considering the comfort, luxury, and longevity they have to offer, we are convinced they are worth the hype and price.