Unless your name is Kate Moss, you’ve no doubt felt a bit cramped and uncomfortable in a seat whether it’s on an airplane, bus, movie theatre, or even in your own home. Me? I’m of average weight but I’ve certainly broken more than a couple of plastic lawn chairs in my day.

Last week, the San Francisco Chronicle ran an interesting story on the distinctly American plus-sized furniture trend. The rate of obese and overweight adults has skyrocketed — from 46 percent of adults in 1960 to over 73 percent in 2005-2006 — and furniture companies have adjusted the width, cushioning, and strength of their products to keep up. In fact, the test load standards for office chairs has risen from 220 pounds to 250 over the years.

You’re probably wondering what sturdy, generously proportioned furniture has to do with eco-living. Well, you'll find more than a few articles here on MNN about health and wellness, exercise, and nutrition. Living a low-impact life and living a low-calorie one aren't mutually exclusive — to say big people aren't green is silly — but when you eschew fast food and opt for locally produce veggies and bike to work instead of sit in a car for for 90 minutes it tends to happen. 

Anyways, it’s an illuminating article worth giving a full read. In it, reporter Mary Mcvean speaks with a variety of folks from the home furnishings industry including Kevin McGrain senior vice president and brand manager of KingSize/BryLane Home, a company with a Plus Size Living Collection includes a folding cloth chair that can support up to 800 pounds. IKEA spokeswoman Jance Simonsen also chimes in, noting that when IKEA first arrived in America from Europe, vases were hot sellers. The reason? American customers mistook them for drinking glasses. Oy vey.  

What are your thoughts? Do you think plus-sized furniture is directly related to growing American obesity rates? Or does it simply have to do more with our longstanding cultural preference for everything and anything non-petite? Have you personally noticed that furnishings have gotten larger in size?

Via [San Francisco Chronicle]

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Home furnishings suited for bulging waistlines
Although small is in when it comes to housing trends, furnishings are getting larger to accommodate America's increasingly plus-sized population.