In the early 1800s, Washington Irving penned a quirky story about a man who lay down on a grassy hill under a tree and, after a pint or two of grog, slept for 70 years. With the right lounge chairs in your backyard, you too could emulate Rip Van Winkle, but without the beard or back pain that could go along with it!

Lounge chairs are truly one of life's necessary luxuries. As such, it is probably no surprise that the "chaise longue" was first created by the French, who seem to have the mastered the art of experiencing the finer things of life and finding reasons to take regular breaks from work. What other piece of furniture so entices you to sit back and get that much relaxation? And don't you deserve it just as much as the French?

Today's lounge chairs are ergonomically designed so the owner can experience the maximum in comfort. Whether or not your chair has arms, folds back into a multitude of positions, or includes an ottoman, you know when it arrives that you can barely wait to get it out of the box to rest and relax in it.

If you want to feel really snooty, you can offer your guests a seat in the "Duchesse brisée" a French phrase meaning that the lounge chair is divided in two parts: the chair itself and a matching footstool. This original idea has evolved over the decades as furniture designers and craftsmen aspired to create a myriad of fashionable settees that adorned the most posh living rooms. For many, the image evokes the classic Adirondack chair, although many classic styles offer this option in a variety of approaches that would make the French absolutely "verte" with envy.

It's so nice to know that one doesn't need to book passage on a luxury liner to afford a steamer-style lounge chair. Popular since the 1800s, these chairs are designed for maximum comfort while they reside en masse on the lido deck. Fortunately, options for shopping online make these finely crafted and visually captivating pieces available at prices that are comfortable for any pocketbook, boat or no boat!

Teak is a very popular choice in lounge chairs. This exotic hardwood is sustainably harvested from trees grown primarily in Southeast Asia. Its natural resins and rubber content withstand a variety of climate conditions, repel insects and looks good with any décor.

If your space is small but you still desire comfort, choose a chair with a rounded seat or ergonomically curved slats. This style is perfect to maximize your cozy experience, whether you are leisurely drinking a beverage, reading a book or chatting with a friend.

Let's talk cushions, or as the French would say, "coussins". Theoretically you could have your cousins sit on your cushions, but considering how decadently plush cushions are these days, you may not want to share. That aside, this is definitely a factor in choosing lounging chairs. Although many chairs are decidedly comfortable without them, a cushion provides the ultimate in relaxation. Deciding on color, thickness, and style is easy when shopping online, and you can choose fabrics to match nearly every décor.

Maybe you're living in a climate that is fortunate enough to experience all four seasons. In this case, consider purchasing lounge chairs that can be used both inside and out. Perhaps you have space in a bedroom, sunroom, or even in your living room. Many styles are easily incorporated into an indoor space.

Even though Rip Van Winkle fell asleep under a tree, you have the choice to wait until that tree has been crafted into a luxurious lounge chair!