Picking out furniture seems easy, especially when you have a specific design for the room in mind. But you need to consider much more than style when you choose your furniture, as you will also want something that is will last for a long time and be a good fit for you. This is particularly true when choosing an armchair, as you will want something that is comfortable to sit in for hours on end.
Below is a list of things you should look for when choosing an armchair. Read on so that you will know just what to look for when shopping for an armchair and be able to choose one to purchase with confidence.
Table of Contents
- How Comfortable is the Seat?
- Is the Seat the Right Height?
- Is the Seat the Right Width?
- Does the Back Offer Enough Support
- Is the Back Comfortable to Sit Against?
- Do You Want Armrests?
- Is the Framework Made of Quality Materials?
- Does the Fabric Match Your Room’s Design?
- Do You Want a Tufted Chair?
- Is the Chair the Right Color?
- Do You Want Accents on Your Chair?
- Are You Looking for a Patterned Chair?
- What Style of Leg Do You Want?
- Do You Already Have Throw Pillows to Match to Your Chair?
- Does the Chair Need Work?
- Does the Chair Fit in Your Space?
- Should an Armchair Match a Sofa?
- How Do You Know When to Buy an Armchair?
- How Much Should You Invest in an Armchair?
How Comfortable is the Seat?
The first thing you should look for when it comes to choosing an armchair is to find a chair that has a seat that will be comfortable to sit on for a long time. Make sure the seat is thick and that the padding feels firm but has enough give that you will desire to sit on it.
If the seat has too much give, this will make it difficult to get in and out of, and it may be indicative that the quality of the filing of the seat is poor. Also, be sure that the chair supports your weight and doesn’t creak when you sit down in it.
Is the Seat the Right Height?
You will feel the most comfortable while seated when your thighs are allowed to rest flat and are perpendicular to the floor. Your knees shouldn’t be pointed up or down—as this will cause you to feel uncomfortable quickly. Additionally, you should ensure that your feet are able to rest comfortably on the ground.
But, if you have a sitting area with a low coffee table and lower couch, then you will want to get an armchair at a height that matches these other pieces. This is because it is quite awkward to sit at a chair that inches higher than a coffee table. Thus it might be a good idea to measure the height of your coffee table and sofa seat before heading out to shop for armchairs.
Is the Seat the Right Width?
Of course, one of the main purposes of an armchair is lounging, so you’ll want to be sure that there is enough space for you to both sit properly and lounge comfortably in your armchair. And an armchair that is too narrow for your body can quickly become painful.
Armchairs come in many different widths, some of which are large enough to be considered a chair and a half. These can be a great choice for those that plan to lounge in their chair more often than not or for those who like to have a little extra wiggle room!
Does the Back Offer Enough Support
Many trendy armchairs on the market are made with lower and smaller backs, some of which are only a few inches! While this may look great, this isn’t always the best for your back, as the back of a chair is supposed to be there to help support it.
You’ll want to consider how much time you plan to spend in your armchair. And if you plan to spend a lot of time sitting in it to read or watch TV, it’s better to get a supportive back that is tall enough to support your neck as well. This way, you can save yourself from neck pain or strain, and you will feel more comfortable.
However, if you are shopping for an armchair for a room that you plan to use only for sitting and conversing with guests (or other members of your household), then a chair with a smaller back might work perfectly for this purpose.
Is the Back Comfortable to Sit Against?
Beyond just thinking about support, you also need to think about the comfort level you expect from a chair back. Some chair backs have a cushion in them, while others do not. Chair backs additionally have different angles—some of which may be more comfortable for your back.
And keep in mind, if you find the perfect chair that doesn’t have enough cushion in the back for you, it’s very easy to add a nice cute throw pillow to an armchair! It is much more difficult to remove the cushion from armchairs, so keep this in mind as you shop.
Do You Want Armrests?
Do you like a chair with armrests? This is completely up to your personal preference! Some people enjoy having a specific place to rest their arms, while others prefer the open look with no armrests.
Generally, armrests help you to relax more fully. Therefore it is time to think about how much time you will spend in the chair relaxing versus how much time you will spend doing other activities like chatting with guests. If you only plan to use an armchair occasionally, then it probably doesn’t matter if it has arms or not.
Besides just deciding whether you want arms on your chair, you also need to consider the material you want them to be made out of. Arms can be made out of wood, metal, or upholstered to match the rest of the chair.
Which material you end up going with also depends on how comfortable you want to be—as metal armrests may look great but not be the best for resting your arms when you are weary. You should also look at the thickness of the armrests to be sure you won’t have to worry about your arms constantly falling off while you are trying to relax.
Generally, the best way to discover whether or not you like the armrests of a chair is to sit in the chair. This may not always be possible when buying online, so it is a good idea to scope out a chair in person before you buy it.
Is the Framework Made of Quality Materials?
Some chairs may look great when you buy them, but after a few uses, they begin to show their wear—such as a dent in the seat, or maybe the arms start to come loose. And even if they may continue to look great over time, their comfiness may decline with use.
Remember, when you purchase an armchair, that you get what you pay for. So if you think something is too good of a deal to be true, then it probably is. Try to look for the best chair that you can afford. That means there is your budget is $200. Try to find a chair that is about $200.
If you do have to make some sacrifices when it comes to cost, you should prioritize the quality of the frame, filling, and seat support above all else, as quality in these areas will help keep your chair feeling great for the long run.
Below are some of the common materials chairs are made out of, and knowing the difference between them can help you to better investigate the quality of a particular chair.
Solid wood is the best of the best. When an armchair is made out of solid wood, you know that it will last you forever. Wood is the most expensive material, but it ages well, keeping its resale value high. You will also enjoy the individuality that having wooden pieces brings to your sitting room.
Solid wood does take some care, though, as you will need to work fast when you see a scratch to keep the wood protected. Wood also does best when it’s kept out of direct sunlight—thus, if your house is really sunny, this probably isn’t the material for you.
If you find a piece of cheap furniture that looks good from afar, this is probably a piece that is made out of particleboard. Particleboard is made from wood waste and is a much flimsier version. When buying furniture of particleboard, you shouldn’t expect it to last you longer than a couple of years.
And if you live in a moist place, particleboard probably won’t even last you that long—this is because particleboard is easily damaged by moisture. Once particleboard is damaged by water, it is impossible to repair.
MDF stands for medium-density fiberboard, and while it is stronger and more damage-resistant than particleboard, its quality still doesn’t stand up to solid wood. MDF is also highly susceptible to water damage—which can cause it to crack and break. But if you can’t afford solid wood, MDF is a better and more sturdy choice than particleboard.
However, if you find that you can afford solid wood furniture, this is always the best choice. Even though it takes a little bit of extra work, solid wood will last you much longer than any other material of the furniture.
Does the Fabric Match Your Room’s Design?
One of the most important things to look for when choosing an armchair is that it is covered with a fabric that you find comfy. If you get a chair with a fabric that you find itchy or uncomfortable, then you probably won’t sit in the chair as much as you would otherwise.
This is also a good time to investigate the contents of certain fabrics. Sometimes people have allergies to certain fabrics like cotton or wool, and the last thing you would want to do is get a chair that you could be allergic to!
And don’t forget, different fabrics tend to hold dust, dirt, and pet hair differently than others. So if you have animals at home, it may be more worth your while to get an armchair made of leather or another material that won’t hold pet hair. And if you have kids, it may be worthwhile to invest in a fabric that is stain resistant—as spilling beverages can be quite common!
Do You Want a Tufted Chair?
Tufting is an aspect of a chair that you can either love or dislike. While it does take the look of the chair up to a new level of classy, it can also mess with the comfort level of the chair. This is why you should consider any chair with tufting carefully before you purchase.
If you are unfamiliar, tufting is when buttons are attached to a chair to cause the fabric to bunch in certain places. Usually, it’s the backs of chairs that have tufting, and it is done purely for aesthetic reasons as it creates a textured look that you may want to include in your room.
Having hard buttons where your back is supposed to go isn’t always comfortable for everyone, though. Some people don’t mind the feel of tufted chairs, but others think this isn’t comfortable at all. So if you are on the fence about tufting, definitely give a tufted chair a try before you buy.
Is the Chair the Right Color?
And of course, this list of things to look for when purchasing an armchair wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the color of the armchair! Chances are, you are purchasing an armchair to go with a room that you’ve already designed, and thus it should complement the room.
This doesn’t mean it has to match everything in the room, as contrasting colors can look great in a room as well! For example, picture a room with deep purple walls, a black sofa, and a white armchair—sounds great, right?
If you are trying the match the color of a sofa, however, it’s always best to take a picture or try to get a color sample of one or the other to compare. This is because couches and armchairs that almost match but don’t quite can often look worse than those that don’t match at all.
For those that aren’t 100% sure about being able to match their armchair with the room, it’s always good to get a neutral color like cream or black. This is because these colors tend to go with every room—meaning you don’t have to stress about the color. And not only that, but when you stick to a neutral color, this also means that you can move your armchair to a different room later if needed.
Do You Want Accents on Your Chair?
Besides just the base color, you should also consider if you want your chair to have a different color piping than the main color of the chair. Having a chair that is a solid color with contrasting pipping can make an armchair stand out.
You need to ask yourself if you want your chair to be a statement piece of a room or if you would rather it just blend into the background. If it’s the latter, you should probably skip the piping and go with a solid-colored chair.
Are You Looking for a Patterned Chair?
If you want your chair to grab the attention of anyone who walks in the room, then you should probably go for a fabric that has a pattern on it. And before your brain snaps to flowers or another older style of patterns, you should know that there are many great patterns available for chairs today.
It’s not uncommon to find things like stripes, spots, or leaves as patterns on chairs, but you can also find modern patterns that are hard to describe but look amazing! And if you love a pattern but are afraid it may be too much, don’t be afraid to tone it down with a sold color throw pillow.
What Style of Leg Do You Want?
Another thing you need to look for when choosing a chair is the style of legs that you want. While this doesn’t matter too much for the comfort level of your armchair, it does matter when it comes to the look of the room. Generally, you will want legs that match the other furniture in the room.
This means that if you have a wooden coffee table, you should pick out a chair with wooden legs. Or, if you have a metal coffee table, a chair with metal legs (in the same color) will look best. If you are going for a modern look, then you will want legs that are more straight. If you are going for an antique look, then legs with a curve will fit in better.
Additionally, this is a good time to revisit the height of the chair as well. If the chair you picked out has a seat that is slightly too high or low, the style of legs that you choose could help to put you back on the right track! And don’t forget, armchairs with no legs are also a possibility!
Do You Already Have Throw Pillows to Match to Your Chair?
This one isn’t necessarily something you should have in mind when picking out the chair, as you usually pick out throw pillows afterward. But maybe you already have a couch with throw pillows and want to get the same color and style for your chair to keep the room cohesive. This will then become part of your chair decision.
If you already have the throw pillows on hand, then bring one with you when you are shopping for chairs. This way, you will know if the size, shape, and color of the throw pillow go with your chair or not. The same goes for having a colorful throw that you are hoping to place on the chair.
Does the Chair Need Work?
As mentioned above, buying things online can be great and cheaper than buying them in the store. But keep in mind, when you order furniture online, this may mean that the furniture comes in pieces that you will need to put together.
If you are handy, this may be no problem for you—just check that you have the proper materials before the furniture arrives! But if you aren’t handy, it may be more worthwhile to buy a piece in the store that doesn’t require any construction.
Not to mentions, when you are constructing furniture yourself, a poor job could both damage the quality of the furniture and cause it not to last as long. So if you do plan to construct it yourself, you should have absolute faith in your abilities to do so.
Does the Chair Fit in Your Space?
And last but not least, one of the very important things you need to look for when choosing an armchair is the space you have available in your living room. This is because you don’t want to select an armchair that doesn’t fit or gets swallowed up by all the space you have available.
Before you head out looking for an armchair, measure the space you will have available. Besides just width and height, make sure you measure the depth you have available, so you don’t have an armchair that sticks out into the walkway. This will give you a general idea of how large or small of a chair you should shop for.
Should an Armchair Match a Sofa?
Maybe you already have a sofa that you love, but you need a new armchair for the living room. This can leave you wondering if they have to match, and the truth is, they do not have to match.
However, when it comes to armchairs matching a sofa, it is typically better to go for all or none. This means your armchair either needs to match your sofa really well or exactly, or it needs to be a completely different color. This is because having two pieces of furniture that are close in color but not exact can leave guests thinking that one piece is faded, and you don’t want that!
So either be sure that your sofa and armchair match exactly, or that your armchair is an accent to the color that your sofa is. An example of this would be a black sofa, with a white armchair, in a grey room. The white armchair not only brightens the room, but it is a great accent to an all-black sofa!
How Do You Know When to Buy an Armchair?
If your living room is small and already has a couch that you enjoy sitting on, you may be wondering if you even need an armchair. And the truth is, you need to look at how many people you would like to entertain at a time in your living room. Can they all sit on the couch?
Look at it this way, you have a friend over, and they want to bring their partner. If you also have a partner, this is already four grown adults. Can your couch fit that comfortably without having to sit right up next to each other? If the answer is no, then it is definitely time to start looking at armchairs.
Beyond just knowing that you need the space, you also should have money in your budget to purchase a nice chair. This is because if you buy a chair that only costs a few bucks, it probably won’t last long or be comfortable at all. You are much better off selecting a chair when you have the budget to get the style and comfort level that you want.
How Much Should You Invest in an Armchair?
If you want an armchair but haven’t saved any money just yet, this may leave you wondering how much money you should save for an armchair. And this depends wholly on the type of armchair you think that you may want.
To get an idea of the budget, you will need, take a few minutes and do some online shopping for armchairs. Although you can’t get a feel for the comfort level, you can get an idea of how much the style of chair you may want will cost. And because online is generally cheaper than in-store, you will probably want to add 25% or more to the amount you come up with to be sure you have enough money to get the exact chair you want.
You want to look for quality. So even if you are tempted to buy a cute looking armchair that is only $20, know that this probably won’t last you in the long run and that it is better to save a little money and get a chair you love that will keep you happy, and comfy for a long time.
Overall, the armchair you ultimately select for your home will depend on several of the above items that fit your personal preferences. As long as you keep in mind that quality should matter more than the cost, you really can’t go wrong when it comes to choosing an armchair for your living room or sitting area.
And don’t be afraid to have a little fun choosing an armchair, after all, it doesn’t have to match your sofa. This is a great excuse to use the purchase of an armchair as a chance to transform your living room into an entirely new look or color scheme without having to purchase a new couch! Happy couch hunting!