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Armchairs buying guide

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Armchairs Guide - An Introduction

Armchairs serve several purposes in your home. It not only provides a comfortable place to sit and relax, but it also makes a design statement. It is important to consider all components of your armchair, such as comfort, functionality, design, colour, material, and workmanship. The right armchair furniture will become part of your home for many years to come, so you want to buy the right one. Look for a chair that will last, both in terms of durability and classic design.

Simply put, an armchair is any chair that has arm rests. The arm rests are designed to support the portion of your body weight that you rest on the chair’s arms. They also serve the function of making it easier to enter and exit the chair from the front. However, they do make it more difficult to enter and exit the armchair from the sides.

There are sometimes matching or coordinating accessories you can purchase for your new armchair. Good options to consider include an ottoman, armchair table, or reading lamp. Just remember to allow enough room that any extra pieces will not make your room feel cramped or crowded. An armchair is a great place to unwind at the end of the day, but too many accessories can make for a claustrophobic, not a relaxing, experience.

Whatever type of armchair you want to buy, Price Inspector can help make your buying experience easy and fun. Our buying guide gives you the confidence that you are getting the best armchair for your home and tells you the right questions to consider before making your investment. Once you have selected the right armchair for your needs, we give you the peace of mind that you always get the cheapest prices in the UK. We always shop search the UK stores to bring you the very best prices possible.


One of the first buying decisions you will want to make is regarding the material of the covering. There are many colours, patterns, and materials to choose from, making it easier than ever before to perfectly match the style of your home.

  • Leather armchairs come in different grades of leather. The highest grade of leather will have natural leather patterns. The material is supple and should smell like leather. Low grade leather uses more additives to create a smooth finish, which will reduce the natural oil of the leather. Armchairs made from lower grade leather will be less supple and more prone to surface cracking. The grade should be clearly identified on the chair’s label, usually located underneath the chair.
  • Faux leather armchairs will not be as durable and should be considered only for chairs that will experience occasional, rather than everyday, use. If used on a frequent basis, the faux leather materials will deteriorate in time and may require reupholstering in a few years.
  • Fabric armchairs give you a warm, comfortable seat year round. They are available in a variety of colours and materials, each with its own unique benefits and drawbacks. For example, velvet armchairs are elegant but will be prone to water spotting and are easily damaged, not a good idea for children or pets. An upholstered armchair is available in more durable materials and weaves, but keep in mind that these usually have a more casual look.
  • A wicker armchair brings a casual but classic look to your home. There are chairs designed for either indoor or outdoor use, so make sure you know what you are buying. An outdoor chair may work indoors, but a more fragile indoor chair isn’t designed to withstand the weather.
  • A wood armchair, such as an oak armchair may not be as soft as a fabric chair, but it brings a classic look. Wooden armchairs can be stained to allow the wood’s natural beauty to shine through, or they can be painted in a wide range of colours. Regardless of the material you choose, your next decision is with regard to colour. Your armchair can blend in with your other furniture, or you can choose a colour and design that makes a bold statement.
  • Contemporary colour choices include black, white, red, or blue.
  • More traditional designs include a patterned armchair, such as a floral armchair design.


The design of your armchair is just as important as your choice of materials and colours. Whether you want an antique, modern, or contemporary armchair, there are many different choices in the market.

  • A retro or vintage armchair lets you combine modern materials with a classic look, giving you the best of both options.
  • A round armchair makes a modern design statement, giving you a stylish armchair with a contemporary look. These round chairs may be easier to fit into a corner, giving you more design freedom.
  • A swivel armchair is designed to let you turn the top part of the chair while the base remains in place. This is a good option to let you turn your chair to take advantage of light, turn to pick something up from the nearby side table, or participate more easily in a conversation.
  • A disabled armchair is a good option for anyone with limited mobility. These motorised armchairs chair can partially raise and lower the seat on command, making it easier to enter and exit the chair.
  • A dining armchair, also known as a captain’s chair, gives you the looks and function of an armchair while matching the rest of your dining set. It is common to reserve armchairs for the head and foot of the table, using matching chairs without arms on the table’s side. The size of your armchair is also important, depending on the size of the room and the size of occupant.
  • For a smaller space, you could buy a small or compact armchair, letting you have a comfortable seat without overwhelming a small room. If you have a large room, a small chair might look lost in a big space. If so, consider a big armchair or grouping together several smaller ones.
  • If the chair will be used by a larger person or by someone who just enjoys a roomy feel, you might like a wide or big armchair. These larger chairs require a large room, but they provide the ultimate comfort. There are even extra large armchairs to let you maximize your space.
  • A reading armchair gives you low enough arms to make reading easy. This is especially important if you plan to read a newspaper in the chair, as it lets you spread out the paper without interference from the arms.

Tips to consider before buying Armchairs

There are several important considerations when choosing an armchair.

  • A good arm rest should support your forearm but not the more sensitive area of your elbow. With this in mind, some chairs do have a continuous arm rest, leaving the elbow area open.
  • If you will be buying the armchair online, it’s a good idea to visit a showroom first to see the chair in person. This lets you feel the quality of the materials and construction.
  • First, look under the armchair at the label. The label should clearly detail the materials used in the cushions, covering, and frame.
  • Make sure the arm rests are a comfortable height for your body size. Also, check that the chair is roomy enough to hold a larger family member or guest, if applicable.
  • For an armchair that will be used daily, make sure the cushions are high enough quality to prevent sagging in the seat over time.
  • Sit on the chair to make sure its cushions are comfortable. Even the most comfortable-looking armchair might not be a good fit for your size and shape. Sit in the chair the way you normally will, especially if you tend to sit with your legs crossed or folded underneath you.
  • After you test the chair, check that the seat springs back to its original location immediately after you stand up. This is a sign of whether or not the springs are good quality. If they perform poorly when new, it’s a sign that they won’t withstand frequent use.
  • Kneel on the armchair seat and pull on the arms. You should feel only the slightest movement, if any. Lower quality chairs will give you a lot of play with loose joints. This is a sign the chair will not be durable. Listen to whether the chair creaks, another sign of loose joints or poor craftsmanship.
  • If you will be locating the armchair in a sunny location, look for materials that won’t fade. Leather and some fabric patterns are more prone to fading. Leather and man-made leather can get hot if located in the sun, which may keep it from being comfortable on a warm day.
  • If you have children or pets, look for durable materials that can be easily cleaned. For pets, make sure their claws won’t puncture the material and consider how much your pet’s hair will show on the colour you choose.

Jargon Explained

When you are shopping for a new armchair, you see some terms for the construction materials that you aren’t familiar with.

Corrected top grain leatheris lightly treated, genuine leather. The thicker surface makes it more durable for long-lasting durability. It does not have surface blemishes.
Cottonis easy to clean and soft. Look for seat covers that can be removed and machine washed for even more cleaning ease.
Fibre cushionshave a soft feel, but they will require frequent plumping to keep the right shape.
Foam cushionshave a firm feel and offer good support. They require little maintenance to retain their shape.
'Leather effect’ is another name for man-made or faux leather.
Split leatheris thin leather, usually reserved for areas that won’t get much wear, like the back or sides.
‘Suede effect’ or ‘microsuede’are both man-made suede materials. They are made from tightly woven fibres to make a dense material. It resembles genuine suede, but it’s easier to clean. 

Buying Guide to Armchairs
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