Choosing the right armchair

This guide will help you to choose the right armchair for your residential, commercial or public project. It will examine key criteria for choosing an armchair, such as the use, style, materials and dimensions.

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  • How to choose the right armchair

    When choosing an armchair, it’s important to take the following elements into account:

    • The intended use 
    • The style
    • The base, frame and upholstery material
    • The key dimensions
    • Current trends  
  • How will the intended use affect my choice of armchair?

    VARASCHIN Outdoor Armchair

    VARASCHIN Outdoor Armchair

    The location and activity your chair will be used for can have an impact on the type of armchair and material you choose. Armchairs designed for outdoor use will need to be weather, UV and corrosion resistant. If your armchair is for a home, consider the individual tastes of the end user. If the armchair will be used for long periods of time for activities such as relaxing or reading, comfort is of the utmost importance. Armchairs with a high back as well as ones that are reclinable or have footrests can help support the user. Armchairs destined for high traffic spaces, such as reception areas in commercial or public buildings, will need to withstand regular use and might also need to meet strict health and fire safety requirements to comply with local regulations.

  • What armchair styles can I choose from?

    VARIER - Original Design Armchair

    VARIER – Original Design Armchair

    Armchairs come in a wide range of styles. If you are searching for a contemporary design, you might want to opt for a Scandinavian armchair made of wood or an industrial armchair with an elegant metal structure. If you are looking for an eye-catching focal point, consider an armchair with an original design to impress your guests. Armchairs for more traditional spaces might have a more conventional shape, design and use well-established construction techniques. For high-end dining spaces or lounges, classic style armchairs such as Chesterfield, Louis XV or Art Deco can add a historical touch to your space.

  • Wood, metal or plastic armchairs?

    TALENTI Metal armchair

    TALENTI Metal armchair

    Wood, metal and plastic are the most commonly used materials used for armchair frames. While they can be fitted with upholstery, your project might require an armchair without upholstery for hygiene and easy cleaning, such as armchairs for exterior spaces or public buildings.

    When it comes to wooden armchairs, solid wood provides a strong and attractive structure for both classic and modern armchair designs. Plywood sheets can be formed into curved shapes, making them popular for modern seat designs. Wooden boards such as MDF or chipboard are often concealed and used as a support for upholstery.

    Metal is sometimes used for the frame and base of armchairs destined for regular use due to its robustness, but its hardness and coldness make it less comfortable for sitting on directly. This is why metal is often used with other seating materials such as wood, plastic, fabric or removable upholstery.

    Plastic armchairs are light, easy to clean, cost-effective and can be molded to a wide variety of ergonomic shapes. However, plastic structures tend to be less robust than wood or metal.

  • What should I know about upholstery for armchairs?

    CAPPELLINI Felt Fabric Armchair

    CAPPELLINI Felt Fabric Armchair

    As armchairs are often designed for comfort, many are upholstered. The robustness of the fabric and padding can have a big impact on the longevity and quality of your armchair. Think about whether upholstery can be removed for cleaning and favor supportive padding such as high-density foams that can withstand regular use. Here are some of the most common upholstery fabrics:

    Cotton is natural, cost effective and available in many colors and motifs. Although it is breathable, it can stain and crease. It is often blended with other materials to improve strength and ease of cleaning.
    Polyester fabric is hardwearing, stain-resistant and available in a wide range of colors and finishes.
    Polypropylene fabric (aka olefin) is light, chemical-resistant, weather-resistant and easy to clean, making it a great upholstery choice for outdoor armchairs.
    Leather tends to be expensive, so make sure to choose the right type for your armchair.  While aniline leather is softer and has a more natural appearance than semi-aniline or coated leathers, it can stain easily.  If you are looking for an easy to clean solution, opt for a good-quality coated leather that is abrasion-resistant, easy to wipe clean and ages well. Synthetic leather is often used as a less costly, animal friendly alternative to real leather.  Today, there are many premium faux leathers that rival the performance of traditional leather.  There are even some new plant-based synthetic leathers being developped on the market as a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic.

  • What do I need to know about armchair base options?

    CLASSICON - Rocking Armchair

    CLASSICON – Rocking Armchair

    Modern armchairs can have a number of base options  to suit your preference. While many traditional armchairs have a 4 leg configuration, you could opt for something more unusual such as a central base or a sled base. If you are looking for something more mobile you might prefer a swivel base, a rocking armchair or even an armchair on casters.

  • What do I need to know about armchair dimensions?

    BERTO SALOTTI Chesterfield Armchair

    BERTO SALOTTI Chesterfield Armchair

    When choosing your armchair, consider how its dimensions can influence your design scheme, as well as user comfort. Avoid large armchairs in small rooms and allow for enough circulation space around seating.

    Think about the ergonomics of your armchair; the depth and height of the seat, as well as the height of the back and armrests, vary greatly, which can have a big impact on comfort. A typical armchair seat height varies from around 40-46cm (16”-18”) and seat depth for an armchair is typically between 50-61cm (20”- 24”). While lower, deeper seating can be more comfortable for relaxing over long periods of time, it can be difficult to get up from. Shorter seats are better for sitting up straight, so they might be more adapted for waiting areas. A higher seat can help users stand up more easily, which could be important for users with reduced mobility. If possible, test out the armchair before committing to a purchase to make sure it is suitable for your project.

  • What are the current armchair trends?

    SONIC Multimedia Armchair

    SONIC Multimedia Armchair

    As comfort is becoming more of a priority in public spaces and the workplace, armchairs are becoming more present outside of their traditional uses in homes and lobbies.

    For example, armchairs in outdoor living rooms allow homeowners, guests at hotels and restaurants to enjoy outdoor spaces in comfort. Armchairs for urban and public spaces can help residents enjoy their surroundings while commercial armchairs  can encourage shoppers or tourists to stay longer.

    In office spaces, high back armchairs with integrated sound insulation can offer workers privacy for business calls. Some armchairs have integrated tablet supports, sockets or speakers allowing people to work in comfort. 

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