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Armchair buying guide for your home

Far from just adding an additional seating space, the right armchair can act as a stylish statement piece, while providing a luxurious refuge in which to enjoy a little ‘me time’. And with just a little imagination, you can use an armchair to create a comfortable, cosy seating area on a landing, under a flight of stairs, or even in a well-proportioned bathroom. So the possibilities are – if not endless – then at least a good deal more varied than you might think. With that in mind, we’ve put together this useful armchair buying guide featuring some clever tips to help you choose the perfect armchair for your home.

Things to Consider

Matching existing furniture

If you already own a much-loved patterned sofa or suite which you intend to keep, consider choosing an armchair in a plain fabric which matches the dominant colour of the pattern. Conversely, patterned fabrics can be chosen to complement a plain sofa. If you’ve found an armchair you absolutely love, but still want every piece of lounge furniture to match, it is often possible to re-upholster your sofa in an identical fabric, however it is prudent to research the relative cost of purchasing a matching sofa first.

Creating a contrast


Alternatively, why not consider using the addition of an armchair to introduce a striking contrast in your colour scheme? Vivid yellows work superbly well with muted blues, or for an even more adventurous feel, try pairing orange with green. If that sounds just a little too striking for you, another option is to decide on a defined colour palette, for example soft autumnal tones or pastel shades, and experiment with different combinations from within that range.

Armchair styles: Classically elegant or daringly modern?

If you don’t already have a clear idea of the type of armchair you are looking for, a good place to start is to consider which style is most likely to work for you. And the best way to do that is to go back to the classics, which include:

The Wingback

wingback armchair

An icon of the 1940s, the Wingback armchair can actually trace its roots back as far as the 1600s. As the name suggests, these high-backed chairs feature flared ‘wings’ on either side, which typically extend to the armrests. A comfortable and reliable choice which never dates.

The Barrel Back

barrelback armchair

Also popular during the 1940s, a Barrel Back chair has a lower back which curves round to form armrests. Often compact in design, these work well when space is at a premium, and can be paired with a matching footrest for added comfort.

The Club Chair


Usually upholstered in leather, these low-slung armchairs take their name from the exclusive gentlemen’s clubs which they have furnished for generations. Featuring heavy padding and deep cushions, they are as hard-wearing as they are stylish, and make an excellent choice for regular use.

The Fauteuil


First produced in France during the seventeenth century, Fauteuil armchairs originally featured a partially exposed wooded frame and a high back. The frames were decorated using intricate carving which extended to the arms. Today armchairs in this style are usually fully upholstered, however they retain the same intricacy of detail and distinctive shape.

The Bergere


This elegant style also originated in seventeenth-century France. Characterised by an ornately carved wooden frame and opulent upholstery, the addition of padded elbow rests adds comfort and contributes to the overall effect. Suited to luxurious, high-end rooms.

Contemporary armchair trends

Vale Furnishers - Divine Armchair

Modern armchair designs will often echo or combine elements from one or more of these classic styles, perhaps simplifying the details and adding a contemporary twist. Danish designers in particular have used sleek and deceptively simplistic techniques to create armchairs which will look superb in any home.

Why buy your armchair from us?

Vale Furnishers are one of Surrey and Hampshire’s leading furniture shops near Guildford. The beauty of modern furniture design originates from its freedom of innovation and experimentation, and armchairs are no exception. You might find bright colours and patchwork effects combined with surprising materials such as chrome or moulded plastic. Choosing a modern design over more established, traditional styles might seem like a slightly less ‘safe’ option, but if you keep an open mind while remembering to insist on quality, you could end up with something truly exceptional.

Do you have any questions not covered in this armchair buying guide?
Please contact our furniture experts in Surrey and Hampshire on 01252 325525 for more information.

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