10 best armchairs
Is there anything more satisfying than curling up with a book in a cosy chair for one? Here's our pick to sink into
Everyone has a favourite chair that’s just right for relaxing in. The best are comfortable, well-made, supportive, and feel great to touch.
If matching it to existing décor is a concern, look for designs with plenty of upholstery choices, or removable cushions which you could change over time.
Also look for a wooden frame, a sprung seat and foam cushions that can hold their shape over frequent use.
If you’re looking to make a statement with your armchair, look for strong shapes, colours and profiles that can provide an accent among more ordinary furniture.
Guarantees, as ever, are a good reassurance that your chosen chair is robust. Chairs and sofas are one category of furniture where a lot of the making is still done by hand, and the price reflects this.
With most in the £500-£1000 range, a good armchair should be seen as an investment.
As with most large furniture pieces, there can be long lead times as certain products are made to order. Check delivery options carefully if you want to get your chair by a certain date.
John Lewis Mario Armchair: From £849, John Lewis & Partners
The strong silhouette of the Mario armchair is its stand-out feature – its flared arms and high back look particularly striking upholstered in an inky blue. The chair’s hardwood frame is robust and man-made (John Lewis & Partners guarantee it for 10 years) and the comfortable cushions are a mix of foam and fibre. Dark wood legs and a coil-sprung seat raise the level of this chair’s quality too.
Oliver Bonas 1958 Armchair: £585, Oliver Bonas
Oliver Bonas’s 1958 armchair is a fresh and light-hearted take on mid-century style and icons from this popular era can demand some eye-watering prices. The cushions stay in shape thanks to a foam core, and deliver on comfort with an inner layer of duck feathers. The covers are made from quality Designers Guild fabric in a rainbow of seven bright colours – from hot pink to cobalt blue.
Laura Ashley Burlington Leather Chair: From £750, Laura Ashley
The granddaddy of armchairs on our list has to be the Burlington by Laura Ashley. Designed to “resemble a family heirloom” it has generous dimensions and comes in eight types of leather that will age naturally over time. To keep it affordable, the cushions have been filled with polyester fibre which requires regular plumping and turning. The sprung seat adds an extra level comfort.
Neptune George Armchair: From £1,045, Neptune
Neptune’s George armchair has a balance of tradition and modernity that should make it at home in most interiors. Its boxy profile, mid-height back and low sunken arms are all contemporary updates to the familiar style. Upholstery fabric ranges from lightweight linens to tartan wools. The legs come in a choice of dark or pale oak.
Swoon Editions Merano Armchair: £649, Swoon Editions
The exacting right angles of this contemporary armchair by Swoon Editions are softened up by three cushions for back and sides. It has a sturdy birch frame and wooden legs, and has cushion covers that can be removed. With 32 fabrics including on-trend velvet and more traditional brushed cotton, there’s plenty of scope for making it your own. Delivery is free and takes 10-12 weeks.
Ikea Ekenäset Armchair: £170, Ikea
Just as we got used to Ikea’s incredible prices, the Swedish furniture giant surprised us all with the stunningly bargainous Ekenäset armchair. A revamp of an original 1950s Ikea design, the chair has a laid-back style with birch frame and fixed cushions upholstered in grey fabric. It’s not the kind of chair you can sink into for hours, but a great compact piece for guests, bedrooms or those kitting out their first home.
Loaf Swagamuffin Armchair: £945, Loaf
As with all of Loaf’s sofas and armchairs, the Swagamuffin has exaggerated dimensions that give it a cosy and overly plump appearance. Everything has been designed for comfort, including a deep seat and foam cushions wrapped in feathers. Curved arms and a buttoned back keep things refined. This chair has a wooden frame with a 10-year guarantee and it’s made in the UK.
Sofa.com Peggy Armchair: From £455, Sofa.com
One of Sofa.com’s most popular products is the Peggy armchair – which reminds us more of a cocktail or club chair with its retro style. Its curved arms, slim cylindrical wood legs, shallow seat and slanted back combine for a petite but elegant chair that can be customised in a huge range of prints, patterns and textures. The frame has a lifetime guarantee and delivery takes four to six weeks.
Arlo & Jacob Wallis Armchair: From £755, Arlo & Jacob
The name “Wallis” hints at the glamorous 1930s figure who could have influenced the design of this armchair. The high, fluted back is a nod to American member’s clubs of the era, but soft modern styling keeps the armchair from looking like an antique. All Arlo and Jacob products have a hardwood frame with a lifetime guarantee and are made by hand in Derbyshire.
West Elm Sebastian Chair: £399, West Elm
A decent buy for under £500, although the stitching and finish lack the quality of more expensive choices. It’s comfortable, with a supportive back and curving arms, but probably not one you can spend hours in. The solid wood legs are removable, and come with a warm pecan-colour finish. This version is upholstered in a blush pink linen weave, but there are teal and grey options in twill wool that are harder wearing.
Graham and Green Hamilton Armchair: From £835, Graham and Green
The Hamilton armchair scores well on comfort. At 87cm-wide, it’s ideal for those that like to curl up with a blanket and book. And the springy foam-filled seat and back cushions are great at taking the weight off. The hand-turned oak legs are a nice modern twist on this classic style of chair. There’s a good range of upholstery options including velvet, linen and caleido (a cotton-linen mix). There’s a two-year guarantee for frame and fabric.
The Verdict: Armchairs
For an armchair you can really relax in, the high-backed Mario armchair from John Lewis & Partners is top for comfort. In a neutral colour, its timeless style should see you through even as your interior tastes change. As smart additional seating, or as an accent chair in the bedroom, the Peggy armchair from Sofa.com is rated highly by customers for its reasonable price and good quality.
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