A chair of one’s own – our guide to buying the perfect armchair

Striped armchair

A chair of one’s own – our guide to buying the perfect armchair

Buying an armchair is much like choosing an investment piece of clothing; an expression of your style and an integral part of your comfort. Whether you’re outfitting a cosy reading nook or looking for the final piece in your living room design, the right armchair considers both your design sensibilities and its role in your daily life.

This guide will walk you through the nuances of buying a handcrafted armchair that meets your needs, slotting neatly into your lifestyle and creating a welcoming space to unwind.


Buying with Sofas & Stuff

Our homes are where we spend a significant portion of our lives; they should be filled with pieces that delight us and make us feel truly comfortable. And, importantly, these pieces should be crafted in a way that assures their longevity. Our British made armchairs are made-to-order by skilled makers using the highest quality materials and upholstery, designed to be a part of your home’s narrative for years to come.

Buying an armchair with Sofas & Stuff goes beyond simply selecting a design in a fabric or colour that more or less suits your home. We handcraft furniture which cannot be found elsewhere, offering a peerless level of customisation and detail for every customer, prioritising choice, endurance and value above all.


Why should I consider buying an armchair?

It’s tempting to think about the armchair as the ‘best supporting actor’ in the room, with your sofa rightly taking the limelight, but let’s consider its particular virtues and why it’s worthy of its own round of applause.

For one thing, whereas you usually need to share your sofa, you can claim a chair as your own. And here lies its special power – its individuality. Upholstered chairs can be as distinctive as the space you want to furnish and, equally importantly, as the people who sit in them. Choose well and it will become one of your most loved pieces of furniture.


Aldingbourne armchair in Grain Sack Stripe Linen Red


What are the different types of armchair?

Ahead of buying an armchair, it is useful to take a step back and consider what options are on offer to you. Whether you’re seeking furniture that serves as a comfy setting for a quiet cup of tea, or more of an accent piece for a formal room, understanding the different armchair styles can help you choose yours.

Some of the overarching styles you will find in our range include:

Snuggler sofa in Mohair Lichen with seat cushiion in RHS Gertrude Jekyll Meadow Flower
Haresfield Snuggler Dipped Arms in Mohair Lichen, seat cushion in RHS Gertrude Jekyll Meadow Flower Olive

Chesterfield-style armchairs are known for their deep buttoning on the armchair back, and interpret the proportions and styling of a Chesterfield sofa on a smaller scale. The Haresfield, for example, demonstrates this with its even-height back and arms.

Snape armchair in Floral Linen Shangri-la Spice

Designed to stand out, accent armchairs bring colour or unique design flair to a space. They are incorporated into home designs as a decorative or ornamental feature. Though they can still offer somewhere comfortable to perch, you might be more likely to see a sprung back and seat, such as in the Snape, than squishy, duck-feather cushions.

Whitewell armchair in Abraham Moon Empire Green

With their distinctive high backs and side panels, wingback and high-back armchairs are both visually striking and highly supportive. Their classic appeal, perfectly exemplified in the Whitewell Button Back, is ideal for long evenings spent by the fireplace or as an addition to a formal seating area.

Alwinton snuggler in Lumino Wine

For rooms with a little extra space to fill, snuggler armchairs, or loveseats, are more generously sized than traditional armchairs. Somewhere between a small sofa and a spacious armchair, they are ideal for cosy evenings with a loved one or enjoying extra room to stretch out – a favourite for family rooms or snug corners.

Alwinton chaise chair in Blendworth Tennyson Conch

A chaise-style armchair combines the elements of an armchair and a daybed, providing ample space to relax fully, whether you’re unwinding after a long day or indulging in a weekend read. Our Alwinton chaise typifies this style beautifully.

Kentwell loose cover armchair in Sole Linen

A loose cover armchair can come in a variety of styles, but its defining feature is the removable cover which typically adds skirting at the bottom of the chair. Two of our models – the Kentwell, which has been updated with a loose cover option, and the Cromer, a new design for 2024 – demonstrate the distinctive look of this style.

Which armchair style should I choose?

Our advice when choosing a bespoke armchair is to try out different models and pick the one that feels comfiest for you. But even before you try our chairs for size, spend some time considering how you will use it. Decide where you want the chair to be, and what its principal purpose is.

Lyndhurst Chair in Linwood Tango Velvet Persia

Are you looking to create a little enclave for yourself – a space where you can grab a little time, to do whatever helps you relax – be it reading a good book, sewing, even a spot of screen scrolling? 

Think about how you like to sit. Are you a-feet-tucked-up on-the-chair kind of person, looking for a generous, wide-seated chair, to settle down in? 

Consider what activity you might do while seated and how this might influence the shape of the chair. For instance, would you like it to have a lower arm to rest your elbows or to position your laptop on the side while you catch up on your emails, like our Lyndhurst chair pictured above?

Or maybe you’re after a more upright position, perhaps an armchair like the Sennen with a higher back to support your head and neck while you have a little snooze?

Tisbury armchair in House Clever Velvet Henna

We share the best times when we’re relaxed and sitting comfortably. By adding a pair of upholstered chairs into your living space you can create the perfect spot to sit down and natter with a friend. Choose from our large range of occasional armchairs, all beautifully designed and handmade in Britain.

When you want to perch on something practical yet pretty, consider the compact Tisbury, with its shallow seat, curved, buttoned back and elegant Howard arms. A refined chair, perfect as an occasional chair for guests or to use in a bedroom or a hallway as a comfortable place to collect your thoughts or kick off your shoes.

With its inspiration drawn from the elegant chairs found in gentlemen’s clubs in 1930s France, the Montmartre chair is both stylish and snuggly comfortable. It’s the perfect little chair for sharing conversations over an after dinner digestif.

Cooksbridge armchair in Cloth 21 Simple Stripe Bilberry

Carve out a special place to sit and share stories with the little people in your life – in the bedroom, the sitting room or even in the heart of the home, the kitchen. The Cooksbridge chair, with its deeply cushioned seat and back, will have them clambering onto your lap, begging for ‘just one more’!

Harwood armchair in William Morris Willow Boughs Cream Pale Green

A handcrafted accent chair can find a place in virtually any room, even in a bathroom if space allows, and is the perfect piece of furniture to add additional interest to a room layout. Use it to fill an awkward corner or to introduce a pattern or a contrasting pop of bold colour. 

The sophisticated Harwood chair with its low sprung back and elegant self-piped detailing, shown here in William Morris Willow Boughs in Cream Pale Green, is the epitome of an elegant statement piece.

Adding a chair to a bedroom is both practical and helps to create a relaxing atmosphere. A convenient place to lay out outfits for a night out, or for the following day, but also a visual reminder to take your time, and enjoy the repose that comes from your own little sanctuary. The Rothermere plays these myriad roles effortlessly with its visually striking design and deep seat.


How do I measure my space for an armchair?

By measuring your space accurately ahead of time, you can avoid any delivery difficulties or a situation where your armchair doesn’t look quite how you had expected. When you’ve decided where you would like to place your new piece of furniture, clear the space and measure the available width, depth and height.

Be sure to factor in any features such as window ledges or shelves (for armchairs in alcoves) or overhead lampshades (for reading chairs). Then, use the dimensions provided for each of our armchair models to ascertain whether a particular style will fit in the space provided.

Thinking carefully, too, about the space you have available will help you choose the right bespoke chair. Where space is limited, consider a smaller accent chair, such as the classic Thistle. This lovely traditional armchair has slender, low scroll arms, a fixed seat and elegantly turned legs.

If space allows, why not introduce a snuggler where you can sit together sharing stories or putting the world to rights.


Abbotsbury Snuggler in Linwood Freya Mineral Contrasting Scatters in Cosmos Mineral Rugs supplied by Rugs of Petworth Landscape
Abbotsbury snuggler in Linwood Freya Mineral with contrasting scatters in Cosmos Mineral


Tailoring your armchair to your home

Finding the perfect armchair for your home deserves bespoke attention. When you visit one of our nationwide showrooms, or indeed browse our ranges online, you’ll be met with myriad fabric options to upholster your new favourite seat.

Our design consultants can provide personalised advice to help you select the perfect fabric. For an accent piece, a patterned fabric in a variety of textiles can be especially striking. Here, you can discover our exclusive collaborations with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and the V&A which create stunning focal pieces.

For armchairs shared by the whole family, our stain-resistant fabrics effortlessly balance style and practicality, while authentic Harris Tweed offers an enchanting country-cottage feel. Beyond this, tailor your armchair with your choice of cushion interiors, custom scatter cushions or wooden legs in varying finishes.


The right handmade bespoke chair for you

Firm and upright, wide and generous, compact and elegant or low and squishy – we can help you create exactly the right chair for you. Each of our upholstered chairs are handmade to order, so that every detail can be chosen by you. 

And with thousands of fabrics to choose from, including patterned florals and stripes, beautifully plain weaves and velvets with a luxurious texture, buying an armchair with Sofas & Stuff means creating the perfect bespoke design for your home. Add a side table or a reading light and you’ll have your own special place to keep coming back to, time and time again.

If our buying guide has whetted your appetite to find the perfect chair why not book a free design consultation to start exploring the options, or visit one of our Sofas & Stuff showrooms and chat with our friendly and knowledgeable design consultants about how the investment of a British made, bespoke armchair could give you a chair of your own.



Incorporating an armchair or two into your living room is a satisfying way to give your layout a balanced feel. While interior design is always up to personal interpretation, it can be helpful to first consider the shape and lines of your sofa in order to select an armchair silhouette that complements them – for example, selecting a curved style, or a style with a similar arm shape.

When it comes to the upholstery of your armchair, there are a number of ways you can approach this. One is to select the same upholstery fabric as your existing furniture, creating matching sofas and armchairs. Alternatively, choose a fabric that uses the same colourways in different shades, or fabrics in complementary hues or patterns.

The best upholstery for your armchair depends largely on your lifestyle and décor preferences, as well as its usage in your home. For a luxurious feel blended with durability, consider a wool fabric. If you’re seeking a patterned fabric for an accent chair, cotton or linen might carry this best.

For homes with pets or children, a stain-resistant or easy-clean fabric offers resilience, ensuring your armchair remains both beautiful and practical.