The sofa might be the social centre of your living room, but the armchair is yours, and yours alone.
A personal bubble of comfort, a “favourite armchair” offers more than just a resting place for Netflix bingeing: it’s a stamp of your personality. Velvet wingbacks in vibrant hues, for instance, proudly announce “I own the room”, while boxy club chairs come across as stately, organised, orderly. Contrast this with marshmallow-soft lounge chairs, which simply ripple with relaxation, and you will soon find yourself lost in a world of whimsical designs, fabrics and colour swatches.
But which armchair style suits your personality? And which will look the part in your place? Work your way through our favourite eye-catching designs, below, to get inspired.
An immensely popular design choice, Chesterfield armchairs date back to the 18th-century when the 4th Earl of Chesterfield commissioned the very first model (it’s where the style got its name from).
And these noble beginnings can still be seen today. Their iconic ‘clenched fist’ armrests and firm back support lend themselves to a royal throne-like aesthetic, while deep button studs add texture and tautness.
And while rich brown leather may be the material du jour for traditional Chesterfields, it’s easy to bring your Chesterfield into the 21st century – just add a pop of colour and pattern to proceedings. Our very own Buttercup Amalfi fabric, for instance, is the perfect fabric for brightening up tired Chesterfields*.
From tipped berets to coq au vin, France is famous for putting a chic spin on the simplistic – and so, too, is this true with this French armchair design.
The fauteuil confortable (or “comfortable armchair”) designs are small, and subtle, enough to be incorporated into any living space. Combining short legs with deep seat cushions and so-called ‘moustache backrests’, these armchair styles are ideal if you need to carve out a cosy ready nook in the corner of your living room – or if you just want a comfy, low maintenance place to perch.
Straddling the line between regular armchair and daybed, lounge chairs are the ‘brunch’ of the furniture world.
Sometimes accompanied by a matching footstool, these chair styles are characterised by a wide seat cushion and deep, tilted backrest, providing that "ahhhh" feeling with every sit-down.
Just remember that, due to their width, lounge chairs take up more space than many armchairs, especially when coupled with a footstool. To avoid a cluttered living room (and to give yourself more space to kick-back), place your lounge chair in open spaces, away from bulky sofa suites.
Looking for real comfort? It’s time to recline.
Made famous in the 90s and a perennial favourite today, recliner chairs are luxuriously padded pieces of furniture with a retractable footrest built into their design.
Thanks to their handy reclining function, recliner chairs are ideal for small areas where footstools would look too busy. Along with their practical advantages, reclining armchairs enjoy a dual aesthetic; choose between a demure, upright position or embody the ‘chaise longue’ look while positioned in full recline mode.
With its commanding silhouette and Salvador Dali-esque smooth lines, wing chair styles are as eye-catching as they come.
And yet, despite their modernist look, you may be surprised to learn that they were launched long ago, way back in the 17th-century. Prior to the days of central heating, the only way to stay warm was to cluster around the fireplace. To trap heat and prevent niggling drafts, wing chairs entered the fray.
Looking to keep it classy? Try a wingback chair in the Queen Anne style. This design has hallmarks of a Chesterfield chair – just without the rounded backrest.
Now you know which armchair style to add to your home, you need a matching fabric to really make it pop. Check out our huge range of upholstery fabrics to see which one works for you. Or, if you’re intrigued by recliners, browse our Total Comfort Furniture products.
*Please note, Plumbs can only reupholster certain leather furniture styles. You can find more information about Plumbs’ reupholstering options by having a home consultation.
Sophie is a great granddaughter of the founders of the business - so fabrics and furniture are almost part of her DNA! Her interests include home interiors and upcycling, and her favourite show to watch after work is The Repair Shop. Some of the topics she covers on the Plumbs blog include sofa reupholstery and furniture protection.