Armchair Styles Explained

You need a chair. You need a chair that is comfortable. You need a chair that enables you to avoid sitting beside another person unless you actually want to. This is going to be your chair and it’s going to have arms. Whether they’re for your arms, your drink, your book, your phone, they’re vital for the perfect chair.

But it turns out “armchair” has a lot more variety than you thought and you’re going to need to narrow down your search. You need the keywords that will find you the chair to fit your personality, your aesthetics and your room.

So what kind of armchair do you need?

The Highback Chair

The highback chair marries style and comfort. It can be elegant and eye-catching, whilst providing cosiness and strong back support. Feel free to opt for a footrest as well. Add features like buttons or distinctive turned legs to inject some detail. To make this look work, you’ll be requiring a room with a high ceiling to ensure all looks proportional.  A highback chair will guarantee an upright sit; perfect for reading or pondering. Sit back in your dressing gown, take out your pipe and imagine yourself in 221b Baker Street.

The Wing Chair

So you’re not the librarian type. You want back support but are looking for something with a little more pizzazz.  With “wings” to cradle your head, you can keep the heat where it belongs and keep the cold at bay. Contemporary designs offer curvature, allowing you to take the edge off angular settings. This chair will prove versatile. Deposit it in your hall entrance, use it as a bedroom accent or if the armrests are low enough, sit in it at a large desk.  Lower-backs won’t disrupt the flow of the room so are excellent choices for middle of the room placements. In contrast, taller designs work well in corners.  

Club Chair

So you want a shorter back, and that’s where you get your club chair. With its deep seat, low back and chunky arms, the club armchair is one you’ll immediately want to sink into. Whilst usually upholstered in leather, there are fabric variants out there as well. Though the name suggests gentleman’s club origins, the chair was actually born in France and called “comfy chair”. Still, think whisky and cigar, think club chair.

Mid-Century Modern Armchair

Okay, so the club chair is too bulky for your smaller room.  You’re looking for compact, simple and a sprinkling of retro. A mid-century modern armchair is exactly where to look. The elegant wooden frame and slender legs offer simplicity and clean lines. Comfort comes in the form of single back and seat cushions. The gentle backward tilt will allow gravity to deliver weightless relaxation. There is great variety in colour and pattern so you can capture your taste and personality. A strong contrast between darker wood and lighter upholstery will elevate your interior.

The Throne

No armchair says “I’m the lord of the manor” quite like a throne. It will let your guests and flatmates know who rules the roost. They won’t question you and they won’t complain. “Is that a guillotine in your living room?”  Thrones are fancy and ornate. They impress rather than invite. They intimidate rather than inspirit. This is why it’s such a power move to sit there 24/7, batting your flatmates away with the wrapping paper tube. They are not comfortable and one is never amused whilst upon it but no one else has to know if they never get to sit in it! A throne is unlikely to fit most aesthetics or rooms, but never let that get in the way of your dreams. Buy enough mirrors and pretend you live in The Palace of Versailles.

Womb Chair

If you’re looking for something that particularly hits that mid-century look, a womb chair is the one. Rather than a standard, modular chair, the womb chair flows into one round entity. Light upholstery envelops a sleek chrome frame in this stylish, yet subtle, armchair. Pinched-in arms cradle the bowl-like seat to offer a snug feel.  A matching footstool will complement the relaxed look of this accent chair. Works brilliantly in a modern or contemporary setting.

Barrel Chair

You like them curved and you like them plump. You want something shaped like… a barrel? Yes, you want a cylinder with a cut out for you to sit in and you’re in luck. Barrel chairs are rounded, cushy, and exist without legs in modern designs. The arms and back merge into one piece and curl around the seat to get that perfect barrel-shaped feel. These chairs are super spacious, making them perfect to coil into.

The Recliner

Now there are many styles out there, but nothing says “I could sleep on this” like the recliner. They may take up a bit more space, but if you’re ever at risk of falling asleep on the couch, this is what you need. Tilt the back, put the feet up, and relaaaaax. These upholstered chairs are easy to spot; if it reclines, it’s a recliner. If you fancy cranking things up a notch, go electric. The recliner is a bulky chair so make sure you have ample room to house this beast.

Chesterfield Armchair

If you want something classic then look no further than the original.  The stylish scroll arms of the iconic Chesterfield meet the height of the low backrest, producing a sweeping silhouette. You can complement the buttons-galore display with a nail-headed trim to add sophistication and contrast. Achieve the quintessential look with a dark brown leather upholstery. Why not complete the setting with a Chesterfield sofa to match.