Comfortable Upholstered Chairs: A Buyer’s Guide
You’re in the showroom, and you have your pick from a seemingly endless array of upholstered chairs. Now what?
- Know the basic easy chair styles, and choose the one that fits your personality. Popular options include overstuffed – a full, comfy look achieved by covering the frame with generous fill or stuffing; exposed frame – an elegant style in which parts of the frame are exposed, such as the legs, arms, or back; and tight back – a sleek, more formal design that features a firm, tautly upholstered back.
- Look for a chair that pairs well with the furniture you already have. It’s perfectly acceptable to mix and match – just seek out a chair with a style that complements your existing furnishings. Use fabric or color samples to find upholstery styles that work well together, and look for a chair with proportions that are similar to other chairs or sofas in the same room. Select a chair with classic lines, which will blend in easily with any design scheme – formal or casual, country or contemporary.
- Choose a sizable chair to give a room dramatic focus. An oversized chair will add character and visual interest to a space that’s grand or small. In fact, choosing a few large-scale furnishings – rather than several diminutive chairs and tables – will actually make a small room seem bigger.
- Have a seat. Test out a few chairs, and learn to recognize the features that make them feel comfortable to you. Is the padding too hard, too soft, or just right? Also, consider how well the chair fits your particular build, choosing a higher seat if you are long-legged, for example. The height of the arms, the pitch of the back, and the support under your knees should feel right for your body.
- Look for a chair with a solid structure. The best chairs have frames that are made of kiln-dried hardwood, and that are joined with firm dowels (metal, plastic or wooden pins often used for support on chairs), or with a combination of glue, staples, and/or corner blocks. A frame made with glue or staples alone will not prove stable in the long run.
- Touch. The chair’s upholstery should feel good to you, and it should also be durable. Leather, woven wool, tapestry, and upholstery-weight velvet are proven to be wearable.