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Armchairs

Before buying an armchair, consider the following

The higher the seat the easier it will be to get up, but it is important that your feet are still flat on the ground when sitting in the chair or it will be uncomfortable. Make sure that you try the chair with your indoor shoes/slippers on as this will make a difference to the height of seat that you require. Ideally your hips knees and ankles should be at right angles when seated.

The back of the chair should support your spine in a good natural 's' shape - it should not cause you to slouch.

The seat (front to back) should not be too deep. With your back supported, you should be able to bend you knees at a right angle so that your feet can rest flat on the floor without your calves touching the front of the seat. If you need to place any cushions behind your back to achieve this then the seat is too deep.

An armchair with two arms is easier to get out of than a sofa which only has one arm within reach.

Firm armrests that reach right to the front of the seat provide better support when you stand up. Armrests should be the height that is comfortable for you while sitting. If they are too high, your shoulders will be pushed up. Too low and you may need to lean to one side for support.

A high back or fireside chair is usually easier to get out of than the style of armchair normally associated with 3-piece suites. This is because they tend to be firmer, have a higher seat height, and allow your feet to be pushed backwards prior to standing up.

Make sure that the width of the chair is comfortable - not so wide that your arms tend to slip off the armrests, and not so narrow that you cannot wear winter clothes comfortably or put your hand in your pocket. As a guide you should be able to fit your fists between your legs and the sides of the chair.

Make sure that the back of the chair is high enough to support your head. If you intend to snooze in the chair, then wings on the backrest will help support your head. Some chairs have optional neck or head cushions if you need this extra support.

Can the supplier make any necessary alterations to the chair if it is not a good fit? Avoid being pressured into buying a chair that is not a good fit, as adding cushions later is not usually a very satisfactory solution.

Make sure that you try out the chair for as long as possible (at least 15 minutes) and never buy without trying the chair - it may look great in the picture but be quite the wrong size and fit for you. Also, never choose a chair primarily on the basis of its colour or upholstery fabric.

If you already have an armchair that is ideal in every way apart from having a seat that is too low, it might be worth considering chair raisers. They go underneath the legs/casters of the chair and are better than placing an extra cushion on top of the seat. The seat proportions and height of the armrest are all unchanged when the whole chair is raised.