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Contemporary & modern fabric armchairs buying guide

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Ed Hawes
blue velvet armchairs

Not only does an armchair provide extra seating for guests, but it’s also a way of tying a room together and making a stylish statement. And, with just a little bit of imagination, you can create several cosy corners on the landing, under the stairs or in a window alcove to enjoy a good book or just have some much needed ‘me-time’.

Armchairs make a wonderful addition to the home so if you’re thinking about buying one, keep reading this guide which features some helpful armchair buying and styling tips.

What is an Armchair?

An armchair is defined as being a large, comfortable chair with support on each side for you to rest your arms while you sit. There are many different styles and designs of armchairs, with some being big enough that one or even two people can curl up on, some that swivel and some that even recline.

It’s estimated that the chair has been around since the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt in 3100BC. Of course, back then they were only used by those who were incredibly wealthy or of great importance. In fact, it wasn’t until the 16th century that chairs were used more commonly. Until then, most people made do with sitting on chests, benches or stools. So, chairs have certainly come a long way, for which we’re extremely grateful for!

Things to Consider when Buying an Armchair

An armchair shouldn’t be an impulsive purchase. You should take as much time and consideration as you would when buying a sofa. After all, it’s an important piece of furniture that will get used a lot, last for years and help add to the decor of your room so it needs to be right. Here are just some of the factors you’ll need to think about before deciding:

  • The style - do you want something classically traditional or more daring and modern?
  • Comfort - the comfortability of the chair should be a number 1 priority, especially if you know you’ll be spending a lot of time sitting in it.
  • Material and colour - leather or fabric? Bright orange or neutral? It’s important to not rush these decisions and really think about what would suit you and your home best.
  • With or without armrests - Many modern armchairs lack the armrests which is ideal if you’re working with a small space or want to use it for a vanity or office chair.
  • The dimensions - Always remember to take note of the dimensions of the chair so you’ll know for certain if it’ll fit where you intend it to go.

Are Fabric Armchairs a Good Idea?

A fabric-covered armchair is an extremely comfortable and fashionable option with an endless amount of colours, patterns and styles to choose from to suit most homes. Fabric armchairs are typically the most popular because of their variety and comfort. Not only are they softer than leather chairs but they’re also warmer too. They’ll always be at the optimal temperature rather than too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.

However, if you have small children or animals or are prone to spelling things, then leather may be better suited to you as it’s easier to clean. Although, fabric chairs can withstand a bit more wear and tear as it doesn't get scratched in the way that leather does.

Popular Fabrics for Armchairs

When it comes to choosing the fabric for your armchair, it’s important to put comfortability and durability first. You’ll also want to think about the maintenance of the fabric and whether it’s something you will be able to upkeep. Here are some of the most popular fabrics for armchairs:


Velvet armchairs are sumptuously soft to touch, offer beautiful depth and colours and are extremely hard-wearing. They’re perfect for busy households as they are child and pet-friendly and you can be certain that they’ll stand the test of time.


Linen is a tough material and so they offer excellent durability for armchairs. Tightly woven, they have a clean and sophisticated look about them, making them ideal for adult homes. Our linen armchairs are also low-maintenance with any household spills being able to be removed with just water.

Are Armchairs Good for Small Spaces?

Depending on the type and style of armchair you get, they can be fantastic for utilising a small space! While a lot of classic armchairs are unlikely to be suitable, simply because they are designed to be bigger, many modern and minimalistic style armchairs will work wonderfully.

Green velvet armchair

Our modern Model 01 armchairs are nice and boxy with clean lines and space underneath. Measuring 83cm high, 80cm wide and with a depth of 85cm, these armchairs are compact, squishy and designed to look great in everyone’s home.

How to Style an Armchair

Styling an armchair with the rest of your living room furniture can seem a little daunting at first - even more so if you’re a first-time buyer. Which is why people tend to play it safe and opt for a sofa set so they don’t have to think about it. If you’re keen on making a bolder choice for home and want to style your armchair perfectly, follow our top tips below to help you get started.

Contrast colours

Your armchair is a great opportunity for you to introduce some exciting colours into your scheme. If your living room is predominantly yellow, a blue armchair will really be striking and make a statement. Or, if you have mostly neutral tones, choosing a bold colour will add a touch of excitement and unpredictability.

Coordinate patterns

Really like the pattern on your cushions or curtains? Matching the armchair to a pattern already visible will create a serene and put-together home that will be very pleasing to the eye. But, be careful not to over-do it and avoid any clashing.

Think about the flow

If you have a light and airy room, the last thing you want is a big, bulky armchair. It just simply won’t look right. Try to match your armchair with the flow and theme of the room to ensure a perfectly balanced space.

Choose symmetry

Picking out a matching pair of armchairs to place them symmetrically either between or next to sofas will create a beautifully aligned space that’s easy on the eye. Uncomplicated, simple and sophisticated, you can’t go wrong with a bit of symmetry.

Popular Colours for Fabric Armchairs

Choosing the colour for your armchair will depend on the rest of the decor in the room, as well as the aesthetic you’re looking to achieve. For example, if you have a fairly neutral home then choosing a versatile grey armchair may work well. But, if you want to make a statement or add a pop of colour, then something bold such as a blue or green armchair will create an eye-catching piece.

At Swyft, you’ll find a wide range of colours to suit every home. From blue armchairs to grey, green, orange and even pink, turquoise or mustard if you choose our Model 05 loveseats.

Take a look at our range of modern and stylish, fabric armchairs, perfect for every home.

Make sure you also have a read of our top modern and contemporary sofa types and shapes to help you choose the best sofa for your living space.

Armchairs Ottomans

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