What kind of armchair draws you to it? Is there a type you can’t resist sitting on? Do you feel compelled to rest your elbows gently on its arms while sinking back and fully experiencing the depths of its comforts?
That’s the kind of armchair we all desire, isn’t it? The cosy, supportive friend who’s got your back and whom you can rely on to soothe you at the end of a hard day…
Our love for armchairs goes back a long way – some 5,000 years in fact, when they were first used by the Ancient Egyptians for ceremonial purposes. But humans in general were slow to sit down comfortably – mainly using benches or even stones up until the 1500s.
Seats of bishops
The word ‘chair’ comes from the Latin ‘cathedra’, meaning seat – which itself originates from the Greek for ‘throne’ or ‘chair of a teacher’. That’s how cathedrals got their name, as they were the seats or chairs of bishops.
Possibly the oldest chair in use in England is St Augustine’s Chair in Canterbury Cathedral, in which archbishops have been enthroned for the past 700 years. Not the most comfortable of chairs, being made of Purbeck marble, but certainly impressive, carved with deep panels throughout. It is said to be the only surviving marble chair in the country dating back to the Middle Ages.
It seems that people are also prepared to pay a small fortune for the armchair of their dreams. The world’s most expensive armchair ever sold at auction, known as the Dragons’ Armchair, fetched a humungous $28.3 million (circa £20.5 million) at an event held by Christie’s in Paris’s Grand Palais in 2009.
Designed by Irish-born architect and designer Eileen Gray between 1917 and 1919, the “Fauteuil aux Dragons” has a lacquered wooden body in the shape of two dragons, with their tails extending around to the back. The dragons’ heads are carved into the armrests. The seat is covered in brown leather today but was originally created in white.
Comfort, of course, is another most sought-after commodity in an armchair. One chair that became associated with the phrase “the most comfortable armchair in the world” was the 6250, launched by British firm G Plan in 1962.
Five years later, it was also to become one of the most infamous armchairs ever – recognised by millions as supervillain Blofeld’s chair in the Bond movie ‘You Only Live Twice’. Who could forget actor Donald Pleasance’s evil presence as he sat in the swivel chair stroking his white Persian cat? The original chair from the Bond film set was sold at auction for $16,000 (around £11.6k) in 2014.
Choosing a chair
So when it comes to choosing your own armchair, what should you consider? Well first, whether it’s an accent piece or a focal point, you’ll want it to complement the décor of your interior and the furniture you already have. Do you want something more traditional or does your home have more of a contemporary vibe?
How much space do you have for the chair? Do you want something smaller for a bedroom, or a large comfy statement chair by the fireside in a living area? Will the chair be part of a sociable space for guests to sit and relax, or used to simply fill up excess hall space?
Quality and comfort are also key considerations of course. If you are going to spend on an armchair you love, you’ll want it to be well built so that it will last and have padded or well-sprung cushioning that will remain comfy but also robust.
Here at LRI, our collection of occasional chairs offers something for every situation. All our designs are exclusive, classic and have a contemporary feel to suit today’s stylish homes. Each of our armchairs makes a style statement but one that is subtle enough to work for most décor schemes, so if you’re looking for an armchair to love, here’s our selection…
Measurements: H84cm x D69cm x W69cm
Perfect for: Bedroom, hallway, small spaces
Our small Annabelle armchair has soft, rounded curves and a subtle contemporary nailhead trim. Perfect for a bedroom or as a pair in a sitting room, the pretty and petite Annabelle is upholstered in our classic Belgian linen and has a sprung cushion for comfort with button detailing. It is available in either oatmeal or dove grey.
Measurements: H79m x D78cm x W73cm
Perfect for: Bedroom, hallway, living room
The Arthur armchair is bigger and boxier than the Annabelle but still has the contemporary nailhead trim and shapely slant to the arms. It's a supportive and comfortable chair with a padded seat and sleek good looks. It's available in oatmeal or dove grey linen upholstery.
Measurements: H103cm x D89cm x W83cm
Perfect for: Open-plan living area, entrance hall, master bedroom – anywhere there's room for it
Super-sized and super-stylish, the Aston is our grandest armchair and has definite wow factor. It's almost big enough for two but you might not want to share it! The winged back provides a sense of protection but the chair itself looks openly inviting, with its clean, contemporary lines and silver studded trim. It's available in dove grey and oatmeal linen.
Measurements: H96cm x D63cm x W67cm
Perfect for: Living room, conservatory, boudoir
Ooh la la... what can we say? The Louis oozes French style and sophistication with its beautifully carved weathered oak curves, shapely arms and legs and padded armrests. It's one of our most popular armchairs so tends to sell out very quickly. We have a button-back version (pictured above) or a plain back (pictured in dove grey below). The French-style Louis chairs (plain backs) will be available to pre-order again in mid-August.
Measurements: H77cm x D89cm x W89cm
Perfect for: Living room
The name says it all... the Heavenly armchair is designed to complement our Heavenly sofa but would take pride of place even on its own. It has a solid boxy weathered oak frame, well-sprung padded cushioned seat and stylish deep buttoned detail. The brass studding around the front and sides adds to its luxurious feel. Available in our finest oatmeal Belgian linen upholstery.