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Finding the right size armchair

Finding The Right Size Armchair Panel

Selecting the right armchair goes beyond aesthetics. For older adults seeking to maintain independence or for families seeking comfort and support for their loved ones, an armchair can be an essential piece of furniture.

Common scenarios and concerns

Lifestyle and equipment options to help you

Your height and size:Ensures proper leg support and overall comfort.

Measure your seat height preference and choose an armchair with a seat depth that allows your feet to rest flat on the floor with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.

Armrest height and style: Supports getting in and out of the chair.

Opt for armrests that are level with your elbows when seated for optimal comfort. Consider padded armrests for additional support.

Chair back height: Provides head and neck support.

Choose a chair back that reaches at least shoulder height, ideally offering headrest support for ultimate comfort.

Seat depth:Offers optimal back support and comfort.

Aim for a seat depth that allows you to sit back comfortably with a slight space between the back of your knees and the chair.

Chair width:Ensures comfort and ease of movement.

Choose a chair wide enough to accommodate your frame comfortably while still allowing you to stand up easily.

Rise assist features (optional): Can be helpful for those with limited mobility.

Consider lift chairs or recliners with a power lift function to assist with standing up.


Why is armchair size important?

An armchair that's the right size can significantly impact your comfort and well-being. Here's how:

  • Improved posture: A chair with proper dimensions allows for proper leg support and back alignment, reducing strain and promoting good posture.
  • Enhanced comfort: The right size ensures your body is well-supported, minimising aches and pains.
  • Increased safety: A chair that's easy to get in and out of reduces the risk of falls and injuries.
  • Maximised independence: A comfortable and supportive armchair allows for longer periods of sitting without discomfort, fostering independence for daily activities.

Things to consider when choosing a new armchair

Your height and size

  • Seat height: Measure the distance from your bent knee to the floor. This will be your ideal seat height for comfortable leg support. Most standard armchair seat heights fall between 16 and 20 inches.
  • Seat depth: Choose a seat depth that allows your feet to rest flat on the floor with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. This ensures proper leg support and avoids pressure buildup behind your knees. Standard seat depths typically range from 16 to 22 inches.

Armrest height and style

  • Armrest height: Ideally, armrests should be level with your elbows when you sit comfortably with your back supported. This allows for relaxed arm placement and additional support when getting in and out of the chair.
  • Armrest style: Consider padded armrests for enhanced comfort, particularly if you spend extended periods in the chair. Opt for wider armrests if you require additional support when transferring from sitting to standing.

Chair back height

  • Back support: The chair back should reach at least your shoulder height, providing adequate support for your back and neck. For ultimate comfort, consider chairs with headrest support.

Additional things to consider

  • Rise assist features: For individuals with limited mobility, consider lift chairs or recliners with a power lift function. These chairs offer a motorised mechanism to assist with standing, promote independence, and reduce the risk of falling.
  • Try before you buy: Whenever possible, visit a furniture store and try out different armchairs. Sit in them for a few minutes to assess comfort, ease of entry and exit, and overall support.

Where to buy equipment to help you sit down and get up

Plymouth City Council, NHS Devon, and Livewell Southwest have jointly commissioned NRS Healthcare to deliver the Safe+Well service, and they have over 2,500 daily living aids that you can purchase by mail order, telephone, or online.

View the Plymouth Safe+Well website

NRS has a dedicated phone line with a trained team of specialists who can answer any questions you might have. Just call 0345 6461860.

Other places to buy equipment from:

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  • Free assessment tool: Select the area of difficulty that is relevant to you. You will then be asked a few questions to guide you towards helpful daily living aids. 
  • Free telephone advice line: Complete the online form, and we will contact you to arrange a convenient time to call.



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