Add a warm welcome to any room with our pick of the best cheap armchairs that you don’t have to share
Are you sitting comfortably? If the answer is no, then now might be a good time to treat yourself to a comfy new armchair. Cosier than a sofa, nothing compares to the feeling of being cosseted in a single seater with arms for support or in which to snuggle.
The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get that feeling, with a range of affordable armchairs that will give you as welcoming a hug as any designer furniture. There’s a huge choice of styles, colours, materials and sizes available, so make sure you buy the right one for your space.
Of course, an armchair isn’t just for sitting in. It’s also an easy way to add colour and style to any room, from a lounge to a bedroom, or perk up an unloved corner. Below, you’ll find our buying guide to help you answer all the questions you should ask to find a suitable armchair for your space – and then read on for our pick of the best cheap armchairs you can buy right now.
Best cheap armchair: At a glance
- Best for a bedroom: GFW Pettine Fabric Chair | £140
- Best traditional: Grey Check Fabric Wingback Armchair – Martha | £220
- Best eco-friendly: Marlow Wing Chair Arboretum Print | £479
How to choose the best cheap armchair for you
What size and style of armchair should I choose?
When you’re choosing a cheap armchair, start by asking yourself how you like to lounge. High-backed armchairs typically provide greater back and shoulder support than low-backed chairs, while the latter still provide lumbar support, but can be more versatile in terms of placement. From a style point of view, high-backed armchairs tend to look more traditional, while low-backed chairs give a more casual, contemporary feel.
As well as back height, check the seat height – a comfortable seating position is when your body and thighs form an “L” and your feet reach the floor without excess pressure.
What materials should I choose for my armchair?
Armchairs are available in a range of upholstery choices, some of which will require more care. For example, a leather armchair is durable and may only need a wipe down with specialist cleaner from time to time; however, in the cooler months, it can be chilly to the touch. A velvet armchair doesn’t suffer from that issue, but if it doesn’t come with stain protection, it will require regular cleaning to prevent dirt from becoming ingrained. We’d advise that you request a swatch of the material before you buy. This will enable you to judge the colour and texture with your existing decor, and see how it fares with common stains.
Fillings are an important consideration in terms of an armchair’s longevity and maintenance.
- Foam – This tends to be the firmest, and is used either on its own or alongside other fillings. It can compact, though, so be sure to turn your seat cushion to slow down this process. Density varies, too, so if you’re buying a cheap armchair, make sure the seat doesn’t have too much give. You can also find foam and fibre blends.
- Fibre – Made from polyester strands, fibre is ideal for those who like the feel of sinking into an armchair. However, it will need some plumping to restore its shape. It’s usually added to back cushions and armrests.
- Feather – Filling can be made solely from feathers or a mix of feathers and down, which is softer. It moulds well to your body shape but tends not to spring back after being compressed, so will require regular plumping. Note that it isn’t suitable for those with asthma or feather allergies. There are combinations of feather and fibre available, too.
Check the material from which your armchair’s frame is made, too. Parts that take the weight of your body should be made from hardwood, such as oak or ash, rather than softwoods, which may have limited durability.
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How much should I spend on a cheap armchair?
Depending on the materials you choose, expect to pay at least £150 for a foam-filled armchair. Up to a certain point, the more you pay for one filled with a synthetic material, the better it’s likely to fare for longevity and keeping its shape. Feather-filled pieces tend to cost upwards of £500.
The best cheap armchairs to buy in 2023
1. GFW Pettine Fabric Chair in Teal: Best cheap armchair for a bedroom
Price: £140 | Check price at Argos
Perfect for popping in a bedroom corner or by a dressing table, this plush boudoir armchair is a classic. Featuring a scalloped shell shape and tapered gold-effect legs, it has plenty of padding so you can sit comfortably. And while the low back doesn’t offer much support beyond your lumbar region, it should still suffice for a pleasant hour or two of flicking through a book or magazine.
It’s easily assembled – you simply add the feet – and those who love a coordinated look will be pleased to learn that there are matching bed frames also available in the same colours (Teal, Grey and Royal Blue) as the Pettine chairs. You could even add one to a home office for a shot of glamour at your desk.
Key specs – Upholstery: Polyester velvet; Filling: Foam; Colours: 3 (Teal, Grey and Royal Blue); Dimensions: 67.5 x 64 x 74cm (WDH); Seat height: 49cm
2. Elliot armchair: Best cheap armchair for family homes
Price: From £199 | Check price at Marks & Spencer
This curvy wing-backed armchair is almost guaranteed to work with your existing decor, thanks to its subtle modern shape and great range of plain fabric upholstery. However, the fact that it’s made from durable polyester fabric is just as appealing, meaning you needn’t worry too much about it surviving the rigours of daily life.
A high back makes the chair super comfy, whether for a cosy reading nook or simply as an additional seating option in the lounge. Sleek antique-effect wooden legs are the perfect complement to the choice of fabrics in which it’s available, ranging from warm ochre and botanical green plains to pink, grey and navy velvets.
If you needed any more reason to buy, the Elliot’s sheer versatility for the affordable price point would surely be it.
Key specs – Upholstery: Polyester; Filling: Foam and fibre; Colours: 7 (including velvets and plain colours) Dimensions: 67 x 72 x 77cm (WDH); Seat height: 39cm
3. Grey Check Fabric Wingback Armchair – Martha: Best traditional cheap armchair
Price: £220 | Check price at Furniture 123
Oozing traditional styling, with a winged, buttoned back and scrolled arms, the Martha armchair is an instant classic. Its timeless grey-checked fabric is twinned with a solid wood frame and dark timber legs. In short, it’s everything you’d expect an inviting armchair to be – cosseting, cosy and comfortable.
There’s minimal assembly required (just screw on the legs) and you’re ready to place it in your desired location – whether that’s by a window, in a corner or next to a fireplace. Should the traditional checked pattern not suit your home, it’s also available in three plain fabrics.
Key specs – Upholstery: Woven fabric; Filling: Foam; Colours: 4 (including Beige Bouclé and Mustard Velvet); Dimensions: 85 x 89 x 101cm (WDH); Seat height: 47cm
4. PU Leather Chesterfield Chair in Brown by Livingandhome: Best cheap leather-effect armchair
Price: £350 | Check price at The Range
If you love the look of aged vintage leather but your budget won’t stretch to it, this PU (polyurethane) leather-effect club armchair is sure to tick a lot of boxes. It features elegant turned feet, scrolled arms, a buttoned back and a deep seat; it has a look that will fit as easily in a traditionally styled room as it will in an eclectic industrial space.
Add some colourful cushions for a more modern look, or combine it with a sturdy desk and a banker’s lamp for serious study vibes. One element to be aware of is this armchair’s width – at over a metre wide, you’ll need some space. It’s also pretty weighty at 34kg.
Key specs – Upholstery: Leather-effect PU; Filling: Foam; Colours: 1 (dark brown); Dimensions: 110 x 56 x 72cm (WDH); Seat height: 42cm
5. Marlow Wing Chair Arboretum Print: Best eco-friendly cheap armchair
Price: £479 | Check price at Dunelm
This smart wing armchair might be the priciest in the roundup, but for good reason. Not only is it finished in a stunning Arboretum print, a leafy design created in conjunction with the Natural History Museum, it’s also a sustainable option. The Marlow is made in the UK with responsibly sourced timber, and is filled with recyclable compressed bonded fibre.
As well as sporting a semi wing-back shape and mid-century styling, you get a choice of two leg finishes – light or dark wood – that make it a great fit for a classic or contemporary room. And for even more impact, it’s available in a kingfisher print, and you can also add a matching footstool.
Key specs – Upholstery: Polyester; Filling: Fibre; Colours: 15 (2 patterns, 13 plain colours); Dimensions: 70 x 87 x 86cm (WDH); Seat height: 46cm