23rd February 2018

A Guide to Rise and Recline Armchairs

When it comes to shopping for rise and recline armchairs, there are various factors to consider. These typically include: how exactly you’d like the chair to move, what kind of backrest style you’ll want, material choice, and whether you’ll need any pressure care.

It’s an awful lot to take in, so we’ve broken it down into chunks.

Motor Action

Most rise and recline armchairs offer three different kinds of motor action:

1. Single motor with tilt-in-space
2. Dual motor
3. Dual motor with tilt-in-space

A single motor armchair means that the recline movement in the legrest and the recline movement in the backrest are linked. This means that as you raise the legrest, the back reclines slightly. For the majority of, this is a very comfortable position, however, if you have breathing difficulties or need to take your meals in the chair, it might not suit you.

If you would like to operate the legrest and backrest separately, then a dual motor is for you. A dual motor offers more control, so if you would like to recline your back and head, but would rather your feet stayed flat on the floor, you’d simply use the hand controls to move one part of the chair and not the other.

Backrest Style

The following backrest styles are available for our Chatsworth and Wendover Chairs, but are common styles you might stumble across elsewhere.

Waterfall back

Exceptional comfort and positioning when seated; the three fibre-filled pillows can be adjusted to suit individual needs, while the generous wings support the cushioning and in turn the seated individual.

Soft back

A traditional, softly cushioned back that provides comfort and support with classic buttoning as a design feature.

Firm back

This style of buttoned backrest provides more structured support and positioning than the fibre-filled cushion styles, for those users that prefer a more definitive seated position.


An adaptable, three pillowed back with removable cushions that can be positioned to accommodate back posture. The central break is particularly beneficial for back problems, as pressure is relieved when sitting for long periods.

Split back

A stylish yet supportive back with two adjustable fibre filled cushions for comfort.

With all our chairs, you can choose to add an additional neck rest. These simply hang from the back of the chair and help keep your head more upright.


With most chairs, you’ll have a wide selection of materials to choose from. As well as the obvious things, like whether you want fabric or leather, and your preferred pattern or colour, you’ll be able to specify whether you want your material to be standard, breathable or washable.

1. Standard material, which is usually available in a wide range of colours and patterns. Some rise and recline chair manufacturers also produce non-specialist seating, such as sofas and static chairs. This can be beneficial if you want all your furniture to match, as they can use the same material.

2. Breathable – this allows the air to fully circulate, preventing a build-up of excess body heat. This might be preferable if you’ll be sitting in the chair for long periods at a time.

3. Waterproof – for easy cleaning of leaks or spills.

Pressure Relief

To avoid a painful posterior, some people opt for specialist pressure relief with their chairs. You can achieve this in two different ways.

1. In-built
Your chair will come with a pressure-relief cushion in the seat. This could either be in the form of memory foam or a honeycomb-structured gel, which evenly distributes the pressure. The main benefit of this is that it’s very discreet. The pressure relieving cushion is stitched into the seat itself and covered with the same fabric – you wouldn’t know it was there.

2. Cut-out
Placing a pressure-relieving cushion on top of an armchair’s standard seat cushion would result in a very high and uncomfortable position. So, if you have a specific pressure relief cushion that you would like to use, for example an alternating air cushion (which is controlled by an electronic pump), you can choose to have a cut-out area of your chair seat to accommodate it. The benefit of this is that you can use your own specialist cushion and take it with you wherever you go. However, the overall aesthetic might not be as desirable.

If you’d like to chat to one of our showroom team, they’ll be happy to take your call. You can speak to Elizabeth or Linda on 01473 741 144. Alternatively, why not come and see us? Our Ipswich showroom is open from 8-4 Monday to Friday, and we’ve got a wide range of chairs for you to try out.


Sarah Colley

Marketing Manager
Sarah joined the Felgains team in December 2017, after gaining valuable and varied experience in the education and leisure sectors. She also tried her hand at being a cowgirl once, in a one-road town called Anaconda in the Rocky Mountains. Only for six weeks, though. The boots didn't suit her. Nowadays, when she's not penning blogs or directing photo shoots, she can usually be found exploring the countryside with her beloved whippet, Louie.

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