Step 1: Determine potential size restrictions for your chair and what your maximum measurements can be if, for example, the new chair will be moved through a narrow doorway or if you’re squeezing it into a tiny living room. This is especially important with recliners, which often must be pulled away from the wall and may block traffic patterns when tilted back.
Step 2: Consider the color carefully because an easy chair will be part of your decor for many years, during which certain color combinations will suddenly become the rage and then, just as quickly, become obsolete. Pick something you can live with for a long time, perhaps a neutral that can be updated with a trendy pillow.
Step 3: Have an idea what type of upholstery you want before you begin shopping. A tough leather may be ideal for a household with pets and toddlers; white cotton could be fine for careful adults.
Step 4: Remember that patterned, two-tone, tweedy and similar multicolor fabric will camouflage soil and stains more effectively than a solid.
Step 5: Test the chair. You and any other household members who will use the chair should sit in it for several minutes to assess comfort.
Step 6: Think about how the fabric’s texture feels as you test it. Scratchy or itchy cloth should be passed by.
Step 7: Examine whether the fabric’s pattern is matched correctly. If it’s a stripe, plaid, big print, etc., the pattern on the back of the chair should line up with the pattern on the cushion and then on down to the front of the seating base.
Step 8: Look at the workmanship of cushion cording. Does it snake around or is it straight?
Step 9: Remove the cushion and look inside. You shouldn’t see wood, just smooth, upholstered surfaces.
Step 10: Turn over the chair and check that the legs are screwed in. The frame should be wood with corner blocks and glue; don’t buy an easy chair with nailed, stapled or unbraced joints, which will loosen and wobble over time.
Step 11: Ask the salesperson about interior construction. A kiln-dried wooden frame and eight-way hand-tied coiled springs are indications of quality.