Mechanisms, upholstery & measuring

Chair mechanisms


The leading UK riser-recliner chair manufacturers all use similar industry-leading UK-made metal component motorised actions as the mechanical foundation for their designs, with designs differing largely by reason of stylistic upholstery choices.


A range of different mechanisms are available with different features intended to meet differing needs - these generally relate to precise movements of the chair, angles achievable in terms of the chair seat and back, and user-weights.



Manufacturers tend to keep a current stock selection of fabrics which changes over time - but the selections can be extensive and chairs can even be covered in a customer’s own choice of fabric if this is what the customer requires (provided that relevant fabric is in fact suitable for heavy-duty use as chair upholstery). Standard ranges of fabrics are generally luxurious, non-stretch velvet or tapestry types; but man-made leather and suede textures and real leathers are also available as standard specifications.

Apart from standard ranges of fabrics and materials, there is also a very extensive range of performance features relating to pressure care / pressure distribution  which can be of vital importance where a user has either any particular pain-sensitive condition, or susceptibility to pressure sore problems (typically because of spending long periods of time in the same seated position, with limited opportunity/capacity to move around). Solutions will usually result from a combination of using both pressure relief interior upholstery foams, gels or other technology, coupled with specialist resilient two-way stretch fabrics that are usually waterproof and breathable/vapour-permeable.

Measurements & measuring


There are five principal component measurements which should be taken into account when assessing someone’s needs for a suitably supportive chair: seat width; seat height (the measurement from floor to top of seat surface); seat depth (the measurement from front of the seat along the seat surface all the way to the back of the seat); arm height (from seat horizontal); and overall back height (which affects cushion positioning). The best manufacturers always treat these components as separate items of equal and individual importance. This is labour-intensive from a manufacturing point of view - with each and every single chair built according to any required combination of the variable measurements - but it is the only way to do the job thoroughly and properly. Individuals are not all the same size, shape and proportion, and size, shape and proportion-matching are critical for proper support in seating.


Most riser-recliner chair manufacturers are more interested in minimising manufacturing costs and thereby maximising profit margin, rather than in providing a solution which is best for the end-user. Like ourselves with beds, the manufacturers we work with in seating have user- ‘best interests’ and satisfaction as the priority. It is actually quite easy to tell whether a chair manufacturer is profit-driven or user-needs-driven:


Where a manufacturer offers a product range that is based on solutions which are simply scaled-up or scaled-down, that is to say something like ‘small’, ‘medium’, ‘large’, ‘extra-large’ etc, you know you are dealing with a manufacturer that is driven decisively by production cost considerations and not primarily by user-needs.


Almost everyone will have spent some time trying to sit (inevitably ‘slouch’?) on a chair or sofa with completely the wrong size seat depth (almost always where the seat depth is far too long for the thigh, so that the lumbar region / base of your back is not at rest up against the upright of the seat back) - and will have felt the resulting ache, discomfort and sense of restlessness afterwards. Long-term exposure to such inappropriate seating will unfortunately result in long-term problems - and the more hours that are spent in such conditions, the greater those problems will be. No two people are exactly the same, and particularly where an individual requires specialist seating for any reason, spending extended time sitting in a chair which is the wrong will size will only result in difficulties: health problems are the inevitable result and true cost of an inappropriate 'seating solution' - existing musculo-skeletal problems will worsen, or new ones will emerge if there were none to begin with!


Note that different manufacturers measure their chair designs in different ways - so before making any decision to invest in a riser-recliner chair we strongly recommend that you are measured by someone who has been professionally trained to measure the particular type of chair you are considering. We routinely have a comprehensive selection of chair types and sizes from the leading chair manufacturers at our assessment centre for immediate try-out and measurement (visits by appointment only) - the first step is to talk to us about your needs.  



Friary Business Centre, 18 Friary Road


NG24 1LE


If you wish to talk about your needs or any of our product solutions,  please call us or e-mail:


01636 525164 01636 525164


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