A blue and yellow tape measure

How to Measure for a Riser Recliner Chair

Riser recliner chairs can be a fantastic comfort and mobility aid for those who need them, but the chair must be the right shape and size. Understanding how to measure for a riser recliner chair is key to getting the best possible product for you.

At Opera Beds, we’re passionate about helping people maintain their independence and mobility, including using riser recliner chairs! To learn more, keep reading, or get in touch!

Why Is Measuring a Riser Recliner Chair Important?

A chair that is too big, too small, or out of proportion for the individual will offer them less support when sitting, reclining, or moving up to standing, and so can increase the risk of injury.

A poorly positioned chair can also be uncomfortable as it doesn’t offer the correct level of support. Chairs that encourage you to slump forward, lean to either side, or lean your head too far back can make conditions like back pain, neck pain, and knee pain worse.

Accurate measurements for a riser recliner chair ensure that it is the right type of chair for you and is supporting you correctly, reducing pressure on your neck, back, hips, and knees to provide a safe and comfortable seating position.

A grey button back riser recliner chair

Which Measurements Do You Need to Take?

Seat Height

Seat height is one of the most important measurements to get right when measuring a riser recliner chair. 

The seat needs to be the right height to ensure it is accessible for the user, and that they can easily get into it. Too low, and the seat will be difficult to get into safely without dropping, which affects their independent mobility and ability to safely use the chair. Too high, however, and the user’s feet won’t be able to sit flat on the floor which can result in pressure on the hips and spine and discomfort as a result.

How to Measure:

With the primary user in a seated position with feet flat on the floor, measure from the ground to the crease at the back of their knee.

Seat Depth

The seat depth of a riser recliner chair affects how well the user’s back is supported - if it’s not right, they are likely to be pushed into an incorrect posture with a slumped back or neck.

If the seat depth is too deep, they may not be able to touch the floor with their feet and will have to lean forward or slump to pick things up or read on a phone, tablet or book. However, a seat that is too short and shallow will not fully support them, and they may feel ‘pushed’ from the seat of the chair when they should be sitting comfortably. Seat depth is particularly important when choosing a chair for an elderly person, as it can give them the right support to maintain their independence and mobility. 

How to Measure: 

The primary user should be seated with their hips and knees at a 90° angle, and with their buttocks against the back of a chair. 

You should measure the length from the back of their knee to the back of the buttocks (not including any pronounced gluteal shelf), and then deduct 1 inch (25mm or 2.5cm in metric).

You should also measure both legs to comfortably accommodate any differences in leg length.

Seat Width

The width of a riser recliner chair is important, as it helps prevent poor posture and slumping to either side, keeping the user’s spine straight and supported, but with enough room to be able to move and reposition themselves when they want to.

If the seat width is too wide, the armrests of the chair can’t offer proper support, and the user is likely to find themself leaning to one side, putting pressure on one side of the body. If it is too narrow, they won’t be able to sink comfortably into the chair seat and may find the arms pressing uncomfortably into their hips.

How to Measure: 

You should measure the primary user across their widest part (usually the hips). You should then add 1 inch (25mm or 2.5cm in metric) to allow for comfortable movement and the addition of any thick clothing or blankets. 

Arm Height 

The height of a chair’s armrests is important to help users get in and out of their recliner chair and let them comfortably rest their arms. The right arm positioning allows users to sit with their arms stabilised, which reduces tension and pain in the neck and shoulders.

If the arm height is too low, the arms don’t have enough support, and can’t be used effectively to sit and stand. If it is too high, the arms and shoulders are pushed up into a hunched position, increasing tension in the shoulders and neck.

Armrest length should also be taken into consideration to fully support the forearm along its length.

A close up of a cream leather riser recliner chair

How to Measure:

The user should sit down and hold their arms comfortably at their side, and then bend their arms at the elbow to create a 90° angle. Measure from the seat cushion up to the underside of the forearm to determine the right height for the armrest. Then, measure the length of their forearm to determine the right armrest length.

Back Height

The right back height for a riser recliner chair is important because this is what will support the head and help maintain proper posture when sitting or sleeping in a recliner.

If the back height is too low, it won’t offer the right level of support behind or to the sides of the head, putting more strain on the neck and shoulders. If it is too high, it can push the head forward, causing the user to hunch and feel discomfort.

How to Measure:

Measuring for back height requires two measurements, both taken when the user is sitting straight. The first is a measurement from the buttocks to the top of the head, and the second is the buttocks to the top of the shoulder.

Measure the Lumbar Spine

Often, custom riser recliner chairs are a great choice for people with spinal abnormalities, as they help to support the spine and are made to measure for your needs.

When measuring the lumbar spine for people with spinal abnormalities, it is recommended that you speak to a professional about the correct measurements for your individual case. The team at Opera Beds are happy to help - just get in touch to find out more.

Get the Right Riser Recliner Chair for you with Opera Beds

At Opera Beds, we have years of experience helping our customers measure for a riser recliner chair to meet their specific needs. Get in touch with our expert team for help measuring your recliner chair, or getting started with picking the perfect riser recliner for you or your loved ones.

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