6 of the best recliner sofas

We cordially invite you to put your feet up with our list of the best recliner sofas, featuring lovely leather, retro shapes, and you’d-never-know-it-was-a-recliner

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Choosing a new sofa? There are two ways to put your feet up: figuratively, and literally. And while the former, with all its email-silencing, gin-sipping, blanket-donning implications can be just as good, we have a bit of a soft spot for the latter. That’s why we’ve been having a think about what makes the best recliner sofas, so that you can get in on it too.

Which sofa size?

In the first instance, that means finding a recliner sofa that’ll work for you and your living room in practical terms. Depending on the size and design of your living room, plus the size of your family, you may want to go for a two seater, a three seater, or even an oversized corner unit that gives everyone room to pile on (although fair warning, you may regret that one when you wind up with stinky socks or dog breath in your personal space!).

Which sofa reclining mechanism?

Your choice of reclining mechanism comes down to manual or electric, so the main thing you’ll need to think about is whether you’d rather use the hopefully infinite resource of your own elbow grease, or save yourself a little strain with an interior motor. 

Which sofa upholstery fabric?

The other big choice is sofa fabric. Most recliner sofas on the market tend to be made out of leather, and we can’t say we’re surprised – there’s just something so luxurious about the look and feel of a natural leather sofa. It’s not just brown or black anymore though, and our picks come in a rainbow of shades from traditional deep chestnut to trendy cognac, contemporary white to decadent oxblood.

However, if you’re putting your sofa in a room that varies in temperature, such as a conservatory or draughty period living room, leather may not be the best choice as it tends to feel sticky on hot days and chilly on colder ones. If that’s the case, or you simply prefer the look and feel of woven fabric, our G Plan and John Lewis picks, below, offer lots of different designs to choose from with nary a tanned hide in sight.

Nicoletti Movimento Leather Power Recliner

1. Nicoletti Movimento Leather Power Recliner 3 Seater Chaise Sofa with Power Headrests

With sleek lines and two-part reclining, this is the best seat in the house

Best for: Sleek look
Material: Leather
Size: H74 x W275 x D110cm
Manual / Electric: Electric
Reasons to buy
+Unusual chaise configuration+Extending power headrests
Reasons to avoid
-White leather is liable to mark

This reclining chaise sofa offers all manner of options for ultimate relaxation. The ‘power headrests’ sit flat to the top of the individually reclining seats when not in use, giving the sofa a low-profile, elegant look, and then cleverly emerge when the touch sensitive dual motor power recliners are activated. The inclusion of a longer chaise element makes this one for proper weekend slobbing, giving you full license to stretch out when a lean-back recliner just isn’t quite cutting it.

Nicoletti Lusso Leather Power Recliner Corner Sofa

2. Nicoletti Lusso Leather Power Recliner Corner Sofa with Power Headrests

Power recline and space for all the family makes this unit a real crowd-pleaser

Best for: The whole family
Material: Leather
Size: H91 x W198 x D99cm
Manual / Electric: Electric
Reasons to buy
+High capacity+Corner unit saves space
Reasons to avoid
- Not everyone gets their own footrest 

If you’re looking for a recliner sofa that doesn’t look like a recliner sofa, this elegant unit might be worth some consideration. The recliner corner sofa isn’t the most common configuration out there, but if you have a large family or entertain frequently, and find yourself a bit stuck for space, it’s ideal. This sofa shares the power headrests and low-effort reclining of our first pick, but ups the capacity, and nixes any potential bulkiness with dainty tapered feet that create visual space underneath.

World of Leather Sanza 3 Seater Leather Power Recliner

3. World of Leather Sanza 3 Seater Leather Power Recliner Sofa with Power Headrests

Look no further for luxury leather, unusual accents and retro vibes

Best for: Style
Material: Leather
Size: H76 x W198 x D99cm
Manual / Electric: Electric
Reasons to buy
+Amazing retro look+Unusual design features
Reasons to avoid
-No good for a traditional space

What was that we were saying about recliners that don’t look like recliners? For a low-key addition to the living room, this retro three-seater sofa ticks all the boxes. The very definition of sleek, its low profile seats extend at the headrest and footrest for a surprisingly expansive recline, but you’d never know it when it gets popped back into place. We’re quite taken with the ‘honey yellow’ cognac shade, and the angular silver feet are a delightful and unusual touch.

G Plan Hirst Power Recliner Large 3 Seater Sofa

4. G Plan Hirst Power Recliner Large 3 Seater Sofa

Look to the classic brand for a cosy, comfortable and good-looking sofa

Best for: Cosy
Material: Fabric
Size: H105.4 x W199.7 x D100cm
Manual / Electric: Electric
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable high seat backs+Warmer and cosier than leather
Reasons to avoid
- Perhaps a little old-fashioned looking 

The only non-leather option on our list, this large three-seater G Plan Sofa is a good aesthetic choice for more traditional or rustic schemes. The speckled tweed-look fabric in a range of calming colours adds texture and interest and, a far cry from leather, feels warmer and cosier to the touch on those cold days when you want nothing more than to kick back in front of the TV. The seat back cushions come up higher than you might expect, but this offers consistent support along the whole length of the spine for ultimate comfort.

 John Lewis Carlisle Medium 2 Seater Power Recliner

5. John Lewis Carlisle Medium 2 Seater Power Recliner

Simple lines + endless customising options = a suits-all sofa

Best for: Options
Material: Fabric/leather
Size: H88 x W180 x D101cm
Manual / Electric: Electric
Reasons to buy
+Endless options for customisability+Neat, compact two-seater
Reasons to avoid
-Shape is a little boxy

With a frankly ridiculous number of colours, patterns and fabrics to choose from, this John Lewis sofa is the ultimate customisable recliner. From beautifully saturated solid shades to reserved traditional checks, sumptuous wool or velvet to stately jacquard, there are hundreds of ways to make it your own, meaning it really is ideal for every space. Other than that, it’s reasonably straightforward! It’s simple and neat with room for two, and like our G Plan sofa, it has higher than average back cushions which are generously filled for support and comfort.

Fareham 3 Seater Reclining Sofa

6. Fareham 3 Seater Reclining Sofa

There’s nothing like sinking into a luxury leather sofa, and this is the most luxurious of the lot

Best for: Comfort
Material: Leather
Size: H102 x W194 x D94 cm
Manual / Electric: Manual
Reasons to buy
+Luxurious leather construction+Compact design with high seat backs
Reasons to avoid
- Manual recliner 

While the Fareham three-seater might have our only manual recliner of the lot, we’re sure you’ll be happy to put the effort in for this stately sofa. The top grain leather used to make it is the secret to its success, chosen for its sumptuous buttery softness and durability, and the combination of high-resilience memory foam and polyester fibres has been engineered to make a plush seat that lets you sink in before springing back. It’s on the smaller side as three-seaters go, bucking the trend some of our other picks set by going high rather than long and low, but the result is a traditional-looking and inviting leather sofa.

Still looking for more sofa advice?