Picking the right office chair

Eight things to keep in mind by Teja Lele Desai

So what should you look for when shopping for a chair for your home office? We have eight tips to make the choice easier:

The design

High-end chairs tell your customers that you are a cutting-edge, luxury brand. Traditional office chairs can speak volumes about the classic nature of your business. Leather tends to convey corporate, closed board-room style; mesh and/or aluminium chairs say modern, fresh and young.


This typically plays a central role in office chair purchase decisions, and that’s a good thing. Studies show that paying attention to this factor can go a long way toward decreasing repetitive work injuries and even the amount of sick time employees take for head, shoulder, back and arm pain. The easiest way to begin your search is by looking for a chair that is easily adjustable, especially in terms of height and seat tilt.

Overall comfort

Just because an office chair offers tons of ergonomic features — or a lot of extra bells and whistles — doesn’t necessarily mean it will feel great. This is why buying a chair without testing it is risky. One that promises lumbar support, for example, can be either highly comfortable or highly uncomfortable depending on the placement, firmness and adjusting level of the support.


Employees and workspaces come in all sizes, and office chairs need to accommodate them all. Generally, a chair’s seat should measure 15 to 17 inches from the back to the chair’s front edge. It must be long enough to fit you in comfortably. The same goes for seat width. A seat should be wide enough for your thighs to fit easily without touching the armrest bases. About 18 inches is a typical width for seats that work for a variety of users.

Base stability

One of the most overlooked considerations when buying an office chair is simple yet fundamental: the chair’s base. First, you can choose from chairs with wheels or no wheels. Ergonomically, wheels are recommended for ease of movement at the workstation, but a good swivel chair can also provide that addition.

Overall durability

Office chairs can be a significant investment, so consider overall durability. After all, chairs are usually daily workhorses, and if you must choose wisely upfront. Check for durability, strength and stability in areas such as: chair base, armrest, seat back, tilt mechanics, casters, foot ring, swivel system and long-term seating impact.

The padding

Many ergonomic specialists recommend variants that have padded edges on all sides and a front edge that is rounded. This type of padding helps protect a user’s blood circulation to their legs. But, as with many office chair features, remember that not all padding is created equal. Look for padding that is designed to allow air circulation. Test for firmness, too, as chairs that are too soft can cause back muscle strain and fatigue.


Most people, when choosing fabric for an office chair, consider how well it will match the office décor and how it relates to personal likes/dislikes. But you may also need to consider whether or not the fabric is breathable and easy to clean. Cloth is one of the most breathable fabrics; fabrics like vinyl and leather tend to trap body heat and reduce air circulation.

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