There are many different types of chairs, and some chairs and chair designs are more complex than others.
Take a look below at the image of the desk chair. The desk chair in the image is mechanically complex compared to other chair types. On the other hand, the dining chair is simple. The armchair is more complex than other chairs in terms of style and construction.
Because not all chairs are the same, this article on parts of a chair includes three custom diagrams that set out the anatomies of a desk chair, a dining chair, and an armchair.
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Parts of a Desk Chair
A desk chair is an essential piece of office furniture, which is why it is also called an office chair. The anatomy of a desk chair is comprised of two main parts. There’s the seat portion of the chair (see the upper illustration below) and then the base of the desk chair (see the lower illustration below).
- Backrest: The backrest is the chair back, which supports the posture of the person seated in the chair.
- Headrest: The headrest is the upper part of a tall chair back, and supports the head and/or neck of the person seated in the chair. The presence of a headrest on a task chair like a desk chair can help ease neck tension and neck strain.
- Armrest cushion: This is the cushioning on top of the arm of the chair. However, not all desk chairs offer this.
- Arm: A place for the seated person to rest their arms, also called the armrest. Some desk chairs offer adjustable arms/armrests.
- Seat: This is the chair part where you sit. It is usually cushioned. Some are adjustable, allowing the seat height to be tailored to the individual.
- Seat tilt adjuster: This part of the chair allows the seated person to lock the chair back into place, or enables the chair to tilt backward to accommodate the seated person’s posture.
- Seat tilt tension control: This piece adjusts the ease with which the seat back tilts, which is another way to accommodate the sitting position of the person in it.
- Base: The base of a desk chair is typically similar in appearance to a spiderweb, with multiple prongs for stability. It is also similar to a pedestal.
- Casters: This is another word for the wheels on the bottom of a desk chair.
- Arm: The arm is the piece that secures the base of the desk chair to the bottom of its seat.
- Pneumatic Cylinder: The pneumatic cylinder is the piece that enables a chair to adjust upward and downward, adjusting the seat height.
- Spindle: This chair part attaches the pneumatic cylinder to the chair base.
- Swivel: This feature enables the chair to turn 360 degrees.
Parts of a Dining Chair
Typically used in a kitchen or dining room, the anatomy of a dining chair is fairly straightforward. Some dining chair designs may be a tad more complex than other, such as those that include arms. However, the chair design of a dining chair is typically a simple one.
- Top rail: This is the upper rail of back support that ties the stiles of a dining room chair together.
- Cross rail: This is the midway rail for back and stile support. Some dining chairs have more than one cross rail. See our many types of chair backs diagrams here.
- Ear: The tip of the stile that extends above the top rail.
- Stile: These are the vertical support pieces, usually extensions of the rear chair legs.
- Seat: This is the part of the chair where you sit.
- Apron: This is the front bracing piece that supports the seat and ties the front legs together.
- Legs: The legs of the chair support the seat and give the seat height.
- Spindle: This piece helps tie the chair legs together for additional structural integrity.
Parts of an Armchair
The armchair is more difficult in both chair design and construction than a desk chair or dining room chair is. An armchair has an underlying frame, upholstery, legs, arms, cushioning, and outer fabric. See all the parts in the diagram below.
- Backrest: This is the portion of the armchair that you lean against. Without a backrest, an armchair will not be comfortable to sit in.
- Seat cushion: The seat cushion is usually made from soft upholstery material for added comfort.
- Legs: The armchair legs support the chair and keep it elevated above the ground, allowing for a more comfortable chair height. See our types of furniture legs here.
- The frame: This is the most complex portion of an armchair. The chair frame dictates the structure, durability and design of an armchair.
- Top back rail: The top back rail is the piece of an armchair that ties the back to the side rails of the armchair.
- Back stretcher post: The back stretcher post of an armchair is akin to the stiles of a dining room chair.
- Top arm rail: This is the frame portion of the chair arm.
- Side rail: The side rail is the side of the chair frame.
- Front rail: This is the front frame of an armchair.