I’m in dire need of two new office chairs. I have an old one where the faux leather is peeling (looks atrocious but is super comfortable with all the bells and whistles). My other office chair is not bad, but it’s not as comfortable as I’d like. My preference is a very high back, multiple tilt and swivel options, adjustable arms and plush seat. But my preferences may not be your preferences and so we put together this epic desk chair buying guide.
Discover the 31 different types of desk chairs you can buy for your office (home or commercial office) right here. We did the research and set out plenty of options via styles, colors, materials and features.
The right desk chair is very, very important especially if you want your office to look great and more importantly, be comfortable while working.
Our list of the best types of desk chairs
Traditional desk chairs are going to look at home in any home office or in a business situation. While they are available in a number of materials, they command the room no matter what and draw the eye of any visitor. They generally swivel and roll, allowing the user to easily navigate around the room and reach papers on his or her desk without having to get up. In addition, it’s normal for them to come with a pneumatic lift adjustment on the seat so that the user can make it as easy as possible to work at the desk. This type of desk chair is what is typically depicted in the movies and will look great in a bank, in a CEO’s office, or even tucked into a perfectly designed home office.
Modern chairs add a spot of interest and also usually a bright bit of color to an office, keeping the space from being too dull and serious while still offering the comfort and support that a user needs to get the job done. Often in bright colors, these chairs are completely functional but have very different lines than a traditional office chair does. With more exposed metal components, often bright vinyl, and colors such as orange, bright green, and terracotta, this chair is as much of a statement piece as it is a functional piece of furniture and will bright up even the dullest office.
Offering the comfort of a traditional office chair with a little more flair and color, transitional chairs are great for users who need to be able to get the job done but still want to have a little fun while they are working. While you can buy them in neutral blacks and browns, part of the appeal of these chairs is that they come in brighter colors and can be used to accessorize the office without being too much of a focal point. With all of the options of other chairs, including swivel design and strong casters, this chair is as comfortable as it is attractive.
It can be a little more difficult to find an office chair that will fit in a Craftsman-style home but they are worth the hunt. They generally do not come with wheels or the ability to swivel but make up for that with their strong lines, solid wood construction, and attractive outline. There is generally a lot of visual interest with these chairs, including turned legs and attractive upholstery that will stand up to years of use without wearing thin or showing its age. For a truly iconic look, a lighter neutral upholstery with dark wood frame creates a gorgeous chair.
Similar to Craftsman-style chairs in that they are solid pieces of furniture with no moving parts, farmhouse desk chairs offer style and substance. With open lattice in the back, solid wood construction, and a dark finish that will ensure that the chair does not stick out from the rest of the furniture in the home, users can rely on this chair to last for a long time without ever breaking. They do not generally come with upholstery, which can make them difficult to use for longer periods of time, but their classic style more than makes up for that.
A cabin office needs a chair that won’t stick out like a sore thumb and a rustic-style chair is perfect for this situation. With exposed pine that mimics the construction of a log home and faux leather cushions that are right at home in a cabin in the woods, these chairs are solidly constructed, built to last for decades, but still comfortable enough to use on a daily basis. A swivel seat and casters make this chair easy to use even though it is heavier and bulkier than other options.
A home decorated in a mid-century style needs to have a desk chair that matches the rest of the décor or it will look very out of place with the rest of the furnishings. Choosing a desk chair that mimics the rest of the furniture is important and will help to achieve a cohesive look in the home office. With exposed wood, an attractive padded gray seat and back, and legs that mimic the thin style and shape of mid-century modern furniture legs, this chair will fit right into the home office. Comfort isn’t neglected as the swivel seat and adjustable height make it easy for every user to make this chair a comfortable fit while he or she works.
Fashion bloggers, designers, and makeup artists should be able to have a desk chair that matches their personalities, jobs, and lifestyles. Instead of using boring black office chairs that are functional but don’t fit with the rest of the room’s décor, glam desk chairs add a bright spot to the office and allow users to love their chairs’ design as well as their function. Gold finish on the frame makes the chair really pop and stand out from the rest of the furniture and a seat, back, and arms covered in sherpa upholstery make the chair not only very comfortable but also a conversation piece for everyone who enters the office.
The industrial look is all about strong lines, exposed metal, and an eye for detail. Industrial desk chairs can be just as comfortable as other style chairs as long as they offer comfortable upholstery and the ability to adjust the chair. Often armless as this will streamline the appearance of the chair, they tend to come in dark neutral colors that will fit with the rest of the décor choices without standing out as the main point of attention in a room. Hand-stitched details ensure that the chair is attractive and keep it from becoming boring and blending in too much to the background.
Capture the feeling of the island and the tropics with a desk chair that won’t make you feel as though you’re stuck in the office. Made with wicker or Abaca and wood, these chairs make you feel as if you could step outside onto the beach as soon as you are finished with your next meeting but still offer all of the support that you need to make it through the day without back pain. Their lighter wood color looks great in offices decorated with neutrals as bright colors will tend to clash with the natural appearance of the wood.
2. Desk Chair Features
It’s important that you can adjust the height of your desk chair to your desk so that you’ll be as comfortable as possible when working. Not being able to raise or lower your seat can result in a lot of back pain at the end of the day and you will feel as if you are straining to see your computer all day long. Adjustable height is also required if you share an office with another person as it is very unlikely that you would both need the same height chair and having the ability to raise and lower the chair ensures that everyone is as comfortable as possible.
Big & Tall
Small desk chairs don’t offer the support and comfort that larger men need when they are in an office situation so it’s a good idea to buy a chair that caters to comfort and adjustability. Big and tall desk chairs should come with five casters for added support and movement and have tilting options as well as the ability to swivel and raise and lower the seat. All of these features work together to ensure that the chair is as comfortable as possible no matter how long you need to be working in it. Opting for dark leather chairs will improve the appearance and make them even more impressive-looking.
Long days in a desk chair can cause back problems, a sore neck, and wrist problems. The best way to mitigate these issues is to work in a desk chair that is completely supportive and perfectly designed to relieve pressure points and make working as comfortable as possible. With dedicated lumbar support that is built in and guaranteed to last for the life of the chair as well as adjustable arms, swivel, a tilting mechanism, and breathable fabric to keep the user from overheating, these chairs are incredibly comfortable and will support the body during a long work day. While they aren’t the most attractive desk chair option available, they will limit the amount of pain and discomfort the user feels.
While not very common in most offices, kneeling desk chairs are specifically designed to take pressure off of the spine, allow the user to sit with a neutral spine, and ensure that the lumbar region of the back is supported and relaxed. They help to develop core muscles, foster better blood flow, and promote better work. They generally don’t come in a number of styles or color options but their surface is soft and very padded so that the user doesn’t experience discomfort when using this desk chair. Due to their design, they may look a little out of place in traditional or glam office settings.
Back pain is common for people who sit at desk chairs all day long and one of the best ways to combat this issue is to buy a chair that has built-in lumbar support to make sure that you are sitting as correctly as possible. Instead of slouching and allowing your back to conform into a soft leather chair, one that has lumbar support offers you the needed support necessary to keep your spine in the right position. This ensures that you have less back pain, that you can work longer and harder, and that you won’t be stiff when getting up to take a break. Chairs with lumbar support come in a number of styles and will work with most any office.
There’s nothing the same as leaning back in your desk chair at the end of the day and enjoying a few moments before you head to the door. Being able to stretch back a little in your chair allows you to decompress your spine and take a few relaxing breaths before tackling the commute home. It isn’t comfortable to sit completely upright all day long but that’s what a lot of desk chairs require for the people using them. It’s important to be able to shift your position and find a more comfortable way to work. Desk chairs that have a tilting mechanism are the ones that make this possible.
It’s really nice to be able to move freely around the office, grabbing things off of your desk or moving to peek out of the window without actually having to get out of your chair. Having a desk chair with wheels also makes it very easy to push the chair under the desk when not in use and to pull it out with just one hand. For added mobility in the office and so you don’t have to worry about whether or not you will be able to quickly slide over to get something from the other side of the room, a chair with wheels is the best choice.
While wheels make navigating a larger office very easy, if you have a small office or simply prefer finer lines, then you will want to consider a chair without wheels. These often have more design elements such as hairpin legs, lattice work in the back of the chair, and turned legs that will improve the overall appearance of the room. They can be more difficult to pull out from the desk but for many people the improved style will make up for that small frustration. Look for details when buying a chair without legs, such as great upholstery and a stain that matches the rest of the furniture in your office.
Most people move when they think and being able to swivel in a chair offers them that ability. Swivel chairs are also beneficial because they allow workers to easily look in different directions in the office, turn to reach something off of another piece of furniture, or look around while in a meeting. Choosing a swivel chair allows for a lot more movement when behind the desk and ensures that the user can feel a little more free while at work.
For a classic look that is also very streamlined, opt for a desk chair that doesn’t swivel. These generally come in solid wood or acrylic, offer leather or high-end upholstery options, and will instantly update the appearance of the desk and office. While they won’t offer as much movement as a chair with swivel does, they are still very functional and easy to use. They’re ideal for desks that are a little bit smaller as it will be harder to turn and reach when using this type of desk chair.
Designed to help people focus when they want to move during work, ball chairs are a great way to sit at the desk while still being able to move around. They encourage movement but have enough support and a strong-enough top that they can easily hold up to 250 pounds. If they begin to deflate, then it is easy to pump them back up. While not the most ergonomic desk chair available, they have their benefits. They will look out of place in a traditional office but are common in businesses owned by forward thinkers who understand that workers need to be able to move and release energy during the day.
3. Chair Arm Options
Armless desk chairs offer a lot of movement and flexibility but they aren’t as comfortable to use for long periods of time since you can’t rest your arms down at your side. They’re a great choice if you are going to be working on the computer for most of the time at work but not the best choice if you hold a lot of meetings and want to be comfortable while sitting at your desk during them.
Desk chairs with fixed arms offer support when you take a break from working but since they are only at one height, it can be a little tricky to find the right ones for you. As long as the arms are the perfect height for your body type, then you are sure to be very comfortable.
Being able to raise and lower the arms on your desk chair ensures that you are comfortable the whole time you’re working. Unfortunately, this feature is generally only available on more contemporary-looking chairs as traditional wood options won’t have adjustable arms. If you share your desk chair with other users or have problems finding one that is very comfortable, then this is a feature that you may be interested in.
Desk chairs covered with fabric are going to make the whole office appear a little more cozy. They’re generally easy to reupholster if you decide that you want to change the appearance of your chair and are warmer than other options.
Leather desk chairs are a commanding piece of furniture and will make people who come into your office pay attention to you and respect you. Look for leather that has warm undertones so that it will improve the appearance of your office. Leather cleans easily and will last for a long time.
Wood desk chairs are going to be the sturdiest option available but are not the most comfortable choice. If you will be sitting at your desk for most of the day, then you will want to either buy a cushion to help with the discomfort of sitting on solid wood or opt for a chair with different materials to ensure that you don’t have any problems with your back.
Mesh desk chairs are a lot cooler to use than upholstery or leather chairs and since they allow the air to move through them, they are less likely to ever have problems with a musty smell or odor. They tend to form more to the body and often come with built-in lumbar support to ensure that the user is as comfortable as possible. These chairs aren’t very traditional in appearance but their comfort outweighs the design for many people.
You can get the appearance of leather without the price tag when you opt for faux leather but it’s important to make sure that the quality is good. Faux leather chairs come in all styles and can work well in ornate offices with lots of carved wood as well as more modern spaces, depending on the style that you choose.
Plastic desk chairs tend to be a little less expensive than other types but depending on the quality of construction, they will not last as long. While formed plastic can look incredibly modern, it also tends to look cold and informal if not used correctly.
These desk chairs often come in bright colors, are easy to wipe clean, and are fairly comfortable. The problem with vinyl is that it may need to off-gas after you purchase it and it will stain very easily, especially if you drop a marker on the surface.
Office Chair FAQ
Can office chairs be repaired?
Office chairs can be repaired, depending upon their problem. Depending upon the repair needed and the desires of the “repairer”, repairing a chair instead of throwing it out may be a good choice. Common problems worth repairing include the seat cushion, the castors, and the gas cylinder. For example, maybe you decide that your chair is not as comfortable as was when it was new. Office chairs are not designed for extended periods of sitting. This situation may be a good option for repair.
Can office chairs be recycled?
Office chairs are “put together” from many materials. These materials are difficult to separate when the chair has outlived its usefulness. This means that recycling office chairs is not very cost-effective. Consequently, there are not many recycled office chairs on the market. Office chairs are usually made with metal, wood, plastic, fabric, and leather. These materials are likely to cause the old chair to be incinerated or go to a landfill. Recyclers typically do not want to tear the chair apart to see what materials are recyclable.
That said, there may be used office furniture stores in your area that may recycle used office chairs.
The better option is to attempt to donate it, give it away or resell it.
Can used office chairs be sold?
Maybe. If the market for used seating is saturated in your area, you may have trouble getting rid of it. When this is the case, it may be better to find a third party to remove the items, sometimes at no charge. Sometimes, just finding another entity that will spend the time and effort to get rid of the furniture will do.
Are office chairs good for gaming?
They may be good for it, but it is a matter of personal choice. Some people say they are uncomfortable, but some people say that even the best-designed office chairs are uncomfortable, too. There is no one best answer for every situation. The best advice is to test the chair out for yourself. If you do not like the gaming chair, then just get an office chair. Remember that gaming chairs are made to look cool first and comfort is a secondary consideration. Office chairs, however, are made to be comfortable but look nice also. Like anything else, there are exceptions to these rules.
Can office chairs be regassed?
The answer to this question is straightforward: no, they cannot. While one can attempt this, the chair will probably not work as it did before. Even if one hardly ever adjusts the height of the chair, the gas cylinder that raises or lowers the chair will probably “leak out” over time. This manifests itself as not being able to raise and lower the chair. Then, it will progress to where the office chair cannot support the seat and the chair will sink to the bottom, with or without the weight of a person. Sometimes, these gas cylinders just stop working, typically after 10 years or more of life. If one really loves the chair, he/she should order a replacement gas cylinder.
Can office chairs be reupholstered?
Yes, one can reupholster an office chair. However, the feasibility of doing so depends upon several things. First, how much is the user of the chair in love with the chair? This factor does not affect how much it costs to reupholster the chair, only how much the user wishes to retain that chair. Secondly, consider the economic and time factors. It will consume less time for one to buy a new chair as opposed to reupholstering the chair. In the world, we live in where time equals money, it may be just as cheap or cheaper to buy a new chair. Thirdly, what needs to be repaired is also a consideration. Some parts of the chair repair require more time and money. Does the frame need repairing, or simply one of the castors?
How tall are office chairs?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this, just standard sizes. However, there are common “brackets of sizes” for office chairs. Additionally, this is difficult to categorize because there are many different options. For example, how high is the backrest and whether or not there is a neck rest. Office chairs, however, usually range from 31 to 40 inches total.
How wide are office chairs?
A typical office chair has a seat that measures between 19 inches and 21-5/8 inches wide. This generally accommodates persons who are 5’4” through 6’1”. Once again, this need depends upon who will actually be sitting in the chair, and how long they will be using the chair. Many chairs are rated for a certain time used.