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Do Beautiful Yet Comfortable Office Chairs Exist?? Jess Takes You On Wild Ride To Find Out The Answer

In my last apartment, my biggest furniture design agony was my coffee table (needed to be small, not too visually heavy, and taller than my beloved navy velvet pouf so they could “nest” with each other. Then for my balcony, it was a dining set (also needed to be small, I wanted it to be vintage, not too expensive, and have a modern french, wrought iron frame haha). Now? Now, it’s my office chair/living room chair and I might be fully going out of my previously semi-sane mind. I have looked at so many chairs that I feel like I’m going crossed-eyed. Much like my feelings towards coffee tables and outdoor bistro sets, I may never want to look at an office or desk-compatible chair again. But jokes on me because guess who still needs a coffee table… Anyway, in the spirit of fun mental downward design spirals, let me take you on my chair journey – the styles I like, the functions I want, and some desperate wild options I was considering.

Oh, here are photos of the coffee table and the outdoor bistro set to jog your memory…

Is this another dramatic design post that only proves I need to chill out? Probably. You might be saying to yourself, “Jess, honey, there are a lot of perfectly nice-looking office chairs out there. What is the issue???” Well, there are a couple. The first and most acceptable reason is that my office is also my living room. So I really want something that makes me happy to sit in but also look at when the workday is done. The second, and far more obnoxious reason, is that I want something “different”. I really like to teeter on the edge of being comfortable and visually inspiring. Those things are not necessarily mutually exclusive and they do usually tend to come with a very large price tag unless you are super handy or know someone who is and can give you a slammin deal (like how I “pay” my dad in Mexican cokes and undying flattery). I also don’t have kids or animals which I think is important to always mention. So to nail down this point, Emily always says good design can only really be two of these three things – good, fast, or, cheap.

“Cheap” is obviously relative but let me tell you that the majority of beautiful office chairs are NOT CHEAP. Furniture designers of the world please figure this out!! If you’re wondering what I’ve been sitting on for the past 2 years, I was lucky enough to get to use my desk chair from our old studio(s). It’s been a great support since actually 2016 but this baby is falling apart. Let me show you a little side by side:

So ya, wear and tear-wise it’s not great and the rose gold metal reallllly takes my apartment’s style into a glam zone that doesn’t feel like me. I want earthy, darker-toned, and modern to contrast the pink curtains and light beige color of the desk. Gimme that tension! Lastly, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want something that looked unique, that hasn’t been all over the internet yet. It’s the chronic design lover in me that just wants to keep reaching and searching for something weird yet undeniably cool. And remember this is a key piece of furniture that is on display in my home during and outside of work hours. I really want to love it hard.

I could try to justify my insufferable pickiness all day but let me just show you what my journey has been like in nearly chronological order. But before we hit the timeline, let me remind you what we are working with…

from: a jess’ living room moto update: we’ve got a lot to talk about – successes and a possible mistake

Stunning pink curtains from Decorview, the desk that I am pretty sure was made for me and my window in mind from Crate and Barrel, and in the bottom right corner, a sneak peek at my dream sofa from Lulu and Georgia (design my EHD alum, Ginny Macdonald). This puppy is shaping right on up:)

So while a lot of you may know me for my non-kid having “form over function” mentality, I haven’t totally lost it. I want my desk chair to be comfortable. If possible I would love some wheels but that’s not necessary. Of course, my definition of comfort may be different from yours so know that as I walk you through these, K??

When I started searching, I decided that I would start at some of my favorite big box stores to see what was out there.

The Crate And Barrel Options

Libby Natural Cane Desk Chair | Caterina Natural Upholstered Office Chair with Brass Base | Diversey Office Chair

Naturally, I started at Crate and Barrel. Normally I like to shop from a bunch of different stores so the room I’m designing is naturally more eclectic-looking but I trust their design and quality. Those are two things that are super important to me and extra important in an office chair. The one on the far left is great. I love the canning and the color contrast to my desk but ultimately it’s just not the right style. The one in the middle is so pretty but I’m trying to stay away from warm metallics (it comes in silver and gray too but that’s also not right for the corner). The last one on the right is a showstopper. The entire back is wood. But this one paired with my desk is just too neutral for what I want.

The CB2 Options

Court Pearl Office Chair | Bowtie Cream Boucle Office Chai Model 3002 | Martos Chocolate Faux Mohair Office Chair

All three of these are beautiful. The beige one on the left has just a cool frame but again, the color is too similar to the desk. The middle one’s shape, designed by Paul McCobb, IS SPECIAL! And this might be one of maybe a couple that I would have actually really considered. But I’m not not clumsy and I can just see me dropping avocado or taco insides right on that heavenly boucle fabric. It would’ve been so sad. Lastly, there’s that insanely cool 70s inspired velvet tubular chair designed by Mermelada Estudio. So while it’s the coolest to look at, I’m not sure if this is a “sit on for 8+ hours” kinda office chair. Also, the brown velvet would compete with my brown velvet sofa and there is NO FIGHTING in this home.

The West Elm Options

Deacon Swivel Office Chair | Leather Upholstered Swivel Desk Chair | Crescent Office Chair

Ok, the one on the far right is pretty simple but the shape is lovely. Also for $159, it’s a steal. But too light-toned and generic. The brown leather chair in the middle has a cool vintage vibe but I thought I could do better. For the one on the far right, I really like the slightly more interesting arm shape and that color but for both the first one and this one, I don’t love the black base.

The Prettiest West Elm Option

Winged Arms Desk Chair

The colors being so light broke my heart! But bravo, West Elm for designing this super beautiful chair. The shape, the material mixing. the base. the black straps?! Are you kidding me? It’s definitely not cheap but if you love it, need a desk chair, and have the means to get it, YOU SHOULD. Also, don’t spill:)

The Vintage Desk Chair Options

Gispen Executive Office Chair | Rare Ahrend De Cirkel Burgundy Corduroy Rolling Office Chair | Ahrend De Cirkel Rolling Office Chair

I then went to the next best place I could think of for cool vintage furniture, Amsterdam Modern. These three options were super cool but none were right. All three colors were a no for me and I wasn’t convinced those bases were going to work with my overall vision.

1930s Swivel Desk Chair By Royalchrome | Antique Chairs with Wheels

Then not sure if you’ve heard of Craigslist but that’s where I went next:) The chair on your left is super cool and apparently super rare but ultimately I didn’t love it. And for $300 I better love it. Then for those three very pretty canned chairs on wheels, they are 3 for $110 but much like the one I bought for $15 (go to this post for reference), I would still need to do a fair amount of DIY and reupholstering AND they were also too short. Pass.

The First One That Stole My Heart


via peridot antiques

The jaw to the floor moment when I saw this photo on Instagram could have been seen for miles. The hot rush of adrenaline coursed through my body as I frantically tried to find a similar chair but then I read the caption:

“Dillard Ramsey Harwell 1933-2019 San Diego Ca. Mystery Solved!!! These chairs have been in storage forever. I need help identifying who the designer or manufacturer is. They are in the manner of Cleo Baldon. But I cannot find that exact example by Cleo. The seat cushion does have a California upholstery label underneath the cushion”

I knew the style was Cleo Baldon but I hadn’t seen those extra-thick arms before. I know it’s dumb but I was noticeably sad after nothing useful came up. So naturally, I went on a hunt for other Cleo Baldon-style chairs.

The Cleo Baldon Chair Phase

via matter & bone

When I searched “Cleo Baldon” on Instagram, this incredible pair came up. I love the iron, I love the leather and wood accents, and I love the olive green cushion. Unfortunately, this post was from 2014 so not “available” but also probably soooo expensive.

Here are a couple more stunning options I found on Instagram that I wouldn’t change one bit. But let’s get into more realistic options.

The Ones I Could Maybe Afford

Mid-Century Cleo Baldon Style Fumed Wood & Iron Arm Campaign Chair

I was “this close” to buying this chair a couple of months ago. They were $150 each and local pickup. However, I was not a fan of the “fabric”. I honestly thought I could find something that wouldn’t require me to also search for fabric and get it reupholstered. But then…

Cleo Baldon Wrought Iron Arm Chairs for Terra 1966

I was still on the hunt for a chair month later! So I came across these. They were $640 for the pair (local, so no shipping). More expensive and a greater need for a makeover. It didn’t make sense for me.

The Lounge Chair Phase

design by transition state design | photo by olivia pierce

But then the desperation started. I was looking at chairs that were definitely beautiful but definitely not suitable for long hours at the desk. I saw this chair above at Amsterdam Modern last year and was both heartbroken it wasn’t mine but happy that one of my favorite design firms used it. I remember asking Em if she thought this could work and a “not really” sentiment was expressed.

Andor Chair

Here’s a new version but the issues are the same… it leans like a lounge chair. Great for relaxing, not great for working.

This was a Facebook Marketplace find that I loved the shape of at first sight. But then reality set in. It was too short and too loungy to work in and look good in your house. FYI average seat height is between 17″ to 18″.

1970s Mid-Century Modern Sergio Rodrigues Style Club Chair

It was the same story with this one but I also really dug this weird leather patchwork. But guess what the seat height is… 14″. TOOO LOOOOW.

The “I Don’t Need A Cushioned Seat” Phase

Mid-Century Dining Chair | Ebony Gilbert Marklund Style Brutalist Side Chair

This. This is the most comical (to me) and likely unrelatable part. The fact that my search was taking so long, I thought, “well maybe for the shoot I’ll just get something pretty, maybe even rent, so I can keep searching and not waste any money or gifting opportunities”. Whether it was gifted or not, the phrase that Caitlin said to me when it was looking like I was about to compromise was, “Buy right, buy once.” It was the reminder I needed. But I still want to show off my finds. The chair on the left is from Dims who I LOVE. The set of two was $325 on Craigslist while, this Dims chair alone (but new) costs $465, It was a steal. Then the chair on the right really intrigued me. It’s simple, modern, but all the clean details make it so special (but sadly not “8-hour” comfort)

These two were right up my new design vision alley. I wanted a warm, not a too beat-up leather chair. The one on the left is from Craiglist. But the one on the right is part of a set of four that costs $11k. I am sure they are completely properly priced but now that I’ve slightly inquired about rentals, I know there is a decent rental fee (had no real idea before all this). I’ve heard 20% to 25% of the retail price. TOO MUCH % for a RENTAL when it’s $11K!!

Pair of Cane + Oak Cantilevered Chairs | Revival Side Chair

On the left, was from my only in-person day trip attempt to find a chair. It’s stunning but as you know canning isn’t really the look I’m going for. But I took a pic, asked for the rental price, and it was 25% of the total. So it would have come out to $350 to rent for the week. Again, so pretty but too much for something I will only admire in photos. I did really like this one on the right. A few of you commented in this post, about the stool version in the opening photo. This one is a knock off and as Caitlin also said, “if you’re gonna go Cesca I feel like you gotta go vintage”. I passed.

Thonet Laminate Chair

Lastly, I was so so so tempted to get this Thonet chair since it’s only $10. But it wouldn’t be a great desk chair and sadly I can’t keep hoarding things I may or may not ever use.

The Very Desperate, Anything Goes Phase

Are you feeling tired because that is how I felt at this stage of the process? Why wasn’t my chair showing itself?! Did I need to go in a crazy direction?? Enter the oversized plush leather chair part of this phase. These would have offered no support and looked way too chunky. Buuut the only one the left was $50 (now sold) and the cream one was free (but in rough condition). It was a weird moment.

Mid Century Armchair

Then entered this $200 chair (but was $400 for shipping). I honestly think it’s pretty cool but the height of this chair is shorter than my desk by two inches. It wasn’t a fit… clearly.

Set of Vintage Accent Chairs | 1960s Mid-Century Retro Side Accent Chair

We just kept moving along. I actually really liked those wood and yellow chairs but passed before I asked the seat and back height (mainly because that fabric wasn’t right). The set is $275 and that’s not terrible. Then the one on the right is only $35 but I don’t know the labor quite to strip and de-ruffle. I also really want something more modern looking but couldn’t help myself from considering it because of those front legs/arms!

Vintage Leather and Stainless Steel Pair of Lounge Chairs

These actually look really comfortable and that leather buckle detail is good. But for $950 (for both) I just wasn’t convinced. I don’t hate the vibe though, I just wish there was a medium to dark wood accent.

The One Em Recommended If I Wanted To Go Simple

Lexi Soft Pad Modern Office Chair with Aluminum Arms

Hahaha Me? Keeping It Simple?? Impossible. BUT the chair above (in a different color) is the one Em got for her best friend’s son’s desk and they all love it. She’s actually thinking of getting one for Brian. And if my chair wasn’t on display all day every day I would probably consider it. It’s not cheap but it’s under $400 which for a new, attractive office chair is pretty great.

The I Think I Found The One Moment…To Be Continued

So as I pitched this blog post idea, the chair gods were working some magic and I think I found her!!! I don’t want to give it away because that’s who I am, but you will be seeing the office area revealed on the blog the first week in April so I promise this isn’t too bad of a tease. Just ironing out the details but keep your fingers crossed!!

Thank you for coming along on this crazy journey with me, hope it was fun, and if you have an available, beautiful, and comfortable office chair share the deets with us all! Now onto the coffee table part 2…

Love you, mean it.

Opening Image Credits: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Mountain House Reveal: How I Transformed an Awkward Space Into My Dream Work Loft

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Julia Sugarbaker
3 months ago

No chair is one size fits all, even fancy ergonomic ones, and it is easy to drop a bunch on a chair that does not actually fit (let alone look good). When I’m WFH I “commute” between desk, couch, standing at the counter, etc etc, which for me is better for my body than any single seating situation. I dig the channeled leather. The Cleo Baldon-style seems very you and is giving slight modern mission/Spanish eclectic vibe… looking forward to seeing the one that hit!

Cris S.
3 months ago

I have no idea why, two and a half years into working from home, that I never thought of standing at the kitchen counter behind me and using my laptop there. I’m going to give this a try today – thank you Julia!

anon
3 months ago
Reply to  Cris S.

My first work from home purchase was a stand/sit desk and a monitor riser. It’s great! The desk was about $250 including shipping and assembled in 10 minutes with only a screw driver. I also have an “anti-fatigue mat” for when I’m standing. Mixing it up throughout the day is helpful.

If you want to stand more but already have a desk, there are also various contraptions made to convert regular desks to stand/sit. Do an internet search for “standing desk converters”.

Cici Haus
3 months ago

Same! I have a desk and chair but I move all over the place throughout the day

🥰 Rusty
3 months ago

This is an etremely difficult purchasing dilemma! Form vs function all the way!🤔 I agree that the chair needs to be nice to look at, especially since it’s in your living room. Buuuuut … … comfort, IMHO, is the winner hands down. I knew nothing about office chairs to the point that I wasn’t even sure what ‘ergonomic’ meant! Until … I started working at Worksafe – the govt. organisation that oversees occupational workplace safety and health. One of my staff was an ergonomist. He taught me loads. Sooo … Jess, while the vibe snd attractiveness of the chair is important, for sure, if you’re ditting on that vaby for 6-8 hours a day, you need to purchase a fit-for-purpose, ergonomic desk chair. That is, unless you want spinal, hip, neck, arm issues further down the track. The ergonomics of a desk chair include: 🔍 seat height (your knees should be at hip height) 🔍 back height (the chair should have a back high enough to support your middle & upper back) 🔍 seat angle (your seat should have an angle so the back of the seat is slightly lower than the front, k8nd of tilting up at the front)… Read more »

3 months ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Came here to say this. Something happened when I entered my 30s and that’s MY BACK GOT TOTALLY JACKED. It wasn’t my chair’s fault, but switching to an ugly ergonomic chair has been the only way I’ve been able to stay pain free. Truly, every aspect of the chair needs to be adjustable AND you need a keyboard tray on top of all of that. It’s not pretty and I hate it, especially because my home office is gorgeous. The ugly black chair totally messes with the vibe and I wish they made actual pretty options that are also ergonomic, but them’s the breaks I guess.

Which is to say — not a single one of these options is good for your back and neck long-term.

Lane
3 months ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Ergonomics is a tricky business. Too much comfort is not necessarily good. We have to utilize our back and stomach muscles to keep our posture and body strong. And frankly, ergonomic armchairs don’t do that. At the same time friction could cause stress and damage so too much deviation in terms of depth or height isn’t good either. A regular wooden stool could be comfortable to change things up a bit. When I go back to the office, I’ll order one for myself. I won’t be able to work in it all day, but perhaps an hour or two will offer some needed change.

Sarah
3 months ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

The best chair I ever had was at my previous job, and it was actually a backless stool that had a sort of rocking function. I wish I could have brought it with me! It made me use my core to support myself instead of slumping, and I was able to
move around easily. I think it was this: https://www.amazon.com/aeris-Swopper-Ergonomic-Stool-17-7-23-2seat/dp/B086LCVZQ3/ref=asc_df_B086LCVZQ3/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=533403187665&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=3940042564266877681&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9007284&hvtargid=pla-928976479584&psc=1

Now that I’m at home and can sit however I want, I’ve actually been enjoying a floor desk set up so I can sit cross-legged on the floor with my arms and head in a pretty ergo dynamic position to my laptop. It’s weird but so much better for my body than a regular chair.

That was fun. I always love looking at treasure hunts. So, I WFH and have for years. I used to use a gorgeous vintage chair (see second picture on this home page : https://honeymoonvintage.com/
But then it wasn’t 8 hours a day comfy and I’m in my 40s, so I was feeling it. So now the most comfortable but hard seated option I’ve landed on is one of my dining chairs from Article: https://www.article.com/product/11398/rus-light-oak-dining-chair
But a padded seat sounds nice, so today I’ll try adding a cushion.
Maybe try a dining chair? A padded one?

Jennifer
3 months ago

After about 1.5 years of working from home due to the pandemic, I finally caved and bought the Herman Miller Aeron office chair. (I had previously bought a beautiful, dark green velvet swivel chair from cb2–that was 1/3 of the price of the Aeron–but my back was killing me after a month, so I ended up donating it.) Six months later and I don’t for one minute regret my decision to go with the Aeron. It’s an investment piece that is completely worth it.

Amy
3 months ago
Reply to  Jennifer

I got a Herman Miller Saul chair and totally agree! It’s pretty cute and worth the investment.

Amy
3 months ago
Reply to  Amy

Oops sayl not Saul

Lucy
3 months ago
Reply to  Jennifer

I second the Aeron chair. I’ve had chronic back pain for twenty years and switching to an Aeron during the pandemic has been amazing. No more back pain! Plus it’s really great for allergy sufferers—no fabric. You can vacuum and wipe it clean. They are so comfortable and have such an interesting look that my dream is to have a set as dining room chairs in mineral. But it is an expensive dream…

Emily N
3 months ago
Reply to  Jennifer

+1 for an ergonomic chair. I love, love, love my Steelcase Series 1 chair. The colors are all customizable, and I really prefer the look of it to the Aeron. I got it on sale (15% off) so it was $387.43 total. And I find it significantly more comfortable than the Aeron!

3 months ago

While I definitely appreciate the desire for a really good looking chair, I feel like you should put more weight on the ergonomic factor if you really are sitting in it for 8 hours a day. In a former life, I worked for a large company, and I did ergo evals on office worker cubicles as part of my job. The company invested a lot of money in making sure everyone had ergonomically appropriate offices because CTDs (cumulative trauma disorder) are a real thing. I’ve had wrist injuries from not using a mouse myself. While none of those chairs – even the office ones – are probably suitable for 8 hours of desk sitting, I would definitely veer towards one that allows you to adjust the seat height and depth. If you can get that right, you’ll probably be ok. Also, if you’re short, and your thighs aren’t parallel to the ground when seated, you should add a foot rest.

Tracy
3 months ago
Reply to  Jillian

(noticing my thighs are not parallel as I read…)

Sylvie
3 months ago

Fun article, Jess! I noticed that some of the chairs you pictured have very high arms, which would not fit under your work table and would force you to work further away from the table. Typing at a distance with your arms extended and unsupported will create all kinds of neck and back problems in no time. Something to consider. Also, why not go simple and let the beautiful desk be the star?

K
3 months ago

What a great “eye candy” post! Jess, did you see the Framework Dining Chair when you were looking at West Elm? It seems to have some design features you mentioned. I’ve used it as a desk chair for a few years and, while it’s not adjustable, the seat is very large and comfy!

Courtney Nic
3 months ago

Very important follow up question 🙂 what do you do to protect a hardwood floor under a rolling chair?!?! A thin rug? One of those clear plastic mats? WFH readers want to know!

🥰 Rusty
3 months ago
Reply to  Courtney Nic

I used to roll on a thin, woollen rug. Now, I just roll on the wooden floor, the rollers are nylon and no damagd done (at least yet, anyway).

Suzanne
3 months ago
Reply to  Courtney Nic

Oak hardwood floors have held up well for me. However, I have 100 year old fir floors in some rooms of the house, and it does not do well with rolling chairs. I’ve used a clear mat in that case, but I’m considering swapping for a flat weave rug.

Rhealyn
3 months ago
Reply to  Courtney Nic

I got you!!!! You need bell slides. Enjoy! Bell Glides Replacement Office Chair or Stool Swivel Caster Wheels to Fixed Stationary Castors, Low Profile Bell Glides with Soft Rubber Bottom Instead of Self Felt Pads, Chair Feet Wheel Stopper https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075P2RGNR/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_1CYXV3WFVFKGHAEBP404?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Karen
3 months ago

I shop just like you do. Can’t wait to see THE ONE

Josh
3 months ago

Great post! I’m actually looing for a desk chair at the moment. While it is far from affordable, RH has some good options. I’m considering this one.

https://rh.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=prod16160240

Lisa
3 months ago

What I ride!! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you Jess! My desk chair is actually really similar to your Thonet Laminate Chair (though not Thonet, obviously) but just a really simple, slightly curved, vintage-looking wood chair – no cushion, nothing and I love it! For some reason I just can’t sit on cushioned seats for long periods of time (??) don’t ask me why… but that chair just fits me exactly, I picked it up on the street when I was moving into my first apartment and it is still with me (so it might be Thonet after all, since I don’t know exactly where it came from, but I don’t think so 😉 )

Lisa
3 months ago

Can you tell me where the rug is from, in the first picture?
Thanks!

Kj
3 months ago
Reply to  Lisa

I think it is the Dash & Albert Citra rug. It was from the Portland house living room reveal, but the link isn’t working. https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/portland-project-living-room-reveal

Cris S.
3 months ago

I love following along on your chair journey – it perfectly mimics what I go through when I’m looking for something for the home, drags on for months until I think I’m going to go crazy, question the FB Marketplace fairies and think I’ve run out of luck, and then finally find the perfect thing. About 75% of the time I find it right after someone else has bought it. But boy, the other 25% of the time is SWEET! I bought a beautiful looking ‘office’ swivel chair (tufted, classic lines) from Ballard. Not enough padding in the middle of the seat (so the rim was always pressing on your legs) and the fabric at the edge of the seat (you know, where it was pressing on your thighs) wore out quickly, looking much like your current chair. For my ‘standing desk’ (extra monitor on a shelf of an armoire) I have a vintage high stool with a back that I got at the Rose Bowl and shipped home to Chicago (my grandmother said it looked identical to those she worked on at the Ma Bell back in the day). But mostly now I work from the kitchen table sitting… Read more »

Kylie
3 months ago

I work at a company that owns several furniture brands including Herman Miller, Design Within Reach, HAY, Muuto, etc. I loved hearing your story and following your journey to the perfect chair. I couldn’t recommend Herman Miller chairs enough to you especially for your long-term health and wellbeing if you sit in your chair for long periods of time. I understand the requirement of style over function but trust me, you won’t regret an ergonomic chair in the long term. Best of luck in your journey to the perfect chair 🙂

3 months ago

As a designer myself, I feel like a beautiful ergonomic chair is one of the biggest holes in the market! Yes, there are some very pretty office chairs out there. But truly ergonomic chairs (adjustable seat and arm height, adjustable lumbar support, etc.) that are also beautiful? It’s the unicorn of the interior design world. I sit in my chair for many hours a day, and after years of sitting in pretty but unsupportive office chairs, I begrudgingly decided on function over form – to a point. I refused to plop a black leather and mesh monstrosity into my pretty home office! After weeks of looking everywhere, I finally bought a chair from Steelcase, which has more configuration and color options (both the upholstery and the frame) than your average ergonomic office retailer. I ended up with a chair with a mostly white frame and beige upholstery (the “Amia” chair, armless). It’s not beautiful, but it’s inoffensive, and my back thanks me on a daily basis. But here is my plea to the ergonomic chair designers of the world. Please, please, for the love of all that is holy, can you please consider at least using more beautiful materials!?!?!?!?!? Why… Read more »

priscilla
3 months ago
Reply to  Margo

Steelcase all the way. i’ve trained my eye not to see it, lol

anon
3 months ago
Reply to  Margo

I agree there’s no reason everything made for an office environment has to be black or “putty” and look ugly and depressing! Even if the same old chair came in some other color it would be a vast improvement. Why not blue, or red, or green? Anything!

My only other pleas to add to yours is adjustable seat pans or longer seat pans and longer riser tubes for tall people.

Cris S.
3 months ago
Reply to  Margo

Agreed! I think it’s time to seriously look into making a slipcover for my office chair. Jess – maybe pick that works with your body the best and then have it slipcovered????

🥰 Rusty
3 months ago
Reply to  Cris S.

You can buy fabric you l9ve and wedge it (easily) between the framesnd cushions of office chairs. Easy to change too.😊

anon
3 months ago

My dilemma for a good office chair is finding one for tall people. I desperately need one with a long enough seat pan (or one that adjust out from the seat back) to give proper support to my long legs. Even chairs made for “big and tall” are mostly code words for “heavy” people and the seat pans are too short and the description always raves about “holds up to 400 pounds”.

Also arm rests should adjust low enough so they’re not interfering with one’s ability to type in a good ergonomic position. Back when I worked in an office, I always took the arm rests off.

John
3 months ago
Reply to  anon

I recently got the Steelcase Gesture and love it. It’s expensive but it is very comfortable and very adjustable. I’m 6ft so not super tall but I think it would work well for even taller people. It has an adjustable seat pan and the arms have tons of adjustment options: going low enough to be completely out of the way or high enough to comfortably rest your elbows at any height. It’s got some nice color combos that I think look attractive but it’s not going to be as cute as anything from this article. After going through some uncomfortable cheap chairs I decided that it was worth investing in a high quality chair since I spend so much time using it.

anon
3 months ago
Reply to  John

Thanks for the suggestion. I’m going to check that model out. 🙂

Deborah
3 months ago
Reply to  John

Wow, Steelcase does have different colors available in their chairs, thank you for the suggestion!

While I’m not seeing color combos that appeal to me so far, there are some interesting ones so far on Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/sk=steelcase+office+chair&crid=3SY2Q3FQ9OMOU&sprefix=steelcase+office+chair%2Caps%2C4405&ref=nb_sb_noss

Deborah
3 months ago
Reply to  Deborah

Lots of colors in this Steelcase chair, meadow green, blue, pumpkin, carrot, tomato and more… https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01N4Q9Z3W/ref=twister_B01MYCDHCI?_encoding=UTF8&th=1

Adam
3 months ago

We recently purchased this chair from Office Depot and are quite pleased with its functionality and comfort: https://www.officedepot.com/a/products/9281002/Realspace-Modern-Comfort-Winsley-Bonded-Leather/

priscilla
3 months ago

question for you: is the chair you have not worth saving? it looks like you could have it restuffed, etc and it would be as good as new/old? have you considered that option? i mean, since you like that chair and all…?

Michelle
3 months ago

I SOOO relate to this journey. Before pandemic I only used my home office for basic bill paying and taxes. The non-cushioned cafe chair would get an occasional pillow, but otherwise worked. However I am now WFH for long term. My desk is a room and board parsons-style dining room table, so the eventually cute/cheap enough chair I got doesn’t quite fit. The arms are worn on one side. I’m so scared of the search I’m seriously considering just getting a standing desk. Or rather converting this one to standing because its the perfect size.

Roberta Davis
3 months ago

The leading manufacturers/designers of office chairs design them to be ergonomic so they won’t cause problems in your body from sitting all day (that’s the plan- but I did have some problems sitting on some of them). I worked for both Steelcase and Herman Miller dealerships and they have some really nice chairs. Yes, they can be expensive but they have sales a couple of times a year. Some of them are really beautiful. When I worked in the Nordstrom corporate office, everyone wanted an Aero chair and some of them weren’t above swiping someone else’s chair! 🙂

Roberta Davis
3 months ago
Reply to  Roberta Davis

I meant- Aeron chair, not Aero chair! My bad!

Suzanne
3 months ago

Chairs are so hard! Office chairs are even harder! I’d also love a beautiful office chair. I have some expensive Eames management chairs, but unfortunately they don’t have the easy adjustments. They have a twist base to raise and lower. Newer ones have more functionality. But I’ve been looking for another beautiful office chair for a more exposed desk space, and I really like the one you posted from Crate&Barrel with the wood back (which might save it from my cats). I just can’t seem to bring myself to buy it. It’s the desire to buy one and be done. The other chairs I’m on the search for are for my kitchen nook. I’ve decided I want swivel wingback chairs. I want traditional chairs with a modern tulip table, and the swivel is to allow me to turn to look out a bay window at my garden. I’ve found some possibilities, but not any lightning bolts. Plus, my partner says we should wait until the kitchen remodel is finished to make our final decision. That means endless searching and obsessing. Do a round up of swivel chairs that can be both dining chairs and lounge chairs. That’s my dream. They’d… Read more »

Christa
3 months ago

I pile pillows and sit up on the bed, with one dog on my lap, my laptop on my chest, and another dog on top of my head on top of the pillow pile. I have learned to type with my hands on the sides of the keyboard. I do not recommend this system for everyone, but if you have 2 little dogs it’s worth considering.

Deborah
3 months ago

Add my voice to the chorus of people telling you to get a real ergonomic chair. The pretty ones are fine if you’ll only be in them for an hour or two a day, but full-time working from home really requires a purpose-built chair. When the pandemic first hit, we thought that the chairs we had in the office would be fine for a couple of months. These were upholstered dining chairs from Williams-Sonoma Home, which were not OK for sitting at all day every day. Ultimately we caved and bought Herman Miller Mirra chairs — that’s the model I have at my office, and I knew it would work well for me. I don’t regret the purchase one bit.

Lucy
3 months ago
Reply to  Deborah

My thoughts exactly. I found this post very confusing because many of the chairs pictured aren’t proper chairs for sitting at a desk. You can’t work at a desk in a low lounge chair so I’m confused as to why those would even be considered. Perhaps if you have a job that doesn’t actually require you to be at your computer 8 hours a day then you can get away with form over function, but that’s not the reality for most of us.

Lesley
3 months ago

Joining the chorus to say take your health seriously! After developing and healing from a repetitive stress injury in my early 30s, I will never take it for granted. For me the best setup has been a fully adjustable sit/stand desk, with monitor arm, and an active seating stool, so I can change height/position throughout the day. Fully (fully.com) has many choices for active sitting:
https://www.fully.com/chairs/active-chairs.html

I also have one of their wobble boards for when I’m standing. We had custom walnut tops made for our desks. Not as glamorous as your desk, Jess, but totally acceptable aesthetically, and I’ve gone a couple decades now without re-injuring myself.

Deb
3 months ago

I worked in a 911 dispatch center for over 20 years.
I can not tell you the amount of money that was wasted on chairs. The chairs had to be used 24 hours a day. They needed to be comfortable. They needed to roll without any problems as you may be monitoring five screens at a time. The people who wanted our business would bring in 3 chairs at a time for us to test out. Then we would send them back and decide if any were worthy. These chairs ran anywhere from $600 to $1000 but when we found a good one every body would want to use it. Are these chairs beautiful? No.? QQqqq. By qq
But they can be customized with the fabric of your choice and a year from now you won’t be looking to find a chiropractor. I go with what Rusty and several others have said. If you are going to be at your desk 6-8 hours a day you need a chair that is not going to leave you with neck and back problems. Good luck because I know it is not easy finding the “right” desk chair.

Julie P
3 months ago

I’m here from the Insiders just to weigh in on a place where I’ll be seen and heard.

The most important part of an office chair that you’ll actually use many many hours per week is that it for your body. That means you can sit so your hips, knees, and ankles are all at 90 degree angles, your lower back is supported, and your elbows are at 90 degree angles to the keyboard. PLEASE PLEASE do not purchase a chair without confirming that it can do precisely these things or it will injure you – either your back, your arms, your wrists, your neck, your hands, or some combination of these. Physical therapy is expensive and time consuming!

gigi
3 months ago

Will the chair also be used when guests are over as another seating option? That might affect my choice.

Amanda
3 months ago

I bought this one near the end of 2020 in a WFH panic purchase. I often sit with my leg bent and foot on the chair, and this one is wide enough for that, which is a weird requirement I know! It is comfortable for long periods of time, but in the office chair way, not in the lounge chair way. I have it in green. 🙂 https://www.worldmarket.com/product/warm-green-mid-century-zarek-office-chair.do?sortby=ourPicks&selectedOption=100205

DeniseGK
3 months ago

I hope this doesn’t open a can of worms for you, but you can put casters on chairs. Finding a super cool dining chair or straight-backed side chair is way easier than finding a cool office chair. But, the cool chair will generally be too low. You can put casters on the legs so they roll, and it will also add some inches to the height. I’ve even seen chairs that needed more height than the caster would provide – the owner had sections added to the bottom of the legs, then the casters. They chose a different material, some kind of colored lucite/acrylic I think, to go below the wood legs. They have good taste so it looked intentional and very design-y. They just asked a fabricator to make the small tubular sections to match the diameter of the chair legs, it didn’t take long to get or cost a ridiculous amount. I think you do have to get the special kind of screw that screws in on both ends, but they sell them at regular hardware stores. I just can’t remember what they are called. Anyway, just wanted to put this out there for anyone who really has… Read more »

3 months ago

Oh man – I have been on the same hunt for my new office. Pinned all of those non cushioned brutalist chairs as well. I had to buy 8 chairs so I couldn’t spend much at all. In the end I ended up purchasing new wicker panton style chairs from wayfair. I figure I can add a cushion or lamb skin to make them more soft. Hopefully they are comfy.

Sadie
3 months ago

If that were my set up I’d go with the herman miller aeron chair and place it by the windows. It would be more hidden behind the desk and you would be facing the door/room while you work. When you’re reflecting or need visual break you can swivel to see out the window.

Cici Haus
3 months ago

My “office” is in my sitting room (which is arguably the most beautiful and prominent room in my house with panoramic lake views). I have a beautiful floral and medium-tone wood chair (probably was once a captain’s chair in a dining room). My short brown boucle chair is more comfortable but this one is just so beautiful and it’s definitely comfortable enough for 8 hours. #teamprettychairs

3 months ago

Thanks for sharing this update.

3 months ago

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3 months ago

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Emily
3 months ago

look at vintage conference chairs (think knoll, herman miller, steelcase, etc) a lot of these have a better look and are comfortable enough to sit in the bulk of the day. I recently bought a vintage knoll pollock executive chair and after two years of sitting on an all-wood dining chair with seat cushion, let me tell you the difference is night and day. I was in so much constant pain from that setup – ergonomic seat cushions are like 2-3″ thick and it throws everything off dimension-wise; I really just dont think they are worth it. my back was still in so much pain at the end of the day, and if you have people over are you always going to remember to hide the work cushion or something? as an interior designer who mostly does corporate interiors but loves vintage/good looking furniture, I get it- but it really isnt worth the pain in the long run. I couldnt see sitting in most of these for more than a couple hours a week.

3 months ago

ABSOLUTELY EXCELLENT TO ME IN RECENT TIMES I AM SIMPLY WAITING FOR YOUR NEXT BLOG

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