Office Chair Buying Guide

At Furniture At Work, we appreciate that when it comes to choosing office furniture, in particular your office chairs, you’ll want to make sure you’re picking out the best furnishings for your workspace - especially where your seating solutions are concerned.

In the typical office environment, it’s likely that the majority of people are required to work at a desk. As a result, it’s crucial that you have access to a comfortable and supportive place to sit. For the lowdown on why office seating is so important and help in picking out the perfect office chairs for your work environment, keep reading our office chair buying guide...

Why are office chairs important?

Regardless of what your job is, if you’re required to do it while you’re sitting down at a desk, it’s crucial that you’re using the right kind of chair. But why does choosing this piece of office furniture require so much thought? Let’s break down why it’s important that you spend some time picking out the perfect seat.

Your health

It’s no secret that your health is paramount, so it’s vital that you do what you can to look after your well-being - and this includes when you’re at work. The truth is, using the wrong type of chair can have a negative effect on your health.

For example, if your seat isn’t up to scratch, you might find that you feel achy and sore. You may also notice a change in your posture. If your chair isn’t providing you with the support you need to sit up properly, you may be tempted to slouch or hunch. This can add pressure to your lower back, increasing strain on your back and leading to neck and shoulder pain. If this carries on over time, you could find that your aches and pain worsen, causing you discomfort and affecting your overall physical health.

Your productivity levels

Did you know that the wrong chair could have an impact on your productivity levels too? The truth is, an uncomfortable, poorly made seat could be distracting, meaning you lose concentration. As a result, your work performance may start to dip.

Choosing the best office chair

With so many different models to choose from, selecting the best office chair can be tricky. Knowing where to start can feel overwhelming, so it helps to get clued up before you go shopping.

To help you make the right decision, we’ve put together some of the key pieces of information you should keep in mind when you’re choosing your new office chair.

Executive Fabric Office Chair

A selection of styles

Office chairs are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles. So that you choose the right type of model, it pays to know the difference between them. Below, we take a look at some of our most popular chair styles, picking out the main facts about each one.

Operator office chairs

  • Often considered the ‘typical’ office chair
  • Usually has a spacious seat and back section for increased comfort
  • Key features can include seat height adjustability, back tilt and swivel seat function

Operator Office Chair

Draughtsman office chairs

  • Commonly used in conjunction with tall work surfaces the Draughtsman office chairs are a perfect match.
  • Available with different seat materials, including fabric, vinyl and polyurethane plastic
  • Key features can include seat height adjustability, foot rest bar and swivel seat function

Office stools

  • Ideal for those who move around a lot, providing an easy transition between sitting and standing
  • Available for both short and tall work surfaces
  • Key features can include seat height adjustability, foot rest bar and supportive backrest

Kneeling chairs

  • Ergonomically designed to reduce strain on the lower back
  • Can help to improve posture and keep joints and muscles active while sitting
  • Key features include seat height and angle adjustability, padded seat section and tilt mechanism

Kneeling Chairs

A wide range of features

When you’re choosing your next office chair, it’s important that the model you go for has the right features for you. This will ensure that your seat is comfortable, supportive and allows you to sit properly.

So that you know what you’re looking for, here are the vital features of the ideal office chair...

Adjustable seat height

It’s important that your chair can be altered to suit your individual needs - especially when it comes to seat height. If your chair is at the wrong height, it can be extremely uncomfortable, and you could find that you end up stooping or straining yourself to look at your computer screen. Over time, this can lead to neck and shoulder pain.

Ideally, you should be able to adjust your seat so that you can sit comfortably with both feet placed on the floor or a footrest and without the backs of your thighs feeling compressed. In altering the seat height, you should also be able to fix it into a position that allows you to rest your forearms and wrists on the desk and ensure that your eyes are level with the top of your monitor.

Seat Adjustment


Swivel function

This function offers fluid mobility, which is important if you need to access different areas of your desk, such as reaching for your telephone handset. Having a chair with a swivel function means you don’t have to worry about twisting your back.

Backrest tilt mechanism

Choosing a chair with a backrest tilt mechanism can help you move easily within your seat, allowing you to reposition yourself periodically. The tilt control means you can adjust the angle of the back of the chair, giving you the option of sitting upright or at an angle.

Ideally, you should be able to adjust the chair so that the angle between your thighs and back is between 95 and 105 degrees. The chair should enable you to sit with your chest and abdomen ‘open’ rather than scrunched up.

Lumbar support

Lumbar support refers to the shape and curvature of the back section of the chair. This feature is designed to encourage a natural, comfortable and healthy sitting position, as well as providing you with support to the small and middle areas of your back. Without it, you could be doing your health more harm than good, so keep an eye out for chair models with this feature.


If you’re going to sit down for long periods of time, a seat with a sufficient amount of padding is a must. Ideally, your chair should have thick, cushioned seat and back sections. This will ensure you remain comfortable and at ease throughout the day, helping you to stay focused on the task at hand.


Although they may not be absolutely necessary, having an office chair with armrests can be extremely useful. Armrests can help reduce pressure on your lower back, and they can ease shoulder and neck tension too. They are especially recommended if you spend a lot of time sitting down, providing extra support for your body.

Ideally, your armrests should be cushioned, contoured and adjustable so that you can alter them to a height that suits you. It’s also important that the armrests don’t prevent you from getting close to your desk. If you find that you end up sitting on the edge of the seat, your back won’t be fully supported, so bear this in mind when you’re choosing your seat.


If you like the freedom of being able to move around with ease, a chair model with castors is a must. This feature allows for easy transportation too, as it means chairs can be rolled from one area of the office to another without the need for any heavy lifting.

A choice of materials

When it comes to picking out an office chair, you’ll find that there are a wide variety of materials for you to choose from. So that you select the perfect one for your office space, here’s information about some of the most popular designs.


Simple, straightforward and soft to the touch, fabric is a popular choice when it comes to office chairs. This type of material is usually available in a plethora of different colours, and it’s normally used to cover chairs with padded foam seats.


Office chairs that have been upholstered in leather provide you with a comfortable, plush place to sit. This material is durable and hard wearing, and if it’s looked after properly, it has the ability to stand the test of time.


This material provides breathability by promoting better ventilation and enabling improved air flow. As a result, you should find that you’re able to keep cool and dry while you work. Mesh style chairs are usually ergonomically shaped too, so you should find that this type of seating keeps you supported while you work.

Mesh Executive Office Chairs

Find out more

At Furniture At Work, we are perfectly placed to help you choose the right seating solutions for your workspace. If you’d like help selecting your next model, or to find out more about our range of cheap office chairs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts today. You can speak to our friendly and knowledgeable advisers by giving us a call on 0844 415 9700 or by filling out our online contact form.

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