Working from home has become the norm for so many of us. Once you figured out where you were going to work, you probably either made do with a dining room chair or bought that really serious looking black swivel chair from the local office supply store, right?
You’ve probably already figured out that your office chair might be the most important equipment in your whole home office setup. It provides you comfort and support, sure, but it also makes a style statement. In the office, you are happy to take what they offer. But at home, I want you to LOVE your home office, and that may require making your office look like the rest of your home and not…well…an office.
The thing about office chairs is that the beautiful ones don’t really cost much more–and sometimes cost less–than the big, boxy black chairs. Sometimes a beautiful office chair is the finishing touch for a project, and at times it has been the jumping-off point for our projects, like this gorgeous velvet-covered chair in the New England style office makeover. We used the Gramercy desk chair from Ballard Designs and kind of built the rest of this home office makeover around it. Taking a basic chair and adding custom upholstery choices, like this velvet spa color, is easy to do at certain retailers. It may take a few weeks to arrive, but isn’t that worth it for years of chair bliss?
Ballard Designs is a great source for bona fide office chairs with casters, which are my favorite. I see something I love every time I’m in their store or check out their catalog. This Sadie desk chair makes so much sense with the curved front so you can comfortably pull up to the desk.
If you have a smaller space or just love modern design, check out the sleek upholstered Modern Slope office chair from WestElm.com. It’s still got casters and upholstery, but in a minimalist design.
This Svelti office chair from Article.com has wheels and an easy-care surface, but I wouldn’t recommend it for long term sitting, as it doesn’t have a lift or any padding. Add a cushion if you’ll be sitting for any length of time. (First spotted in HGTV Magazine.) However, this might be great as a second chair for you to pull up next to your kid’s desk to help with a bit of homework.
Wayfair has plenty of non-office chair options to choose from. We used a dining chair in this home office makeover. It’s got an interesting nailhead detail on the side. Pro tip: if you have a cat with claws, put a thick, coordinating throw over the back of the chair like this to protect it from Fluffy’s itchy paws.
I have a very strong preference for desk chairs without arms. They save space, and more importantly, they let you scoot right up to the desk. Most chairs with arms stop short, causing you to lean forward at your desk. Some arms can be removed from the chair you are already using. Check to see if yours are optional. Dining room chairs can be perfect for this reason.
When I set my daughter up with her new desk this fall, I gave her a dining chair (also from Wayfair) covered in soft grey velvet, and it seems to be working well for her…and the cat. Dining chairs tend to have higher backs, and that’s part of what can make a living room start to feel crowded. If you can get away with a lower-backed chair in your family room or living room, it won’t feel so office-y. But people like a sturdy, higher back if they are sitting in a chair for hours on end, and if working (or schooling) from home is a long-term affair for you, then choose comfort over design (function over form). Pro tip: simple dining chair shapes are easy to slipcover so kids don’t get snack crumbs and funky smells attached to the upholstery.
We used a lightweight, inexpensive IKEA chair in this home office makeover in blue and green. It doesn’t look like it’s available right now, but keep your eyes open for a wicker/woven wood chair like this, as it can be a bit more forgiving than sitting on hard plastic or wood all day. Pro tip: look in the lawn furniture section of stores and catalogs for the right-sized cushion to layer over a too-thin cushion or hard chair seat.
Ikea, however, does have some surprisingly stylish options, such as this nod to mid-century office chair, the Fjallberget. They’ve had different color combos in the past, so keep an eye out for more than the basic black.
A colorful IKEA option is the Langfjall home office chair, which currently comes in soft pink, bright blue, cheery green, and several other options. You can get it with or without arms.
If you already have a chair that’s comfortable but not pulling its weight in the style department, consider a slipcover for your existing home office chair. This is a great option if you are trying to pass a chair down to one of your kids, cover some pet damage, or just make your expensive gear last a little longer. Take note of the construction of your current office chair, measure carefully, and then order a cute slipcover for one or two cushions like these (affiliate links, click on pictures below to order):
My assistant is one of my favorite people, so when she asked for a new chair this year, I didn’t hesitate to buy this from one of the local decor stores. That color just makes me happy, happy, happy! You spend a lot of time in your office. Shouldn’t everything in there make you smile? She’s shorter than I am, so we both appreciate the easy lift feature. It lets us both work at a comfortable height. (Sorry, no link.)
This chair is pretty similar to my blue beauty above. This is from a name you already know (Serta), it has stylish nailhead trim, and comes in a half dozen color options including both twill and bonded leather. It also has a four-and-a-half star Amazon rating. (click the pic for more info, affiliate link)
We’ve had pretty good luck with our clients and this type of home office chair. Even though it’s white, we’ve seen them hold up to light use, and they look very on-trend in today’s bright offices. It’s got all the features of a higher-end chair, including casters and the lift, and it comes in at just around $100 with a 4.5-star rating. (I just checked, and it’s on sale for even less during Prime Days.)
If your corporate office gives you a budget for a new chair, this office chair from Crate and Barrel is definitely on my “buy” list. We purchased two of these for a busy spa several years ago. I took a risk ordering in white, but they have held up really well and are comfortable for all the different people who sit at the reception desk. They have so many pretty colors! Here’s an affordable Amazon version for only $80, available in trendy gray and a few other colors.
My clients depend on me to help them find beautiful options that are good value and will last. If you are still making with a big, boxy, black office chair that isn’t really your style, I hope that you give some of these another look. Having personally road-tested many of these home office chairs, I can confirm that work is just better when you are sitting pretty. It’s part of my campaign to help everyone create their own Upbeat, Organized Home Office. If creating an upbeat, organized home office is on your wish list, please pick up a copy of my latest book.
If you are shopping around, you might want to pin this for later:
We’re all in this together. Do you have a home office chair that you love? Please share the deets in the comments.