Comfortable and Cosy: How To Use An Armchair As A Desk Chair

Comfortable and Cosy: How To Use An Armchair As A Desk Chair

Louis Chair Room setting

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Is there anything less stylish than your average office chair? Call us old-fashioned but we love sinking into a luxuriously supportive armchair to tackle the afternoon’s emails.

An armchair is an inviting cocoon that tempts you to sit at the desk. You can nestle into its velvety fabric or pile on the plush cushions for a quick nap. Plus, unlike a dowdy task chair, there’s no need to hide a utilitarian frame with a kimono or throw blankets. An elegant, antique-inspired armchair is a piece of office furniture to show off!

If you’re sick of ugly office chairs, perhaps its time to consider a classic armchair for your office space?

a grey chair that could be used in an office with two feature pillows, footstool, and plant

What makes an office chair ergonomic?

Ergonomic chairs are designed to improve posture and support your body while sitting for long periods.

Since the pandemic, more people are working from home. It’s no coincidence that so many of us complain about sore joints and back pain! As much as we like to curl up with a good book, the human body wasn’t designed to sit for hours on end. That’s where an ergonomic office chair comes in.

Because sitting for long periods can lead to health issues it’s important to be mindful of good posture and how much support your office chair gives you while working.

Good posture while sitting at a desk relies on the following:

  • Ankles placed in front of your knees
  • Relaxed shoulders
  • Knees and forearms parallel to the floor
  • Straight back (no hunching over your keyboard!)
  • No slumping to one side
  • Looking straight ahead at your computer to prevent neck strain

Luckily, an ergonomic chair can help. Most modern ergonomic chairs come with adjustable features like seat height adjustment, backrest recline, and a seat slide.

But a classic armchair also makes for a comfortable office chair – and exudes a hundred times more charm and luxury!

Open Armchair

What makes a good office chair?

Good office chairs share the following features:

  • Adequate spine and lumbar support
  • Help to align your shoulders, spine, and hips
  • Can be adjusted to give support to any body type
  • Supremely comfortable
  • Boosts your productivity

When designed correctly, a classic armchair can provide all these things (with the bonus of providing a chic statement piece for your home office). Centuries of thought and craft have gone into styles like wingbacks and Chesterfields. Many modern examples have improved on these early designs to the point that a classic armchair shape is perfectly usable as an office chair.

The Iconic Wing chair

The very first office chair

Before modern desk chairs, ‘home office’ chairs looked quite different. And much more stylish, in our opinion!

The first armchair designed for office use dates back to 1849. Thomas E Warren designed the Centripetal Spring Armchair for the American Chair Company due to the rise in desk jobs created by the railway expansion.

The Centripetal Armchair featured a swivel base, rolling castors, and headrest support. It also looked beautiful upholstered in sumptuous burgundy and gold velvet with the cast iron castors. Such beautiful details are sorely lacking in modern chairs!

Of course, desk chairs have been in use much longer than 1849.

Sir Walter Scott wrote his famous novels from a glorious, deep-seated leather armchair. With its sturdy mahogany frame, armrests, scooped back, and rich chestnut colour, it’s easy to imagine the famous Romantic writer pondering his latest plot in comfort.

Styles like the wingback chair have a long ancestry, dating back to the 1600s. With its high back, lumbar support, and armrests its easy to see why this design is an enduring classic. The oldest wingback chair dates to the 17th century!

Benson Wing chair roomset

How to choose an armchair for your home office

Like the chairs of old, a home office armchair should be practical and beautiful. Using armchairs as desk chairs certainly works but there are a few elements to take into consideration.

As mentioned above, ergonomic desk chairs help keep your joints in alignment. Adequate support throughout the working day will ease stiff back muscles and armrests can help prevent repetitive strain injury and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Look for a vintage or bespoke armchair with the following features:

  • High, supportive back
  • A seat that allows you to plant both feet on the floor
  • A seat height that maintains eye-level with your computer
  • Sufficient armrests
  • Cushioning with lumbar support

Other elements to take into account are aesthetics. Are you looking to create a home office with romantic feminine touches or a study reminiscent of the world’s literary greats? Your office might be a cosy snug perfect for a library chair or a minimal haven with neutral styling.

Office chairs can tie a room together or provide an intriguing accent in an otherwise plain office. That’s why the perfect desk chair will look different for everyone, and why we’re less than enthusiastic about mass-produced, tasteless home office chairs!

Library Chair in Ian Mankin Newbury Hopsack

What is the best office chair for sitting long hours?

Sitting has been called the new smoking. Research shows that sitting for long hours can slow your metabolism, lower blood pressure, and cause obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.

The ideal chair for working and sitting for long hours should encompass a lounge like ability to allow you to sit back and read, as well as offering good back support. A chair such as the Howard Armchair or one of our Wingback chairs are great option for those looking for comfort to read, as well as a good light source and uncluttered working environment.

Howard Armchair

Are ergonomic office chairs better than normal chairs?

Many people work long hours from home at a computer or 9-5 desk jobs. Sitting down on daily commutes and then flopping onto the sofa to watch telly night all contribute to health problems caused by too much inactivity.

Unfortunately, there is no miracle ergonomic chair that makes sitting for long periods healthy. The UK’s Chief Medical Officers advise breaking up periods of inactivity with light activity. This could involve stretching or getting up to make a cuppa.

So, if even the best ergonomic office chair won’t allow you to sit all day, why not choose an office chair that looks good? As long as you choose an armchair that supports your lower back and promotes good posture, you’re free to dress the desk of your home office as luxuriantly as you please!

Do I need adjustable armrests?

Whether you need adjustable armrests is a matter of preference. There’s debate among ergonomists as to whether armrests are necessary at all.

First, let’s outline the benefits of armrests:

  • Armrest width can help keep your body aligned
  • Armrests relax the muscles in your shoulders, neck, and hands
  • They can also reduce the pressure put on your lower back while sitting

However, a second school of thought suggests that armrests cause ‘shoulder shrugging’ and ‘contact stress’ from leaning on forearms.

Popular chairs are specifically designed with better posture in mind. But you don’t need everything to be adjustable to achieve a luxury level of comfort.

Personally, we like the comfort of a wide, cushioned armrest. It also comes in handy for balancing a notepad or cup of tea! Again, the best way to prevent injury and strain is to get up and move regularly. In this case, armrests become a matter of personal choice.

Elise Armchair in GP & J Baker House Velvet Eucalyptus

Are high back chairs ergonomic?

High back chairs are more ergonomic because they provide support for your back, neck, shoulders, and head. A tall backrest ensures better posture because you sit straighter in the seat instead of slouching to one side or hunching over.

Wingback chairs are sturdy, ergonomic chairs with high backrests and lumbar support which make them ideal as office chairs. Wingback armchairs also come in a variety of styles and finishes so you can customise them to suit your home office style.

What kind of chair is best for a bad back?

Highback styles are the best kind of office chairs for those who struggle with a bad back. Styles like a wingchair or an open armchair with a tall back, for example. A Georgian-style wingchair with added lumbar support will provide elegant cushioning for achey back muscles.

Large Stamford Wing Chair

Are ergonomic chairs worth it?

Yes, ergonomic chairs are worth it! We sit for an average of 9 hours per day. And with more of us working from home post-covid it’s important to have an ergonomic chair that is comfortable and supports our posture.

An ergonomic office chair does more than support your back. It promotes well-being and can boost productivity. That’s why it’s important to buy the best ergonomic chair your budget can afford.

High-quality ergonomic desk chairs

As discussed, an ergonomic chair will have 5 key features:

  • High, supportive back
  • A seat that allows you to plant both feet on the floor
  • A seat height that maintains eye-level with your computer
  • Sufficient armrests
  • Cushioning with lumbar support

At The Original Chair Company we produce bespoke, high-quality ergonomic chairs. High backs, armrests, lumbar support and luxurious cushioning come as standard. All our chairs are upholstered in luxury fabrics and materials.

Inspired by classic designs, we believe that an ergonomic office chair can be beautiful!

Open Armchair Buttoned Back in Osborne & Little Encore Velvet

What makes our chairs ergonomic?

Our chairs come with design features that set them apart from your average ergonomic chair.

For starters, each chair is handcrafted by master artisans. Their skill ensures that proper alignment is built into each armchair. Take our classic Wing Chair. We pay attention to back support, seat cushion padding, and the positioning of the wings. It feels like you’re being embraced and supported by the chair!

Handcrafted Wing Chairs are at their most comfortable when particular consideration has been given to the proper lumber support. The most comfortable Wing Chair in my mind is one that has sufficient lumber support as well as a slight rake in the back to give you a gentle lean.

This means that you sit back comfortably to ponder (or procrastinate) during the work day. A bonus, in our opinion!

We also provide duck-down cushioning as an option, and every ergonomic chair comes with Qualofil fibre seat cushions as standard. We can also alter leg heights of chairs in the majority of cases as well as general frame sizing as part of our bespoke design service to ensure proper fitting for a person’s height.

Harrogate Chair in Zoffany Kalamkari

The best ergonomic office chairs from The Original Chair Company

Here’s our favourite ergonomic chairs that can double up as a desk chair:

  1. Georgian Wing Seat
  2. Kendal Wing Chair
  3. Carlton Chair
  4. George Wing Chair
  5. Cavendish Wing Chair
  6. Logan Wing Chair
  7. Stamford Wing Chair
  8. Jubilee Wing Chair
  9. Benson Wing Chair

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