Checklist for choosing a chair

As a Physiotherapist, the most common question I hear about chairs, is "how do I know what a good chair is?" I’ve seen people working on outdoor deck chairs, stools, fit balls, couches, and even the bed. These kinds of chairs do not encourage good postures, and remember that poor postures accumulate!

If you are really tall or really short, you would benefit from actually going and trying numerous chairs to see how you feel. People can have different measurements such as long torsos or long legs and if you are not 90% of the population, you will require a chair that is specific to your measurements.So here is a quick checklist for buying a chair for the home office.

The chair needs to be fully adjustable, and by this, I mean:

  • The height of the chair goes up and down.
  • The back support should go forward and back AND the lumbar support should be able to be adjusted up and down (very important for the lower back to be able to adjust this).
  • Seat depth: you should be able to sit on the chair comfortably, and measure 2-3 finger spaces between the front of the chair base and the back of your knees.
  • Seat width: You should have this wide enough to allow you to have even pressure across the entire seat.
  • Armrests: I'm usually not a fan of armrests as it tends to encourage leaning to one side, and often they are too high and don't allow you to tuck yourself under the desk to be close to your keyboard and mouse. If you must have armrests, make sure they are low enough to allow you to tuck yourself under your desk.
  • Stability: A five-point base is recommended which allows you to swivel.
  • Also if your feet are dangling, then a footrest provides extra support to your spine so have a think about this.


If you don’t want to buy a new chair or don’t have the budget, then a portable lumbar support is the next best option. These are sold at places like Officeworks for a very reasonable price (much less than a chair) and can be used in the car, over a dining chair on public transport etc.


Good luck chair hunting! I'd be happy to talk you through purchasing a chair, anytime.