Setting Up Shop Part 3: A Writer’s Chair

A year ago, I spent hours searching for the perfect desk. When I finally found it, I ordered it, carefully assembled it, and after admiring my work for an hour, I decided I wanted to try the desk out.  I grabbed the nearest chair, sat down and smiled as I used my brand new desks for the first time.

An hour later, I started getting restless. I got up, stretched and made myself the tenth cup of tea for the day. I sat back down to work again. Half an hour later, my back was hurting. Another half hour later, my rear end felt like it’s been flattened, and I am regretting all the time and money I wasted on buying the stupid desk, because I realized I wouldn’t be using it anyway.

Of course, if I had spent the same amount of time looking for the perfect chair, as I did looking for the perfect desk, I wouldn’t have been wallowing in regret.

Thankfully, I’ve learned my lesson. So this year, when I decided to replace my old desk, I also decided to spend some time and money choosing the perfect chair.

I often thought that just any old chair would do when it came to my office space. The truth is, my chair is probably the biggest contributing factor to whether I get work done or not.

more comfortable chair = more work time put in = more work done

In order to get a lot of work or writing done, I need to spend an enormous amount of time sitting (unless I’m weird and I write standing up). I discovered that sitting can be hard on my body, especially if I’m sitting on an ill-fitting chair for hours.

An ill-fitting chair can lead to bad posture, which in turn can lead to a variety of health problems such as back pain, neck pain, butt pain and a host of other general aches and pains.

Since I wished to avoid these health problems, as well as enjoy the brand-new desk I bought, I considered the following criteria for choosing my chair:

1. Adjustability of Seat Height

I’m the kind of person who wears tall slippers one day and goes barefoot the next, so I need to be able to adjust the height of my chair.  If I want to be comfortable, my feet should be flat on the ground as I’m working.

2. Armrest and Armrest Height

I need a chair that has cushioned and adjustable armrests, but I also want armrests that would easily slide underneath the keyboard drawer.

3. Seat Depth

The depth of the seat is also important for my comfort. I should be able to sit with my back against the back rest and have at least three inches of space between the front of my chair and the back of my knees. According to an article I read, a straight-edged seat tends to press on the back of your legs, cutting of the circulation, so a round seat edge would be preferable to add to my long term comfort.

4. Style

A cloth fabric that breathes would probably be more comfortable if I’m going to spend a lot time sitting. It’s cheap and practical–but why would I pick it when leather or vinyl seats are sexier and more professional looking? But that’s just me.

The style of the chair should also match the desk I already picked out, as well as the general décor of the office.

5. Seat cushion

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this whole desk/chair buying experience, it’s that the cushier the chair, the more inclined I am to stay in it. This time, instead of settling for a hard wooden chair, I’m opting to go for a chair with a firm but cushy bottom.

6. Lumbar Support

This is the most important criterion in choosing the right chair. A properly fitted chair should support my lower back – whether I’m moving or reclining. A good chair will have adjustable back support ( in terms of height and angle ) to fit my body.

7. Stability/ Ease of Use

Finally, the chair I pick should be stable. It should be able to swivel and roll so I can easily move around to reach papers or equipment or other areas of my desk. In other words, my chair should have five legs with matching wheels.

I  normally would just go on craiglist to buy a second hand chair for half the price, or scour flea markets and second hand shops; but I wanted a new chair and I wanted it right away. I opted to shop online to save myself some time and even some money by comparing prices and using available coupons.

Armed with these criteria, I immediately set to work looking for the perfect chair. I scoured chairs online, checked out their specs, matched them against my criteria and compared prices.

Ideally, I should have gone to an actual store, taken time to sit on each available chair and then made my choice. But being the busy person that I was, I decided to save time and buy online. But even though I was buying the chair online, I went with a seller that had an actual physical store. I reasoned that, at least if I didn’t like the chair, I’d be able to return it and exchange it for something else.

I found the perfect chair in Office Depot. The Dorra Bonded Leather Task Chair measured 38 1/2″H x 25 1/4″W x 24 3/4″D and its black leather matched my desk.

dorra leather chair2 Setting Up Shop Part 3: A Writers Chair

More importantly, it met my criteria for the perfect chair. The best part was that it was on sale for $30 less! I bought the chair online for $59.99 (It’s usual price is $89.99) and I even got it on the same day because I chose to pick it up in the store myself. (Choosing pick up instead of delivery saved me at least $30 in terms of shipping.)

Now I have a chair I love to sit in. I can tell all the research and hard work has paid off because I find myself spending more time on my desk writing than on the couch downstairs watching TV.

DSCF13121 1024x768 Setting Up Shop Part 3: A Writers Chair

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5 Responses to “Setting Up Shop Part 3: A Writer’s Chair”

  1. This is perfect for me, because I am in need of a new chair. And amen about the lumbar support thing! I hate sitting at my desk right now because my back gets so sore. Thanks for doing all my homework. :)

  2. Brian says:

    I found this page while searching for a chair a writer recommends. There are so many chairs and going to a store is good, but a few seconds on a chair does not give you that much insight. It is easy to find articles on expensive options, but I was not sure I wanted to spend that much. On the other hand, when I went to look at the chair recommended here, I was unsure I wanted to buy a chair that cheap ($59 on Office Depot). Then I figured why not. If the chair does not work, I can return it. Well, it has only been a couple weeks…but I am really enjoying the chair! It is not too big, tucks under my desk, and is quite comfortable. Thanks for posting this page. By the way, per your desk page, I really like the desk I have from IKEA. It is very simple. Height adjustable legs and a real wood 47″ top. You can buy larger tops or L shaped tops, but this one fit my apartment well. Cheers! Brian

  3. Trina says:

    Hey just in time for me to run across this article. I wanted to buy a chair today. My current chair doesn’t let me sit crossed legged in it. The seat isn’t wide enough and the arms are fixed (non adjustable) ouch, the bruises I get on my legs.I have two pillows on it, one for the seat and one for the back obviously a very bad chair. So off I went determined to find the perfect chair and came home empty. So thank you for your article. I didn’t see your chair in the stores I frequented today but I will keep up the search. I work on a dining room table and it sits a bit higher then a regular work desk so the chairs I find don’t rise high enough for me to make it comfortable. I am short about 1.5 inches, enough to make me uncomfortable and head downstairs to watch TV when I should be writing. Any models that you know of that could give me the added height or do they all have a standard maximum height? Any suggestions would help. Thank you.

  4. Verona says:

    You have a very attractive and comfortable looking desk chair. I’ve been looking for a good quality desk chair for about a year now. I’ve spent countless hours researching top of the line ergonomic desk chairs, and after sifting through the good, the bad, and the ugly, I finally ordered a chair online that will be soon delivered to my home. I know people have different budgets, but all the information and advice I culled from my extensive research emphasized that a truly well-built ergonomic chair does not exist under $300. I therefore set my budget for $1,000 and that’s exactly what I paid the chair I ordered. I won’t know how truly superior it is compared to my chairs of lesser quality until I use it for at least a couple of weeks. You sound quite happy and pleased with your purchase, and I hope it works well for its intended purpose. I’m hoping my chair also delivers on its promise of superior performance and comfort; heaven knows I certainly paid enough for it.

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