On the Hunt for a Stylish Office Chair (on a Budget)

How’s everyone doing this freezing cold week? Wearing oversized sweater ponchos and leggings like me? (Yeah, yeah, leggingsarenotpants, but you don’t see beerisnotdinner stopping me from making that happen occasionally, either.)

Anyway… I’m still on the hunt for an office chair. For my new office design plan, the idea has been to get something on the small side that provides decent back support (I’m finding that tension in my back almost always results in stiff shoulders). But as I’ve begun doing my research on the elusive comfortable and stylish office chair, I have run into a number of dilemmas that are slowing me down in making my selection:

Style. Why do comfortable chairs have to always be so damn ugly? Ideally, I’d like it to swivel (without wheels) since my handmade desk is L-shaped and provides plenty of room to move, but that seems to be a significant limitation for design aesthetics. Even super expensive chairs that are way out of my budget aren’t really overwhelming me in terms of style. I’m sure for the price, it probably feels like sitting on Adam Levine’s lap*, but really… can’t I have something that’s both attractive and doesn’t feel like a reject from the Game of Thrones set?

Availability. I love the internet, but some things just can’t be conveyed all that well in an online review. Comfort is one of those things, since lumbar support on the same chair can vary pretty greatly between two differently-sized and differently-weighted people. And my 5’2″ frame seems to be something many office chair designers never regularly anticipated. I’d prefer to sit on one of these chairs to give them the ol’ sit test**, but that compromises the amount of selection I have available.

Price. As always, the ever-present budget is something I always have to keep in mind. It’s not so much that I’m not willing to invest in a piece that I’ll be parking my butt in for a majority of my work day, it’s that I don’t want to have to spend it two or three times to find the right piece. Add up costs of shipping when things don’t quite work out (or rather, just the hassle of shipping things back), and my motivation to make this a one-and-done sort of deal has been somewhat important.

*as in, amazing… duh

**”the ol’ sit test”… hmm. Now doesn’t that seem like something you should go around your office repeating? Also be sure to mention the Adam Levine thing when you do. People will love it.

My Picks (So Far)

office chairs 1

1. I tried out my favorite place and couldn’t find the right comfort-to-style ratio, but the budget was just right for this dining chair (one of the most comfortable office chairs was actually this one, but the white leather already looked dirty in the store, so it won’t last long).

2. I’ve been eyeballing this chair from Wayfair, and it suits both style and price (and I hear they are comfy, but it’s not traditionally used as an office chair). But since it’s not something I can try out in person, and it is molded plastic, I’m hesitant to pull the trigger.

3 & 4 are both from West Elm, but I haven’t looked at them in person yet. The Saddle chair is definitely a top contender, especially since it has a sneaky swivel built in (and looks like a normal chair otherwise). Surprisingly, the Bentwood chair is on wheels but not as ugly as the other 3,000+ wheeled options I’ve seen.

office chairs 2

5 & 6 are both from Target, but it’s the ugly chrome wheels I’m having issues with. The shape of this cushion is nice though, and this one simply looks really comfortable to sit in (though I’d be hesitant to get something in white).

7. I also like the “austin” chair from cb2. I’d have to probably recover it at some point, but the chair is low-profile and won’t  take up much space.

8. Finally, I like the shape and well-worn look of this Airgo chair from PBteen (the armless version, even more than the Target one), but it too has the chrome issue that I’m less than thrilled with.

How about you? Any suggestions on where to look for the right chair? Have you tried out any of the above with good results? Would love to know what to check out next!

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