Perfect the Art of Working From Home With the Best Desk Chairs
We found 22 stylish seats for getting things done.
Updated Sep 14, 2023 12:45 PM
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Reading up on Domino’s shopping guides is like having your own personal product concierge. We do the tedious part—deep-dive research, hands-on testing, and tapping experts for advice—so all you have to do is hit “add to cart.” That’s why we call them Simply the Best.
Working from home comes with many pros and cons. Pro: You can get from your bed to your desk in under five minutes (or less if your bed is your desk). Con: Maybe you’ve been making do with a shoddy workspace and your posture is suffering.
The journey to a better home office starts with a more supportive seat. Whether you are ready to move off the couch or committed to converting that weird nook from a cocktail control center to a laptop landing pad, make it official with one of the best desk chairs. A balance of form and function, our 20 favorites look and feel good, primed for remote workstation resets. We’ve organized them below by price, with brands ranging from Target to Herman Miller, and we promise not one looks as if we sourced it from your brother’s gaming room.
- Best under $300: Amazon Armless Desk Chair by Emiah
- Best under $500: Branch Verve Desk Chair
- Best under $1,000: Rejuvenation Dexter Swivel Chair
- Best under $2,000: Cosm Chair by Herman Miller
Best Desk Chairs Under $300
If you’re not into the corporate look, designer Sean Leffers is a firm believer that dining chairs are just as comfortable as office chairs but easier on the eyes, especially if your desk happens to be in your living room or bedroom. And our home editor, Lydia Geisel, couldn’t agree more. If you’re on a budget or tight on space and just need somewhere comfy to sit from 9 to 5, all you need is a cushioned seat or one with a high back. And to take up less visual (and physical) clutter, Geisel’s advice is to go armless. From a slipcovered sweetie to a few traditional-looking swivels—including the TikTok viral Amazon number—our budget-friendly gems hold their own among the fancier options on our list.
Best Desk Chairs Under $500
“You spend half your life in bed, but your office chair likely comes in second,” Allison Petty, design director at Hyphen Co., stresses. While her preferred pick, the Eames Group chair, is more in the realm of dream-desk-chair territory, we took the reasoning as to why she loves the classic (it’s “comfortable, attractive, and built to last,” she says) to heart when searching for more affordable options out there.
Best Desk Chairs Under $1,000
The more ergonomic adjustments there are—a substantial height range, reclining positions, movable armrests—the more expensive a desk chair can run. But if you suffer from back or neck pain, the below favorites are a worthy investment. Our favorite in this group, Branch’s award-winning Verve chair, comes in four additional fun finishes beyond the basic black—but that’s the hue that clocks in under $500. Going with a trendier coral or mint pushes the price just a hair over that amount, but the upgrade is worth it for a statement, especially if the goal is delineating your workspace.
As is true for a few of our top picks, materials factor in, too. Think: a burl-wood back, brass-capped natural rattan—with a slipcovered, tailored cushion and upholstery of linen and cotton. Or as other interior designers have let on, go for a no-waste option by searching Chairish for preowned, preloved vintage items, like the Marcel Breuer chairs you can find at the co–working spaces.
The Best Desk Chairs Under $2,000
Dipping into serious splurge territory means one of the following: full customization, exclusive styles, or iconic designs (like the Saarinen Tulip chair, seen above). Investing in a Humanscale Path, for instance, is like creating a bespoke chair—you can choose everything between fixed and adjustable arms; four different frame finishes; 40-plus fabrics; and different types of wheels. This version of Emeco’s 1940s Navy chair got a modern upgrade from British textile designer Jasper Morrison. And ergonomics play as much a part as design at Herman Miller, which appears twice on our favorites list. As one reviewer of the Cosm writes, “My back thanks me every time I spend too much time on the computer.”
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Seat Height and Depth
We like to think a well-designed WFH space is not complete without a chair that looks good from every angle. But before exploring color options or innovative mechanisms, first pay close attention to the size of your desk, which will typically run 30 inches tall. The ideal seat height, width, and depth should provide ample support, leave enough room underneath your workstation (no bruised knees), and enable your elbows to rest evenly with your keyboard. Test it out by popping a squat—while your back is pressed up against the backrest, your feet should be flush with the floor.
Armrests and Adjustability
If you’re always typing away, you’ll likely prefer an office chair with armrests to give your wrists a much-deserved break. But if space is tight and your desk is small, a slim, armless silhouette will likely be a better fit. “I think armrests are a personal choice,” says Petty. “I don’t require them, and they do make sliding the chair under a desk a little easier.”
According to Petty, the secret to a sweet seat is adjustability. Most furniture designed for sitting takes a one-size-fits-all approach, but task chairs are unique in that they often feature built-in ergonomics. Petty suggests selecting a chair that can be easily altered to best fit the proportions of your body. Bonus points if it swivels and leans back—keep an eye out for multiple levers.
Ultimately the best desk chairs prioritize functionality, but by no means do they have to look as drab as that sounds. Avoid the round-the-clock corporate day job look by picking a bright hue—our finds, below, offer a wide range of colorways—or a playful pattern. No matter your preference, Petty says it has to be upholstered. The most popular options include fabric, vinyl, plastic, mesh, and—Petty’s favorite—leather for a luxe look. “Don’t even consider a nonupholstered option,” she stresses. “The extra cushion is going to make the biggest difference when you have to sit all day long.”
Pro Tips for Styling Desk Chairs
- If the adjustability factor isn’t worth the splurge, MacGyver a pouf into a footrest or a pillow into a booster seat; Gorra’s trick is to reach for a sheepskin, which she says will “lend a little more cushion for all those Zoom calls.”
- Avoid clashing colors (saturated hues work well with natural woods or neutral whites) and try mixing styles (pair a sculptural mid-century modern thrift with a traditional or industrial table).
- Don’t forget to surround yourself with items that spark a smile, whether it’s adding extra light from a task lamp (like a clip-on cutie our style editor, Julia Stevens, can’t recommend enough) or pasting together a mood board to keep the creative juices flowing.
The Last Word
The best desk chair for you is, well, all up to you—your taste, working style, location, and needs. Let’s say you’re short; a seat with an adjustable height is paramount. Or maybe you’re someone who sends a few emails from bed before bopping back and forth between your desk and couch; having a $2,000-plus Herman Miller original likely isn’t warranted. If you’re tight on space and only have so much room, then we’d opt for a slimmer, armless design. The last thing you want, as designer Meghan Hopp has told us in the past, is to have something big and bulky get in your way. And while some may be into that vibe, we love task chairs that can masquerade as something else or literally are something else—like a slipcovered dining chair.