The Attractive Ergonomic Desk Chair That Gave My Lower Back a New Lease on Life
The fabric is breathable for sweaty people (me).
Updated Aug 21, 2023 8:25 AM
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The end of August signifies the swan song of out-of-office messages and Summer Fridays. Work Week is our one-stop-shopping cluster dedicated to feeling good about getting back into a routine—whether that’s working from home, the office, or a classroom. We’ve got the snazzy task lamps, new desks, and sharp organization tools to help.
My work-from-home setup is not exactly designed for comfort. Instead of sitting at a proper desk in a proper desk chair, I sit cross-legged in bed. To be clear: I do own a proper desk and a proper desk chair; I just feel more productive conducting business atop my duvet. The only downside to my “office”? It’s not working wonders for my lower back. So when a timely opportunity to review the award-winning Branch Verve chair presented itself, my interest was piqued. Maybe this would be the fresh incentive I needed to finally kick my hard-to-shake, work-from-bed habit—and give my sore lumbar a break.
For those unfamiliar with Branch, it’s a New York–based DTC furniture company that got its timely pre-pandemic start in the business of “creating inspiring offices” for remote folks. That means producing thoughtfully designed ergonomic furniture, offering a sustainable trade-in program, and providing workspace layout consultations. Its bread-and-butter product is the Verve chair—winner of the 2022 iF Design Award for its status as a “high-performance task chair that perfectly combines technology, comfort, and aesthetics in the office or home.” The accolade-worthy seat has gone on to garner positive reviewer buzz, too, for achieving the rare combo of being both easy on the eyes and the body. “This chair is seriously awesome,” one jazzed Verve owner writes. “It adjusts in multiple ways; the fabric is great quality, strong, and breathable; it has a plush but firm seat; and I actually feel a difference in my posture with the lumbar support.”
With a $599 price tag, the Verve isn’t cheap—but thoughtfully designed products that are built to last rarely are. (It’s worth noting that the chair is covered by a seven-year warranty.) The unencumbered frame is wrapped in a 3D-knit fabric and comes in three color-matched shades: galaxy (a smooth black), mist (a cool, soothing gray), and coral (a peppy orange-pink). The coral—recently released and what I eagerly chose to review—is eye-catching in a way that office furniture often is not. For my full Branch Verve chair review, keep reading.
The mere idea of assembling products sends me into a panic—thankfully, setting up the Verve chair was surprisingly straightforward. The entire process took me under an hour, from unboxing to finish, but it could have taken someone with zero distractions even less than that. The components consist of a backrest, seat, two armrests, a supportive base, casters, and the assembly tool kit. It was organized inside two separate boxes that were packaged inside one large shipment box, which was all relatively easy for me to move by myself. I started by pushing the casters into the base (they clicked into place), then moved on to assembling the seat and backrest (there is a mounting bracket and a bridge that screwed into place). Next, I attached the armrests to the bridge with screws and placed the assembled chair seat into the cylinder. After that, bam, it was ready to use.
The most striking aspect of the Verve is its design. The streamlined silhouette is coated in a pigmented color, save for five matte black wheels and a suspension support rod; the backrest and seat are covered in the 3D-knit fabric, affording it a decidedly modern feel; and the V-shaped spine is mirrored in the curved, open armrests. In short: The chair is unlike most ergonomic desk seating out there—which makes me actually want to sit in it. My old chair was a nondescript Sam’s Club buy that I got in a hurry after returning a loaner from an old job. It served its purpose. But unlike the Verve, it added zilch to my workspace in the way of aesthetics. The Verve’s striking coral shade brightens up my desk area, complements the vibrant colors in my surrounding decor, and brings an undeniably cheerful energy that beckons me to “sit and stay a while.”
The first thing I noticed after sitting in the chair is how effortlessly it glides—no jerky, squeaking wheels or creaky cushions that broadcast the tiniest movements. My old chair tended to make squeaky announcements when I sat in it, and the wheels were equally whiny when rolling. The Verve also reclines, yet another feature my former chair lacked; it makes my midday seated stretches all the more effective.
The next revelation was how supportive the seat and back of the chair felt. An adjustable lumbar rest across the back allows it to be lowered and raised to fit your comfort level—and you can easily reach around and move it without standing up. The 3D-knit back is composed of threads of varying strengths, providing flexibility and support; it’s also quite breathable, which is a plus for those who sweat easily (me). After a single workday, I noticed my lower back felt less strained, my seated posture felt more aligned, and my hips felt zero stiffness compared to working in my bed (duh) or sitting in my other office chair. The Verve had completely eliminated that tired, sore posterior sensation I often feel after being seated for hours.
My only complaint has been, as some reviewers also point out, that adjusting the armrest height can be a bit confusing. After a few attempts of sliding them up and down and not being able to lock them into place, I almost thought they were defective—I eventually found that a gentle push will secure them. The chair comes with a free ergonomic consultation if you’re struggling to reach that perfect position.
The Final Word
I wrote 75 percent of my Branch Verve chair review while seated in it—the other 25 percent of the time I was perched on the edge of my bed or sitting in my other office chair for comparison. After a nearly two-week trial, my constant shoulder and lower back tension took a leave of absence. While it took some maneuvering to get the padded lumbar rest into the perfect spot, I noticed that once I did, I felt less drained (presumably from no longer slumping and having sufficient support) at the end of my workday. It’s also hard not to feel just a little excited over such a well-designed piece of furniture. Only time will tell whether I permanently abandon my bed for greener (or, in this case, coral-er) pastures. All in all, the amount of time spent actually working from my desk has increased—which, for me, ultimately speaks magnitudes about the quality, support, and magnetic pull of the Verve.