Working comfortably from home requires affordability AND a real nice “seat”

When you work outside an office, where you sit can make a huge difference in the quality of your existence. Today, as more people work from home, finding the right office chair for your home office becomes a battle between comfort and affordability. I recently “retired” from my dining room table (to be fair, I finally conceded to my husband’s demands to have his table back..) and converted a back bedroom to a comfortable workspace. It’s just as well – sitting on my dining room chairs was killing my back. So when I decided to move upstairs I took it as an opportunity to seek out a comfy new “seat”.

As a former corporate chick, my bum is used to the best. I used to have a top of line Herman Miller affair. No complaints here folks, if you have the funds, this is a really, really nice choice. It’s flexible, breathes well and is easy to adjust for those of us with long legs and a stiff back. Plus it looks very cool and very trendy. Right up there with some of those other fancy ergonomic designs. But my current gig as a budding entrepreneur has changed my budget so I worried that comfort might be unaffordable. So not true….but it was a real concern as I have a bit of a back issue – scoliosis. This means my spine is curved and my torso is out of alignment. This also means that shoulder and neck pain are a constant companion if I don’t have good support. So my chair needs are understandably a point of supreme contemplation for me.

Little did I know that chairs were such a hot topic online. From the whimsical (and sometimes silly) history of ergonomic design by Heather Murphy to Bloomberg’s suggestion to kill your desk chair to Forbes, stop your desk chair from killing you to my favorite, NPR’s sitting all day is killing you, I started to get a bit paranoid. My life was on the line here….it made me a little dizzy.

With such overwhelming information, I was a little daunting. How to choose, how to choose? To keep myself from getting overwhelmed, I made a simple list of “must-haves” to help me narrow the field.

  1. The obvious – it had to support my back well and provide a comfy seat for my butt.
  2. I’m 5’8” tall, but I should be over 6’; thus my legs are really, really long. My chair choice had to have seat adjustability that accommodated my long lower limbs.
  3. I didn’t want arms as they cramp my personal style.  I fidget and chair arms get in the way…
  4. Streamlined, not bulky – my workspace is compact – I wanted comfort and support without the size.

After extensive field research, I settled on the Ikea, Vilgot.  At $69.99 it’s affordable and compact (and for anyone who wants arms, there is an “armed” option for a mere $89.99). I chose black – the lesser of the evils – as it is also available in blue or red (admittedly uninspired shades) but I could overlook this because of its other desirable features.  Unsurprisingly, Ikea has a whole line of affordable office furniture that has nice clean, compact lines.  I got my chair directly from my local Ikea store (I wanted to sit in it to “road” test it before I bought it), but you can get them online.  Be prepared, as with most Ikea stuff, some assembly is required. And although constructing things is not my primary talent; even I was able to put this together with very little trouble.

 Happily, I can report that a few months in, I am VERY happy with my personal choice. It’s tough and sturdy, but extremely comfortable. We give it our “thumbs up”!  I’m still haunted by the “chairs are killing you thing” and it inspires me to take frequent breaks and jump up and down a lot. As always, we’re interested to hear from you – if you have a home work space, you’ve been through this before as well.

Tell us your story – what’s your favorite “seat” for your work space – how did you decide?

Photo by Hutomo Abrianto