Gone are the days when the ubiquitous padded office chair and bulky beige desk ruled office décor. “Task chairs have become more lifestyle in look, which means you can integrate them into any room, and with any style of décor,” says Jaclyn Harper, HGTV stylist and owner of Harper Designs in Toronto. “We have the tools and the furniture to work wherever we want and change the space however we want.”
So, whether you’re putting down roots in your kitchen, bedroom or basement, here are Harper’s three rules on how to choose the best home office chair to suit your space, style and needs.
Rule #1: Determine its function
Ask yourself whether the chair will act as additional seating in the living or dining room. If so, it should fit in with your décor, and style may win over ergonomics and practicality. “However, if you’re working 9-5 hours, chances are you plan to be sitting in that chair for long stretches and want it to be super comfortable,” says Harper. Typical office chairs tend to be ergonomic and adjustable, and the good news is that style is becoming just as important. “A classic, black office chair will look good in any room but we’re seeing people gravitate towards warmer tones and more stylish, upholstered options that are an extension of their décor.”
Harper’s other piece of advice when creating a dedicated office in its own room is to choose the biggest piece of furniture first. “The desk is the piece that is the least interchangeable and is usually where you spend the most money, so you’ll want to purchase this before landing on a chair,” she says. “Once you have the table and chair, then you can choose items like a task lamp and additional office accessories.”
Other designated office areas, like the basement, are a more casual space, so choose a chair that reflects that. “There is more flexibility to go bigger and even cozier, like a chair with a plush cushion, or even a gaming chair, designed for maximum comfort. Ramping up the cozy factor also means that it can be used for extra seating for family movie nights, or simply lounging,” says Harper.
Rule #2: Be conscious of style and colour
If your “Work From Anywhere” zone has you taking up residence in the living or dining area, Harper suggests having your task chair match the décor of the space. “Choose a chair with a complimentary style and fabric that blends in with the rest of the room, whether it’s pulling a shade out from a wall colour or area rug.” A modern armchair like this one can be considered multi-purpose and can easily be moved from room to room without looking out of place.
In the kitchen, the breakfast table or counter can also be an efficient workspace and here is where Harper says you can have a bit of fun. “Many kitchens are neutral in tone so you have an opportunity to choose a chair or stool that’s colourful or makes a statement.” However, to achieve optimum comfort with stools, she suggests opting for ones that can swivel and have a fabric cushion back.
Rule #3: Ensure it transitions well
If space is hard to come by in your home, a simple, makeshift office in the corner of your bedroom can be a great solution. To avoid having your task chair stick out, it’s best to find one that matches with the rest of the space. “A fixed style similar to a dining room chair, or something small and compact will be comfortable and won’t take up a lot of square footage,” says Harper. And, when you no longer need it for work, you can style the chair by throwing a blanket on top and pairing it with a side table to create a cozy reading nook.