The Best Chairs for Writing
Writing for long periods of time in an uncomfortable chair can be really difficult. Not only does it put a strain on your body, but, if I’m not comfortable, it’s easier for me to get distracted. It takes longer for the job to get done. Finding a good chair to write in is one of the keys to the whole “being productive” thing.
When I first moved to Los Angeles, I didn’t bring furniture with me. After moving 3000 miles, so I figured I’d get a bed and worry about whatever else I needed later. I was fortunate to find an apartment where the woman who was moving out left behind a small glass desk and a wooden folding chair like this:
But now that I work from home, and I write more, something had to change. The chair wasn’t comfortable enough, it was the wrong height, and I couldn’t make any adjustments to it.
So, I went on a office chair hunt, and found some really great options. I ended up with two of them – one for the office, and one for my living room. Here’s what I found in my research. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links. Please see my disclosure for more details.
What Is Ergonomics, and Why Does It Matter?
When I was growing up, the word “ergonomics” wasn’t used as much as it is today. Basically, it describes the study of people’s efficiency in the workplace, but it seems to have grown to encompass personal comfort and health as well.
A lot of people think that simply going out and buying a chair that says “ergonomic” on it will be the right move. But chairs and people come in different shapes and sizes. Just because it works great for you, might not mean it works great for everyone else around you.
Finding the best chairs for writing requires some trial and error. While ergonomics may have some areas that can be generalized, other areas may be more specific to the individual.
Why Are Writing Chairs any Different from a Regular Office Chair?
We’ve all been in offices where a chair was so uncomfortable that we left the office every day with a sore back. Understandably, companies don’t want to have to buy a different chair for each individual employee. While there are always physical ability considerations to remember, the issue of chair comfort is something I hear people in offices discuss all the time.
I once had a boss who refused to use the office-supplied chairs, and brought in her own from home, because the office wouldn’t shell out for a new one. And there was that job where people competed to get the best chair, and would come in early to swap out the one that squeaked for the one that didn’t.
I still remember when I first got a job at an office where the seating was both comfortable and adjustable – I had elbow strain, and I switched jobs, and just raising the seat by a few inches helped me reduce strain and be more productive. You wouldn’t think a chair would do that. I’d tried an ergonomic mouse and mousepad, but ultimately it was all in the angle.
And if you’re a writer, you’re spending a lot of time at that desk in that chair. That means you need to be able to sit for a long period without having back, arm, neck, or leg pain!
Best Chairs for Writing Comfortably
These are in order from least to most expensive, since cost makes a big difference! And I have some bonus tips at the end, so scroll down for those.
This is the one my boss used when she decided she didn’t want anything to do with the other office chairs. I tried it out a couple of times, and it was comfortable. It was ultimately not the right chair for me, because I have a bad enough posture that I actually need to improve my posture before using a posture-improving chair!
But, if you’re looking for something that may reduce back pain and increase good posture habits and core strength, this is supposed to be good for that, and my old boss swears by it.
This one has great reviews for people looking for a leather chair with armrests that also swivels. For some reason, finding a leather chair on wheels that had all this functionality wasn’t the easiest thing for me.
I kept running into those old-timey, wingback chairs, which might be because I spend too much time Googling old libraries. Anyway, I recommend it, if leather and functionality are your thing.
This is a more classic office chair, with the more air-y back, the armrests, and height adjustment. The thing about this one that I really like is the headrest. I tend to be someone who leans back a lot and shifts around, so having somewhere to rest my head and neck is a nice addition to the standard.
This one is expensive, so if you’re only looking for an occasional use chair, you might go for something less pricey. The Duramont is similar and about 1/4 of the cost. But – the Herman Miller is one of the leaders of comfortable office chairs, and I could instantly see why.
I settled on this one for my home office, since that became my “place where I work for everything, all the time.” If I was going to be sitting for 8 hours a day, I needed a great chair.
Again, I will warn you about the price. Don’t get sticker shock! But I find this is a lot more comfortable than any other office chair I’ve ever encountered. So – if comfort and adjustability are your two key areas to consider, and you have the funds, definitely look into a Herman Miller. This is definitely one of the best chairs for writing, if not the best chair.
The company has a wide range of options, and are considered top of the line.
Bonus Chairs & Other Ergonomic Office Products
Writers, if you’re anything like me, you can’t control where you get creatively inspired. I love being able to grab my laptop and write from the living room, without having to drag in my office chair.
So, my second chair is an oversized/chair and a half that I put in the living room. I don’t ever see people mention a chair and a half or a loveseat as a good writing chair, but I think it’s great.
This is a good option if I want to write in front of the fireplace or while watching TV. I don’t use it for a full day, but you will find me writing in various pretzel-like positions on this chair. It’s probably terrible for posture, and I’m sure I’ll be mad I did it in a few years, but it’s super comfortable for those “writing in the living room” evenings.
My wife likes this as a chair for studying for school; she finds that the extra space lets her spread out her books and notes all around her, which helps, as she doesn’t currently have a desk to work on.
My last bonus is the Memory Foam Seat Cushion and Lumbar Support add-on that you can toss onto your less-comfortable chair to get that added support.
I had one of these for my car for a while, and it helped make an old seat more comfortable by a long shot.
Common Questions/FAQ About the Best Chairs for Writing
Here are some answers to common questions you might have on the best writing chairs.
What Are the Best Desks to Pair with These Chairs?
- Depending on your needs, there are a number of desks that might pair well with these.
- I personally like the look of an industrial-style desk like this folding laptop table.
- If you’re more into something with some shelving, you might try out this computer desk with a bookshelf.
- A great L-shaped option is the Mr. Ironstone desk here.
- Whatever you choose, make sure to measure your space and your chair height to make sure you don’t end up with your knees banging the desk all the time. I’ll be reviewing desks in the near future, but these are just some quick ‘n easy options for you.
Is It Better to Sit on a Stool or a Chair?
- This is a really heavily debated question. I personally prefer a chair, but people with good posture (or who are trying to improve their posture) sometimes lean toward stools.
- A good compromise might be a kneeling stool like this. The forward-tilt might help you keep your posture better, while still giving you support. I haven’t tried this, though!
Are These Also the Best Chairs for Crafting?
- Crafting can be pretty similar to writing, but it kind of depends on your craft preference. If you’re a knitter, you might want to lean back more, but if you’re working heavily with glue and paper, you might want a desk to spread out on and lean forward more.
- Ultimately, that has to be up to you – but I would recommend looking at key elements: adjustability, back support, armrests, headrest, and cushioning, before you make your choice. I’m not a heavy crafter (yet!), so I’m not the perfect person to answer this one.
The Last Thing You Need to Know about the Best Chairs for Writing
Finding the perfect chair can take a little digging around, but I think it’s key to good productivity, if you’re spending a lot of time writing.
I’ve done a good bit of research and testing to come to my answers, but they may not be exactly right for you. A chair is (weirdly) a more personal purchase than it might seem. So, everyone will have a preference for what they need.
I recommend finding one that helps with posture and preserves comfort over a long period of time. Even if you only use it a few hours a day, you’ll be glad you got one you like!
Have you tried any of these chairs? What are your favorite chairs to write in?