Can you Use Dining Chair as an Office Chair?

When working comfortably, you need an office chair that supports your weight, posture, and prolonged working habit.

In a simple term, you need an ergonomic chair.

Dining chairs are great for a short period of sitting, but they do not accommodate longer hours of sitting required from an ideal office chair. In addition, using one as the office chair can be detrimental to your health.

Moreover, it promotes bad body posture and will significantly affect your overall productivity.

However, you can enhance your dining chair’s seating, length, lumbar support, and armrest to convert it into a functional office chair.

Read on to find more about appropriate office chairs and how you can turn your uncomfortable dining chair into a functional working chair.

Difference Between Office Chair and Dining Chair

Dining chairs do not fare well compared to office chairs because they are built entirely for different purposes.

Sitting on a dining chair is only suitable for short activities like eating and cutting groceries. In contrast, an office chair serves a multitude of purposes.

Here, we have pointed out a few primary differences between the office chair and the dining chair.

FactorsOffice ChairDining Chair
TIME SPENTA person spends an average of 4-6 hours sitting on an office chair every day.A dining chair is rarely used for over an hour a day. An average breakfast may last 10-15 minutes, while lunch and dinner may last 15-30 minutes.
ERGONOMICSAn office chair is designed for ergonomics; efficiency, and comfort.A dining chair is designed for comfort while eating and to enhance the décor.
HEIGHTAn office chair may have a customizable seat height to accommodate the desk’s varying sizes.A dining chair usually has a height of 17-20 inches to accommodate quickly picking and eating food.
COMFORTOffice chair is solely designed for the convenience of the worker.A dining chair may only be comfortable to sit for a short time.
HEALTH BENEFITSOffice chair promotes good health by correcting your posture while working.A dining chair may or may not correct posture because it lacks lumbar support and an adequately angled backrest.
ADJUSTABLEMost office chairs are adaptable to your need, such as reclining the back, lowering or raising the height, and wheel casters to move around.A dining chair is not adjustable and may come in prefixed sizes with immobile legs.

Moreover, using an appropriate office chair has some tell-tale benefits that a dining chair may not offer.

  • Prevention of fatal diseases like Diabetes, Cardiovascular diseases, and joint issues.
  • Lower the chances of body pain from bad postures.
  • Promotes better mood and energy by beating the stress
Dining vs. Office Chair
Dining vs. Office Chair (Source: Unsplash)

Is it Good to Work Sitting on Dining Chair?

The first thing you should consider when turning your dining chair into an office chair is, “How am I going to use my office chair.”

Suppose you see yourself sitting for a significant time of the day. In that case, a dining chair may not encourage a good body posture or comfort.

According to ChaireOffice.co.uk’s article, Dining room chairs do not promote prolonged use. They lack any adjustable features and offer not much in support of your back, neck, and arms.

Wrong sitting position
Wrong sitting position (Source: Unsplash)

A wrongly designed chair may encourage a wrong body posture, such as hunching forward, slouching your back, or over bending your neck to take a good look at the screen.

Moreover, a dining chair with an improper height will prevent keeping your feet flat on the ground and directly under your knees.

Sitting in the wrong position for an extended period will invite health problems.

However, if you frequently get up, walk around, or spend significantly less time sitting, choosing a dining chair would not be a wrong choice either.

Do you want to skip the office chair altogether, check out a list of chair alternatives for your lower back pain.

Things to Consider Before Using Dining Chair as Office Chair

With everyone spending more time working at home, investing in a good home office chair becomes SUPER important.

A plain dining chair may not be an ergonomic choice for an office chair, but you can still use your dining chair as a functional office chair.

Take a look at a few factors before deciding otherwise.

1. Consider Ergonomics

An ergonomic chair promotes a healthy sitting posture by evenly supporting your shoulders, buttock, hip, and spine.

Research showed that employees are 17.7 % more productive when working in an ergonomic setting. Therefore, your first consideration should be the chair’s ergonomics.

Determine if your dining chair fulfills the ergonomic chair’s qualities, such as a well-cushioned seat, appropriate chair height, armrest, lumbar support, and reclined backrest.

The prolonged use of a plain dining chair may encourage abnormal body position, leaving you tired and clumsy throughout the day.

Hence, before converting your dining chair into an office chair, consider giving it a makeover.

2. Purpose of your Office Chair

Decide the length of time spent sitting on a chair every day.

Not everyone sits for hours on an office chair. Some may spend at least 8 hours on their chair while others may spend hardly 3-4 hours.

When you spend less time sitting, buying an expensive task chair (ergonomic chair) may not be worthwhile, and choosing a dining chair may not be such a bad idea after all.

Body posture
Working in a typical workplace (Source: Pixabay.com)

However, if you ought to spend significant time sitting on a chair, such as working on the computer, writing, or assembling small parts, you need a good task chair.

Using a dining chair as a task chair may not prove beneficial to your health and productivity.

3. Health Issues

Using a dining chair for an office chair may not be appropriate for people with severe health conditions such as joint issues, arthritis, and back pain.

Sitting for an extended period, that too, in the wrong chair will only worsen your health conditions.

In addition, it may encourage bad body posture leading to chances of body pain.

Back pain
Back pain (Source: Pexels)

According to a study, if you live a sedentary (inactive) lifestyle, you may have a higher chance of being obese, developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and experiencing anxiety.

If you are facing severe health ailments, avoid using your dining chair for office chair altogether.

As per ScientificAmerican.com, sitting for more than half the day approximately doubles the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

Even if you do, consider upgrading your dining chair with ergonomic features.

Using an ergonomic chair comes with many benefits. Along with providing functional benefits, it supports your body posture for good health.

What is an Appropriate Office Chair?

A chair should boast a 95-105 degree angle between the seat and the back to sit comfortably for an extended duration.

The seating should be 2-10 degrees off horizontal with an optimum seat height from the floor.

Project for Public Spaces suggests that the seat height of 18 inches is ideal for a comfortable posture. At the same time, a slight curve at the lumbar support provides a balanced upper body posture.

According to the Smithsonian Institution Accessibility Guidelines, seating that is too narrow, too high, or too short inhibits the usability of space and runs counter to the goal of providing an enjoyable and comfortable space for a variety of users.

They are typically required to be at least 18 inches deep and between 16 and 20 inches in height.

An office chair should have lumbar adjustment, so the user can get the proper fit to support your spine’s natural inward curve.

It keeps your back muscles from getting tired too soon. Chair material is another consideration for an office chair.

A Person Sitting on the Office Chair
A Person Sitting on the Office Chair (Source: Pexel)

Choose well-cushioned material for the seating and backrest and sturdy plastic or wood structure for stability.

Choosing vinyl and ultra-leather for seat cushion and backrest proves to be a durable choice.

Although slightly expensive, it makes cleaning and maintenance easy.

If your current dining chair does not have any of these basic dimensions, drop the idea of turning it into an office chair altogether.

Otherwise, consider making some improvements to your dining chair.

How to Make Your Dining Chair More Comfortable?

Start with making your dining chair ergonomic and functional for everyday use.

Adjusting the dining chair for an appropriate dimension may seem impossible; therefore, consider upgrading them with a few add-ons.

Here are five actionable tips to turn your simple dining chair into a functional office chair.

1. Adjust the Chair Seat’s Height

When sitting, your feet should touch the floor flat with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.

Dining chair heights range from 17 to 19 inches (43-49 cm), while office chairs may come in 16-21 inches.

Therefore, your home office chair should be adjustable according to your height and leg length.

It may be hard to tell just by looking at the chair; hence consider using this chart to find an appropriate chair seat height.

HeightIdeal Chair Seat Height
5-feet (151.5 cm)16.2” (40.9 cm)
5’ 5” (164 cm)17.2” (44.2 cm)
5’ 10” (176.5)18.9” (48.3 cm)
6’ 2” (186.5 cm)19.9 inches (49.6 cm)

Here are a few ways to raise your average chair’s height.

  • Consider using a chair raiser, an artificial base added to the bottom of the chair’s legs. It usually comes in sizes 1-inch to 5-inches and individual or interconnected designs.
  • Add casters to raise the chair’s height and make it movable naturally. Caster is detachable wheels that raise or lower your chair’s height.
  • Use a chair cushion to raise the height of the chair’s base.
  • Hire a carpenter to cut the chair’s legs to lower its height.

Related Article: What should be the ideal height of your office chair?

2. Add a Lumbar Pillow

Most lower-end office chairs lack lumbar support altogether, and your dining chair will likely lack one too.

A study revealed that an office chair equipped with an external lumbar pillow effectively increases comfort for lower back pain.

The chair with a lumbar pillow maximizes support of the spine and improves your posture to solve musculoskeletal conditions.

Fortunately, you can add a custom lumbar pillow to your dining chair by making a simple modification.

Place lumbar support pillow vertically across the back of any regular dining chair to rest against the lower part of the back.

Here are a few recommendations for a lumbar pillow.

ProductSpecificationImage
Everlasting Comfort Lumbar SupportLumbar pillow with memory foam tested by OEKO-TEX for quality. It comes with a strap extension that fits any chair with a back width up to 32" (81 cm)
LOVEHOME Lumbar Support PillowThe chiropractor recommended orthopedic lumbar support for office employees and people recovering from post-surgery.
Qutool Back Cushion for Back Pain ReliefQutool lumbar support is designed to relieve upper, mid, and lower back pain,

Alternatively, you can roll a towel or small pillow and use them as lumbar support momentarily.

3. Upgrade Seat Cushion

What makes prolonged sitting on a dining chair so uncomfortable is the poorly designed chair seat.

Dining chairs often boast seats that are too firm, too thin, or lack proper contours to spread your body weight evenly.

Luckily, you can upgrade your dining chair seat by adding a custom seat cushion designed for prolonged sitting.

Seat cushion
Seat cushion (Source: Pexels)

Get an external seat cushion from Everlasting or ComfiLife specifically designed with features to stabilize your pelvis.

Note: Seat cushions that evenly distribute your weight eliminate exerting pressure in the coccyx area to prevent sciatica problems, hip pain, and herniated discs.

4. Add Armrest Pads

Try giving your plain dining chair armrest a makeover by adding well-cushioned armrest pads.

For chairs with armrests made of plastic or wood, adding an external armrest can help support your upper body weight.

A report suggests that our arms (including hands) comprise roughly 10% of our body’s weight.

Having that weight unsupported can impact the level of comfort.

Hence, consider adding an external armrest with plush material to your dining chair to improve its functionality.

If your dining chair does not have any armchair, consider adding an external armrest.

Check out EZ-Sit’s Foldable Armrest for your dining chair.

Related Article: What should be the ideal armrest position?

5. Add Headrest

The headrest on a chair significantly reduces tension in the shoulders, arms, and torso by supporting the back of the skull and upper neck.

Moreover, it provides better posture and overall comfortability.

Luckily, you can add an external headrest to your dining chair, and if you love working longer hours, you should consider adding an external headrest.

Check out some of the best choices for external headrests for an existing office chair.

6. Add Footrest

A footrest comes in handy to rest your feet when perching or leaning on the chair.

Moreover, it supports your legs when the chair seat’s height is unusually higher, such as taller dining chairs.

While a few dining chairs may come built-in with a footrest, especially for people with short legs, it may not be standard with every home chair.

Therefore, consider adding one by yourself by installing a custom footrest to your wooden or metal dining chair.

Adding a footrest may depend on the chairs and makers, so check with the seller before buying a new dining chair.

Alternatively, you can consider using a foot cushion as a footrest.

Laminate Flooring for Rolling Chairs
Laminate Flooring for Home Office (Source: Unsplash)

Read more: Should you use dining table as work desk?

Final Verdict

Using a dining chair for a home office for a short period is not a bad idea, but avoid using them for prolonged usage.

Most people will invest in suitable clothing, food, bed, and other accessories, so why not invest in a good office chair?

Sitting on the wrong chair has far-reaching effects on your mood and productivity. Lousy posture affects the whole body.

Therefore, invest in good ergonomic office chairs, or enhance your dining chair into a functional office chair with a few external improvements.

Related Article: How to make wooden chair comfortable for working?

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