How to Make Wooden Chair Comfortable for Working?

Typical Dining chair
Typical Dining Wooden chair (Source: Unsplash.com)

Office chairs are of different types; plastic, wooden, metal, etc. We all have our preferences. But are they all comfortable?

Can we make a regular wooden chair comfortable by adding something?

Of course, we can!

Wooden chairs are initially not comfortable to use, but they can become ergonomic too. To make a wooden chair comfortable, add seat wedges, footrests, lumbar support cushions, padding, and adjust the correct height chair.

Wooden chair setup
Wooden chair setup (Source: Unsplash)

When I started working from home, I did not have a complete home office setup like office chairs or desks. So, I started working using a wooden dining chair from my kitchen.

Unfortunately, I started having back pains. So, I researched ways to make my wooden chair comfortable. I started using a lumbar support pillow and a box as a footrest and added the rest later.

Read on to find out how to make your wooden chair more ergonomic for work.

Is Wooden Chair Comfortable for Working?

Wooden chairs are very durable and classic. But are they comfortable? There are some benefits to sitting on a wooden chair, like slouch prevention and active sitting.

But, it is certainly not comfortable to sit on a wooden chair, especially for long hours. It can cause back pain, leg aches, and postural problems.

Wooden chair for office
Wooden chair for office (Source: Unsplash)

Prolonged sitting in any chair, even ergonomic chairs, is strongly discouraged. On the other hand, wooden chairs give you fewer options for sitting correctly and in good posture.

However, you can improve your sitting experience on a wooden chair by using lumbar support pillows, seat wedges, etc.

Advantages of Sitting on a Wooden Chair While Working

Wooden chairs are hard chairs that are uncomfortable at first, but they have some health benefits.

1. Ease of Active Sitting

Active sitting is the way of sitting that engages your core muscles so that you are not in a constant rigid motion. It positions you in a slightly higher position than standard office chairs.

The key is to place you in an unstable position so that your muscles are active in supporting the spine, which prevents you from slouching.

Wooden stools are great for active sitting as they have no back supports. Tic TOC Rocking Stool is best for active sitting.

Fully Tic TOC Rocking Stool - Natural Beechwood with Black Cushion
Fully Tic TOC Rocking Stool (Source: Amazon)

2. Helps Avoid Slouching

A firm chair is better for you if you slouch while working, something like a wooden chair.

Soft chairs are comfortable at first, but they do not enable you to sit in the correct posture by being too soft on the tailbone.

So, you will more likely slouch while using a soft chair than a hard chair. The firm surface of wooden chairs prevents your pelvis from being tucked under the spine.

Disadvantages of Sitting on a Wooden Chair While Working

Wooden chairs can also cause back and muscle pains due to a lack of supporting features like back support, armrest, etc.

Let’s go through some disadvantages;

1. Sore Back and Tailbone

Sitting on the hard surface of wooden chairs can harm your tailbone, which can potentially cause injury leading to a condition called coccydynia.

The hard surface can also cause discomfort and injure the surrounding muscles and tissues. There is no lumbar support on wooden chairs, which can cause pressure on the spine leading to back pains.

Coccyx while sitting
Coccyx while sitting (Source: Wikipedia)

2. Lack of Correct Posture Support

It is challenging to maintain a correct posture while working from a wooden chair as it puts you in a non-neutral posture.

It does not provide back support to keep you in a correct posture which supports the S curvature of the spine.

So, it can cause increased pressure on your lumbar region, which you will find quite painful.

Also, the non-neutral position will cause your spine to bend backward instead of forward. So, you will be sitting on your sacrum. This will cause back pains.

Ergonomic position while working on a computer
Ergonomic position while working on a computer (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

3. Limited Mobility

There is limited mobility when sitting in a wooden chair. Wooden chairs have no wheels, so you can’t move your things to reach out for something.

So, you will have to stretch your body or your arms which can cause injuries to your ligaments or tissues.

According to the principles of ergonomics, you need to be in a neutral reach zone to prevent injuries which is difficult while using wooden chairs.

Read about; Is the Home Office Chair Better Without Wheels?

4. No Ergonomic Features

Wooden chairs generally do not have ergonomic features. Office chairs have tilt control, armrests, and height adjustment features lacking in most wooden chairs.

Research carried out in an office after switching to ergonomic adjustable chairs showed that the chair users had lower musculoskeletal risk.

No ergonomic features on Wooden chair
No ergonomic features on Wooden chair (Source: Unsplash)

Read about; Can you Use Dining Chair as an Office Chair?

5. Increased Health Risks

There is an increased health risk in using non-ergonomic chairs like wooden chairs.

Usually, ergonomic office chairs have options like seat pan tilt, height adjustability, etc., which can be adjusted as per user requirements so that their feet lay comfortably on the chair.

Due to a lack of support to your spine, your muscles can get tired quickly to keep your body upright, which can increase fatigue and also cause decreased concentration.

Studies show that improper posture can increase muscle fatigue. Sitting on hard surfaces also increases the risk of obesity.

How to Make a Wooden Chair Comfortable?

Wooden chairs usually have a basic wooden frame structure, but you can make the best out of it by adding ergonomic accessories like a seat wedge.

1. Use a Seat Wedge

Seat Wedges make sitting on a wooden chair for long hours very comfortable. It provides cushioning and a triangular-shaped structure that helps align your body comfortably.

Use of seat wedge
Use of seat wedge (Source: Amazon)

It also corrects your posture by shifting your pelvis forwards, forcing you into an upright position. Seat wedges also minimize the pressure on your back and hips.

Use the seat wedge with inclination in the front of the chair. Here are some of the best seat wedges on wooden chairs.

Best seat wedgesFeaturesProduct Image
Sleepavo Memory Foam Seat Cushion Memory foam to offer comfort and to help relieve back pain, tailbone pain, and sciatica.
Bilt-Rite Mastex Health Wedge Seat CushionNon-skid vinyl fabric.
Durable polyfoam
Big Hippo Wedge Pillow Memory Foam Wedge Made with the high quality memory foam and breathable polyester cover
Neotech 2801222 The WedgeMulti-chamber design for stability.

2. Use a Footrest

Wooden chairs are hard and can be uncomfortable quickly. Moreover, most wooden chairs do not have adjustment features that can dangle your feet.

Footrests keep your feets flat and aligned, which distributes pressure evenly to your thighs.

Footrests also ensure that your feet are not in a stable static position known as postural fixitivity, which can cause thrombosis of veins. They also help with blood circulation.

Adjustable Footrest With Foam Pad
Adjustable Footrest With Foam Pad (Source: Amazon)

3. Use a Lumbar Support Cushion

Wooden chairs often lack lumbar support, which supports the spine.

Sitting with no lumbar and back support for a prolonged time can cause posterior rotation of the pelvis and increase tension in your muscles which may cause back pain.

You can use a lumbar support cushion or a pillow on your back to support your spine.

Support on your back can decrease ischial load and maintain lumbar lordosis, which helps in a comfortable, pain-free posture.

Lumbar support cushion
Lumbar support cushion (Source: Amazon)

Research was carried out on patients with minor back pain and no back pain in an office chair with lumbar support pillows for half an hour.

The results show that using a lumbar support pillow with a cutout to fit the posterior pelvic soft tissue volume improves posterior pelvic tissues and comfort.

Other research done on office workers shows that using back support can reduce the pressure on the lumbar region and increase lumbar intervertebral disc heights, which can help reduce back pains.

Here are some best lumbar support pillows for you;

Lumbar Support PillowFeaturesProduct Image
Lumbar Support Pillow for Office Chaircustomizable support and Inflatable
Everlasting Comfort Lumbar Support Pillow Two elastic, adjustable, and extendable straps
memory foam has a slow sink.
LOVEHOME Lumbar Support PillowExtendable straps that can fit chairs of all sizes.
RELAX SUPPORT RS1 Lumbar Support PillowBest for Shorter Builds

4. Choose the Correct Height

Wooden chairs do not always come with ergonomic features like height adjustments.

Or, if you are using a kitchen dining chair as a work chair, you will have to consider its height first.

The ergonomic posture to work is with your feets flat on the ground with knees bent 90 degrees. It would be best to get a chair that fits you according to your height.

If the chair’s height is too high, your legs might hang, which leads to discomfort, pressure on the thighs, and bad circulation. The standard chair height is 16 to 21 inches.

On the other hand, if the chair is too short for you, your knees might be uncomfortable, and the pressure is increased on your hips.

However, you can make your wooden chair higher. Here are some helpful tips for you;

Tips to Make Wooden Chairs Higher

  • You can add casters or use a seat cushion.
  • Use chair raisers to increase the height of your chair.
  • You can also replace the legs of your chair.

For a proper guide on choosing the right height, read the article; What should be the Ideal Height of your Office Chair?

5. Add Padding to the Chair

Wooden chairs have hard surfaces which can be uncomfortable to sit on for long hours.

Use a durable foam-like Everflex foam on your wooden chairs to support your tailbone. You can also add padding to the back for back support.

Watch the video to learn how to add padding to your kitchen chairs for work.

6. Add a Headrest

Adding a headrest to your chair improves your posture and increases comfort and productivity.

The headrest can be added to wooden chairs by using DIY methods. You can use pillows, styrofoam, etc., to make a headrest.

According to research, your head is in a horizontal position, while using a headrest improves your posture.

Office Chair with Headrest
Office Chair with Headrest (Source: Amazon)

To learn how to add headrests in detail, read the article; How to Add Headrest to an Office Chair?

7. Add an Arm Support

As per studies, using an armrest supports your arms while resting by relieving muscle activity and maintaining body posture.

You can drill the armrests into your wooden chairs. Alternatively, you can use arm supports with clip-on features to clip to your chair arms.

You can use armrests like Ergonomic Arm Rest and Computer Desk Extender Arm Wrist Rest Support.

Armrest in a chair
Armrest in a chair (Source: Amazon)

Read about; Should You Use Armrest While Typing?

8. Replace Chair Foam

Your chair foam might be worn out and no longer support your tail bone. So, you can replace the chair foams to increase comfort.

Watch the video to learn how to replace chair foams.

Ergonomic Wooden Chairs in 2022

When we picture a wooden chair, it’s usually a dining chair with a wooden frame.

However, ergonomic chairs with adjustment and other features are available in the market to make your work time comfortable.

Ergonomic Wooden chairsFeaturesProduct Image
Ergonomic Wooden Kneeling ChairHigh-quality non-deformable padding

Backrest adjustment
Adjustability tilt and knee pads
Flash Furniture Mobile Wooden Ergonomic Kneeling Office ChairAdjustable height

Wheels available
OSP Home Furnishings Deluxe Wood Bankers Desk ChairSeat Height Adjustment

Locking Tilt Control with Adjustable Tilt Tension
Classic Executive Swivel Office Chair Tilt lever

Soft ultra-suede upholstery

Read about: Should an Office Chair Recline?

Final Verdict

Wooden chairs are suitable for active sitting but are not ergonomic and lack proper lumbar support.

However, you can turn any wooden chair into a comfortable chair by using a seat wedge, lumbar support cushions, etc.

Alternatively, you can also choose an ergonomic wooden chair with tilt features.

Related article: How does office chair synchro tilt mechanism work?

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