We've all heard the tale of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” One bed is too big, one is too small, and one is just right. Though there's a little less in common with bowls of porridge, there's no doubt about it—the same is true of office chairs.
While you're on the hunt for the perfect fit, consider your stature and how a properly-sized chair can make every workday more comfortable. Whether you're papa bear, mama bear, baby bear, or the ever-picky Goldilocks herself, there's a seat for every size.
The archetype, Platonic ideal, or "OG" (if you will), the standard-sized office chair is the most common, and its gotta-have-it adjustment is its height. Otherwise, these chairs are always a fairly typical size: 17–20" wide with a depth that gives most users 2" to 4" of clearance between the edge of the chair and their knees. As this is the most common size, there's no shortage of chairs with slight variations to best accommodate your comfort. So long as you can adjust your height between about 16" and 20", you'll feel great with a simple, standard office chair.
For those picky sitters that need things just right, ergonomic chairs include newer technology that helps you achieve that perfect sit without committing to a custom size. These go-go-gadget chairs feature enhanced ergonomic adjustments, such as a movable seat pan that easily increases or decreases the depth. 3D arms provide superior support, moving up/down/in/out/forward/back, and they may even flip up for an armless option. At their core, these seats start with a standard configuration but provide additional flexibility.
Headrests and High Back
Though they're bigger, chairs with headrests and high backs aren’t necessarily unwieldy. A chair with a high back is an excellent option for supporting the entirety of the spine during long days at the desk. These typically feature built-in lumbar support (static, adjustable, or self-adjusting for the most futuristic folks). Some seats have a headrest integrated at the top that can be raised or lowered to perfectly accommodate your stature. These chairs are common in executive offices.
Big and Tall
You don't have to be in the NBA to consider a big and tall chair. These are designed around larger statures and will have a higher back, deeper seat, and wider breadth than their counterparts. Stronger materials, such as a steel base, will support a much higher weight capacity, and any ergonomic adjustments will be enhanced to fit your needs.
Even baby bear needs a seat at the table. Petite chairs account for short statures and narrow frames to maintain optimal depth and width. The seat pan, in particular, is significantly shorter to preserve the optimal 2-4" clearance between the knees and chair. This small-yet-mighty solution is still height adjustable to account for tall and narrow frames. Despite their compact size, petite chairs with an ANSI/BIFMA rating will still have standard weight capacities.