So you need office chairs—but what type? Executive or ergonomic? Rolling or stationary? Bench or sofa? 


There are office chairs to suit every style and need, including computer, executive, ergonomic, drafting, and reception chairs. Here’s a quick guide to 16 of the most popular types of chairs and some pointers to help you while you shop. 


In a hurry? Click below to skip straight to the office chair you’re most interested in.


The 2 Most Common Types of Office Chairs

1. Computer Chairs: For standard desk work activities

2. Executive Chairs: When statement and luxury are key


6 Chair Styles to Meet Specific Needs

1. Big and Tall Chairs: For employees who need a little more room

2. Drafting Chairs and Stools: For drafting or standing desks

3. Ergonomic Chairs: For enhanced comfort and well-being

4. Kneel Chairs: The ultimate choice in ergonomic solutions

5. Small or Petite Chairs: Comfortable seating for smaller-stature individuals

6. 24-Hour Chairs: Designed for prolonged or shift-based work


2 Office Chairs With Alternative Arm Options

1. Armless Chairs: For when you're tired of bumping into desks or tables

2. Tablet Arm Chairs: Seating with a flat writing surface


4 Types of Office Chairs for Communal Spaces

1. Beam Seating: A space-saving solution for waiting rooms

2. Benches: Unobtrusive multiperson seating

3. Conference Room Chairs: For boardrooms or meeting spaces

4. Reception Chairs: For waiting rooms or reception areas

5. Sofas and Loveseats: For waiting rooms or common spaces


2 Chair Styles for Flexible or Temporary Use

1. Folding Chairs: A flexible, temporary seating solution

2. Stacking Chairs: Flexible seating that can be easily stored

The 2 Most Common Types of Office Chairs

Before we get into the countless styles of chairs, stools, and sofas available, let’s start with the basics: The two types of chairs found in just about every office are computer and executive chairs. 

1. Computer Chairs

Computer chairs (also commonly called task chairs) are a standard choice for office seating because they’re specifically designed to pair with computer desks. 


The best computer chairs offer features that enhance comfort and ergonomics while working at a computer for long hours: 

  • Adjustable seats, backrests, and armrests for a comfortable fit

  • Lumbar support for improved posture

  • Swivel base and casters for easy movement

2. Executive Chairs

Executive chairs make a statement—they’re designed to convey status and authority. These chairs are often crafted out of high-quality materials like genuine leather and feature luxurious details. 


It’s common to see features like: 

  • Tall, stately backs

  • Button tufting and thick, winged cushioning

  • Genuine wood or leather details

  • Kick plates to prevent scratching


The quality of executive chairs goes far beyond looks, though—these chairs are constructed to keep the boss happy, so there are plenty of comfortable options available. 

6 Chair Styles to Meet Specific Needs

Big and tall, short and small. Ergonomic or around-the-clock. Here are 6 chairs designed with very specific needs in mind.

1. Big and Tall Chairs

Standard office chairs aren’t one-size-fits-all. Big and tall chairs provide extra room for those who need a little more space to sit comfortably and feature heavy-duty construction to ensure long-lasting use and safe support for more than 250 lbs. 


Like standard office chairs, big and tall chairs are adjustable for increased comfort and swivel for easy movement.

2. Drafting Chairs and Stools

Drafting chairs and stools are designed for easy use with drafting tables, standing desks, or other elevated surfaces above normal desk height. 


Most drafting chairs and stools include seat backs and foot-support rings or bars to promote circulation and comfort while sitting for extended periods. Drafting chairs are typically height-adjustable, while drafting stools are fixed-height. 

3. Ergonomic Chairs

Ergonomic chairs are quickly becoming the modern office staple because ergonomically sound design can improve overall health, comfort, and even performance


In fact, studies have shown that ergonomic workstations can reduce lost workdays and workers’  compensation costs. 


When shopping around for an ergonomic chair, look for: 

  • Lumbar support to help you maintain alignment while sitting

  • A seat that tilts so you can find comfortable pelvic positioning

  • An adjustable-height seat so you can rest your feet flat on the floor

  • Adjustable-height chair arms so you can reduce shoulder strain and arm fatigue

  • A headrest that will support your neck


Read more about the benefits of ergonomic chairs here.

4. Kneel Chairs

Kneel chairs are a type of ergonomic chair that holds the body in a kneeling position so weight is resting on the shins, which removes substantial pressure from the back, hips, and rear end. This reduced pressure lessens the occurrence of stiffness, pain, and long-term weakness.


Another perk: Since there’s no back piece on most kneeling chairs, the core and back muscles are forced to activate to maintain posture throughout the workday, which gradually strengthens them and reinforces stronger body alignment.

5. Small or Petite Chairs

Small office chairs are designed to keep petite or smaller-stature employees working comfortably. Seats as low as 15”, smaller seats and footrests, and low- or mid-back designs provide ergonomic support throughout the workday. 


Which chair size is right for you? Here’s a quick guide.

6. 24-Hour Chairs

If you have team members working long shifts or your business requires around-the-clock staffing, these might be the perfect chairs. 24-hour chairs (also commonly called 24/7 chairs) provide maximum support for employees in shift-based facilities like call centers or security companies. 


These chairs are constructed to withstand prolonged, intensive use and typically feature extra durable frames and thickly padded backs and seats.

2 Office Chairs With Alternative Arm Options

1. Armless Chairs

Armless chairs are, well, self-explanatory: They’re simply chairs that don’t have arms. Armless chairs come in handy if chairs are often bumping tables or desks or when you need to save valuable space to accommodate more seating in an already-full office. 

2. Tablet Arm Chairs

Tablet arm chairs are ideal for training rooms, libraries, study areas, or check-in areas that require visitors to fill out forms. These chairs have a flat surface attached to one or both arms that provides a writing surface or supports electronic notebooks. The flat surfaces can be tucked away when not in use, allowing for more flexibility. 

4 Types of Office Chairs for Communal Spaces

Do you need chairs for a reception area, waiting room, or communal space? Here are 4 seating solutions.

1. Beam Seating

Beam seating (also commonly called tandem seating) consists of chairs attached to a horizontal metal bar. These chairs are often found in waiting rooms and reception areas. 


The condensed profile of the beam structure can save you significant space if you’re working with a small space, although the nature of this seating may limit your layout options since the chairs can’t be split up. 

2. Benches

Benches are an unobtrusive, flexible seating solution. They’re popular for open office layouts because they offer ample seating without obstructing the expansive feel of the office. And since benches are easy to move and offer open access, they can be relocated or repurposed as your office grows. 

3. Conference Room Chairs

Conference room chairs (also commonly called meeting room chairs) are designed to be slightly forward-leaning to keep team members engaged during meetings and discussions. 


Conference room chairs typically have fewer adjustment options than standard computer or ergonomic chairs since they’re intended for shorter periods of use. Most conference room chairs are mesh or leather and may be purchased individually or in sets.

4. Reception Chairs

Reception chairs are—you guessed it—chairs for reception areas or waiting rooms. These single-person chairs are typically stationary and may feature a 4-leg, sled, or cantilever base. Reception chairs are available in a variety of styles, colors, and materials, so you can find plenty of options to make the ideal first impression when customers arrive.

5. Sofas and Loveseats

If you want to provide the ultimate in comfortable, upholstered seating and have plenty of options to choose from, look for sofas or loveseats. You can choose from a myriad of styles, sizes, shapes, colors, and fabrics. 


What’s the difference between a sofa and a loveseat? Seating capacity: Loveseats only seat 2 people at a time, whereas sofas typically hold 4 or more. 

2 Chair Styles for Flexible or Temporary Use

If you need lots of highly flexible seating, folding and stacking chairs are still the gold standard.

1. Folding Chairs

If you need flexible seating solutions, folding chairs may fit the bill. Temporary, portable seating provides maximum convenience for setting up and taking down large events like conferences or company-wide training workshops. 


Folding chairs are typically made of metal or plastic for extra durability and are available in a variety of colors and styles. 

2. Stacking Chairs

If you’re looking for ways to conserve space, consider stacking chairs. You can easily stack and store away these lightweight chairs, saving you precious square footage when they’re not in use. 


Stacking chairs are ideal for large events like conferences or open houses and are available in a variety of colors, styles, and materials. 

Get Expert Guidance for Seating Solutions

Short on time or still unsure which type of chair will fit your needs? Talk to the pros. Yes, we’ve got chair pros. Get in touch to take advantage of our free space planning and design services. We’ll help you make sure your whole staff is sittin’ pretty.


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