wherever i park my ass
July 17, 2009 6:06 AM   Subscribe

I'm aching today from four days spent in a bad chair at my job. I need to find a chair I can work in.

I don't have any medical or physiological issues except I am somewhat short (5'2"). I'm doing graphic design work.

At home I have a big old solid wooden office chair from the mid 20th century, no wheels, nothing fancy, and I can sit in that thing all day without a twinge. But I'm working in a tiny postage stamp of an office now and they would not be pleased to find or make room for something this huge and intractable.

At work I sit on a crappy waiting room chair because it's the only thing high enough for me not to have to hold my arms at a damaging angle to the table (short people will know what I mean) but it's doing bad things to my hips and lower back now, so I need to find an answer.

My requirements are a bit odd. I had an actual argument with a young person at an ergonomics store recently when I told her I didn't like sliding around on casters or rollers while I work. I don't. I like a chair that stays very stable and doesn't rotate or roll around. I am not a secretary: I don't have to roll around looking for files or whatever.

Also, I don't need arms or lumbar support. I sit up very straight naturally, and if the chair is the right height my forearms rest comfortably on the table. At home I use a footrest to vary my position.

I need something like a solid work stool the correct height. It would be even better if tiny and light enough to carry on public transit in a pinch. A footrest (separate from the stool) would be good. Also, cheap: they'll buy me something but I think they'll kick at more than $150 or so. Also, available in Canada. (I would consider buying something myself as well, presuming it could be moved to new jobs as circumstances warrant.)

This may be far too persnickety a set of requirements, but I won't know till I've asked.
posted by zadcat to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you considered a kneeling chair? I'm sure your ergonomics are great, but I'm having a hard time thinking a work stool would be good for anyone beyond a few hours of sitting, no matter how disciplined you are.
posted by mcstayinskool at 6:13 AM on July 17, 2009

I just bought a Leap chair, made by Steelcase. I'm 5'2" also -- I looked everywhere for a chair that would be _short enough_ to let me plant my feet squarely on the floor, but this is an adjustable-height chair, so maybe it will work for you. It also lets me adjust the depth of the chair (the part that corresponds to the length of my thighs), which is an important adjustment.

Decent lumbar support, etc. - it's pretty good.

It does have wheels; sorry. However, since the chair sits on carpet (berber), it doesn't roll around without a major effort.

The chair costs $800-$1000 new, but I found mine through Craigslist (someone had just ended their small business and had these nearly-new chairs they wanted to sell).
posted by amtho at 6:22 AM on July 17, 2009

Perhaps the thing to do is find a rolling work stool that works for you and to replace the casters with feet. I think that's likely to expand your options. Here are several comfortable looking workstools.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:25 AM on July 17, 2009

These drafting chairs might also be what you're looking for (once again, assuming you replace the casters). There are a number of drafting chairs and stools on this page that don't have casters.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:28 AM on July 17, 2009

I had an actual argument with a young person at an ergonomics store recently when I told her I didn't like sliding around on casters or rollers while I work.

*snerk* I once had my back go out RIGHT when the office I worked in was switching to "new ergonomic chairs," and the chairs were actually prolonging my recovery. My massage therapist, when I discussed the problem with her, just snorted and said that "the problem with most ergonomic chairs is that I've found they're 'one size fits some'".

If you can't find a chair/footrest combination which fits your needs, would bringing a few pillows in so you can shove them where you need support work, possibly?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:43 AM on July 17, 2009

No one has mentioned the Aeron Chair yet?? Very pricey though.

As EmpressC. mentioned, consider the pillow solution. Right now I'm sitting in an uncomfortable but aesthetically pleasing antique desk chair which I have made acceptable by putting an ordinary throw pillow on the seat and using a lumbar support wedge behind me. Problem solved!
posted by scratch at 10:13 AM on July 17, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks all. But the issue really isn't back support. I am writing this at home in my position of choice, sitting upright, not leaning back in any way, feet crossed on a footrest maybe eight inches lower than the chair seat. It just isn't an arrangement very common in office furniture, although I will have to try to replicate it somehow soon. I spent all day on my bike working out the overcompression in my lower back that I acquired from four days in that crap chair at the office.
posted by zadcat at 3:48 PM on July 17, 2009

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