Office Chair Anatomy

yhst-10258600314819_2268_193138117While the term “anatomy” might evoke memories of dissecting a creature in your high school biology class, the framework of an office chair is actually quite helpful to the average desk worker. After all, you use it every day and it helps to know what part is malfunctioning so you can fix it or find a replacement.

Standard office chairs are typically composed of 4 to 5 main parts. Many ergonomic chairs have additional features while alternative office chairs are in a category of their own, but as a species in general, office chairs basically share all of the following anatomy.

A Seat

Arguably one of the most important parts, the seat of your office chair is the cushioned plateau you settle your weight on for hours on end. For most chairs, the underside of the seat is actually a sturdy metal or plastic plate that is attached on top of the legs and/or base board.

The seat itself is often a layer of foam padding covered in some type of upholstery (such as fabric or leather), though some types of office chairs feature mesh, wood, or plastic as the main seat material.

A Backrest

A key part of your office chair that distinguishes it from a bench or stool, the backrest is what most of us rely on to support our backs and spines while sitting. Compositionally, the back of most office chairs involves a piece of upholstered padding bolted to a board, making them essentially a long seat cushion attached vertically. Most chair backs are arched to better accommodate the naturally curved shape of the human spine. To help those with lower back pain, some are adjustable and come with additional lumbar support cushioning.

While usually only executive office chairs feature backrests that can recline into a laying down position, most backrests are flexible to some extent and allow users to lean back.

Legs or a Base

Assigned the job of holding up both the chair and your body weight, the base of a chair needs to be exceptionally sturdy and strong. When combined with wheels or casters, the base of a chair also becomes a mode of transportation for the sitter.

Since wheeled office mobility is a boon in most situations, five-star bases with casters are probably the most common, although chairs with four standard legs or a sled base are also used.


An optional part of office chair anatomy, armrests are nevertheless quite common. Often attached to or linking the seat and the backrest, armrests give desk workers a place to rest their arms and can encourage proper sitting posture. Depending on whether they are made of wood, plastic, metal, or covered in upholstery, some are adjustable in terms of height and width.

Height Adjustment

Whether they are pneumatic or non-pneumatic, most office chairs have a part that allows desk workers to adjust the overall height of their seating. This piece is typically a lever, a press-down or pull-up button, or a turning bolt found under the seat or near the base of an office chair.

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