How to Make an Office Chair Ergonomic?

Office chairs are ordinary furniture that we all use, primarily if you work in front of a computer. As we spend hours every day in an office chair, making it ergonomic will enhance our sitting experience and benefit our health.

As you land on this article, you probably use an office chair that at least has a seat height adjustment option. If you don’t have any other support or adjustability, then how would you make your office chair ergonomic?

You can make an office chair ergonomic by adjusting proper seat height, adding additional lumbar support, adding a seat cushion. And adding a headrest to support your head and neck, adjusting the armrests, using a footrest, and correcting your posture.

Modern office chairs include most of the functionalities I’ve just mentioned. However, adding those extra features can make your sitting experience much better and improve your sitting ergonomics.

If you would like to learn more about “what are ergonomic office chair and why they are necessary?”. You can check out our article.

Step 1: Adjust the Seat Height

Adjusting the proper seat height of your chair is essential. When you sit on your chair, your feet should be flat on the floor, try not to flex your knees less than 90 degrees; according to The American Journal of Sports Medicine, even 90-degree knee flexion while you are sitting can decrease blood flow in the patella, leading to knee pain.

So, to avoid knee pain, adjust your seat height position to your comfort level. If you have knee pain and searching for an office chair, we have an article that can help you with that.

Step 2: Add additional Lumbar Support

It is more likely that your office chair has insignificant lumbar support or decent lumbar support but it doesn’t provide adequate support to your lumbar. If that’s the reason, you will need extra lumbar support pillow or use a rolled-up towel to support your lumbar.

If you are not keen to use a rolled-up towel. I found this Vertteo lumbar support pillow on Amazon helpful; I like this pillow due to its full back support up to the top of the thoracic spine. Most of the pillow that you will find just provides support to the lumbar region, on the other hand, it has the whole back support.

It uses a comfortable memory foam cushion which will help you provide adequate support to your lumbar.

Adequate lumbar support is essential while you sit for prolonged hours on a chair. That can cause your lumbar region muscles fatigue, which can lead to injuries.

However, sitting for prolonged hours is not recommended, you should interrupt your prolonged sitting by taking 2-3 minutes of walking breaks.

Step 3: Additional Seat Cushion

Chair Waterfall Front seat edge
Waterfall Front Seat Edge
Credit:wayside-furniture.com

Adequate seat cushioning improves sitting experience as well as the ergonomic of sitting. Suppose the current seat cushion of your chair is not comfortable and the front edge does not follow a waterfall design. In that case, it can increase pressure on your thigh, leading to less blood circulation to your lower body.

The seat of your chair should have enough padding to be comfortable to sit for an extended period of time. As a result, you can work more productively for long hours without breaking your posture.

Frequently change your posture while you feel discomfort this helps to get nutrition to the intervertebral disc.

I have found this Everlasting seat cushion on Amazon, which uses an ergonomic design to reduce pressure on the lower back. It uses memory foam that would be comfortable for long-term uses. You can check this out.

Step 4: Adjust your Headrest

Your office chair more likely does not come with a headrest. If your chair has an adjustable headrest, you can adjust it to better support your head and neck.

The headrest is important while you work for long hours. Many people suffer from neck pain due to wrong sitting or sitting for long hours. If your chair does not have a headrest, you can find additional headrests online to offer better support.

You can check out this Lorell Headrest on Amazon that might work with your chair as it’s a universal headrest and works with many chairs. You can adjust the height of this headrest to about 3 inches. I would say it’s pretty handy.

Step 5: Adjust your Armrest

Adjust your armrest and align it to your working desk surface. You can rest your arms on the armrest without your shoulders being hunched. The armrest can elevate a lot of pressure from your back that is helpful when you sit almost all day.

If your chair does not have armrests and you are looking for an additional armrest, you can check this replacement adjustable armrests. I am not sure this particular armrest would work on your chair, but you can check this out. It’s three-way adjustable, which is handy, you can adjust it as your liking.

Step 6: Consider a Footrest

As I have mentioned in the seat height adjustment section, about 90-degree knee flexion or less can put pressure on the knee cap leading to knee pain. A footrest can help you with this issue.

Consider a footrest or rolled-up towel, which will help you elevate your legs quite a bit, and your knee won’t be in a 90-degree position; you would be good to go.

The footrest can also help you if your chair’s height is not adjustable and your feet are dangling due to the tall height of the chair; a footrest will be helpful.

Step 7: Practice Correct Posture

All that I have mentioned above wont matter if you don’t practive correct posture. A wrong posture can make your posture worse. So, here are some tips to correct your posture.

  • Sit normally on your chair, make sure the lumbar support supports your lumbar region. If an upright position is not comfortable for you, recline your chair a little bit to become more comfortable.
  • Put your feet on the floor or on the footrest. There should be 2-3 inches of gap between your knees and the edge of the seat. This will ensure more blood circulation to your lower body.
  • You can rest your arms on the armrest without your shoulders being hunched.
  • If you sit for prolonged hours, try to interrupt prolonged sitting within 30 minutes by taking 2 – 3 minutes of walking break or resistance training.

Related Questions

How do you make an uncomfortable office chair more comfortable?

You can make your uncomfortable office chair more comfortable by implementing the chair ergonomics in your chair, such as adding additional lumbar support, adequate seat cushion, additional headrest, considering a footrest, and correcting the posture.

How can I make my chair more supportive?

You can make your chair more supportive of your posture; you can use additional lumbar support, a seat cushion, and a footrest. However, adding a headrest would offer additional benefits to your neck.

How do you make a regular chair ergonomic?

You can make a regular chair ergonomic by implementing the chair ergonomics such as lumbar support, adequate seat cushion, additional headrest, footrest, and correcting posture.

I have mentioned possible solutions to make an office chair ergonomic however, that same method can be applied to a regular chair. 

If you would like to know about the difference between a regular chair and an ergonomic chair, you can check our article.

Sifatul Shohan

Hi, I'm the co-owner of officechairtrends.com. A blogger and a freelance web developer.  As I work as developer, I have to work for prolonged hours at a desk that's where I developed back pain. I started reseaching on ergonomic chair and gained knowledge throughout the process.  This is the site where I share everything I've learned about office chairs.