How much space do you need for an office chair?

  • By: Sam Shaw
  • Date: August 25, 2021
  • Time to read: 9 min.

How much space do you need for an office chair?

How much space do you need for an office chair? A lot of people don’t know the answer to this question, but it can be important.

The average person needs about 24″ of space in front of their desk so they can seat comfortably. But if you’re using a large rolling chair with armrests, then that means there’s going to be less room on your desk and also less floor space around your desk.

So before purchasing an office chair, make sure you measure out the area where you’ll put your new workstation and consider how much extra clearance is needed around it.

If you are still wondering how much space do you exactly need, don’t worry. This blog post has all the information that you need to know before choosing an office chair for your workplace.

Let’s get started!

Types of office chairs and how much space you should spare for


Space needed for an office chair depends on the type of office chairs.
The space needed for an office chair depends on the type of office chair.

Office chairs come in different sizes. The space you need to adjust an office chair in your office/workplace really depends on the size of the chair. To put it simply, the space you need for an office chair is contingent upon its type.

Here’s is the list of all the most common office chairs and how much space you need for each of them.

Office Chairs with metal frame

These are commonly used in a school, offices and other places of work. If you want to buy an office chair for your college or workplace, go for this type. You’ll need at least 2 feet of space on each side of the furniture because it is big and wide.  

Adjusting one side requires at least 18-20 inches from the wall so that people can move along with the chair easily without hitting the walls as they go about their work. The normal width of a desk for such chairs is 27”, while 30” may be better if there will be two persons working together. Some models have wheels which also consume more space under the table than normal ones do.

Low back ergonomic task chair with chrome base

If you like to have an ergonomic-friendly chair, this type of office chair will be perfect for your workplace. You surely don’t want your low back is pressed against a wall or an edge of your table and therefore, two feet is enough for such types of chairs.

A typical size table that will work well for this desk is 30” high from the floor with 24” between the legs and an 18-22” depth desk on each side. If you are going to place it at home as well, then make sure there is 20 inches of space between the table and any other object in front so that people can walk around freely behind the chair.

High back ergonomic task chair

For a high back ergonomic chair, you’re going to need a lot of space. People’s knees should not hit against any desk surface while they are adjusting it, so the size is much bigger than the other types of chairs. Space needed for such furniture may be more than 2-3 feet on each side.  

There must also be enough space underneath the table because these chairs have wheels and casters attached to the base which can take up quite a bit of room if you don’t make allowance for them in your measures.

A typical size table that will work well for this type is 33” high from the floor with 28” between legs and a 24” deep desk on each side. If

Rocking Chair

A rocking chair is a kind of office chair with wheels. It may be a good choice for your study or living room if you have enough space but remember that you’ll need more clearance when using such an item as their rolling wheels consume more space than non-wheeled ones do.

If you’re working on something important, this could be not a good option since making three small turns will require a lot of space to prevent bumping into anything nearby.  

Driverless task swivel chair 

You might think there should be no space for this chair, in reality, you’ll need more than 2 feet of clearance on each side for the chair to be adjusted easily. However, such chairs have wheels and casters as well which means that there will be a lot of extra room under your table if you don’t account for it beforehand.

If you’re planning to adjust this type of office chair frequently then it’ll not only help but also save a lot of time!  

Office Chairs with plywood

You may wonder how much space do you need for plywood office chairs? This question is extremely popular among people who are interested in refurbishing their homes or offices nowadays. These types of furniture are usually used by office staff or others who work in an environment where there’s a lot of movement. They’re different from other chairs because they are made not only for sitting but also for leaning and writing on the desk surface.

Plenty of space should be left between such furniture and the wall/door. It will reduce the danger of bumping against something when people walk behind a chair or get up from it, as well as make it easier to change its position in the room (if you need to do so).

It is recommended that there should be at least 2-3 feet clearance beneath your table so that wheels and casters attached to plywood office chairs won’t hit anything under there. As you can see, these types of chairs require more area than regular ones do.  

Office chair with armrest

Another type of chair that deserves attention is an office chair with an armrest. It seems like there shouldn’t be enough space for this type of furniture but if you’re going to move it frequently, then an armless chair may not be a good option for you! There should be at least 20 inches of clearance in front of the table so that people can walk around freely behind such chairs. 

Office chair without armrest

A type of office chair that needs comparatively less space is an armless chair, even though it’s still different from other types of furniture: this one is perfect for any table – low, medium, or high.  

However, casters and wheels will take up more space than regular ones do, so if you’re going to optimize your room then make allowance for them in advance!

It is suggested to leave at least 2 feet clearance on each side of the office chair so people can walk and move around the workplace without bumping into the chair.

Other factors that decide how much space should be spared for an office chair

A range of factors determines the space needed for an office chair.
A range of factors determines the space needed for an office chair.

Now you know how much space do you need for an office chair (the answer is provided above), but here are also several other factors that may influence your decision.

Design of the room  

As you see, each type of office chair has its own features, dimensions, and functions. It is impossible to choose a new seat for an office without considering all of these factors so that it will suit your interior perfectly: if some space is left and furniture cannot be arranged in the most convenient way, then there’s no point in buying such chairs (or any other items) at all!

Desk height

The height of the table that you already own in your office, must be taken into consideration. As a rule, If you have a table that already covers a lot of space, then it’s best to choose an office chair of the same height as your table and vice versa – if a desk is low, then you should buy taller chairs so that they won’t look odd when placed under such a table.

It’s also advisable to pick up chair models with casters carefully: make sure that they will have enough space beneath the table in order not to get stuck under there!

The terrain of your office

The type of terrain where your furniture will be placed should also be taken into account. If your office has 3-4 steps leading down from its doorstep, then there shouldn’t be any obstacle on them (such as an armchair or another piece of furniture) for people who come in and out. It’ll prevent injuries even though these incidents are very unlikely to occur.

Your own height and weight

This factor is also very important if you’re going to select an office chair: even though most of us prefer not to think about this, it’s still better to have a chair that will be comfortable for you. In other words, not only you should choose an appropriate size chair, but also spare appropriate space in front of your chair and desk.

For instance, a tall man should sit on higher chairs than children would. An obese person shouldn’t choose such seats which are too small for them! Thus, the space you need for your chair is contingent upon your weight and height.

Positioning of backrest

This seems ignorable, but it is really important to consider. How low or high do you position your backrest? What is the distance between the backrest and your head? Do you want to have a tilt-back model or not? These are all questions that will easily help you decide how much space do you need for an office chair.

Other furniture

Last but not least, if there’s another piece of furniture in your room other than the desk (for instance, such as a bookcase), then make sure that chairs won’t get stuck by it! It will be really unpleasant and inconvenient when people bump into chairs and can’t move freely around their offices. So if you have additional furniture in your office, it ultimately means that you should consider less space for the office chair.

Your sitting position

How much spacing do I need to spare for my office chair? The answer is the space you need to sit comfortably in. For instance, if you are habitual of sitting with your legs stretched out in front of you, then it’s very obvious that you need more space for your office chair.

However, if you’re used to sitting on a low seat and crossing your feet while working at the computer, then you might not need much space for your office chair. But please note: there can’t be so little space around the chair that could prevent someone from moving in and out of their office!

Final Thoughts

To sum up, all the above-mentioned recommendations will help you make sure that an office chair won’t hinder free movement around the office! So it’s high time, to sum up, how much space do I need for an office chair?

Well, you can estimate the space you require for your office chair by simply comparing your workplace or desk’s dimension with that of your chair.

But we’ve done this work for you so save some time!

Related Question: How much does an office chair weigh?

Do you know how much your office chair weighs? Chances are, it’s more than you think. In fact, the average office chair weighs between 50 and 100 pounds! On top of that, chairs have a tendency to accumulate dirt and dust over time. So not only is your chair heavy, but it could be carrying around some unwanted debris as well. 

 What does this mean for you? Well if you’re like most people in an office environment, chances are that you spend at least 8 hours sitting each day on your work chair – which means that every year, you’ll sit on nearly 30 tons of dirt and grime from the floor!

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