Choosing the Right Office Chair for Short People

Office chairs are made for the "average" person and finding one that provides good support and comfort for shorter people is not always easy.

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Choosing the right chair is crucial for creating a comfortable and ergonomic workspace. Office chairs are designed for the "average" person and for short individuals it can be challenging to find one that provides adequate support and promotes proper posture. In this article, we will delve deeper into the essential factors to consider when selecting the right office chair for short people. From adjustable seat height and depth to lumbar support and material, we will explore the key features that improve comfort and ergonomics for those with a shorter frame.

Adjustable Seat Height: The Foundation of Comfort

Office ergonomics focuses on designing furniture and equipment to fit the user's needs, and adjustability plays a pivotal role.

Fact: An office chair that doesn't properly fit the user, will be uncomfortable.

For shorter individuals like Yolandi (159cm), it is crucial to choose a chair that offers ample adjustability. The chair's height should be adjustable to allow her to position her feet flat on the ground with her knees slightly below the level of her hips. She would need to look at chairs with an adjustable seat height that ranges from 40 to 50 cm to comfortably accommodate her shorter legs.

Buying the right Office chair online: a guide to Measuring Yourself

office chairs for short people
Yolandi (left), is quite short at 159cm, while George at 176cm, is of average height.

The 5 Best Office Chairs for Shorter People like Yolandi

For a shorter person like Yolandi (159cm), a suitable office chair would have seat depth adjustment, multi-adjustable armrests and a backrest that accommodates her smaller frame.

These 5 options are ideal.

office chair for short people
office chair for short people
office chair for short people
office chair for short people
office chair for short people

Backrest Height: Reaching New Heights in Support

As for taller individuals, backrest height is critical when selecting an office chair for short people. Look for chairs with backrests that extend to at least the shoulder blades or above. This ensures proper support for the entire back, preventing strain on the upper back and shoulders. Back support for an office chair – why it’s important. 

Adjustable Seat Depth and Lumbar Support 

For shorter people, these two features go hand-in-hand. They help prevent slouching and promote a neutral spine position, thereby reducing the risk of back pain and discomfort. Back support for an office chair – why it’s important.

a) Seat Depth

In many instances, when a short person sits on an office chair designed for the "average" individual, the seat is too deep which results in their back not being properly supported by the chair backrest. A shorter seat depth of 40 to 45cm ensures that the chair provides proper thigh and back support without causing discomfort or restricting blood flow to the legs. Office chairs with seat depth adjustment.

b) Lumbar support

Irrespective of your height, an office chair with good lumbar support is important for maintaining a healthy posture. In conjunction with seat depth adjustment, short people should look for office chairs with an adjustable lumbar support that aligns with the natural curvature of their spine. Breaking Back – What actually happens when you sit?

Office chairs with good lower back support, will have a lumbar support that is adjustable both horizontally and vertically.


While headrests might not be as common in office chairs for short people, they can still provide much-needed support for the neck and head during moments of relaxation.

If you are short and prefer an office chair with a headrest, you should ensure that it can be adjusted low enough to support your neck and head. 

Office Chair Mechanism

Chairs with recline mechanisms allow users to change their sitting position throughout the day. This stimulates the muscles in the back, core and legs which decreases the possibility of muscular pain in the shoulders and back. Look for chairs with a tilt feature that promotes dynamic sitting. Furthermore, the spring tension in the chair tilt mechanism should be adjustable, especially if you are short and slightly built. Office Chairs with an Automatic Self-Adjusting Tension Mechanism

Although Yolandi prefers a chair without a headrest, the one on the Leila can be adjusted to suit her.

Adjustable Armrests: Short Arms, Big Comfort

Whether you are tall, short or of average build, only consider office chairs with adjustable armrests that can be positioned at the appropriate height and width to comfortably support your forearms.

The elbows should be bent at approximately 90° and in line with the top surface of the desk.

Armrests that are too low or too high can lead to shoulder and neck strain. What is the best office chair armrest for me?

Material and Padding on Office Chairs for Small People

To prevent pressure points and improve comfort, short people require office chairs with adequate foam padding. Breathable and moisture-wicking materials like mesh enhance comfort, especially during extended periods of sitting. Leather and high-quality fabrics are also popular options due to their durability and aesthetic appeal. 

Adjusting the Office Desk for Short People

Standard desks are about 73cm high. This height is based on the average height of the population.

If a short person sits at the correct height (knees slightly below the level of the hips and their feet flat on the floor), a standard desk will usually be too high for comfortable use. Typically, they will have to 'stretch' up to the desk surface which causes muscular pain in the back, neck and shoulders. 

To avoid back, neck and shoulder pain, short people should lower the height of their desk. If they are unable to use a height-adjustable desk, they should raise the height of the chair and use a footrest to support their feet. Watch the video for more detail on setting up your workstation.


We are all unique individuals with varying physical attributes. Even for people of the same height, the proportions between weight, leg length and torso can differ significantly. When it comes to choosing the best office chair for short people, it's vital to consider their specific anthropometrics.

By emphasising ergonomics and the adjustability of modern office chairs, short people can setup a comfortable and supportive workspace that promotes proper posture, while simultaneously reducing the risk of discomfort and long-term health issues. To find the perfect fit for your individual needs, it's advisable to experiment with different chairs. By prioritising ergonomic design and adjustability, along with appropriate measurements, you can create a productive and pain-free work environment. Remember, being short doesn't mean sacrificing comfort and support in your workspace. Buying the Right Office Chair Online: A guide to Measuring Yourself.

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