How do I Choose the Best Swivel Desk Chair?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus
Some swivel desk chairs are made as part of a set of modular office furniture.
Some swivel desk chairs are made as part of a set of modular office furniture.

The best swivel desk chair style to choose is one that coordinates well with your worktable and budget. While an office chair certainly needn't match the desk, it should look like it belongs with it rather than seeming haphazardly placed there. Deciding on the type of material you prefer as well as features such as padding and armrests can help you narrow your choice of swivel desk chair.

Plastic desk chairs are typically the lowest priced. These can be good value as they tend to be sturdy. Look for four or five pedestals, or leg "branches," plus solid casters. A plastic swivel desk chair in a funky color, either in a bright color or glossy neutral, can complement a modern desk. These types of swivel desk chairs also look great in children's rooms, as they are usually streamlined in size and available in many color choices.

Leather swivel desk chairs are typically the most expensive type, but are also elegant and sophisticated. Leather chairs complement classic, fine wood desks and office furniture. For the most dramatic statement of elegance, consider a leather swivel desk chair in an executive style. Executive swivel desk chairs feature high backs and padded armrests for extra comfort.

Fabric-covered desk chairs are another option, especially if you prefer some pattern or color that offers a more elegant look than colored plastic swivels. You can choose a designer color such as pea green, true red, aquamarine or coral pink depending on your taste and home office decor. It's important to pick a swivel desk chair in a color and fabric you'll want to live with every day. It can be a good idea to choose a fabric-covered chair that you can reupholster easily.

If possible, shop for your desk chair in person so you can get the best possible fit. The swivel desk chair you choose should be able to be adjusted so your feet rest comfortably on the floor. The seat shouldn't feel pressed into your lower thighs and the backrest should be comfortable. Avoid desk chairs that leave a large gap between your lower back and the backrest, as this means the chair isn't supportive enough.

Also make sure the desk chair swivels smoothly. Some styles only swivel partially to the left and right. Check the chair you're considering buying to make sure it will allow you access to turn to an adjacent worktable or whatever your specific needs are.

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Discussion Comments


I think that swivel desk chairs that are upholstered with fabric instead of leather are the most comfortable chairs. Sometimes leather chairs feel stiff, and can be uncomfortable in hot weather. Fabric swivel desk chairs seem to fit with your body movements and do not retain heat like leather chairs do.


I have purchased many swivel desk chairs over the years, and I have found that you should also avoid those with swivel movements that seem very loose. Sometimes this is an indication of a poorly made chair or one that has an underlying mechanical issue. A chair that moves smoothly with a small amount of tension in its movement will be your best option.

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    • Some swivel desk chairs are made as part of a set of modular office furniture.
      By: Stacy Barnett
      Some swivel desk chairs are made as part of a set of modular office furniture.