At the office, a desk chair usually has just one purpose: to keep you comfortably upright in front of a computer.

But at home, “it should be able to do a few things,” said Christine Gachot, a founder of New York interior design studio Gachot. “Often it’s not just for yourself.”

In addition to serving as a place to sit and write a letter or compose a quick email, for instance, a desk chair ought to be able to function as extra seating at the dining table, or in the living room.

And because a desk chair becomes part of the domestic landscape at home, yet is typically used for shorter periods of time than a chair at the office, “aesthetics are a little bit more important,” Gachot said, although “you should be comfortable, always.”

That means that a high-tech, lever-sprouting task chair isn’t necessarily the best choice.

“You’re allowed more flexibility,” she said, adding that because you usually need just one, a vintage chair could be a good option. “Especially at home, you can think outside the box.”


What to consider

• How long will you really be sitting there? An honest answer to that question, Gachot said, will help determine how much support and cushioning is required.

• Should it have armrests? They can provide extra comfort, but measure how high they are, Gachot advised, to ensure that the chair can be tucked under your desk when it’s not in use.

• Should it have casters? They are convenient for scooting between work areas, but not essential. For a seat that will double as a dining chair, it may be better to forgo them.

Good options

Fauteuil Direction Pivotant: Adjustable chair with upholstered cushions and casters, designed by Jean Prouvé in 1951. From $2,900 at

Schoolhouse Backed Utility Stool: Welded steel stool with rubber feet made in Portland. $219 at

Muuto Fiber Armchair: Wood fiber composite chair available with various bases, designed by Iskos-Berlin for Muuto. From $419 at

Hay Result Chair: Chair with steel base and molded plywood seat and backrest, designed by Friso Kramer and Wim Rietveld in the 1950s. $295 at


Masculo Swivel Chair: Upholstered chair with metal base, designed by GamFratesi for Gubi. From $1,399 at