How to fit a desk chair into a small office — expert advice for picking the right style

If you're worried about space, see how to fit a desk chair into a small office without feeling cramped

Small desk with pink office chair
(Image credit: Article)

You may be struggling to fit a desk chair into a small office if you're limited on square footage, but not to fear. We have some great tips for making the most of a tiny workspace and fitting all your essentials. 

Having a designated space for your work is a great way to inspire more work-life balance. Whether you have a designated home office or a small corner in your living room, being intentional about where you work and relax can elevate your entire space. 

Office areas — especially at home — are often on the smaller end, which can make choosing office furniture a bit tricky (but not impossible). Next to a desk, an office chair is one of the most important things to consider when considering small office ideas to try.

How to fit a desk chair into a small office 

If you have a small space and want it to be functional without feeling overwhelmed with office clutter, look to your desk chair to help balance things out. So long as you have a desk or table to work at, one of the best office chairs will always make sense for a small office — you just need to be a little more intentional with your selection. 

Wondering how to fit a desk chair into a small office? Find our top tips and tricks, ahead. 

1. Look for slender designs

White desk with gray office chair

(Image credit: West Elm)

When trying to fit a desk chair into a small office, look for options with more slender designs. While you can still find some more traditional office chairs (like our best Amazon office chairs) that fit the mold — especially if you’re willing to part with details like armrests or a shorter back — you can also consider desk chair alternatives like kneeling desk chairs, like this wooden kneeling chair available from Amazon, or stools with back support, like this rolling chair from Wayfair.

To determine whether or not your chair is suitable as an office chair, Interior designer Shivani Vyas says to observe your body position. “Your elbow should be at about 90 degrees with your forearms reaching the same height as your desk." 

"Your feet will also touch the floor while your knees bend at a 90-degree angle,” she explains, noting that you can always add an accent pillow for additional back support.  

Shivani Vyas

Shivani Vyas is a residential interior designer and the owner of Studio Vyas in Macon, GA. 

2. Consider a task chair style

Brown leather office chair

(Image credit: Amazon)

Task chairs, like this stylish armless desk chair available from Amazon, have similar padding and comfort as traditional office chairs but are much lighter and smaller in size. Some of them might also forgo certain features like armrests to free up space and make them mesh better with small areas. 

This desk chair style serves its purpose well, making it one of the things people who WFH always have in a small office. Task chairs work particularly well with writing desks and some draft tables. 

"Task chairs are a great solution in a small office space as they're easy to move around and they don't come with bulky features that will make it harder to tuck into your desk," says Lucy Searle, Content Director, Real Homes.

Lucy Searle
Lucy Searle

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property, and gardens for over 30 years, starting within the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-1990s. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she also took on the editorship of the magazine. Lucy is now Content Director across Homes & Gardens, Woman & Home, Real Homes, and Ideal Home. Lucy is a serial renovator and also owns rental properties in the UK and Europe, so brings first-hand knowledge to the subjects she oversees.

3. Make sure your chair is proportionate to your desk

White office chair and wooden desk

(Image credit: West Elm)

It’s important that your small space furniture pieces are proportionate when fitting a desk chair into a small office. If you have a small writing desk, like this mini desk from West Elm, opt for a desk chair that is more slender in design and doesn’t feel bulky when paired with your lightweight desk. There are plenty of options available online that come together as a desk and chair set, so you'll know they fit together — like this wooden desk with a navy desk chair available at Wayfair.

Because of all of the padding and ergonomics, traditional office chairs can take up a lot of space and look too heavy when paired with daintier office furniture such as writing desks (like our best Urban Outfitters desks) or even some drafting tables. Choosing one that pairs well with your desk size can ensure it doesn’t take up a lot of space or create a more crowded look. 

4. Choose a light color chair

Small desk in bedroom with white office chair

(Image credit: West Elm)

Light colors can help open up a space and make any small room look bigger. The same is true when it comes to office furniture. Picking a desk chair in a lighter shade, like this white office chair from Amazon, will help reflect more light and make the room feel lighter. 

If you go with a monochromatic look, consider choosing a desk and desk chair that are similar or the same color so that they blend together and feel more cohesive. You can't go wrong with this matching white wooden desk and chair set available from Wayfair for a light finish.

5. Keep things minimal

Sleek desk with shelves and white office chair

(Image credit: Article)

It’s important to keep your design as minimal and clutter-free as possible when fitting a desk chair into a small office. This will help create the illusion of more space and make bulkier items like office chairs stand out less. A clutter-free environment can actually help you feel more motivated in a small office too. 

In an effort to keep things minimal, you can also choose a desk chair that has a kneeling or stool design so that it easily slides under the desk and is out of the way when not in use. This nesting rolling desk available from Wayfair is perfect for sliding out of the way when not in use. 

Best desk chairs for small offices


How do you make a regular chair into an office chair?

“You can pick almost any chair and convert it into a beautiful office chair, but it may not always provide the most ergonomic solution,” says Shivani Vyas.

She recommends keeping ergonomics in mind and choosing a chair that is comfortable and supportive. “If you decide to convert your regular chair into an office chair, measure your seat height and ensure it’s compatible with your desk or work table,” she explains.

Can I use a sofa as an office chair?

You can get away with using a sofa as an office chair, but according to Vyas, the tabletop surface needs to be flexible enough to reach the height of your seated position. “You can purchase sofa tables with bottoms that tuck underneath a soda,” she explains. We like the look of this industrial table from Amazon that can be tucked underneath a couch.

With that said, Vyas says it’s always important to listen to your body and watch out for any pain or discomfort since a sofa might not lend proper support, and sitting in a poor position for extended periods of time will strain your back, especially when leaning forward to work. 

Is there a difference between a computer chair and an office chair?

Computer chairs and office chairs are both terms used interchangeably, so there’s not a major difference between the two. That being said, when we think of office chairs, we typically think of an ergonomic chair with lots of padding and a rolling base that allows for plenty of support and convenience, like this highly-rated office chair available on Amazon

A computer chair can be used to describe this type of chair, but it can also be used to describe the chair that is used at a small desk area where your computer is stored, like this budget-friendly computer chair from Amazon. This type of chair can include accent chairs or more slender office chair designs. 

Fitting a desk chair into a small office is totally possible with the right tips and tricks. When choosing your desk chair, be intentional about the style and look for options that are proportionate to your office furniture and boast a more slender style to save on space. 

Office chairs without armrests can work really well in small spaces, but you can still find excellent options with armrests, too. Picking up a new office chair and finding just the right spot for it, is a great way to give your entire small office a makeover on a budget as it will improve the look and feel of the room overall. 

Jessie Quinn
Freelance Writer

Jessie Quinn is a lifestyle writer with words published in The Spruce, Byrdie, Well + Good, Shape, PEOPLE, and more. Jessie has a Bachelor's Degree in Fashion Journalism from Academy of Art University and leans on her background in fashion to inspire readers to hone their personal decor style as if it's their wardrobe. When she's not writing, Jessie can be found browsing the aisles of her local antique stores, creating DIY home decor projects, and taking care of her dozens of houseplants. Her eclectic decor style balances vintage, modern, and artisanal pieces that reflect her artsy style and love for handmade goods.