Mid century modern swivel chair popular for home and office

Why Mid century modern swivel chair is so popular and on-trend for home and office nowadays

mid century swivel chairYou may not know that the inventor of the swivel chair was Thomas Jefferson and is purported that on swivel chair he drafted the United States Declaration of Independence. But these chairs became especially popular later during the mid century modern time. In the ’50s and ’60s when everything has been maximally simplified and effectively adjustable mid century modern swivel chair is undergoing changes that are used nowadays.

In the world of swivel chairs adjustability is king, because every human being is unique it would be impossible to design a chair that suited everybody. Therefore you want to be able to adjust as many settings as possible on a chair to suit it to your body shape and requirements. Having the most adjustable features on your swivel chair will allow you to regularly change your seating position which is very good for your posture.

Sitting in a fixed position all day is not how we are intended to work, this is why mid century modern swivel chairs are such an important piece of furniture – they allow unrestricted movement – but support any movement you do.

A good mid century modern swivel chair should have the following adjustments:

  • Seat height
  • Seat depth
  • Backrest angle
  • Chair recline/tilt
  • Seat angle
  • Armrests
  • Height-adjustable armrests
  • Width-adjustable armrests
  • Lumbar support
  • Backrest height
  • Lumbar depth

Each of these features can be discussed at length, in terms of their benefits and what they mean to you.

Adjustable Modern Swivel Chairs are the Best

leather mid century modern swivel chair and ottomanVintage mid century modern swivel chairs definitely exist that have all of those adjustable factors on them but you will pay dearly for them. If you’re looking for a chair and you’re on a budget I would suggest that the minimum adjusting features you should look for would be the height and backrest angle, all of the other features you will be able to survive without.

Chairs with features like lumber adjustment you really won’t find easily anyway. It is not always true though that you have to pay a lot for a chair with significant features – commercial grade office chairs seem to have a premium price on them, more often than not you will be able to find a home office chair with the same features for a fraction of the price but still the same build quality.

Spend the most you can on a mid century swivel chair

mid century modern swivel chairOf course, how much you choose to spend on a chair is entirely up to you, but personally, if I was working from home I would spend a lot more money on the chair than if I was just using it to surf the net on in the evenings. Spending hours sat on a poorly designed non-adjusting chair can wreak havoc with your back, shoulders, and even elbows and wrists. So if you anticipated sitting at your chair for more than four hours a day I would advise investing in a decent high-quality mid century modern swivel chair with multiple points of adjustment – you will then be able to tweak it to perfection.

Not only do you have to be concerned with what adjustable features a mid century swivel chair has, what about the design features? What about the materials? Or what about how you interact with those adjustability features? These are all important points to be considered when buying a new chair so you should consider them carefully.

Swivel chair buying guide

Getting the right chair for your office, whether it’s a home-based office or commercial office is crucial to your well being and productivity. Here’s what you should look for in a chair:

Overall Adjustability

Within your budget try to find the swivel chair that has the most adjustable features possible.

Height Adjustment


For work purposes, you shouldn’t even consider a chair that doesn’t have an adjustable height. If you can’t afford a new chair with this feature then look in your local stores, Amazon or eBay, you should be able to pick one up at a reasonable price. Although not essential your height adjustment should be done by a gas strut, it is far easier than a mechanical adjustment. A simple pull of the lever and your chair will rise.

5-Point base

In terms of mid century modern swivel chairs a 5 point base is what you are looking for. The base its self should be as broad as possible to make the chair as stable as it can be. It should be made out of either metal or plastic, regardless of the material it should provide a strong platform to take the weight of you and be able to move around.

Smooth Running Casters

Getting good quality casters on the base of your mid century swivel chair has a multitude of benefits; to start with it won’t irritate you when you try to wheel out from the desk only to find that the casters are locked up and you end up falling off your chair! The second point is that it will save your flooring from unnecessary wear. A caster grating across a carpet or a more solid form of flooring will quickly form unsightly worn patches.


modern swivel chairsThe fabric that your chair is made from is very important from a visual point of view. The longer you spend sitting in a chair then the more durable you will want the fabric to be. Some fabrics wear very badly and consequently look tatty in no time. If you’re in a workplace this may not bother you, but if it’s a home office then you will probably be more concerned with this.

Leather is a good choice of fabric for chairs; It’s hardwearing and breathable making it almost the perfect choice. Unfortunately leather is also the most expensive option. If you have decided to get a modern leather swivel chair then I would recommend getting darker colored leather. Although cream and off-white look great if they get regular use from people wearing jeans you will find that they very quickly pick up the dye from the jeans.

Setting up your swivel chair

red leather mid century modern swivel chairsSetting up your new mid century modern swivel chair is essential to your well being. The longer you or your employees intend to be sat in swivel chairs the more critical it is to set up your chair correctly. Sitting with a poor posture over extended periods can play havoc with your back, shoulders, and neck so you really should ensure that you are sitting correctly.

It is impossible to create a guide that suits everyone, but this article will hopefully give you some useful pointer to get you going in the right direction to set up your mid century swivel chair, let’s start from the ground up:

1.Your feet

Your feet should be flat on the ground, you achieve this by adjusting the height of your chair.

2. Your ankles

This isn’t really to do with the set up of your chair, but more where your feet should be positioned when you are seated. Your ankles should be in front of your knees. I know it’s tempting and we all do it from time to time but to sit with your feet on the casters of the chair, but doing this for long periods puts unnecessary strain on your knees.

3. Your knees

Your knees should be at hip level. If you cannot achieve this make sure that they are slightly below hip level. This can be adjusted by adjusting the seat angle and/or height.

4. Your back

Contrary to popular belief your back should not be straight – i.e. perpendicular to the floor – as many people think. You should be leaning back ever so slightly. This removes strain from your lower back.

5. Your elbows

Your elbows should be at the side of your body, and inline height-wise with your keyboard. this will allow your forearms to be parallel to the floor. This is where the setup can get a little difficult, depending on your proportions you may need to adjust the height of the chair to suit this. Adjusting the height of your chair may mean that your feet do not sit flat on the floor, in this case, you need to try and find a compromise, or invest in a desk that is height adjustable.

6. Your head and neck

As a general rule, your monitor should be set up at a height where – if your seat is set up correctly and you are looking forwards – the top of the monitor should be aligned with your eyes. This means that you should be looking down slightly to view your monitor.

If you follow these simple tips you should be sitting comfortable and injury-free for a long time to come.

Adjustable modern swivel chair features

mid century modern swivel desk chairsModern swivel chairs come with a bewildering array of adjustable features, this simple guide will hopefully inform you what they are all for and how you can best use them.

Seat height

This is the distance of the seat from the floor; if you are buying a new swivel chair that you are going to use regularly you should think of this as a minimum requirement. Altering the seat height allows your feet to be sat on the floor correctly and the worktop height to be set at the correct height for you. See setting up your swivel chair for more information.

Seat depth

This is the distance of the backrest to the front edge of the chair. Being able to adjust this will vary the amount of your legs that are supported – too little and you will feel as though you are sliding off the chair. Having an adjustable seat depth will also allow children to comfortably use the backrest as well as adults.

Backrest angle

This is the angle that the backrest is to the seat of the swivel chair. Some cheaper chairs do not have an adjustable backrest angle, Instead the whole chair (seat and backrest) tilt backward or forwards. This is a very important feature, if you struggle with lower back problems then lean backward more takes pressure of your lower back.

Chair recline/tilt

This is the amount the seat and backrest of the chair can tilt to the floor. Similarly to adjusting the backrest angle, tilting the chair back slightly will reduce pressure on your lower back,

Seat angle

If you spending a lot of money on a chair then you will probably be able to adjust the seat angle independently of the backrest and the overall chair recline/tilt.


There are two options of adjustability with armrests:

  1. The height of the armrests relative to the seat, setting the armrests to the correct height will reduce some strain on the shoulders.
  2. The distance between the armrests i.e. the width.

Lumbar support

If you have the crème-de-la- crème of chairs it may well have an adjustable lumbar support. This is to help maintain the curve in your lower back.

Backrest height

This is so you can adjust the height of the backrest in relation to the seat. In the case of cheaper swivel chairs that don’t have adjustable lumbar supports, altering the height of the backrest can act as a lumbar support.

Designer mid century modern swivel chair

swivel mid century modern chair designersDesigner mid century modern swivel chair looks fantastic and can help reinforce your company’s image. This could not be truer if you are a design based industry. Designer chairs can also look good in other professions but they do have to be well-matched to their surroundings.

Anything ‘designer’ in the wrong setting can look pretentious. If you have a home office and you want a designer mid century modern chair then it is a little bit easier. In the home environment, a sensitively designed mid century modern swivel chair can become a focal point.

The one drawback with anything ‘designer’ is that one way or another going to cost you; if it doesn’t cost you in terms of money, it will cost you in terms of comfort. Conversely, if you buy a cheap good looking chair you will probably sacrifice comfort. I say probably because this is not always the case, but you’ll have to hunt for it.

What actually makes a mid century swivel chair ‘designer’?

Sometimes a ‘celebrity; the designer will collaborate with the manufacture to produce a special edition chair. By someone putting their name to a chair, does that make it designer?

Designer chairs are usually identifiable by there sleek lines and minimalist in mid century modern style. Some may say that a designer object is one in which function follows form. I disagree with this though, in my opinion, the term design means that every part of that chair should have been thought about, and not only should it look good, it should also function perfectly. Not only this, but as a designer, if I was putting my name to a chair I would want it to stand the test of time, and want it to operate in 30 years as well as the day it was bought.

I would consider a mid century swivel chair to have earnt its ‘designer’ status if it:

  1. Looked slightly different from all the other chairs out there.
  2. Used new materials or innovatively using traditional materials.
  3. Was durable and therefore will operate effectively for years to come.
  4. Had been very carefully designed in terms of ergonomics so that it could be adjusted to fit as many different people as possible.

You may have gathered from reading this article that a mid century modern swivel chair designers aren’t going to leave you with a lot of change. If you get the right chair though it will last you for many years and may well work out to be a cost-effective option.

By | 2020-08-27T12:16:58+00:00 August 26th, 2020|Mid century interior, Mid century modern, mid century modern design|0 Comments
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