In this guide to the best mid-century modern office chairs, we’re going to look at contemporary models inspired by the ideas that originated in the 1930s and 1940s. Chairs designed in the mid-century style are undoubtedly elegant, but they can make an office look anachronistic if they’re not carefully matched with the rest of the furniture.
Even so, chairs designed in this style are a popular option for home offices, conference rooms, and all other spaces where important business decisions are made.
In this article, we’re going to provide you with the information you need to select a chair for your office and take you through our best mid-century modern office chair picks. Check out our guide to the best office chairs to learn more about the different types of chairs you can use in your home office.
At a Glance: The 5 Best Mid-Century Modern Office Chair Picks
|Modway Jive Office Chair||Aluminum, vinyl||Terracotta||$$$|
|Eternity Modern Fk 6726 Bucket Chair||Stainless steel, leather||Multiple color options||$$$$|
|Flash Furniture Conference Office Chair||Wood, leather, steel||Black and walnut||$$$|
|Volans Modern Office Chair||Leather, wood||Off white||$$|
|Armen Living Office Chair||Polyurethane, chrome steel||Black||$$|
The Characteristics of The Mid-century Modern Style
The term mid-century modern style vaguely describes the furniture produced between the 1930s and 1960s. Although the main principles of the style were developed in Bauhaus, the style itself was developed in America, partly due to the migration of Bauhaus artists to the United States.
The furniture pieces produced in this style have a set of recognizable characteristics, so for instance functionality is far more important than the object’s aesthetics. Consequently, mid-century modern-style chairs usually don’t have ornamentation.
The shape of these chairs is geometrical with smooth and simple lines, while wood, metal, and leather are the most common materials.
The Herman Miller company is probably one of the earliest manufacturers of mid-century modern furniture, while artists like George Nelson, Eero Saarinen, or Charles Eames largely contributed to the development of this style.
Go through our home office furniture guide to learn more about different home office furniture styles.
The Functionality of Mid-century Modern Office Chairs
As we already noted, these chairs are designed with functionality in mind. Each component of a mid-century modern office chair serves the purpose of increasing its comfort level.
However, pieces produced between the 1930s and 1960s often lack ergonomic properties that ensure your spine is in the correct position. That’s why they’re not an ideal solution for professionals who spend the majority of their workdays in sitting positions.
The contemporary interpretations of the style, however, pay a lot of attention to ergonomics as most chair models feature a backrest that provides support to the lumbar region. It is worth adding that the functionality of a mid-century modern office chair depends on the model, so you must check the chair’s properties to determine if it is suitable for the context in which you want to use it.
Read our guide to finding the best recliner if you need a chair you can use to relax after work.
Matching a Mid-century Modern Chair With the Furniture In Your Office
Furnishing an entire office in the mid-century modern style is the easiest way to make sure that all pieces of furniture match. However, this can turn out to be a pricey endeavor since office tables, lamps, or waiting room sofas designed in this style can be very expensive.
Pairing a mid-century modern chair with industrial or contemporary pieces of furniture is another option you have at your disposal. Pairing complementary office furniture designed in different styles is a risk worth taking because it offers you an opportunity to create strong stylistic contrasts.
Style shouldn’t be your sole guiding principle while choosing a chair for your home office since features like portability, level of comfort or adjustability can help you pick the right model. Check out our guide to best ladder desk ideas if you need a desk, you can pair it with a mid-century modern chair.
The Comfort Level of Mid-century Modern Office Chairs
This style doesn’t necessarily offer a high degree of comfort since armrests or headrests aren’t included in all models. The lack of these features can make sitting in a chair for 8 hours per day very uncomfortable.
Also, these chairs aren’t a perfect fit for all types of offices, so whether or not you can use these chairs depends on what you do. Some contemporary models provide a high degree of comfort as they allow you to tilt the chair back or adjust its height.
You should opt for a model that has excellent lumbar support features as well as cozy upholstery if you’re planning to spend a lot of hours in an office chair. If you’re searching for a chair that will be placed in a conference or a waiting room, you can pick a model that doesn’t have an ergonomic design. Go through our lamp and lighting guide to find a suitable lighting solution for your home office.
Commonly Used Materials
Experimentation is at the core of the mid-century modern style, which is why designers sought innovative ways to use natural materials. In addition, materials like plastic or vinyl are also used to make components of these chairs. Wood-leather or metal-leather are probably the most common material combination you’ll encounter while searching for a mid-century modern chair.
You should keep in mind that models made of natural materials are considerably more expensive than the chairs that have upholstery made of vinyl and similar artificial materials. The materials from which a chair is built usually affect its visual appeal and its durability.
Hence, a functional mid-century modern chair doesn’t necessarily have to last long or look good. Read our guide to bookcase ideas if you need space in your home office where you can keep important books and documents.
The Most Important Factors To Consider While Choosing Mid-century Modern Office Chairs
Sitting in an uncomfortable position day after day can have far-reaching consequences on your health. The chair you choose needs to keep you in a comfortable position to focus on the tasks you have to complete. Finding an ergonomic mid-century modern office chair can be more difficult than it seems since most models lack the feature that allows your spine to stay in a natural position.
These and countless other factors can help you choose a chair that matches your expectations. So, let’s take a look at some of the most important factors, and the criteria we used to make our suggestions in this article, that can assist you in finding a mid-century modern office chair you’re going to enjoy using.
The Weight Limit
The chair you choose must be able to support your body weight. Models with a weight limit that is lower than your body weight will fall apart quickly under the pressure you create when you sit on them.
The majority of mid-century modern office chairs have a weight limit that ranges between 200lbs and 250lbs, which makes them suitable for an average person. Overweight people should opt for a model that has a weight limit above 300lbs to ensure that they can use the chair for a long time.
Wheels have almost become a standard for office chairs, but models designed in the mid-century modern style don’t always have this feature. The lack of wheels affects the chair’s mobility and makes it ill-suited for people who often have to change their position while working.
Checking if the chair you’d like to get has wheels is easy, so you can know instantly if a model you’re considering provides the level of mobility you need. Mid-century modern chairs that don’t have wheels can be a good fit for office waiting rooms and similar spaces where people don’t have to move often.
Adjusting the height of the tilt of an office chair helps you find a comfortable sitting position and prevents back pains. The contemporary versions of mid-century modern chairs usually allow users to alter their height or slide the seat slightly backward.
Selecting a model that doesn’t have these features isn’t advisable if you have to spend long hours in front of a computer. These features are unnecessary if you want to use mid-century modern office chairs during meetings with your clients or in a waiting room.
Size and Color
Mid-century modern office chairs come in a broad range of shapes and sizes, which is the reason why you need to check if a particular model matches your height. Models that allow you to adjust the height of the seat are a great choice if you’re unsure how tall is your office desk.
Nearly all models on the market are available in different colors, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find an option that matches the color of the furniture in your office. Classic black mid-century modern office chairs are perhaps the safest choice as they easily fit into different settings.
Cost and Durability
The price of mid-century modern office chairs spans from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the brand and the model. The quality of a chair largely depends on its price, so the least expensive models are often made of materials that can’t withstand the daily wear and tear.
Also, the quality of design increases with the chair’s price, as the high-end models have bold and innovative designs, while affordable mid-century modern office chairs often look generic and outdated. Despite these differences, the majority of these chairs can remain in perfect condition for years.
The Advantages of Mid-century Modern Office Chairs
Elegant and daring design
Innovation is one of the core principles of the mid-century modern style, and this principle is clearly visible on office chairs designed in this style. Chairs inspired by the shape of buckets and countless other everyday objects allow you to make the space where you work look elegant and unique.
Made of sturdy natural materials
The frame of these chairs is made of steel, aluminum, or wood. In either case, the material gives the chair a natural look while providing strong support for the upholstery made of leather or fabric.
A wide selection of models
You’ll have endless options at your disposal if you decide to get a mid-century modern office chair, so even though it might take some time, you can find a model that has all the features you’re looking for.
The Disadvantages of Mid-century Modern Office Chairs
Varying level of comfort
These chairs are designed to be used for different office tasks, which is why some models aren’t meant to be used for long. If you need a mid-century modern chair you can sit in for an entire day without experiencing back pain, you must opt for an ergonomically designed model.
Top 5 Mid-century Modern Office chairs
Modway Jive Office Chair – The Best Mid-century Modern Office Chair for Overweight People
The Modway Jive Office Chair has a maximum weight capacity of 330lbs, making it one of your best options if you need a stylish chair capable of withstanding high amounts of pressure. Besides, the chair’s ergonomic backrest ensures that your spine is in a natural position at all times.
This desk chair has a chrome aluminum frame that can be easily extended to your preferred height, while the tilting features enable you to find the perfect sitting position. Besides terracotta, the Jive office chair is also available in white, black, and brown colors.
- Timeless design
- Excellent adjustability
- Capable of handling high amounts of pressure
- Easily movable
- The chair’s maximum height is 37 inches
- No headrest
Eternity Modern Fk 6726 Bucket Chair – The Most Stylish Mid-century Modern Office Chair
The innovative design of the Eternity Modern Fk 6726 Bucket Chair can make any office more stylish. The chair’s armrests merge with the deep seat to create a shape that resembles a bucket. The shell is made of fiberglass and filled with durable urethane foam, while the upholstery is made of leather.
The stainless steel base features three glides at the bottom that enable you to move the chair effortlessly. The seating height is set to 17.7-inches, and you cannot raise or lower the seat since the chair doesn’t have the adjustability features.
- Award-winning design
- All components are made of fire-resistant materials
- Free delivery and 1-year warranty
- It matches a variety of office furniture styles
- Not ergonomically designed
- Very expensive
Flash Furniture Conference Office Chair – The Most Adjustable Mid-century Modern Office Chair
The pneumatic seat height adjustment and the tilt tension knob allow you to adjust the Flash Furniture Conference Office Chair to your needs. In addition, the curved walnut seat and contoured backrest ensure that your body remains in a comfortable position and give the chair a distinctive look.
The mid-century modern office chair doesn’t have armrests, and it isn’t an ideal choice for people who need a chair they can sit in during work hours. This Flash Furniture model can be a good fit for home-based offices that host numerous clients daily.
- Leather upholstery
- Simple adjustment process
- Made of sturdy materials
- Reasonable price
- No armrests
- The chair can get uncomfortable if you sit in it for a long time
Volans Modern Office Chair – The Most Versatile Mid-Century Modern Office Chair
The design of the Volans Modern Office Chair resembles chairs produced in the 1950s and 1960s. Although the seat height isn’t adjustable, the chair swivels for 360-degrees allowing you to reach things you need while working.
The tufted back keeps you comfortable and supports the lower body, while the solid beech wood legs can withstand high amounts of pressure. This chair doesn’t have wheels, and you have to carry it every time you want to place it in a new location.
- Suitable for a wide range of settings
- Cushioned seat
- Leather upholstery
- 360-degree swivel range
- The seat is relatively shallow
- Limited adjustability features
Armen Living Office Chair – The Most Affordable Mid-Century Modern Office Chair
Even though it is one of the most affordable mid-century modern office chairs on the market, the design of the Armen Living Office Chair is still inventive and original. Like all furniture designed in this style, the chair is highly functional and capable of keeping you comfortable for hours.
The headrest and armrest contribute to the chair’s comfort level considerably, as they lower the pressure on your shoulders. Adjusting the seat height or tilting the seat backward is easy, so it won’t take long before finding your perfect sitting position.
- The chair is wear-resistant
- It offers a high level of comfort
- Moves easily over different surfaces
- Cozy headrest
- The weight limit could be higher
- Available in just one color
Question: Are mid-century modern office chairs difficult to clean?
Answer: The upkeep requirements of these chairs depend on the upholstery material, but keeping most models clean requires minimal effort.
Question: Do I have to assemble a mid-century modern office chair?
Answer: Yes, you do, most brands don’t ship their models assembled, so you have to put the chair together before you can start using it.
Question: Do mid-century modern office chairs have a warranty?
Answer: Some luxury brands offer warranties for their models, but most mid-century modern office chair manufacturers only allow you to return the chair if you don’t like it.
Question: How much do mid-century modern office chairs weigh?
Answer: Most mid-century modern office chairs weigh less than 40lbs, although their weight varies from model to model.
Best Mid Century Modern Office Chair: Our Verdict
The chairs you add to your home office must provide you with the comfort you need to perform your daily tasks efficiently.
The comfort level of mid-century modern office chairs varies from model to model, and if you’re not careful, you may easily end up with a chair that doesn’t provide sufficient support to your back. That’s why aesthetics shouldn’t be the only search parameter you’re using to find a chair for your office.
We recommend choosing the Modway Jive Office Chair because it is elegant, highly functional, and affordable. You should consider getting the Eternity Modern Fk 6726 Bucket Chair if you want a boldly designed office chair that can keep you comfortable.
Which mid-century modern office chair are you going to choose? Let us know in the comments, or continue reading our guide to finding the best sofas and couches for your living room.