Skip to Content
To Ergonomics is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read more.

Dining vs. Office Chair: Can You Use a Dining Chair as an Office Chair?

Dining vs. Office Chair: Can You Use a Dining Chair as an Office Chair?

With more people adapting to a work-from-home setup due to the pandemic, the chair that we sit on has become extremely important.

As a result of the switch from an office to a home environment, many employees are complaining about suffering from backaches, as well as neck, shoulder, and knee pains.

Why wouldn’t they, when not many of us have access to an ideal workspace?

We all know that the consequences of not sitting in a proper office chair can have long-term effects on your overall health.

So in this article, we will be comparing a dining chair vs. an office chair and let you know whether you can use your dining chair as a substitute for an office chair.

If you have been for a while and are thinking about making the switch, keep reading.

Dining Chair

As the name implies, a dining chair is meant to be used at a dining table during mealtimes.

Most dining chairs have a standard seat height of around 18 to 20 inches, but the height of the backrest varies.

dinning chairs and table in a dinning room

A dining chair takes a variety of forms that you can match with the rest of the furniture in your home. There are upholstered, wood, and metal dining chairs, some of which come with armrests.

Office Chair

An office chair is a type of chair designed to be used at a desk in an office.

It typically comes with adjustable seat height and a set of wheels that allows the user to move around while seated.

a girl sits on an office chair in her home office

Nowadays, modern office chairs offer a ton of features.

They include upper back and lumbar support, tilt or recline function, angle lock, seat depth adjustability, and many other adjustable options.

Can You Use a Dining Chair as an Office Chair?

If you’ve just begun setting up a home office and don’t have all the necessary furniture yet, you may use a dining chair as an office chair for the time being.

a woman with office chair and dinning chair

If you plan to use a dining chair for work, you will need to consider the following:

  • How do you plan to use the chair?
  • Do you have underlying back problems?
  • Is there a need for you to buy an office chair?

How frequently you plan to use the chair is important in determining whether you should settle with a dining chair available at home. If your job requires you to sit all day long while you work, it will be best for you to invest in an office chair.

However, if you constantly move around while you work, get up every half hour to stretch your legs and walk, or do tasks that don’t confine you to your desk, then you may be able to get away with a simple dining chair.

If you have underlying back problems—either from an injury or as a result of prolonged sitting—an office chair is non-negotiable. Sitting on a dining chair will only make your condition worse, so we strongly recommend you get a good, supportive office chair instead of settling with any available chair at home.

If you work at a standing desk, you may not have an immediate need for an office chair. Standing desks help you prevent back and neck pain, correct posture, and lower the chances of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

Just as prolonged sitting is not good for you, though, standing for long periods may also have adverse effects. If you use a standing desk for work, a dining chair may be adequate for taking breaks from hours of standing.

Dining vs Office Chair: Side-by-Side Comparison


Both dining and office chairs offer comfort, but the difference lies in how long you sit on them.

Coworkers talking comfortably with each other

Dining chairs can provide enough comfort during mealtimes, which typically last 15 minutes, perhaps an hour at most.

Meanwhile, office chairs are built to be used for extended periods. Their design and features increase comfort and reduce the adverse effects of sitting all day.

While many dining chairs have padded seats, only a few have supportive backs. Office chairs, on the other hand, have comfortable backrests and seat pans that are usually covered in fabric, leather, or breathable mesh.


What sets office chairs apart from other types of chairs is adjustability. Office chairs nowadays offer a ton of adjustable options that make it easy for users to customize them to suit their seating preferences.

Male hand adjusts office chair

One of the basic features of an office chair is adjustable seat height. An office chair’s height typically ranges from 15 to 22 inches and accommodates a wide variety of users.

When you sit all day at work, seat height matters because a chair that is either too low or too high can encourage poor posture and lead to musculoskeletal disorders. An office chair’s adjustable seat height helps keep your thighs parallel to the floor and your feet flat on the ground.

While dining chairs lack a tilting or reclining backrest, an office chair can provide enough back support to relax in a reclined position.

Some office chairs even have forward tilt mechanisms and adjustable seat pans that help you maintain a proper posture.


Unlike office chairs, dining chairs lack headrests, armrests, and footrests.

Many office chairs come with built-in or removable headrests that bear the weight of your head and neck when you sit upright or lean back in your chair.

a young girl is sitting on an office chair in her office

Although there are high-back dining chairs that can support your shoulders, many users—especially tall individuals—prefer seats with headrests for full-body support.

While some dining chairs come with armrests, they do not properly support the arms and elbows because they are stationary.

The armrests on office chairs nowadays are either 2D, 3D, or even 4D. Meaning that they can move up and down, left and right, forward and back, and rotate around their axis.

Footrests in office chairs are either built-in or retractable, or come as extra accessories. If you use a dining chair for work and your feet hang above the ground, you will need to buy a footrest or footstool or prop up them up.

Health and Other Benefits

Unlike dining chairs, office chairs—especially ones that have good levels of ergonomics—have many health benefits.

Posture Support and Reduced Pain

Business woman sitting comfortably in office chair

When you use a chair that lacks basic ergonomics, such as a dining chair, you will likely slouch or hunch over your desk after long hours of sitting. Traditional chairs can strain your spine and increase your chances of developing back and even neck injuries.

This is one problem office chairs have a solution for.

Many office chairs have a full-length design that supports the natural curve of your back and headrests that support your head and neck, promoting proper sitting posture.

Sitting in a proper and comfortable position reduces strain on the body during movement, lowers the risk of muscle strain, and improves spine health.

Improved Blood Circulation

Blood vessel with blood cells

Another benefit of using an office chair is improved blood flow.

An adjustable chair positions your knees at roughly the same height as your hips, preventing pressure on the knees and keeping your legs from going numb.

Enhanced Productivity

Notebook writing improve productivity

Back pain resulting from prolonged sitting has possible long-term health effects and can affect productivity.

Many employees who suffer from back problems are likely to be distracted and call in sick at work.

Using comfortable office chairs can result in improved work quality. Employees who experience a reduction in pain and discomfort tend to focus better and become more efficient in the workplace.


work safety signboard

Unlike dining chairs, office chairs have been tested and are certified to ensure the user’s safety. They are built to support varying weights and are made with durable materials that increase the chair’s life.

If you like tipping your chair forward or rocking it back, you will be safer and less likely to slip or fall in an office chair than in a dining chair.

Comparison Table

Below is a summary of the differences between a dining chair and an office chair:

  Dining Chair Office Chair
Comfort Provides comfort but only for short-duration use Provides enough comfort for long periods of use
Adjustability Offers no adjustment options Has adjustable seat height, tilting or reclining backrest, and other adjustment options
Accessories Some chairs have armrests but typically have no headrests and footrests. Many office chairs come with headrests, armrests, and footrests.
Health Benefits None; may cause back, neck, and knee problems when used for extended periods Offers head, neck, and back support and reduces risks of body pains and other serious health concerns
Safety N/A Guarantees optimum safety


Right choice signboard with red heart

While dining chairs can help create a humble home office setup by providing you with a decent seat, it doesn’t help facilitate the same work area that your office has.

Sitting on a dining chair for prolonged periods can have long-term adverse effects on your body and health.

We strongly suggest that you invest in your health by purchasing an office chair.

Whichever type of chair you choose for your home office space, make sure you find time to stretch and move around to keep your body active.