In our new advice column, Ask the Strategist, we take your most burning shopping questions and scour friends, call up experts, and draw from personal experience to answer them. As always, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org with one of your own — we’re here to help.
Can you recommend a (not-offensive-looking) office chair for under £200?
If your head (or your lower back) is telling you to finally buy an office chair, you’re not alone. We all thought working from home might be a short-term thing, but now that it seems like it may go on throughout the rest of the year, it’s a good idea to invest in proper seating in order to make your nine-to-five more comfortable.
We’ve written before about the best office chairs — and there’s plenty of options according to people who really know their stuff (be they hyperenthusiastic reviewers or people with discerning taste).
This grey-blue office chair got a lot of positive reviews on Amazon from people looking for a non-office-y chair. The shape and fabric (which covers the screws) makes it look a little bit more minimalist than a typical pleather option, but it will still provide back support. It wouldn’t be totally out of place at a kitchen table (if that’s where you work) and it’s also well under your budget — meaning you could also get an ergonomic cushion or back rest, too.
You can also pick up a mesh support, which helps provide comfort for your lower back, for just ten pounds.
For something a bit more lively, Strategist contributor Natalya Lobanova told us about this Wayfair chair she uses. ‘The main appeal (aside from the fun orange colour) is how small and compact it is while still being on wheels,’ she says. ‘It’s comfortable, and the lack of armrests is actually super-useful.’ It comes in several other colours, too, and costs a fraction of your budget.
However, your request was quite specific, so I did some extra hunting online. If you live in a small flat without room for a desk, or you rent with housemates, a fully ergonomic ‘desk chair’ is probably too bulky and a bit too unsightly — plus it’s going to be tricky to get one for £200 anyway.
When you requested a not-offensive-looking chair, my mind instantly thought about the wheels. Wheels on a chair are great for whizzing across to your colleague’s desk for a chat, but far less useful in a one-bed or a flatshare where space is at a premium. Plus, any chair with five little wheels on the bottom isn’t going to transition easily to another room when all this is over. So this chair by Metro Lane, which I spotted on Wayfair, is my first suggestion. It looks like something you’d find in a study rather than in an office block and would look equally as nice in the corner of a bedroom. Plus, it’s £95 — well within your budget.
Made.com also has some great options, like this office chair which swaps the wheels for a solid, minimalist stand. It retains the swivel element so you can get up and stretch easily. I like the dark green and gold option the most (it also comes in grey and black). It’s also under £200, so you’ll have enough money left over for a cushion.
Also on Made is this cane dining chair, which I chose because it looks like an affordable alternative to the eye-wateringly expensive Cesca chairs (favoured by designer Luke Edward Hall). Even the fake Cesca’s can cost double this, and although Made’s model lacks the signature straight back, this feels like a solid option if you’re looking for a versatile ‘not-an-office-chair’ chair. Again, well under £200.
Finally, if you want your home office to channel the ‘IKEA-meets-Soho-House’ vibe that author Laura Jane Williams favours, then you might want to consider the velvet chairs she found on Amazon. They cost £90 for two and, according to Williams, are ‘[d]eep enough to fit my admittedly very generous bum, but compact enough that they slide all the way to the table to save space when not in use’.
Some other home office essentials we like
The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.