An Anatomy of a good chair and how to choose one.
You’d think its trivial. I mean it’s a chair for Chrissake and we mostly just buy chairs we visually like right? But let me tell you, there is more to this than meets the eye.
You may also not feel the difference immediately but as time passes you’ll realize the bits and bobs that you could have avoided with a little prior info. Take it from me. I bought a bunch of chairs last year which seemed very comfortable but took us 6 months to realize, it puts immense pressure on your back while getting up from it- and which lead to severe back pain. The legs also didn’t last. Two out of three have cracked already, because the angles of the leg are just not right. And after much deliberation, we turned to LapandDado to make us two sturdy and yet beautiful casual chairs that can multitask, are ergonomic, lasts for years to come, looks good and one that can gather memories with us.
We also chose a modern Windsor
because I did not want an upholstered chair. Why? Read along.
In this part, we will discuss
Form & Shape– Why a good wooden chair is a keeper and what should be its ideal form! Fluidity in form is what makes a furniture special, so what kind of chair can be more than just a chair
Comfort– What areas should you look for, for comfort and what angle comfort is maximum
Legs– Why good legs are the foundation of a good chair. Whether splayed or straight and why.
These can be splayed or straight. Splayed legs offer greater stability, especially when someone is pushing down on the armrests. If they stick out too far, they may get in the way.
Form & Shape
I’m speaking from experience, a good, upright, moderately high chair with a broad seat & a comfortable, slightly slanting back rest is what you want. Why?
If you choose a low chair, and you are slightly on the heavier side, you’ll find it difficult to push the chair with your arms when you get up. This will also hurt your back and give rise to tail bone pain eventually.
If you choose a very high chair, where your feet doesn’t reach the ground your feet will dangle putting pressure on your thighs. Specially on the side of your thighs if its not well curved towards the edges.
How to measure the correct height
Sit on a chair straight up. Your hips and knees should be at right angles and your feet flat on the floor. Now measure the distance between the floor to the back of your knees. That is the correct chair height for you.
Angles & Comfort
There are three angles to consider in a chair. The legs, the seat and the backrest. While the backrest will directly affect your posture, the legs at correct angle will provide stability.
The backrest of a casual chair should be slanted between 10 to 15 degrees with a height of 12 to 18 degrees depending on the kind of chair.
The seat should be wide enough with 18″ to 22″ width and 15″ to 18″ depth. It should slightly taper towards the rear and side to allow clearance for legs and to minimize material- which means to cut off unnecessary wood. If you look closely at our chairs, you’ll see how the sides slope slightly. This is to accommodate the seamless resting of legs. Also, I wanted to do away with any kind of soft seating because I always almost feel that they wear off easily. After a point, the cushioning isn’t enough and the entire chair becomes very uncomfortable. I also love the fact that our windsors has so much lumbar support.
The legs, if splayed, should be properly measured and ideally grooved into the seat because if its attached externally, with prolong use, it will crack.
For example, “There’s splay and rake angles that need to be calculated, and the holes for the spindles are drilled according to these angles so the spindles when fitted in will be at that angle to the seat”- says Smriti and Karan from LapandDado who are master woodworkers. And I have to agree, the chairs feel solid.
Legs. Haha. Chair Legs
I personally find straight chair legs to be more sturdy. If its splayed, it rather be joined in with the seat as opposed to a frame outside the seat. Because eventually as you use the chair, the legs would push outside and the frame may crack. This is what happened to our chairs at home.
I also particularly like this chair that I bought in 2008 from a second hand shop in Bombay for 300 rupees. It’s a classic Slatted Ladder Back solid wood joined beautifully. 12 years to this day and it still is one of my favourite chair. Straight tapered legs, great comfort and so sturdy
A few fail proof, simple, every chair legs to choose from would be tapered round, tapered square and spade foot. You can choose English country as well. If you want something ornate, a cabriole or louis XVI is sturdy and looks great! But then this is a very subjective topic. Who am I to say a word on it.
But what I definitely would ask you to do is consider everything else while buying a chair. The legs and sturdiness, the back rest and the seat height. Because these are things that’ll determine whether you’ll fall in love with your newly made/bought chair or loathe it and if you are paying a buck, you rather love it!
Oh, I also love ladder backs and spindle backs because you can tie pretty things in them. I mean, only fair!
Off now, a lovely day to you.