Sitting all day? Try these 4 alternative office chairs 

Swap your office chair for something more comfortable, without sacrificing style

Your choice of furniture can improve more than just your interior design; it might just influence your health in a positive way too.

Recent years may have seen the phrase ‘sitting is the new smoking’ float around, but no matter how active a lifestyle we’re realistically able to manage – lots of us still see our lives based around sedentary tasks at home. 

Man wearing a dark green sweater and a grey pair of jeans sitting on a beige seating ball behind a wooden desk with a laptop in front of a windowCredit: Shutterstock / MaartenGR
It could be useful to alternate between different seats when working from home

Many retirees have been returning to work due to the cost of living, which has seen home offices across the UK be used more regularly, while a whole host of hobbies require a lot of sitting down (be that bingeing a Netflix series or focusing on a watercolour creation).

To make these pastimes more comfortable, there are now loads of ergonomic accessories to choose from. When it comes to what we’re sat on, alternative chairs that often claim to improve posture can also encourage sedentary movement, known as ‘active sitting’. 

“A lot of us don’t remember to stretch, get up, and walk around when we are getting stuck into a task,” says David Newbound, senior partner at Back in Action, which specialises in therapeutic furniture for the home and office. 

“If you sit in something which already moves, you’re in a better position than sitting in a static chair. When you allow the body to move, your mind becomes less restless and allows you to concentrate.”  

A chair’s style is just as important as comfort, especially if your  work or hobby space is multifunctional or in another room in the house. Thankfully, you’ll see there are plenty of materials and colours to choose from that will suit your interiors. Just because a seat is designed to improve your posture, that doesn’t mean it has to look like it belongs in a physio’s treatment room. 

Here are four types of seats that have been designed as alternatives to conventional desk chairs; which one might work best for you? 


1. Kneeling chair 

Despite its name, a kneeling chair encourages your weight to be distributed between your shins as well as buttocks (depending on how you place your legs – there’s usually wiggle room), so it merely gives the appearance of kneeling.

Kneeling chairs are popular alternative office chairs because they promote spine alignment, which is useful for people with lower back discomfort.  

Orthopedic ergonomic kneeling chair in a home officeCredit: Shutterstock / VH-studio
Some kneeling chairs include back support, and others rock, rather than have casters

“Those with bad seating habits (such as slouching or sitting cross-legged) should opt for a rocking kneeling chair, as they give the least opportunity for bad habits to continue,” suggests Newbound.  

They help to relieve tension in the body, with the thighs angled much lower towards the floor than in a traditional desk chair, although some models can be a little tricky to get in and out of. People with any knee issues or restricted mobility might find another seat on this list more useful.  

Kneeling chair frames can be made using metal or wood, with the cushioned pads covered in leather or another material, meaning they’re an excellent option if you’re keen to match the materials found on existing seating in your home. 

2. Medicine ball  

Some call it a gym ball, others an exercise, yoga or stability ball. We’ve settled for medicine ball.

Using workout equipment as furniture may raise a few eyebrows, but these balls have become an alternative to desk chairs as they help to encourage motion, practice balance and can improve stability by engaging core muscles. 

Two VLUV Seating Balls in a home setting in front of a desk and shelves with booksCredit: Back in Action / VLUV
VLUV Veel Seating Balls are available in different sizes

There’s always the danger of a ball encouraging a little too much movement, and a risk of sliding right off some of the ‘bouncier’ models. But some are specifically designed as an entry level option to promote active sitting, and have been upholstered to resemble furniture more closely, according to Newbound: 

“Unlike a normal gym ball, which loses height and gains width when sat on, the VLUV [an upholstered ball] maintains its shape whilst in use,” he explains. “Not only is this chair lovely to look at, but it’s hugely practical.” 

The balls are available in three sizes, seven colours and can be upholstered in four different types of material. From synthetic leather to polyester options with a woolly or canvas-like feel, these balls won’t look out of place next to existing sofas or armchairs – and are a far cry from bright, shiny gym equipment.  


3. Stool

Stools are nothing new, but innovations have seen the traditional stool take on new forms as alternative office chairs.

A balance ball stool, for example, incorporates the top third of a medicine ball so that core muscle groups stay engaged, while a wobble stool encourages a full range of motion by allowing you to turn a full 360° – reducing the need to twist necks and backs. 

Wooden easel with empty canvas and stool in home art studioCredit: Shutterstock / New Africa
Some hobbies suit stool seating more than others

Stools are ideal to perch on, especially if you have a sit-stand desk, or need to lean forward to draw. They encourage healthy forward rotation of the pelvis by ensuring your knees are always angled below it.

Depending on the task at hand, you may want to choose a model with added cushioning if you’re likely to be sat for longer periods. 

4. Saddle seat

When a saddle seat has a backrest, it resembles a traditional office chair more so than other alternative chairs on this list. For the uninitiated, the clue’s in the name.

Man sitting on a saddle chairCredit: Shutterstock / bxTT
Saddle seats allow your weight to be evenly distributed

A saddle seat – which can also come in the form of an ergonomic ‘pad’ that fits most existing chairs you may already have at home – motivates you to “intuitively sit in an upright position,” according to Newbound.  

As you would a horse or bike, saddling the sides of this seat distributes your weight, alleviating pressure and tension in your back as it aligns into a better posture.

HAG Capisco ergonomic office chair in home office from Back in ActionCredit: Back in Action / HAG
The HAG Capisco chair allows a wide range of movement

There are more conventional ergonomic chairs designed to make sitting for longer periods of time more comfortable. 

If you’re looking for greater back support, Newbound recommends the Hag Capisco as a ‘perfect all-around chair’, which “allows a wide range of motion for arms and legs, so you can actively engage in your craft – be it sewing, writing or photography, for example.” 

No matter what style of seat you choose, there are plenty of options on the market that will blend with existing décor and colour schemes. They’ve been created using fabric and finishes that you’d expect to see on sofas and armchairs, so they more closely resemble furniture than gym equipment despite being designed to make you move.  

Ideally, having one of these alternative office chairs in your furniture reserves means that you avoid forming bad sitting habits by oscillating between something that promotes movement while focusing, and another choice you can sink into when you need more traditional support.  

Rosanna Spence

Written by Rosanna Spence she/her


Rosanna Spence has been a journalist for nearly 10 years, reporting on a huge array of topics – from microwaves to cocktails, sustainable buildings, the Caribbean islands and beyond. She’s interviewed chefs at the helm of Michelin-starred restaurants and chatted to countless CEOs about their businesses, as well as created travel guides for experienced travellers seeking life-changing adventures. Throughout her career, she has created content for Business Traveller,, Pub & Bar, BRITA, Dine Out and many more leading titles and brands.

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