A chair and a desk... simple.

Good afternoon all. I was wondering if any of you could help me out with a little problem i am having.

I need a reasonably price desk and chair to sit with my laptop and write in. Can any of you recommend any chairs? The chairs seem to be the hardest part to find. Ideal I would like a Hermon Miller extravaganza but I only have a budget of about £70 for the chair. I have checked out ikea but tbh they do not seem to have any good comfy chairs for writing.

How do you guys work? What sort of desk and chair?

Sometimes I write at the dining table (ordinary wooden thing with ordinary wooden chairs), but not very often. Usually (in fact, nearly always) I curl up on the sofa with my laptop (on a tray) on my knee… my osteopath is very disapproving. In the study, where I never, ever write, we have a proper office chair which is OK but not very exciting; it’s just a bog-standard thing from Staples, bought at some sort of clearance price (about £35, I think), and would be fine if I ever worked in there. But I’d rather work on my knee, in just about any other room of the house. Sorry – I’m not much help, am I?

I find Ikea chairs usually very comfortably to sit in for hours.

However, last year I switched to a second-hand Stokke Varier, and I find it extremely pleasant (sorry, I could only find this shop featuring a picture):

I don’t know if they still make them. Ikea no longer does with their similar models of some years ago. If you will look for one, possibly find one with lumbar support.

Sedus makes very comfortable and very elegant chairs, with a price sensibly lower than Herman Miller’s.

I’m recently often writing while sitting on one of my living room’s Ceska cantilever chairs, that are indeed very elastic and pleasant to sit on (provided you have a good pillow:


The Stokke Varier, looks very interesting. But i think i would have to test it quite considerably before buying one. Also it doesnt seem very cheap at all :neutral_face:. And on a similar note the Sedus chairs look really good but again way out of my price range. I think I might have to lower my expectations.

Chair designers are asking so much, because they clearly know how much everybody care of their as*. Chairs must be the most expensive product around, not counting just truffles, caviar and fine jewelry.


Well I dont think the designers actually get paid that well. Its the manufacturers who reap the rewards. But then they do take the risk of manufacturing the chair in the first place. A lot of work goes into designing a chair and they do look fantastic when designed right. Barcelona chair etc. I just wish I had the budget to match my appreciation.

My desk came from a man in a barn who collected and sold second-hand furniture (including, he claimed, some of the pews from Diana’s funeral, though I wondered how authenticity could be assured…). I like it a lot; it’s big and solid and battered and has a return. For me, the most important attribute it has is area, but because it is insufficiently grand it has frequently been threatened with ejection from the household, which I have resisted… :unamused:

My chair is a more-or-less standard secretarial chair, from which I’ve removed the arms in order to get it closer to the desk so that I can type efficiently (the designers clearly didn’t consider this :confused: ). It’s adjustable in all the ways usually recommended.

It didn’t cost much at all (under £40), but did require careful choosing. Given the importance to writers of placing bum in chair, and being able to continue to do so without handicap or too much pain or strain for long periods of time, you could argue that a chair is a writer’s most important investment. You don’t want to get it wrong.


Edit: amogle, if you’re in the UK, have you looked in Staples? I’m sure you’ll find something in your price range. The key thing IME is to ensure that alongside all the usual adjustability you can vary the height of the lumbar support and if possible to some extent its back and forward movement.

My favourite desk chair is a yoga ball. Seriously. Paired with an ugly, heavy, but amazingly strong desk bought for $20 at a government surplus auction. (Got that thing ten years and five moves ago, and it looks exactly as it did when I got it. That is to say, ugly but not damaged.)

Your posture improves dramatically when you sit on a suitable size yoga ball for any length of time. If you slouch or sit crooked, you fall off. Until your balance improves, then you can sit cross-legged with only your hands on the keyboard for stability and then your feet fall asleep almost as fast as they used to.

And when it’s time to take a stretch break, if your desk has a cross bar at the back where you can hook your feet, just hook your feet under it and lean back to stretch out. Bonus points for reaching over your head and touching the floor. Without falling off the ball.

(And I am entirely serious. Including the stretch break tips.)

Am I surprised? Non! :frowning:

Le D

I had typed up an entire story about a pot and a kettle and the time the pot called the kettle black. But I realized it would probably not mean much to the intended recipient… But then when has vic=k ever been serious?

I like the ball idea. I may try it. I wonder is they make a ball that will fit though. Last one my wife bought suffered “sudden deflation syndrome” every time I even thought about using it.

Ah, mon directeur, I apologize for being serious in your presence. What was I thinking?!

Janra mon Chérie,
We will ignore the Kitchen Utensil Fetishist, and cut, how you say…a 'La Chasse.
I now see, fair janra, that my reproving remark, was premature, unjust and remiss. :blush: For in truth, this Balle de yoga would appear to possess potential :smiling_imp:
video.barnesandnoble.com/search/ … &MICTID=38

I shall indeed investigate further :wink:
Le D :smiling_imp:


What position is most comfortable for you for long periods of time? I’ve noticed on quite a few sites featuring writers’ offices/studios/rooms that they often have a recliner nearby (the rattier the better, apparently).

I can write for short periods at my desk (complete with Aeron chair) but for long writing sessions (the best kind, imo), I like to be in a comfy chair with my laptop on my lap (well, on a flat surface on my lap).

(Note that I write fiction as do most of the writers whose offices/etc. I mention above. Can’t speak to writing non-fiction in long form since I haven’t done that for eons.)

Edited to add: I have all sorts of ‘proper’ furniture these days, but if I was starting out again, I’d be happy with a couple of book shelves (tall!), a door over two file cabinets to serve as a desk, and a comfy chair. Personally, I also need a window, but not all writers do.

When I started writing seriously I bought myself an office chair for about £35 from a mail order company and pulled it up to my daughter’s outgrown homework table. Worked fine for several years.

A few years on, I was working longer hours and starting to get twinges in my back, so bought a Sedus (£500+). The homework table was joined by a couple of others, rejects from friends, to hold the printer and folders of research notes.

Nowadays I still use the Sedus (not a back-twinge since I bought it) at my large Ice desk from John Lewis. I also have the Varier you mentioned – so expensive for what it is that I’ve blanked out the price – and I sit at a narrow table by the window when I want to write in longhand or read background material.

Both chairs have what I (and my Alexander teacher) feel is most important if you’re spending much time at a computer or desk: they tilt backwards and forwards, and the Sedus spins round, as well. This shifting of position all the time, without thinking about it, stops all sorts of nasty things happening to my ageing body.

Oh, and I also keep a set of weights handy so that I can do five or ten minutes’ resistance exercises when I need a break, to keep my PT happy.

What I’m saying is that you should buy the best chair you can afford or, like me, put it on a credit card until the next royalty cheque comes in.

Happy writing!

More in the yoga ball class, I suppose, I’ve always just sat cross-legged on the floor with a small cushion for support. Granted, it does help being able to do so properly, though it took a good half-year or so to work up the necessary flexibility. My desk? A low coffee table. It cost me all of $20, used for the desk, and the cushion was $30 (it is micro-bead, so it doesn’t compact much over time).

I too have been looking at chairs. About to start a PhD and my hip is already killing me. I’m pretty sure it’s from all the sitting I do on the very poor quality chair I currently have. Amber, your solution is one I haven’t yet considered - seems very cost effective. Do you really sit as per the lady in the photo? Me, I’m happiest reading stretched out on my bed, but have yet to work out how to set the computer up in that position. Nor do I think my significant other would be all too pleased…

Hate the idea of shelling out lots of dosh on a new chair though. Hope the OP finds a good (and economical) solution to this.

Skally! hiya!

Siren…one of Scriveners many drunken and debauched crew members, actually describes this situation in one of her post. It goes, something like this(if memory serves). "Im lying on the settee, balancing my laptop on my belly, a glass of Chardonnay in one hand,and a spliff in the other. I type just using my pinkies. All the ash from the spliff gets washed of my keyboard, whenever I spill a drop of the plonk!! :laughing:"
There y go Skally old son!! Sorted!! Dont thank me, thank Siren :wink:

I guess I question the accuracy of this remark relative to the word many.

I believe the correct word would be predominantly.

For a moment, I thought you were about to leap to my defence, but no…

Surely even such dens of iniquity as the Scrivener forum have some sort of embargo on defamation of character! :wink: Chardonnay?!?!? Moi?!?!?