What is an Executive Chair?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Executive chairs are durable and attractive office chairs designed for use by managers and executives. The chairs normally feature a higher back and additional padding in comparison to the simpler and more practical chairs utilized by other employees. Executive office chairs are available in mass-produced designs, but may also be custom designed.

Woman doing a handstand with a computer
Woman doing a handstand with a computer

The typical executive chair is designed for comfort as well as style. The seat usually includes thick padding that provides cushioning and support that make it possible to sit at a desk for long periods of time without tiring the lower area of the spine. Different brands of these types of chairs offer seat padding that range from very soft to relatively firm. This makes it possible to choose a chair that provides the level of support needed, even if the user has a pre-existing back problem.

Additional padding is also included on the back of the chair. In design, the back may be tufted or solid, depending on the personal preferences of the owner. The frame of the back is usually configured to promote proper posture, which also helps to relieve stress on the spine.

The arms on an executive chair may be padded or be designed with exposed wood that is stained and sealed to match the upholstery for the back and seat. Padding on the arms provides support for the elbows and lower arms while resting, without making it necessary to reposition the back or the seat. This means that even when the executive is taking a moment to pull away from the desk, it is still possible to maintain good posture and minimize stress on the lower back.

There are several popular options for the upholstery on an executive chair. Leather is a time-honored option that has remained a favorite today. Less expensive designs often are manufactured with high-grade vinyl or imitation leather. Durable fiber upholstery, such as polypropylene or a similar olefin blend, is also a popular option.

In order to be an efficient piece of office furniture, most models of the executive chair are designed to allow easy movement. A swivel device makes it possible to rotate the body of the chair a full 360 degrees if necessary. Casters on the legs of the chair make it possible to roll to and from the desk to a credenza, file cabinet, or other area of the office space.

Along with mass-produced models, it is also possible to purchase an executive chair that is custom designed. Several manufacturers offer customers the option of choosing a specific blend of materials and styling. There are also companies that offer chairs with unique designs that make use of ergonomics to offer the maximum benefit in terms of relieving pressure on the body.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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I bought my husband a leather executive chair for his home office. It was a Christmas gift but there was no easy was to wrap it so I just put a little red bow on top and wheeled it next to the tree.

It's funny, when my husband was working he almost never used his home office but now that he has retired he spends most of his day in there. I don't think he's really up to much but it keeps him busy and that is important. I figure if he is going to spend so much time in there he might as well have a nice chair.


There are executive chairs and then there are Executive chairs. Lots of office have nice chairs for the managers but the titans of industry have office chairs which would remind you of a kings throne. I have heard of some of them costing upwards of $10,000.

Seems like a waste of money to me but I guess when you are a big shot you have to act like one.

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