If you're in a situation in which you're frequently having visitors in your office, you'll probably want to have one or more office guest chairs on hand in order to accommodate your visitors more easily, avoid having time wasted on moving chairs back and forth around the office, and generally create a good impression. Choosing the right office chairs is more than just a matter of picking the first or cheapest thing you come across, though. Here are some of the things you might want to think about before starting your search for the right office chairs.
Office guest chairs: What are they?
In a sense you could say that any old chair you put in your office with the intention of having it used by guests is an office chair, but those that are actually marketed as such tend to conform to certain basic guidelines. For one thing, office chairs are rarely as elaborate or expensive as even relatively basic office chairs. They certainly aren't comparable to ergonomic office chairs or other specialized chairs.
Most chairs have a basic, simple design, with thin legs and arms so as to minimize the mass of the chair and make for easy lifting and moving; they almost never have a central base or caster-based design. Exact materials can vary; although in more affordable office guest chairs metal or plastic joints are the norm, high-end guest chairs can feature luxury wood frames.
What to look for
Lightweight materials are an excellent feature to have in chairs. This is because, in all likelihood, you will need to move your guest chairs around at least occasionally, and lightweight materials make this easier. They're especially important if you know you'll be moving the chairs frequently, as lifting and moving chairs repeatedly can create additional strain and fatigue, which you probably have enough of in the average workday.
For the seat and back of an office chair, durable, stain-proof materials are a good choice. Guest chairs don't need to have the enhanced comfort features of ergonomic chairs, but they should at least be built to last, and the fabric or material you choose makes a difference in this respect. Leather may be very comfortable and luxurious, but it's probably not the best choice for guest chairs because of how easy it can be to damage. For similar reasons, aluminum or steel frames may be better than wood from a value standpoint because they don't accumulate visible wear and tear as easily.
What to avoid
The main thing to avoid when choosing office guest chairs is any feature that unnecessarily impedes the movability of the chair. For example, some office chairs have a frame design in which the front and back legs are connected by a bar that runs along the floor. This can give the chair greater stability, but it can also make the chair more difficult to move, so in situations where you may be required to move the chair from time to time (for example, to make room for additional guests), this can be an inconvenient hindrance.
Stackable guest chairs can also be a great option if you frequently have multiple guests. The best stackable chairs are compact in stacked form and can be quickly stacked and unstacked.