Essential measurements for a new chair

These measurement guidelines are mainly for people wanting to purchase a high back chair.

We recommend that measurement for more specialized seating or seating requiring a higher weight capacity be carried out by an Occupational therapist or Physiotherapist or experienced supplier.

Important dimensions

The internal dimensions of the high seat chair are seat height, width and depth, and backrest height they need to suit the size of the user to ensure adequate support. It is also worth bearing in mind the overall dimensions of the chair if space is limited.

Seat height 

The height of the seat can determine how easy it is to get in and out of the chair.

A high seat will make it easier to stand up and sit down, particularly if you find it difficult to push up from the armrests or if you have any pain or weakness in your legs.

If the seat is too high, your feet will not touch the floor and it may feel uncomfortable under your thighs. A seat that is too low will be more difficult to get out of and will direct pressure towards the pelvis rather than distributing it evenly along the thighs.

As a general guide, the seat height can be calculated by measuring the distance from the floor to the crease at the back of the knees. When seated, the hips and knees should be at right angles whilst your feet are flat on the floor

Seat width. 

The seat on a high back chair should be wide enough to allow you to sit comfortably, but narrow enough to enable you to make use of the armrests. Ideally, it should be the width of your hips plus a couple of inches on either side. has a range of chairs with a seat height between 43 – 53 cm (17 – 21 in). For a person with a shorter leg length, this could be too high but it would depend on how easy it is to compress the cushion. We will make other heights to order. If you need a very high seat to make standing easier but need support for the feet when seated, try using a footstool but make sure you can push it out of the way easily before standing up. However, you still need to ensure that your feet can touch the ground so you can independently get out of the chair.

Seat depth (front of the seat to backrest) 

The seat needs to be deep enough to support the full length of the thighs. If the seat is too deep, you will have to lean back to provide support for the shoulders. This may cause you to slump in the chair and the cushion may rub behind your knees.

A deep seat may also cause your bottom to slide forwards in the chair. If it is too shallow, your thighs will not be supported properly and after a while, you may be uncomfortable. To calculate the correct depth, measure the distance from the back of the bottom, along the thighs to approximately 3 cm (1.5 in) behind the back of the knees.

When seated you should be able to place two fingers together between the edge of the seat and the back of the knee. A greater depth should be allowed if you require additional back supports or cushions.

The back height for a chair is also important particularly if head support is required. The chair needs to be in proportion to a person’s trunk height so that if a chair is providing head support it conforms to a person’s dimensions.

The armrest height. 

For comfort, the armrest should allow you to rest your arms without raising or dropping your shoulders and should support the full length of the forearm.

One other thing to consider if you are needing a post-op chair is when you actually need the high seat chair, Homecarechairs will get a chair out quite quickly when required but it’s nice to have a little time.

Quite often, according to our customers, nobody says anything about needing a chair until it’s quite late. We always have something ready for an emergency if you need it now but it’s much better to plan ahead


2 thoughts on “Picking the correct high seat chair

  1. Lawrence Silverman says:

    I note that the depth of the seats of your chairs is near or above 80cm. I took the measurement of the underside of my thigh as advised by you and it is under 45cm. I also measured the depth of the seats of 2 easy chairs I already own. One is 48cm deep and the other 58 cm. As I find both too deep for comfort, your chairs would be certain to be even more uncomfortable. Do you make any high-back, high-seat chairs with a seat depth that is of what is surely a more normal depth than 80cm. If not, can you advise who does?

    • mark whelan says:

      Hi the depth that you have quoted for our chairs is the overall depth ie footprint of the chair and not the seat depth. Most of our chairs are in the 45 to 52 cm area. If you go onto Adeline chair and look at the section under the wood colours you will see seat depth options. I hope this helps if not give us a call and we will help 01254 383181

Leave a Reply