Office chairs come in a bunch of different shapes and forms, and usually you can make the chairs higher. This is a blessing if you need a little bit of leg space or if you are too short to achieve the correct ergonomic position in front of your computer.
With that being said, you may not be able to get exactly the level you need with your office chair, but you can raise it a little just by following a few easy steps.
Why Do You Need to Adjust the Office Chair’s Height Anyway?
When you are using an office chair, it is very important that you keep it at the right height. If you keep your chair at the wrong height for extended periods of time, you'll develop poor posture habits and possibly cause chronic injury.
For example, if you are a taller person and your office seat is too low, your posture will sag forward, putting undue stress on your spine, lumbar region and neck. It can also cause tightness in the hips.
If you are on the shorter side and your seat is too high, your feet might not lie flat on the floor while sitting. In some cases, your legs might even dangle off the edge of the seat. In either case, there will be added pressure beneath your thighs that could, over time, cause problems with circulation.
Before we get into how to make your chair higher with basic adjustments and some additional tips and tricks, you need to have the correct size chair.
For taller and heavier people, the range of adjustability and chair specifications should suit your body size, so we would recommend starting out with a good big and tall office chair before tweaking to the correct height.
The same goes for shorter people. There are plenty of solid task chairs with dimensions and adjustability ranges that are better suited for people of smaller stature.
Once you have the right chair, or if you like your chair and just want to customize it at the correct height, follow these next steps.
Making the Adjustments
Here is how you can make sure that your chair is at the right height.
Most ergonomic office chairs these days have a pneumatic gas cylinder that allows you to easily adjust the height of the chair. To do this, you simply sit in the chair and engage the height adjustment paddle or lever, usually located directly below the seat on the right side (in the middle).
To lower the chair, you just sit down and engage the lever. To raise the seat, just release your weight from the chair and engage the lever until you find the right height,
You should be able to place your feet flat on the floor or, if applicable, the footrest. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle. At this height, your elbows should also be comfortably resting on the armrests (or desk surface) at a 90-degree angle. With your forearms parallel to the floor, your wrists will rest naturally while typing without added strain or bending.
Adding Height to a Chair
What if you have an older chair without a height adjustment cylinder or levers that make this process so easy? Perhaps this feature no longer works, or you just have a basic chair without all the ergonomic bells and whistles?
In that case, we're going to take you through a couple DIY height adjustment options. The first of which involves some chair assembly.
Remove the Seat from the Bottom of the Chair
Before you get to work on the chair, you should first take it to a location where you will be able to work on it. Then, put the chair upside down. You should put a cloth or a towel on the chair in order to protect the cushioning. Then you should take a screwdriver to open up the mounting screws that can hold the seat to the bottom of the chair.
The kinds of screws used will depend on the brand and model of the chair, but most office chairs will come with universal kinds of mounting screws. If you have little nuts securing the seat with the lower part, you can open them using an Allen wrench.
When you have separated the seat from the bottom you should then put it in a safe place away from where you are.
Using Wood Pieces, Raise the Height
If you do find that you need to raise the chair up by a few inches, then you can do it by putting a wooden piece in between the seat and the lower level of the chair.
In order to do this though, it is important that you use long screws or nuts. You should then use a drill to create a hole in the center of a 2x2 inch wooden piece. This is going to help to pass the screws through.
Of course, you are going to need to prepare the wooded pieces alongside the number of screws that you have. If you have five screws for example then you should make four of them.
Then you can attach the seat with the bottom part of the chair, but put the wooden pieces in between the seat and the lower part. When you sit on it, you should be able to feel that the chair is raised to the height that you need.
Using Threaded Posts
If your office chair comes with a threaded post to make some height adjustments, the process is somewhat different than if you followed the previous point. To start with, you will need to place the chair upside down and then lubricate the threaded post.
Then, take a rag or a piece of cloth that you no longer need to use and then clean up the extra oil to make sure that the chair doesn’t slip while you are trying to work on it. This is also going to be helpful in allowing you to remove any debris and first that may have built up on the chair after years of continuous use. One thing that can actually influence how easy it is to move the chair is dirt.
Once you have done this, put one of your feet onto the base. This is going to be crucial in making sure that the chair doesn’t move right or left. Then, turn the chair either anti-clockwise or clockwise in order to make the height adjustments that you require. If you need to make the seat higher, then turn it in an anti-clockwise position.
You can then keep on raising the height to your requirements by spinning it. When you start to see a big difference in the height of the chair, you will need to measure the height.
If you have managed to get the chair to a height that you are happy with, you can stop spinning the chair. Then sit on the chair and assess the height difference.
If you feel that more height is required, you should try and give it a few more spins. Every spin will raise the chair by roughly 1/4th of an inch, so you will need to spin it anti-clockwise eight times in total to raise the chair 2 inches.
Other Ways to Increase the Height of Your Office Chair
If you aren’t particularly handy with DIY, there are a few extra ways to raise you up in your chair!
One way to raise the height of the chair is to add or replace the seat cushion. This may not always be a good option with an office chair depending on the design, but it’s still an option you can consider. If your chair has a removable cushion you can simply replace it, or you could opt to buy a cushion that goes on top of the chair to give you a little more height.
Adding some casters to the chair, or replacing the ones already in the chair with bigger casters, can help to increase the height of some office chairs.
You should try to opt for heavy-duty casters like the ball type, and if the casters have brakes this will help to increase the stability of the chair.
Positioning Your Chair in Accordance to Other Office Equipment
So now that you’ve learned how to change the height of your chair, here’s how you should be sitting for the best ergonomic position when you are in your office chair.
Firstly, your monitor should be one arm’s length away and should be below the horizontal access. You will need to ensure that the mouse and the keyboard are both placed in line with your elbows.
Essentially, your upper body should not be constantly stressed on the one side, which can stop any cramps and issues in the back, shoulder and the neck muscles. It’s also handy to use hand supports too.
Of course, the basin should be a little bit tilted, and having cushions and ergonomic chairs can help with this. This will allow your back to remain in a natural hollow cross position which relieves the muscles.
In addition to this, you should also have your shoes firmly placed on the ground and in a parallel position to each other. This will keep your body in a healthy posture so that the load of your weight is evenly distributed on both halves of the body.
When sitting, you should also try to avoid certain positions. Make sure that you don’t lounge into the corner of the chair and turn the upper body, because this can tighten the neck and back. This can be pretty problematic because the chances are that most of your body weight will be resting on just one small point of the elbow, which isn’t particularly comfortable.
Also, don’t cross your legs, as this is an unnatural position for the body and sitting like this puts extra stress on the lumbar area and the neck.
As you can see, having the correct sitting posture is vital for your comfort and health. The height of the chair can largely influence your posture so it’s a good idea to know how to make an office chair higher if you need to.
Hopefully now this article has helped you to understand how to make an office chair higher for optimal comfort in the working environment.