Designing chairs and seating

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Forum topic by Moosesman posted 02-19-2012 07:41 PM 1220 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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162 posts in 2626 days

02-19-2012 07:41 PM

Topic tags/keywords: designing and building chairs and seating

When designing chairs and benches unless it is built for a specific individual which I am sure is rare for benches and such what is a good average for seat and arm height. I am 6 foot 2 and I figured from the bottom of my foot to the bottom of the bend at my knee is 18 ” for a seat height. I measured from my seat to my elbow rested at my side is around 9 and a half inches. I would think this would be a good calculation for my size but am curious what chair designers use as an average. I would think when building rockers it would vary also I would think maybe the seat measurements may increase a little. If anyone has some thoughts on this I would love to hear them.

-- The reward of art is not fame or success but intoxication: that is why so many bad artists are unable to give it up. Jean Cocteau

2 replies so far

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2602 posts in 3119 days

#1 posted 02-28-2012 05:06 AM

Seat are typically 16” from floor. Arm rests average 24” from floor.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

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980 posts in 3173 days

#2 posted 02-28-2012 08:26 AM


Interesting question. Typical modern couches and chairs (Chinese Furniture World crap) are typically 14” to 16” from the floor. Kids can sit on the floor, but old farts like me need a higher seat; not just for comfort, but ingress and eqress. Forget looking dignified, I just want to make it in and out without the help of a sky crain. Embarrassing to need a wrecker to haul one’s keester from an Adirondak chair that I knew was too low.

What’s forgotten here is the fact that lots of seats are upholstered; some more plushly than others. In a wooden seat with arm, I am most comfortable, and able to exit more or less gracefully, if the seat height is 18” to 19” or a little more. Un-upholstered. Put in a seat cushion as in normal stuff, with normal seat height of 14” to 16” with a 6” thick cushion, the compressed height (about 1/2 or lower of the cushion thickness) puts the actual seat height (what your keester has to escape) is 11” or 12”. NOt a chance.

I am designing a series for our living room involving stickly influenced couches and an Eastwood chair and a Morris chair. I’m trying to get the seat height to about 19” which with a 3” compression would net a escape height of about 16”. 2” higher would bestter. In mock-ups, my friends and I have been more comfortable, but it is hard to change the dimensions of iconic designs without serious damage to the “Look” or spirit of the piece. I have to come up with a way to make it look as good as it sits, or it’s just firewood. Any ideas gratefully accepted and appreciated.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

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