Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
Choosing a desk chair mat for either home or office can make desk-sitting more comfortable and more efficient, and can offer a new aesthetic element to your workspace. There are many different kinds of chair mats available, however, and choosing the one that is right for you requires a little bit of planning. The most important thing to keep in mind is your space: the dimensions of the room and desk, and the surface of the floor. You will also need to to identify your vision, and determine whether you want your mat to be indiscreet and purely functional, or the center of the room. Before shopping it is also important to have a budget in mind, and to know how much you are willing to spend.
Many different types of desk chair mats are available, and before heading out to survey the options, it is a good idea to identify precisely what it is you are looking for in a chair mat. Mats that produce more glide can help with ergonomics, and can make the workspace more efficient. Depending on the material, a desk chair mat can also be designed to make a statement. Chair mats made of wood or glass are often as appealing to look at as they are to use.
The next major selection criteria for a desk chair mat is the kind of surface you are working with. A carpeted office will require a different kind of mat than a tile or cement surface. Most mats designed for carpet come with small protrusions, or “teeth,” on one side in order to grip the carpet. Different carpet heights and thicknesses demand different arrangements of teeth. Mats designed for smooth surfaces are often made with no-slip grips or sticky strips on one side to keep the mats from moving around.
Plastic is by far the most popular material for a desk chair mat. Most plastic mats are clear, and are usually designed to cover the space immediately in front of and under the desk. They usually come in standard sizes that will fit most offices, and are not typically very expensive.
The more creative you want to get with the size or material, the more you need to be willing to pay. Custom designers can create a plastic chair mat that will fit your workstation perfectly, from carpet height to desk dimension. More exotic materials can also be used to create an image, as well as to provide functionality.
A wooden chair mat can add a sense of luxury to a workspace, particularly if the wood accents other wood used elsewhere in the office, such as in furniture. Similarly, a desk chair mat made of glass can impart a certain element of sophistication. Most of the time, mats made of materials other than plastic must be custom-made, which comes at an additional cost. If you often entertain clients or important business contacts in your office, however, the cost may be worth it for the impression. The quality added to your daily work day might also justify the cost.
If you are considering a desk chair mat made of special materials other than plastic, you should make sure that your desk chair will move smoothly over top of it.
Some types of chairs and their wheels will not work with certain types of chair mat materials. For example, desk wheels often do not move smoothly over certain types of mats made of wood. Do your homework before you purchase a desk chair mat so you don't end up with one that will not work for your situation.
If you are planning to purchase a large desk chair mat and put in in place yourself, it is important to know that sometimes these mats can be heavy and awkward to move. I bought one last year and was surprised by its weight. It took the help of a co-worker to get it in place under my desk chair. I recommend either purchasing a smaller mat, or having a larger desk chair mat delivered and put in place rather than struggling with you by yourself.
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!