What is a Drafting Chair?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A drafting chair is a chair or tool designed specifically for use with a drafting table. A very basic one has an adjustable height, allowing the designer to find a height which is comfortable for him or her to work from. More complex versions offer adjustable backs and arms for comfort, along with supportive foot bars. Since many designers spend long hours at the drafting table, using a comfortable and supportive chair is very important.

Drafting tables are high than conventional tables, and thus require a different type of chair.
Drafting tables are high than conventional tables, and thus require a different type of chair.

Since a drafting table is usually higher than a conventional table, it requires a higher chair for comfortable seating. Some designers also like to lean over their work, requiring a chair seat which will allow them to perch over the drafting table. A drafting table is also adjustable in height and slant, making an adjustable drafting chair a necessity.

A drafting chair may help treat issues caused by poor posture.
A drafting chair may help treat issues caused by poor posture.

The most stripped down design of a drafting chair is actually a drafting stool. A drafting stool is designed with an adjustable height, and often includes a foot bar for resting the feet, so that the legs do not dangle while the designer works. Both hard and soft seated drafting stools are found for sale by several supply companies. For long term work, however, a drafting stool is not terribly comfortable, since it does not support the back or arms.

A drafting chair, on the other hand, has a properly supportive backpiece, and often includes armrests as well. In most cases, the chair is padded for comfort. The seat and backpiece should ideally be adjustable, as well as the height, ensuring that the designer fits comfortably into the chair, and that the back is supported. If armrests are included, these are adjustable for comfort as well. A foot bar or low stool is included to support the legs.

When used correctly, a drafting chair can make working much more comfortable for a designer. It also can prevent stress injuries and other issues caused by poor posture and low quality office equipment. A designer should always try out a drafting chair before purchasing it, to ensure that it will suit the user's needs. If multiple designers are using the same drafting table, they may want to seek out a chair together, to make sure that everyone is happy with the chair. In this case, a chair with memory settings is an excellent idea, allowing each designer to customize the feel of the chair individually.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


Oh no. This comes about six months too late for me. I was looking for something adjustable to use as a piano stool without buying a Drafting stool (pricey) or a bench. I had seen a few of these online, but the ones I did see were out of my price range. The ones available from Overstock have a nicer look than the one I ended up buying though and it's roughly the same price. Mine leans a little on the office furniture end of things. Oh well.


@gravois - I know just what you mean about the pains of working long hours in the office. I also spent a long tie in a bad office chair and it left me worse for the wear.

Eventually I got in the habit of doing a little stretching routine every two hours. It only took about five minutes but it worked the upper and lower body and helped limber my body up after being hunched in a chair for so long. I was still a little sore but it wasn't nearly as bad.


Has anyone purchased a drafting office chair before? I have a few questions and I am hoping that someone has some experience in this area.

First, what is considered the best drafting chair? I am talking about comfort, utility and quality. Second, how much does one of these cost?

My son recently graduated from college with a degree in architecture and I know that he does a lot of drafting at his apartment. I would like to buy him a nice chair as a graduation gift but I don't want to break the bank if I don't have to.


Anyone that is going to be putting in long hours at a drafting table owes it to themselves to get a proper drafting chair. The strain of sitting at those desks can take a serious toll on your back and your arms and wrists.

I spent year sitting on a cheap stool pulled up to a drafting table and I would go home with aches every night. Finally my company decided to update their furnishings an bought everyone a proper chair. I feel like I get twice as much done now.

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