Modern Office Furniture

Vintage Style Office Chair – Who is it For?

Autonomous Autonomous | Dec 19, 2018

Spread the word

Finding a vintage style office chair might not be too complicated. Of course, there is an increasing second-hand marker where these chairs can be reupholstered and made intro true pieces of arts, which can also be used at the office today. However, these projects might be complex and they might require some additional help from a professional. An alternative would include simply choosing a chair as brand new, but which is vintage inspired or which has at least a few elements of vintage inspiration.

Vintage Style Office Chair – Who is it For?

Restoring your own vintage style office chair

Restoring a vintage style office chair, if successful, can be one of the best ways to ensure a unique piece of style in the office. Many of the designs which are for sale or which are simply given away for free can be restored to their former glory. If you have such a chair at home or if you can get one at a local flea market, it might be a great restoration project. But how would this process even go?

A minimal plan needs to be followed to restore an old chair. First of all, depending if it is made from wood or metal, the frame needs to be prepared for a new layer of paint or lacquer. Before this stage, the upholstery needs to be removed and replaced. When the new upholstery is ready, it can be installed only when the paint has fully dried. If the chair comes with a gas lift mechanism, this needs to be checked as well. In the worst case scenario, it needs to be replaced as well.

But no job can be completed without actually replacing the casters. For this purpose, a few purchases might be required. At the same time, it is also important to find the right balance in terms of colors and materials. Many vintage style office chairs come with leather, which can be expensive to replace. Other chairs come with textile materials, which can also be completely replaced for a fresh new look. Old office chairs come with a certain mid-century appeal. A few designs are available to purchase. Retro office furniture can even be purchased online. But antique desk chairs might not be in the best shape and they might need some time and effort to restore to their former glory days.

Purchasing a new vintage office chair

A vintage industrial office chair might be a good investment. But it doesn’t need to be an old chair as there are a few alternatives which can recommend new products, but which come with a vintage style office chair approach. Of course, using an original English Chesterfield is not practical today, however, the chairs can be purchased from a select number of manufacturers.

What makes a great vintage style office chair?

What makes a great vintage style office chair?

A new chair can be an exciting time for most office workers. Tired due to the daily tasks and projects, office workers can have a new start by replacing their office chair. When choosing a vintage style office chair, it is still important to consider a few key areas, especially if the chair is seen as an investment and a durable piece of furniture in the office.


It goes without saying that the design is what makes an office chair vintage. Inspired by the previous century, these chairs can come and go according to style. Some of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s designs are now coming back, even with large-scale manufacturers. The 70s also marked the production of various chairs which are considered vintage today. From a design perspective, they might not be considered the most efficient chairs for modern chairs. However, they can certainly be adapted to modern requirements.

A vintage office chair doesn’t need to be cushioned all around. It doesn’t even need to come with colors which have been long forgotten. Many design rules are made to be broken and this is certainly the case with office chairs. For example, a classic swivel design or even a true vintage industrial office chair adjustable office chair can be seen in many modern designs. However, an area which has certainly changed in the last few decades is the height of the backrest. If its design was quite low in the past, such chairs are now made with a high backrest. Of course, this is mainly due to ergonomics. There are a few good chairs which are still made with a low backrest, but this has now been improved with better support for the lumbar area and better support for the upper back.

The design of the armrests has also changed in modern vintage style office chairs. A particularity of these chairs used to come with the fixed armrests. But by today’s standards, these armrests are either too high or too low. This is now changed in the favor of the office worker. The adjustability of the armrests ensures that the proper position is maintained at the desk. At the same time, the armrests are now made exclusively to be parallel to the ground. This was not the case a few decades ago when armrest could have been even pointing towards the ground. At the moment, this is not efficient as many office workers want their forearms to be ready for typing at a keyboard. Short vintage style armrests have also been replaced with longer designs or designs which have been moved towards the front of the seat pan and not towards the backrest. This adaptation has also been made for practical support reasons.



But maybe one of the most significant changes comes with the materials of the vintage style office chairs. It is simply very rare to find a leather executive chair in today’s offices. This is influenced by the higher price of leather, by the breathability of the materials and even by sustainability, which is an increasing discussion around all types of office furniture pieces.

Old office chairs with these materials have been replaced with textile and mesh alternatives. They are certainly more affordable to manufacture which ensures the chairs can be used by more workers. At the same time, the function of the materials is different. In modern office spaces, the breathability of the materials is a must at the moment. Furthermore, having materials which are easy to clean and inexpensive to replace is another clear direction for the industry at the moment.

Fit with the office

Of course, each vintage chair can trigger feelings of nostalgia. Workers can remember the era when work was totally different. The inspiration can even be drawn from a pre-computer era when office work was considerably different

However, it is clear that not all of these vintage-inspired solutions work in the modern environment. Minimalistic furniture might not go well with these old chairs even if just old by design and not by the time of manufacturing. Furthermore, with better design integration, vintage style office chairs are mainly used across entire buildings and business departments if they are chosen by the designer, as part of a certain visual identity.


Vintage office chairs are usually durable. They are made from strong materials such as steel. Their upholstery might need changing, however. But vintage style office chairs which are made today are at least as durable.

Manufacturers know that durability is, in essence, tied to financial investments. It is why so many companies prefer to save on the long term by investing in better office chairs now, instead of updating them every few years.

At the same time, modern chairs don’t need to be replaced entirely if something goes wrong. Many of their pieces can be replaced in minutes, practically improving savings for each company.

Back support and adjustability

If a true vintage office chairs are not the best for adjustability, things are very different today. One of the areas which have seen the most development for modern chairs comes with their adjustability. Fixed backrests without and ergonomic design have been upgraded to adjustable lumbar support and various tilt angles. This is on top of the usual height adjustability of an office chair. At the same time, the adjustable arms and the added adjustable headrest in a few designs represent key areas in how an office chair is used and in how it performs for a worker who is sitting for the entire duration of a day.

Who is the chair for?

Who is the chair for?

So who is the perfect use of a vintage style office chair? Antique desk chairs may inspire those in the corporate world where there is plenty of freedom for creativity. Not all companies allow this freedom, but the workers who can choose their own chair and who look for vintage inspiration are usually those for whom design matters. If design matters, it is highly likely that the chair is not the only office piece to be chosen according to certain standards.

It can be said that the ideal user of a vintage style office chair is a person who appreciates all the modern features of an office chair as noted above, but a worker who also wants a certain charm around office style.

Creative industries such as digital media, photography, UX design, and other IT departments can really integrate these types of chairs in their working environment. Freelancers who have total freedom to create their own working space can also choose a vintage-inspired solution. Vintage style office chairs can also work in a number of institutions or public offices. While there is clear indication that office environments are changing, there still are plenty of instances where the chairs, desks or other accessories need to follow a certain standard, which might not be congruent with vintage inspiration.

Retro office furniture can also be a tool to inspire workers. Designers know this the best. It is why they even combine certain accessories such as vintage inspired paintings, frames, door handles, windows etc. to create a space which combines multiple design styles.

Autonomous makes modern chairs. But they have certain elements of vintage inspiration. For example, the Evergreen color which is available with the ErgoChair 2 can be inspired by the 70s. It can be seen as a combination of the Resene Verdum Green and the Resene Hacienda. A modern twist is applied to these colors and few people know how popular these colors were a few decades ago.

Final considerations

It is hard to find modern interpretations of vintage designs in a world where everything is driven by finances. It seems that efficiency has won the office space over. The most which can be taken out of a minimum investment is often the plan chosen by businesses. This is in stark contrast to what was done a few decades ago, where the style was of the essence.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that all office chairs are bad. Their evolution is mainly beneficial for the posture and the health of the workers, which is more important than style. Many modern designs are now truly able to offer ergonomic design at an affordable rate, which was not exactly the case a few years ago. But a vintage style office chair is no different. It is subtle, which means many people can even go without noticing these vintage elements. This is mainly due to the minimalism which has taken over most modern furniture, even the one outside the office.

If you want to choose your own special design, Autonomous has a few great office chairs to consider. They offer various vintage inspired elements, such as the feet up the design of the OsmoChair, which was only available in luxury chairs a few decades ago. It is the best time to choose your own office chair upgrade from the Autonomous line. If you want to stay up to date with the latest discounts and offers on an office chair and other office supplies, you can simply subscribe to the newsletter below. This will ensure all the latest information will go directly from the manufacturer to your own e-mail inbox.

    • No Comment.

    You May Also Like