Can You Add Arms to an Office Chair?

If you’re using an office chair without arms, you can add them to it.

Having armrests on your chairs gives you extra comfort when you’re sitting.

They also help you have good posture and decrease the stress on your lower back. When you’re getting up from the chair, armrests give you something to push up from.

Can You Add Arms to an Office Chair?

Yes. Even if you bought a chair without arms, it’s possible to add them. You can buy armrests at office supply stores and install them yourself.

You’ll install most arms at the base of the chair. This keeps them attached to the chair while still letting you adjust the height.

If you buy arms to add to an office chair, you can choose those that suit your needs. You can find some that offer width and pivot adjustments as well.

Different Types of Arms for Your Office Chair

There are different types of arms you can choose to add to your office chair. All of them are easy to install but offer different benefits regarding your comfort.

T-arms have sturdy support attached to the bottom of the chair while the top of the T holds your arm. You can adjust the height of this armrest.

Loop arms look like a circle. They attach to the base of the chair like the T-arms, but have more support. You can still use the armrest when you recline in your office chair.

Fixed armrests usually come on executive-style chairs. The armrests connect to both the back and the bottom of the chair, so they’re not adjustable. They’re large and can support you well.

Any type of armrest comes padded or plain. You might want to choose one with padding for extra comfort on your forearms and elbows. Keep in mind the padding might rip with use.

Things To Keep in Mind When Buying an Armrest

You spend a lot of time in your office chair, so you should feel supported while you’re working. Sitting in a chair without armrests puts a lot of stress on your spine and muscles.

If you’re adding arms to an office chair, there are a few things you want to keep in mind. Read about all of the features before you buy armrests.


When you’re looking for an armrest, you want to buy something that can support your forearm and elbow. If the arm is too narrow, you won’t feel comfortable resting your weight on it.

Being able to adjust the arms’ width is also a helpful feature to look for in armrests. If you buy a chair with arms, they don’t usually have this ability. Therefore, adding arms is a nice alternative.

If you’re able to adjust the width of your chair’s arms, position them so that your elbows are under your shoulders. This helps you sit up straight so your spine isn’t under stress as you work.


Armrests need to be the right height to do any good for your posture and comfort. Sometimes they get in the way of your desk at certain heights, which can push the chair back.

When your chair is too far from the desk, you’ll find yourself sitting at the edge of the chair. Instead of armrests supporting you, your elbows are holding up all of your body weight.

If the chair arms are too high, your shoulders will be up at your neck. This creates a lot of tension in your neck and shoulders.

If you lower the arms, you might find yourself hunched forward while you work. Keeping chair arms at the right level keeps your spine straight.

Almost all armrests have adjustable heights. They’ll either have a button or knob on the side that allows you to move them to the right level. Try out different heights and see how you feel.


Pivot is a feature that not all armrests offer. It gives you the ability to turn the arms in or out slightly. Being able to pivot the arms helps you customize your chair.

If you keep your elbows close to your body, turning your chair arms in gives you support where you need it. You don’t need to rely on your own muscles to hold up your arms.

Similarly, if you need to spread your elbows out to better stretch your shoulders, you can do that. Pivot the armrests out so you can keep your elbows away from your body.


Office chair arms are usually made of sturdy materials because they’re the most durable. You don’t want armrests that rip easily and need frequent repairs or replacing.

However, you don’t want to rest your arms on something hard and uncomfortable. You’ll find plenty of armrests made of plastic, steel, and polyurethane.

You want to add supportive yet comfortable arms to your office chair. Padded vinyl or leather are good choices because they’re durable yet have some give. 

If you choose vinyl or leather, make sure you take care of the material so it won’t crack. Keeping it moisturized with mineral oil keeps it looking good longer.

Once your vinyl armrests crack, they can scrape your arms until you patch or repair them. Conditioned vinyl won’t rip, so you want to maintain it regularly. 

Choosing vinyl or leather isn’t the best choice because these materials deteriorate with wear and tear. However, you won’t hurt your elbows by resting them on plastic all day.


Cost also comes into play when you’re choosing to add chair arms. You’ve already spent money on the chair, so you’re facing an additional charge for the arms.

Plastic is the most durable and affordable of the available materials. Once you install plastic armrests, you don’t have to maintain them at all. However, it might not be the most comfortable for your arms.

Vinyl and leather armrests will cost a bit more, but they offer additional comfort. You also need to consider the time and expense of conditioning the materials so they don’t crack.

Overall, it’s worth spending more on the right arms for your office chair. You want to get something that is good for your posture and won’t hurt your back, neck, or arms.

Benefits of Having Arms on an Office Chair

Many people think you don’t need arms on an office chair because you have a desk to support you. However, if you’re sitting at a desk, you’d be leaning forward to using that as support.

Having arms on an office chair helps you sit up straight. You don’t need to lean forward because the arms are at your sides. Studies show that forearm support reduces neck and shoulder pain.

When you’re using arms on an office chair, make sure they’re at the right height for you. If they bump into the desk, you won’t be able to reach your work properly, and the arms aren’t effective.

Office chair arms at the right position reduce strain on your entire body. They distribute your weight evenly so that your spine, neck, shoulders, and elbows don’t have to hold you upright.

Having armrests on chairs helps you when you’re getting up, also. When you stand from a chair without arms, you’re putting weight on your hips and thighs. 

If chair arms are available, you can use those so your arm muscles can help lift your body. This can also help people balance as they get up so they’re not dizzy from sitting too long.

Alternatives to Using Armrests

You don’t have to add arms to an office chair to improve your posture. Standing desks are great alternatives. Since you’re standing upright, your posture naturally improves.

Standing desks allow you to position the computer monitor so you can stand straight and see it. One study found that using this type of desk decreased lower back pain by 50%.

You also burn more calories when you’re standing. Your body is using calories to engage all of your muscles. When you’re sitting, you don’t use all your muscles, so it’s not as healthy.

Final Notes

Adding arms to an office chair can improve your posture. If you feel worn out after a day of work, consider putting armrests on your chair to see how your body changes. 

Since you’re putting less stress on your muscles throughout the day, you’ll find yourself with more energy and less pain when you leave the office.

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