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Factors to Consider When Choosing Chairs for Hospital Settings

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If you are the designer for a hospital, the owner of a private hospital, or just a member of staff given the task of bringing chairs into the hospital, you’ll find that choosing chairs for a hospital can be a very difficult task. When we generally think of hospital chairs, we tend to think of hard-backed uncomfortable chairs. It is important that, when choosing a hospital chair, that you choose carefully, follow our guide, and only get the best of the best so that your patients do not suffer needlessly.

Here are the factors that you should consider when you are choosing chairs for a hospital setting. Choosing chairs for the hospital that you work in or are responsible for designing is a big responsibility – if you do not choose carefully then you risk irritating your patients and staff; if you are too generous, you will end up turning the place into a place for people to sit around and do nothing.

It is important to consider some key factors when you are choosing chairs for a hospital.


First and foremost, the chairs that you choose should be comfortable. This is the most important factor for you to consider. With that said, they should not be overly comfortable, but we will come to this later. For your hospital waiting room chairs, they should be comfortable enough to sit on for at least a few hours. Generally, when we go to the hospital, we wind up stuck in there for hours and hours. Because of this, it is important that you get chairs that will not become painful for your patients to sit on when they are waiting to be seen by the doctor, or just waiting in the reception.

You could consider getting plastic chairs with padded seats. These are a good, safe, comfortable option that people are bound to feel comfortable on, but not overly comfortable. You should give comfort the most amount of thought so that your patients do not find their conditions worsened because they are stuck sitting on uncomfortable chairs, which will be the case if you do not invest in comfortable chairs for your patients. Comfort is a very important factor that we think you should never overlook when you are choosing chairs for a hospital waiting room.


The chairs that you choose must be sturdy. All types of people will be coming into a hospital – people of all sizes and shapes. If you do not choose sturdy chairs, then you risk chairs breaking under the strain of having heavyset people sit on them, which will reflect badly upon your hospital, and embarrass the patient who happens to be unfortunate enough to sit on the chair. Chairs that are not sturdy will, over time, gradually begin to fall apart and deteriorate, until they become a genuine hazard.

Do not choose chairs made out of cheap materials and research the company that you are going to buy the chairs from so that you can ensure you do not wind up with poorly manufactured chairs for your hospital waiting room. The chairs that you buy have to be of the highest quality – if a person becomes injured because the chair is too small for them, or they are too heavy for it, your hospital can actually be sued and you may personally get into a lot of trouble for having chosen inferior quality chairs that have caused somebody to become injured.


The chairs that you purchase must offer back support. Sitting on a chair that does not offer back support for a long duration of time can be very painful, especially if the person has come into the hospital with a problem with their back or spine. Additionally, if a person sits on a chair that offers no support for a long duration of time, they may begin to experience some pains, aches, or muscular issues related to having sat on the chair for such a long period of time. In order to ensure people are safe, always buy chairs with back support.

Most plastic chairs with padded cushions do offer back support. You do not need to go out and spend money on overly expensive chairs that offer back support, the simplest of chairs can offer back support. It is important to ensure that you only buy chairs that do offer back support. The best way to do this, quite simply, is to avoid buying oddly shaped chairs. Typical, traditional chairs will do just fine. If you begin buying weirdly shaped chairs, which there is a lot of being sold, then you will wind up causing harm to people’s backs.

Overly comfortable chairs

It is best to avoid buying overly comfortable chairs. For starters, chairs that are too comfortable can be very expensive – for example, a leather armchair can cost upwards of a thousand dollars. Extremely comfortable chairs are costly because of their comfort – they do not belong in a hospital. Some specialised wards do tend to have leather armchairs to keep their patients comfortable, though this is not something you would typically expect to find in a hospital waiting room. In the waiting room, patients have not yet been assessed, so there is no reason to have them sit in comfortable, leather chairs when they could be perfectly fine.

Overly comfortable chairs may encourage people to come in and just hang around in the hospital, which is not something that you want, especially if you have a large homeless population in the area in which your hospital is based. No, be conservative with the chairs that you buy and only buy chairs that will not detract from the real purpose of why people are at the hospital. Simple, plastic chairs with cushions on will be perfectly fine, we assure you. Do not try to go overboard. There is also a strong chance that your comfortable chairs will be destroyed.

Elena Deeley did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.

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