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What is a Swivel Chair?

By Kate Monteith
Updated May 16, 2024
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A swivel chair is an ingenious seat that turns from side to side, usually without moving the base or feet of the chair. The seat can be rotated left or right with a simple twist of the body, and some chairs will swivel 360 degrees. Swivel chairs are available in bar stools, patio furniture, office chairs, and recliners.

A swiveling seat is an efficient and functional feature very often found in office task chairs. Workers who are stationed at a busy desk can easily turn from telephones to computers to printers without standing. Office swivel chairs often sit on swiveling wheels, allowing the person seated to easily roll the seat in any direction. A good office swivel chair will allow the worker to move from one task to the next with little effort.

Swivel chairs can also be made to recline. Interior decorators have put the swivel recliner chair into popular use in businesses and private homes. Swivel recliners come in all the familiar styles for a living room recliner or office chair, including leather, fabric and vinyl upholstery. Living room recliner chairs can be made to rock as well as to swivel, providing an excellent range of motion and ideal comfort.

Office swivel recliner chairs will often come with an extendable footrest or ottoman. The back of the chair can be reclined and feet lifted, providing a cozy, in-office respite for weary executives. Some office recliners look a bit like the swivel chairs found in private homes, with padded head and backrests and cushy armrests. There are also some with a more business-like appearance, looking much like the average office chair.

The ability to swivel while seated can be a desirable choice in social situations. A swivel chair allows individuals to freely turn their attention without standing, promoting a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Swiveling stools are a common furnishing in bars and restaurants for this reason. Patrons can remain seated at the bar while turning left, right, or behind, to interact with others in the room.

The swivel chair is also a good seating choice for a kitchen breakfast counter. The advantage is in twisting the chair to the side to take a seat. Even small children can easily swivel the seat, climb aboard, and turn toward the counter to eat. It is pretty well known that some youngsters think it is great fun to spin around and around in a swivel chair, if allowed to do so. That is just another one of the reasons why swivel chairs are liked by practically everyone.

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