Why Are School Chairs So Uncomfortable?


School chairs have become a major source of discomfort for students in the average classroom for the last 100 years. Many people know that sitting in an uncomfortable chair for a long period can lead to severe backaches, headaches, and general aches. However,  we often overlook the effect of an uncomfortable school chair on the student’s health.

You may be wondering why school chairs are so uncomfortable. Well, this could be due to several reasons. Here are some reasons why school chairs are so uncomfortable.

  1. No Armrests
  2. No Lumbar Support
  3. Low Seat Height
  4. Narrow Seat Width
  5. The Seats are Too Firm
  6. Poor Seat Cushioning
  7. The Seat is Too Hard
  8. The Seat is Too High
  9. The Seats Are Too Close Together
  10.  Poor Quality of Chairs

This article outlines and explains some of the reasons why school chairs are so uncomfortable. All these are significant reasons why school chairs are so uncomfortable.

10 Reasons Why School Chairs Are So Uncomfortable

The classroom’s utmost importance is creating a comfortable and enabling space for learning in the school. Therefore, school chairs are one of the essential pieces of furniture in the classroom.

Therefore, when setting up the classroom, you should pay attention to the quality and comfort of the chairs. So, the effect of low-quality and uncomfortable chairs on students’ health should be noticed.

School chairs can be uncomfortable due to several factors. Below are some of the reasons why school chairs are so uncomfortable.

1. No Armrests

The lack of armrests is one of the reasons why school chairs are so uncomfortable; this has been a significant source of discomfort in school chairs.

Hence students have to sit in chairs without arm support during class. Therefore, causing the student’s arms and hands to move into awkward positions (especially when they are exhausted) often results in aching muscles and other pains in these areas.

Students sitting like this for hours are forced to stand up and stretch, which increases their daily stress level by increasing the number of times they stand up during their day in school.

School Chairs

2. No Lumbar Support

Lack of lumbar support is one of the reasons why school chairs are uncomfortable. The lumbar support is to be at the lower back of the chair. It provides lower back support and also helps to permit the students freedom of movement ( such as getting up from their seats and walking around the classroom).

Because students tend to sit down in their chairs for too long and school chairs do not have lumbar support, they can have several effects on the students.

When students sit back that close for too long, it can cause them a lot of aches around their lower back, so they need to sit down at a minimum as near as feasible to allow for added room for comfort.

3. Low Seat Height

Low seat height is another reason why school chairs are so uncomfortable. When seat height is too low, it causes the students to ache below their shoulders. However, when making seating arrangements, schools often overlook the effects of uncomfortable school chairs on students’ health.

Low school chairs can also cause strain on the back and neck of students, and this results in making their necks bend forward, putting extreme pressure on their lower back; hence the chairs have no support.

Therefore, school chairs should be high-enough so students will only have to stand up and sit down a few times during the day. In addition, a high-enough school chair will give the students freedom of movement and reduce the stress of standing up and sitting down.

4. Narrow Seat Width

The width of school chairs is also one of the reasons why school chairs are so uncomfortable. School chairs are mostly extremely narrow, forcing the student’s legs into an awkward and unnatural position which causes them several aches and pains in the muscles (mainly the lower legs).

These narrow school chairs also cause muscular aches and may also damage the knees if you stay in this position for too long without getting any relief from this position. Unfortunately, schools often ignore this also when making seats for students, which contributes highly to making school chairs uncomfortable.

Similarly, when school chairs are too small, the students slump forward, pressuring their backbone, and sit down with their knees higher than their bottoms, putting undue stress on their spine and butt bones.

Therefore, schools should consider making seats with wider widths so that students can comfortably and move freely during their school days.

5. The Seats are Too Firm

How far the school chairs are reclined is another fact that contributes to making the seat uncomfortable. If a school chair is too firm and the students sit in it for an extended period with their feets barely touching the floor, it can cause their legs and feet to be numb.

The fact that students are to sit down in these chairs through their school days sometimes causes their growth bursts to inhibit. It can also make their spine bend or deform, causing problems such as blood flow restriction throughout the body.

Though a firm school chair is a great idea, however, when making seating arrangements, schools should consider seats that are flexible enough to allow maximum comfort for the student.

6. Poor Seat Cushioning

Poor seat cushioning is another reason that contributes to the discomfort of school chairs. School chairs are often made using thin foam and cheap fabrics or materials. However, these chairs tend to be uncomfortable when students are made to sit for an extended period.

Therefore, when you sit in these chairs for a long period, you will discover that the seat material presses your lower legs, making them ache. In addition, many school chairs contain rigid seats that incline backward and merge right into the seating hollow, imposing a lack of blood flow, aching shoulders, neck and lower back muscular tissues, and the backbone to press to one side.

7. The Seat is Too Hard

Most school chairs are made from plastics or wood and are mass-produced. Therefore, the chairs are given less attention, and fewer materials are used during production. Because of this, most school chairs are too hard, making them uncomfortable for students.

Hence, most school chairs do not have foam or cushion material on their surface, and they tend to be too hard. Therefore, sitting in such a seat for a long period can cause several pains and aches in the body.

The combination of poor support on the upper body and limbs with fewer fabrics or materials in the production of school chairs also causes aches in different parts of the body, especially the legs and arms.

School Chairs 2

8. The Seat is Too High

The height of school chairs is another reason why school chairs are so uncomfortable. When the chair is too high, and the feet of the student sitting on the chair barely touch the floor, the student will feel numb in their feet.

This problem, mixed with poor support on the upper body and limbs, causes gripes and pains in the body (particularly the arms and legs). Therefore, an average-height school chair will help to make students comfortable and also give them freedom of movement, reducing the stress of standing up and sitting down.

9. The Seats are Too Close Together.

School chairs being too compacted or close together is another reason why school chairs are uncomfortable. Since most school chairs are compacted or close together, the student’s seats overlap or constantly clash, which can cause the students to feel uncomfortable in their seats and also cause them to have difficulties focusing.

Furthermore, plus-sized students need help to adapt to such overlapped school chairs. Hence classrooms lack size-inclusive seating, which leaves plus-sized students feeling uncomfortable.

10. Poor Quality of Chairs

Another reason why school chairs are so uncomfortable is the quality of the chairs. Many school chairs are mass-produced; therefore, they receive less time and materials during production, which makes the quality low.

Low-quality chairs contain hard surfaces and are stiff. Therefore when students sit on them, they feel uncomfortable, which can cause pain and ache. In addition, many school chairs are old, low-quality, and worn out (which severely threatens students’ health).

The cheap materials used for making school chairs and how stiff they are can cause the students pain and make them feel uncomfortable. Due to low quality, these chairs can also break down over time, especially when they are poorly made.

Therefore, schools should invest in new and high-quality school chairs made with quality materials.


School chairs are one of the most common reasons students feel uncomfortable at school and can cause several body pains. Many people are aware of the effects of school chairs on students’ health (such as backaches, headaches, and general body pains).

However, the effect of these uncomfortable school seats is often overlooked because so many reasons, such as lack of armrests, lack of lumbar support, low seat height, and more, contribute to why school chairs are so uncomfortable.

I hope you found this article helpful and that you understand why school chairs are as uncomfortable as they are.

Sourav Biswas

I’ve been passionate about chair for as long as I can remember. I love the way they look, the way they feel, and the way they make me feel. I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting chairs to write about, and I’m never afraid to experiment with different styles and materials.

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