Home-office furniture that won't give you a pain in the neck
September 15, 1998
by Barbara Carlin
(IDG) -- Setting up a home office is basically a matter of acquiring a computer, a workstation and a chair. And these days options are user-friendly. Desks and desk alternatives come with pull-out keyboard trays, an important factor in preventing wrist strain. Desk chairs have come of computer age as well. Back support, height adjustment and other vital considerations are incorporated into designs that allow you to sit at your computer with less chance of physical--and therefore mental--fatigue. As for aesthetics, you can be as contemporary or as traditional as you like. The new furnishings combine the best of form and function.
Armoires and cabinet units are ideal if you want to conceal your high-tech gadgets when not in use--a smart choice if your office is in a room with another purpose, such as a bedroom or dining room. Whether you choose decorative or utilitarian, make sure the unit offers enough work surface and storage to meet your basic requirements. Other pointers: Check that the pullout tray has space enough for both mouse and keyboard. Sit at the unit to make sure your legs won't be cramped.
Looks aren't everything. Before you start shopping for your desk, jot down what your needs are. Besides holding a monitor and keyboard, is filing a must? What about drawers? Do you like to spread out? What accessories will your desktop accommodate? Once you know exactly what you want and need, you're ready to make decisions. Take note of the hot new mobility trend. Desks on wheels afford you the option of moving your workspace within an area or to another room when needed. Check that at least two casters can be locked for stability.
A good desk chair is the key component of your home office. It is vital for proper posture, which helps ward off chronic strain on your neck, back and shoulders. Some people like chair arms; others can't work with them. Chair casters allow you to move efficiently around your office, but some people prefer stability.
Never buy a chair without sitting in it. If you shop via mail order, try out models in a store first. Adjust the height of the chair so that feet are flat on the floor; sit with back straight. You can add casters to the tiltable armchair. Swivel chair has padded back and seat. Synchronized seat and back tilt maintain good posture.
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