The One Thing You Need to Make Your Office Chair Way More Comfortable

updated Jul 31, 2020
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Credit: Samara Vise

At Apartment Therapy HQ, we’re lucky enough to have those iconic Aeron office chairs to sit in. They’re ergonomic, supportive, and overall comfortable, but let’s face it: No chair is truly comfortable after 8 hours. I had accepted this reality as an immutable fact of life, until one day, quite suddenly, everything changed. Purple, the brand responsible for one of the best mattresses for back pain, sent the office a seat cushion. I put it on my chair, not really expecting anything spectacular, and sat down.

You know that feeling when you’re committed to one brand of sauce, and you think, “This sauce is very good and I don’t need to try other sauces,” and then one day you try a new sauce and you realize that what you had before was fine, but this sauce is downright amazing? Or the feeling when you’re dating someone and you think, “I love this person and I’m comfortable and this relationship is good,” and then you break up and you meet someone else and you realize that actually your prior relationship only made you halfway happy and you never knew because you hadn’t experienced anything better? This is the exact feeling I had after a day of sitting on this seat cushion.

I had never been more comfortable sitting for an extended period of time before. The hallmark of a good seat is that you don’t even realize you’re sitting, and this cushion gives you all that and more. It makes me feel better. My lower back feels no need to protest any more—honestly, if my lower back were an independent entity it would breathe a sigh of relief every time it came in contact with this cushion. I’ve now used it for over two years, and it’s the one thing I would save if there was a fire in the office.

So what makes it so good? Purple is famous for their Grid, a flexible, supportive material that’s in their mattresses, pillows, and, yup, cushions. The Grid in this cushion is double-sided, with one side for firm surfaces and the other for soft. It’s incredibly supportive and doesn’t put any pressure on your tailbone, plus it doesn’t retain heat and remains comfortable to sit on all day. It also comes with a washable cover that has handles for easy transporting and doesn’t slip around on your chair.

It’s so good, in fact, that on days when I’m not in the office my coworkers take turns “borrowing” it for the day. No one is immune to its charms, and I do worry that one day it will turn up missing. I might sound dramatic and wistful, but it’s only because I’m currently separated from my cushion while I work from home during this pandemic. I made the tragic mistake of not taking it home with me before the office shut down, and I genuinely miss it every day I have to sit on a hard kitchen chair for hours.

An excerpt from a conversation with coworkers over Slack about the cushion.

The only downside, of course, is the seriously high price. At $99, it’s a major investment—around the same price as a budget-friendly office chair. I asked my fellow editors if they had any more affordable recommendations, and luckily Projects Editor Megan Baker came to the rescue.

“I’m normally skeptical of anything with an ‘as seen on TV’ button in its listing, but this cushion hasn’t disappointed me yet.” She’s talking about this option found on Amazon, which costs just under $30 and has a very similar design to the Purple cushion. “It’s squishy and cushiony, but doesn’t have the same awkward height of sitting on a pillow (my previous fix for turning a hard dining chair into a tolerable desk chair). The dimensions are generous enough to cover my whole chair seat, so there aren’t any exposed wood spots.”

Her only complaint is that there is some slipping, but nothing too extreme. Another bonus? “It’s thin enough that I could see myself rolling it up and sticking it in my carry-on for any future business trips to make sad hotel desk chairs more workable (I know travel seems impossible now, but it’ll assuredly happen again at some point and then I will be PREPARED).”

Both of us agree: If there’s one thing you should invest in to make your WFH situation more comfortable, it’s a good seat cushion. You (and your butt) deserve it.