Office Furniture Guide

Office FurnitureCustomer: “I’d like to buy an office chair please. Can you give me some advice?”

Office Furniture Adviser: “Certainly madam, I recommend an ergonomic office chair with lumbar support, a hinged-front and telescopic hand-wheel seat slide adjustment!”

Customer: “Er…pardon?!”

Don’t get caught out with sales jargon, here is a handy office furniture guide in the form of a glossary to help you understand the most common office furniture terms.

Office Furniture Glossary


An ergonomic office chair is one that has been specifically designed to fit the shape of the human body, and offers support and comfort for the user, even when sitting for prolonged periods.

Lumbar Support

Lumbar relates to the lower region of the back and is sometimes referred to as the lower spine. A lumbar support is a curved area of an office chair that supports your lower back.

Air Lumbar Pump

This allows you to adjust the tension of support in your lower spine by simply squeezing or pressing a lever

Arm Rest Articulation

In addition to height adjustable arms and side-to-side angle adjustment, some office chairs allow you to tilt the arm rests forwards or backwards to suit your particular requirements.

Backrest Depth Adjuster

Sometimes referred to as Seat Slide Adjustmentthis function allows you to move your seat away from or closer to the back support using a sliding mechanism.


A pedestal is a storage unit that can be placed either adjacent to your office desk or underneath it. There are 3 types: fixed, mobile and desk-height. The mobile desk pedestals are usually fitted with casters.

Cantilever Chair

Cantilever Chair


The office chair or office desk is a beam that is only anchored at one end. (see picture right)

Casters / Castors

Gliding wheels attached to the bottom of the office chair.

Tilt Adjustment

Seat tilt adjustment kind of does what it says on the tin. It allows you to tilt your seat forwards or backwards. Tilting your seat forwards relieves the pressure on the back of your legs and is standard on ergonomic office chairs.

Swivel / Self-Returning Swivel

A swivel base allows you to spin your office chair around, usually 360 degrees. A self-return swivel automatically spins the chair back to its original position and is often found as a feature on tub chairs.

5-Star Base

This relates to the base of an office chair. A 5-star base is usually fitted with casters.

Cable Management System

A cable management system is a way of concealing and tidying up your office cabling. Cable management can be built into office desks, for instance inside the table legs.

Popup Power & Data

A popup power and/or data system can be fitted to an office desk so that it is made available when required simply by pulling it up. It allows users to share a power or data source.


Melamine Faced Chipboard. Economy wood material used for office desks and shelving.

Wood Veneer

A cheaper alternative to solid wood. It is a thin layer of real wood fixed on top of a cheaper wooden surface. It is often used for office shelving and desks.


There are of course other office furniture terms, specifically relating to ergonomic office chairs such as ‘Height Adjustable Backrest’ which I have deliberately omitted because they are self-explanatory.