What is a Chair?

Chairs are pieces of furniture used for sitting, most commonly by one person. They have a seat and back-rest, usually with armrests, and may be upholstered or plain in a variety of colors and materials. There are many types of chair, and most are built to be stackable or foldable for storage and transport. The design of chairs varies widely, reflecting the influence of historical styles and the requirements of various activities. Some are designed for specific types of seating, such as chess or poker tables, and others are intended for general household use, office work, or sports. Ergonomic considerations often play an important role in the design of chairs.

In some languages, the word for chair is also the same as the word for “throne”. A chair can be a symbol of authority and power, such as that of the Chairman of the Board in a business or political organization. In this sense, the term can also refer to a ceremonial chair such as the one that the President of the United States sits in during public events. A chair can also be a symbol of power in a game such as musical chairs, where the players shuffle around until everyone has a seat.

A chair can be moved from place to place by a push or pull lever, and can rotate on a central axis. This allows the occupant to move more easily and comfortably between seats, for example at a table or desk. Chairs can also be fixed in place, such as in a theater or cinema, to give a particular view of the stage or screen.

There are several different kinds of chairs. A stool is a low, flat seat without arms or a backrest (in early stools). An armchair is upholstered and has armrests attached to the frame; a rocking chair has legs that are fixed to two long curved slats, and a recliner has an upholstered seat with a mechanism under it that enables the chair to be tilted and raised into a reclining position.

Some chairs have wheels or a base that supports the chair, and can be moved by gliding or rolling it along the floor. Some chairs have a footrest that can be removed, either as a separate unit or as part of the seat itself. This is sometimes called a pouf or hassock.

Some chairs are named after the designer or period in which they were developed, such as the Savonarola chair of the Italian Renaissance, or the Wassily chair of the Modernist movement. Other chairs are known by the name of their manufacturers, such as the Orbiter chair, a camera seat made by the company Orbiter that can be adjusted to fit the user’s height, and the Poang chair manufactured by Ikea, of which there have been more than 30 million sold worldwide since its introduction in 1978. There are also a number of folding chairs, such as the X-chair or Wassily chair, that have been in continuous production for over half a century.