Thinking About Upgrading Your Classroom Chairs? Read This First
The school year is almost over. How is your classroom furniture holding up?
Whether you’re setting up your classroom for the first time or the 50th, it’s always a good idea to take inventory of your chairs, benches, or bean bags and reevaluate. Today, we’re focusing on upgrading classroom chairs. They’re the real workhorses of the classroom, right after tables—and they’re far too often a second thought. Chairs should be comfortable, ergonomically designed, and well built to create the best learning environment.
Ready to take classroom seating to the next level in the fall? Ask these questions to get started!
1. What Classroom Seating Area Should You Invest in?
Do you need more seating at desks to accommodate your expanding class sizes, or do you need better seating for show and tell? Teachers don’t typically have unlimited budgets—it’s time to prioritize!
If you need a quiet area for reading, invest in comfortable seating that invites children to settle in. The Bentwood Comfort Living Room set is a great start. The cushions are filled with 1.5” thick foam, and the backs are ergonomically shaped for great support. Want something a bit out of the ordinary? Try the Classic Bean Bag. The soft and cozy bean bags provide a great alternative to traditional seating and a cozy space to read a story.
Show and Tell
Invite students to pull up a Bentwood Linking Stool to create a feeling of community. The stools are made of lightweight multi-ply birch, which kids can safely link together, then stack when show-and-tell or class reading time is over. Need something even more portable? Try the Softzone Carry Me Cushions made for your classroom with convenient handles.
If you’re looking for chairs to go with desks or tables, there are plenty of options from resin to bentwood to hardwood. Match your chairs to your desks or buy a table and chair package, and make sure the size is just right for little legs. If you have fidgety kids in the classroom, consider investing in several ACE Stools, which allow children to rock 360 degrees to get their wiggles out.
Outside Play/Snack Area
Want to set up an outside work area? You’ll need something that holds up to the elements. Colorful resin chairs are just the thing, as they won’t chip or peel. Matched with a sturdy resin table, you’ll have the perfect outdoor snack area.
2. What Classroom Chair Size Will Work Best?
There are three main things to keep in mind before you pick your chair size:
- Research state licensing on classroom chair requirements
- Ensure chairs fit the majority of your students (check the chart below)
- If chairs are meant for desks, measure to ensure they fit (are they adjustable?)
- Reference the chart below for a breakdown of ECR4Kids chair sizes
3. What Chair Material Fits Your Classroom Best?
Do you need hardwood? What’s the difference between hardwood and bentwood? What lasts longer? The material you need depends a lot on the seating space that you’re seeking to fill, and the ages of the children in your classroom. Beyond these qualities, ECR4Kids chairs are GREENGUARD [GOLD] Certified–meaning they’re kid friendly, with low chemical emissions.
As we mentioned before, resin chairs hold up outside. They’re made from a fade-resistant child-safe polypropylene material that will stand the test of time (and sticky fingers). Resin is available in bright, fun colors, and they’re easy to clean and sanitize. The best part? They require no hardware or tightening.
Bentwood (Multi-Ply Birch)
Bentwood chairs are just plain beautiful, with a smooth light surface that’s made up of layers of birch. The ECR4Kids Bentwood Chairs include non-scuff “boots” to keep them in tip-top shape. However, these chairs require mild cleaning products, require more care than resin chairs (part replacements, etc.), and are intended for indoor use only.
Solid hardwood chairs are classic and attractive, and ours include curved back legs to reduce the possibility of tipping. They’re a bit heavier than the bentwood or resin options, but the ladderback construction helps with moving. Chairs made from hardwood are best for indoor use and stationary classroom setups.
If you’re looking for something lightweight, portable, and extra comfortable, the SoftZone Seating zone is a great place to start. Choose from a wide selection of round or square Carry Me Cushions, which kids can easily pick up and move with durable handles. These are best for indoor use as a comfortable alternative to sitting on the floor.
4. What Type of Classroom Floor do You Have?
Before you purchase chairs, look down! What kind of flooring are you working with? This will determine what type of feet your chairs need.
ACE Stools, SoftZone seating, hardwood chairs, and bentwood chairs can perform on either tile or short carpeted surfaces. However, School Stack Chairs offer two options for feet: “Swivel Glide” or “Ball Glide.”
Tile: Swivel Glide
If your seating area is on tile, consider choosing seats with “Swivel Glides”. These automatically adjust to create a level workspace, and you can choose from regular Nylon Swivel Glides or Felt Glides. Felt Glides help protect the floor from damage and reduce noise.
Short Carpet: Ball Glide
If you have short carpet in your classroom, we recommend “Ball Glides”. These polypropylene and nylon balls are durable and make it easy to push chairs across the carpet. They are not suitable for waxed floors, as they can scuff flooring.
Combo/Other: Mix it Up
If the floor in your classroom is a mix of tile and short carpet (or rugs), then consider purchasing suitable seating for different areas of the classroom.
5. What Extra Features do You Dream of?
If we lived in a perfect world, and you could find the perfect chairs for your classroom, what extra features would they include?
Do you want to be able to easily pick up chairs to clean? Do you need to stack and set them aside when you’re working on other types of activities? The Resin School Stack Chairs easily stack up to six at a time as do the School Stack Chairs, and our Bentwood Chairs stack up to four.
Is your classroom bursting at the seams with school supplies? If you can’t downsize, buy seating that does double duty and stores books or supplies. The Birch and Canvas Helpful Little Teacher Stool is a great place to stow storytime supplies, and you can increase almost any chair’s storage with the Classroom Seat Companion, simple classroom chair pockets.
Now that you’re all set with the best seating options for your classroom, check out more of our helpful ECR4Kids blog posts: