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Classroom Essentials Online

Measurements That Matter: Student Desks and Chairs

Oct 14th 2022

With student attention spans ever on the decrease, you don’t want uncomfortable desk chairs or student desks with unsuitable work areas to be reasons for them to tune you out in class or not get their work completed.

Student Chairs

Let’s begin with chair leg length. If a child does not have enough leg space when sitting, he or she will feel cramped the entire class period. Conversely, if the chair is too tall, and the student’s legs don’t touch the floor, this can be equally uncomfortable or distracted. Here are the general guidelines, by grade, to consider when making decisions about your school chair order:

Because these overlap at the younger grade levels, you may want to consider mixing sizes in your order. For example, if you teach 2nd grade and need to order 100 student chairs, you might want to order 60 14 inch chairs and 40 16 inch chairs. The ordering gets much easier once you get past the 4th or 5th grade and can generally go with all 18 inch size standard chairs.

Along with chair height, backrest height is another important part of a good and comfortable chair. Student chairs should offer the proper lumbar and upper back support. How do your students sit in the chairs you currently have? Is the back support causing poor posture? It may be time to find a new chair design.

Another measurement or at least an area of fit to be watchful for is seat width. If the sides of your students’ legs are hanging off the chairs, even when sitting at attention, the chairs may be too narrow. Often, moving up to the next chair size will take care of the issue.

If you expect to be moving your chairs around a lot or they will be doing multiple duty around the school (auditorium, gymnasium, special events, etc.), be sure to order some handy chair caddies as well. It will make the task so much easier and faster.

Student Desks & Tables

Today’s classroom is not always inclined to have an individual desk for each student. Some prefer to have more of a group environment, with tables strategically set up in a large square; others prefer tables in rows; still others like to have tables serve as workstations for students to work their way through, such as in lab set ups.

The standard height for a table surface or regular size desk is around 29-30 inches. When buying desks or tables for lower grade levels, a good rule of thumb is to match the chair size you are purchasing in the following manner:

Chair size: Table/Desk Height:

Another way to estimate is by the distance between the chair seat and the table/desk surface. The guideline is that this standard number should be 8 inches.

At Classroom Essentials Online, we have a wide variety of adjustable height activity tables for your school furniture needs. Whether it’s folding tables, round tables, computer tables, trapezoidal tables, kidney-shaped tables, horse-shaped activity tables, or plain top desks, we offer not only a large selection, but in a variety of colors, finishes, and weights. These activity tables adjust in height for utilization at all sizes and grade levels.

No need for the adjustable height feature? Then just head to our school furniture section and begin searching for your desk, table or other needs today. We have a wide range of options for your classroom. Or call us at 1-866-404-7671 where we would love to assist you with your questions and help you choose just the right student desks and chairs for your classroom.

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Height Guide

Use this guide to help you decide which size school furniture to buy.

school desks specifications

Find the right size table and chair for your Smith System classroom furniture. The guide will help you match up your student with the suggested table height or chair height relative to their grade level. Wondering what height you should set your student's table to? Check out the table below.

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Before the pandemic, it's fair to say we paid a lot less attention to our desk spaces. We've noted over the following years a real uptick in interest in standing desks, as people start to fit out their own homes, and think of the healthiest ways to work. And the exact same can be said for students - with hybrid learning and the threat of potential future lock-downs, many parents have opted to create a study space at home.

Table of Contents

What's the best way to measure a desk, what are the standard student desk dimensions and measurements, tips to help you choose the right size student desk, how much space do you have, a desk to grow with your child, what is the desk for.

If you've not yet made the leap, there are a number of things you might be confused about - and the most obvious thing to wonder is, exactly how big are student desks, and can i fit one in my kids bedroom? Or if you're a teacher, you may be wondering how many can we accommodate in one classroom?

First, and it might seem obvious, but it's time to talk about how a desk is measured, and what these parameter actually mean.

Best way to measeure a student's desk

You'll find that most desks are measured in centimeters, but occasionally feet and inches will be used too. A standing desk is measured in much the same way as a standard desk, but of course the height will vary - and for this reason, the height is expressed as a range for a standing desks.

Width: this describes the distance from one end of the desk to the other - so if you are facing the desk, the width is the distance from left to right (or vice versa).

Depth: this describes the space between the front (the part of the desk closest) and the back (the furthest away).

Height: this describes the distance between the bottom of the feet, the the top of the table - and obviously, this varies for standing or sit stand desks, which is why you'll see a range and not a number.

Corner desks of course are slightly more complicated to explain, but the same principles apply. You'll find that most desks are measured in centimeters, but occasionally feet and inches will be used too.

The width of your child's desk will depend on their age. For smaller children, the desk size will be between 60-70 cm, which is ample space for an inquiring young mind to study and play.

For slightly old kids, a larger desk will be required of course, and many kids standing desks come in a range of sizes - from 80cm right up to 180cm. This of course comes down to a matter of preference and taste, and how your child studies.

And considering it's unlikely your child will have too much space, and they will grow, sometimes a smaller desk isn't the best option.

If they love having all of their materials out and easily to hand, or use multiple monitors, a larger desktop will make sense - whereas a tech savvy kid may only need space for a few devices. Aim for a minimum width of 60-70cm either way and you should be covered.

Kids desk specifications

Again, for younger kids you can expect less desktop depth, in keeping with the smaller profile of these desks overall. If your child is only using one book or pad at a time, it might seem that you don't need an especially deep desktop. The same applies if your kid only works on a laptop or device - and some desks on the market are designed for just this, with very shallow desktops which sit snug up to the wall.

For postural reasons though, you might want a bit more depth than this. For your child to sit comfortably, they need to be able to fit their desk chair under the desk. This allows them to sit upright when working without straining, and will aid their posture as they grow. A desk depth of between 60-90 cm should be ample, and a deeper desk will remain suitable as your child grows.

For primary school or elementary school kids, a desk height of between 50-56cms is appropriate. Kids aged 10-13 will be in the range 58-74cm, and for young to middle teenagers (13+) anywhere from 66-76cms. As all parents and teachers know, kids don't develop at a uniform speed, and they don't all start out the same size either, so each child will be different.

Kids height range chart

That's why adjustable height desks for kids make so much sense for growing kids, allowing you to simply raise the desk as they grow (rather than buy a new one). It's worth remembering that for smaller kids, you will need a dedicated chair, as most desk chairs will be too high to fit.

For the same reason, small adjustable office chairs, or dedicated student chairs with a wide range of height adjustment, are also a great idea.

Now you know the rough sizing's and desk dimensions, it's worth considering a few more factors before you make a choice .

How much space you have will be a big factor in the size of desk you opt for. If it's a school desk, of course you will need to know you can fit enough in the classroom. And if it's going in your kids bedroom, you'll need to know there is enough space for the desk, and a comfortable chair, without it impeding on the overall floor space too badly.

In this instance, the right desk is the one that suits you child/children and the space the best. It's also worth remembering that most desks come with storage space, so you may be able to lose a cabinet or bedside table to free up room.

It's almost certain that your child's dimensions will change over the coming years, and so our top tip for student desks is to find something that can grow with your child. Ergonomically designed desks with adjustable height, and sometimes even width and depth, are the best option, as they can be raised as your child grows, or even lowered to accommodate a younger child.

It's likely your child needs a writing desk, a place to draw and sketch, and somewhere to use their devices, all wrapped into one desk. So look for a desk which has not just enough space for all these different activities, but ideally something with a tilt-able desk, so your child can draw and use the desk for recreation too.

We hope this article has helped you to size up a desk for your child or classroom! Although the sizings above are a good guide, looking for a desk which allows the maximum flexibility and adjustable height will allow the desk to grow with your child. Beyond that, the width and depth will depend on your kid and what they use it for.

So with this information in mind, we wish you happy hunting, and hope you find the best desk for whatever kid (or kids) you're buying for.

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