Written by Rebecca Alexander.
Art by Michael Poley.
At AllGo, our mission is to help plus size people go out more, with less anxiety. Much of the anxiety plus size people experience when deciding to go somewhere new comes from not knowing if the seating will work for us. When we go new places, plus size people worry about not fitting in, literally.
When we go new places, plus size people worry about not fitting in, literally.Rebecca Alexander, AllGo
We want more places to have plus-friendly seating options, so we decided to fully explore the question: “What makes seating good for plus-size people?”
This question was the subject of a design conversation we hosted at Environments in Portland, Oregon with half a dozen AllGo users. We tested dozens of seating options and listened as our users described what worked well and what didn’t.
Watch excerpts from this conversation here:
4 Tips to Pick Fat-Friendly Seating
- Don’t stop at one style.
The most important thing you can do to make all your guests happy is to offer a variety of seating options. Want chairs with arms so some people can have an easier time standing up? Great! Just also pick some armless options.
- Provide armless chairs and benches.
Benches are such a great way to ensure that your seating options will work for all of your guests. Typically, they support more weight than individual chairs and when if you’re just getting started on switching your furnishings to plus-friendlier options, benches can easily be added to spaces without requiring a full redesign. (Bonus tip: Make sure your benches are freestanding. Benches that are attached to tables don’t typically work for plus size people.)
- Avoid really low chairs or really high chairs.
Seat heights of at least 16″ and no more than 22″ inches are ideal for plus size people. If you want to provide chairs that are higher or lower than this, that’s OK–just make sure you follow the first tip on our list.
- Check weight ratings.
If weight ratings aren’t available, look for styles with braces that connect chair legs once, twice, or three times beneath the seat. Chairs with braces are a lot sturdier and they look a lot sturdier to plus size people wondering if they should or shouldn’t sit down.
If you’re shopping for your restaurant or home dining room, you might like these dining chairs we recommend.
About the Author
Rebecca Alexander is the Founder of AllGo and the author of A Kids Book About Body Image. Rebecca believes that being fat isn’t something she needs to change. She works to help others free themselves from the harmful bias that exists in our society. Her work is equal parts creativity and technology. Rebecca lives in Portland, Oregon with her Lhasa Apso, Lucy.