It's always a mood lifter when you decide to spruce up the office with new furniture or spring for an ergonomic, back-supporting chair. If you're looking to save money, you may choose to purchase a ready-to-assemble chair, but that means you have some work to do before you can enjoy your new furniture. Follow these few simple guidelines and tips for how to assemble your office chair for a stress-free experience.

Visualize What You're Building

Before you even open the box in which your new chair arrived, visualize the chair you are about to build. Sometimes, even the best office chair instructions might leave you confused as to how you should insert lever A into some hard-to-find opening.

Bookmark a website photo of the chair or take a few close-up photos of the floor model at the local office-supply store. This will give you a clear visual reference if you come across any confusing instructions during assembly.

Check Your Packaging

Prior to assembly, thoroughly unpack the box and check over each piece to be sure that all the parts are present and in good condition. If there is damage to any part, you'll need to contact the seller for replacement. In some cases, you might just be short a screw or two, which you might be able to scrounge up in your tool box.

Carefully lay out your parts and remove the packaging from the work area, only discarding it after assembly is complete.

Gather Your Tools

Many office-furniture manufacturers preassemble the major chair components so that the buyer's assembly job is fairly easy. They may include a simple Allen wrench or hex key, as it is often the only tool you may need to complete the task. However, it might be a good idea to have some other basic tools on hand, like a Phillips-head screwdriver or a mallet.

Assemble the Chair in Sections

Even if you are fairly confident that you know how to assemble the chair, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions. The best office-chair instructions serve not only as a step-by-step guide but also provide useful tips. For example, when inserting the wheel casters into the chair base, the instructions may tell you how to hold the wheels in order to exert the most force while pushing the wheels down into the base until they click. Typically, office chairs are assembled in the following steps:

  1. Insert casters into the wheel base.

  2. Insert the gas cylinder and sleeve on pneumatic-lift (adjustable-height) models over the wheel base.

  3. Attach the seat and push down to engage.

  4. Attach the chair back to the seat by sliding the neck into the seat sleeve and fastening.

  5. Attach the arms using the provided hardware.

As you assemble each part, begin by finger-tightening each screw and then go back and use an Allen wrench or screwdriver to make sure everything is secure and fully tightened.

Troubleshooting and Adjustments

If your chair model has an adjustable back, you can alter its height by loosening a screw on the back of the chair and sliding the back up or down. Similarly, you may be able to adjust the width of your seating area by sliding the armrests in or out to a position that is most comfortable. On models with an adjustable seat height, play with the attached lever to raise or lower your entire chair to a level that is compatible with your desk.

Check Your Casters

As you try out your new office chair, you might notice that your office-chair wheels are not rolling well. Make sure that the casters are fully inserted into the base. They may benefit from a little bit of light oil, such as WD-40. Be sure to keep the wheels clean from debris like hair or paper shredding that might wrap around the wheels and restrict movement over time.