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Freedom Chair with Headrest, Leather
Described by The New York Times as "the gold standard in office seating."
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Freedom Chair with Headrest, Leather

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Humanscale Freedom Chair with Headrest
designed by Niels Diffrient

Sharing the same characteristics of the Freedom Chair that made it an ergonomic success, this headrest-toting version offers the high performance you expect with added support for your head.

With innovative recline that provides constant support and a pivoting backrest that automatically adjusts to the needs of the spine, the Freedom chair is exceptionally comfortable and promotes movement throughout the day. Its refined and sculpted cushions were designed to mimic the body’s natural contours and decrease pressure point loads for premium comfort. Like all Humanscale chairs, the Freedom chair was designed to look and function like new after years of consistent use.


Articulating Headrest:
The Freedom chair features a dynamic, articulating headrest to support the head and neck as users recline. It moves with the sitter, so they can change postures without making manual adjustments and stay comfortable in any position.

Self Adjusting Recline:
Freedom eliminates the need for traditional recline mechanisms, which can be bulky and weigh up to 15 pounds. Instead, Freedom uses the sitter’s body weight and the laws of physics to perfectly and automatically adjust recline support for each individual.

Synchronous Armrests:
Freedom's body-friendly armrests move up and down together, staying with the user during recline for continuous comfort and support.  Unlike other chair designs, Freedom's armrests are attached to the back of the chair to ensure synchronous use.

The Bottom line:
You can't argue with the comfort. This is a unique and very comfortable desk chair. It may surprise you to hear that Humanscale doesn't really consider itself to be a furniture company. They make furniture, of course, but rather than calling themselves a furniture company, they call themselves an ergonomics company. There isn't an organization out there more committed, driven, and knowledgable about the field of ergonomics than Humanscale.

Humanscale stands for ergonomic furniture. The Freedom Chair is what you might call their Magnum Opus (thus far).


Freedom Chair Review
Read an independently conducted review of Humanscale's Freedom Chair.

Design Story

The Freedom Chair from Humanscale is among the very best ergonomic office chairs on the market today. Beautifully designed (in way more ways than one), it's a testament to the idea that designing at a micro level to the needs of the human body can produce beautiful furniture that performs. Humanscale has always been about bringing furniture design back to what's most important (comfort) without having to sacrifice looks and style.

This particular version of the Freedom Chair is a perfect illustration of how Humanscale customers can have their cake and eat it too when it comes to office chairs. When the ergonomically designed headrest is added to the already sterling (in terms of comfort and support) frame, the Freedom Chair has absolutely no gaps in its ergonomic structure. From your head, neck and shoulders to your spine, buttocks and legs, you're assured of a fantastic sitting experience throughout the workday. But what about style? Well, with a leather upholstered Freedom Chair, you certainly have nothing to worry about on that front.

Using beautiful leather designed to fit the chair perfectly, Humanscale has found another way to add beauty and sophistication to the product. Choose from three different styles of leather (Vicenza, Cervo, and Acqua) and over a dozen colors to make the chair just right for your needs. Using Smart Furniture's online design engine, you can make lots of important choices about this chair, and take part in the final design - from casters and base finishes to armrests and leather types. The Freedom Chair with leather upholstery and a full headrest is a powerful office chair - more than capable of carrying you through eight and ten hour days at work in comfort and style. That's what you get when you shop with Humanscale and Smart Furniture!

About the Designer

Niels DiffrientNiels Diffrient
Designer of the Freedom Chair, the Liberty Chair, and the Diffrient Light, Niels Diffrient is internationally recognized as a premier designer in the field of ergonomics. Diffrient is a world-renowned and world-travelled designer who has worked with some of the greatest aesthetic and ergonomic designers of this or any century. Diffrient was trained at the Cranbrook Academy of Art where he was able to win the First Medal of Design 3 times during his tenure. After graduation he spent time traveling and working in Europe, thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship he had won. Aside from his obvious bonafides in the realm of furniture design, he also has a background in aeronautical engineering.

Diffrient has created many wonderful chairs in his long career. The Freedom Chair is among the most recent, but he was also responsible for the Diffrient Light Chair and the Liberty Chair. Diffrient co-authored the original three part book on modern ergonomic design, title "Humanscale." It was he who helped to lay out clearly and with great aesthetic and scientific insight the way forward for office chairs, and indeed all types of human-centric furniture design.

The Freedom Chair is one of his greatest accomplishments. It combines his love of design with his passion for ergonomics and humanistic art. It's a comfortable, ground-breaking chair built by one of the masters.

With a resume that includes collaboration with icons Eero Saarinen and Marco Zanuso, a background in aeronautical engineering, and numerous design awards, Niels Diffrient is undoubtedly one of the most influential designers of the past 50 years.

Born in 1928 in Star, Mississippi, Diffrient attended Wayne State University and eventually enrolled in the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he won the First Medal of Design three times during his tenure there. After traveling and working in Europe thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship, Diffrient began work at the design firm Henry Dreyfuss Associates, where he would stay for 25 years. While there, he co-authored the three-volume publication Humanscale. This work summarized his design principles which were rooted in the belief that the human body should drive design for products that humans will interact with. In his own words: "A design should look good and be appealing, but without compromising human factors. Aesthetics should enhance the technical side, not deter from it."

Read the story behind Niels Diffrient and the Freedom Chair
    Awards and Honors:
  • 2002 Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum Product Design Award
  • 1996 Chrysler Award for Innovation
  • 2005 Legend Award from Contract Magazine
  • Named the "Granddaddy of the ergonomic revolution by Forbes Magazine in 2007
  • Honorary Royal Designer for Industry Member- awarded by the Royal Society of Arts and Industry
  • 1996 I.D. Magazine Top 40 Design Innovators

About the Manufacturer

HumanscaleHumanscale's focus since its inception in 1982 has been providing outstanding ergonomic seating and accessories for the home and the office. Their products, which range from task chairs to keyboard trays to CPU holders, are all geared towards making life simpler, easier, and healthier for anyone who works at a desk. Widely recognized for their line of office seating, Humanscale has done much to advance design in some newer product areas- namely in computer and office accessories such as monitor arms, foot machines, and the ergonomic computer mouse. Winner of numerous design awards, Humanscale continues to deliver groundbreaking office tools that combine simplicity, aesthetics, and ergonomics.


The Freedom Chair from Humanscale is so named because of the high degree of movement the chair affords the user. When you take a seat in this chair your shoulders, arms, legs and neck will not only be supported and cared for, they will be loosened up and better able to bend, stretch, and generally be comfortable. Most office chairs actually restrict your shoulder blades, and therefore your arms, back and shoulders. This chair (which has a wide back specially molded to keep your spine in good order) is specifically designed to keep the muscles in your back appropriately loose and free. Not only does this make the user more comfortable, it makes them more healthy and more efficient in terms of movement (and therefore at their work).

Another way the Freedom Chair earns its name is by making non-traditional sitting styles comfortable and supported. For instance, when you slouch (as most office workers do) in a standard office chair (which most office workers have) you're really doing damage to your spine and everything that connects to it - your muscles, your posterior, your arms and shoulders and neck. If can even cause headaches. The Freedom Chair is perfectly designed to accommodate slouching in all its degrees, and gives users the freedom to choose how they want to sit at work.

This is the epitome of an ergonomic chair, built by one of the pioneers and greatest artists of the ergonomics movement, Niels Diffrient. Every part of this chair was built to make you more comfortable, more healthy, and more productive. Let's start with the back of the chair.

The Freedom Chair has an automatically adjustable backrest (Dual Pivot back support) that makes the process of comfortable recline easy and simple. You won't have to fuss over a plethora of levers and knobs, you'll simply be able to recline while all the time maintaining support throughout your back, neck and shoulders. Many modern chairs that try to be ergonomic can make this simple process messy and difficult to understand, leading to incorrect user-created setting that become permanent, and permanent problems as well. When you introduce too much uncertainty into the design, it can be difficult to create a consistently satisfying product. The Freedom Chair deftly avoids that pitfall.

The headrest of the chair is also adjustable, allowing the user to recline healthfully and set the chair to their proper height and weight. This does more than simply calibrate to your height, though - this adjustment will truly "protect your neck." When you lean back in the Freedom Chair, the headrest comes up to greet you, keeping your head a bit elevated even in recline. That keeps your spine correctly aligned, and it keeps you from building up discomfort in your neck, shoulders, and head.

The seat of the chair contains a revolutionary gel cushion that evenly distributes your weight, and considerably lowers the pressure on your back, spine and posterior in doing so. Compared to standard foam office chairs, the difference in pressure can be as much as 60. Because gel acts more like a liquid than a solid it's able to keep you supported and comfortable by displacing weight and pressure, and evenly distributing the same. Most foam chairs, or chairs with even a hard surface underneath, can't be adjusted to your particular body. So they become uncomfortable over time (or even immediately) because your body spends more and more time resting on top of pressure points. The Freedom Chair eliminates the problem, and keeps you comfortable for years and years.

This is one of the best ergonomic office chairs you can buy. From stem to stern it's been built for optimal ergonomic performance and the ultimate in personal comfort and healthy while sitting.

Materials & Measurements

The graphite and titanium bases are made of hard plastic to match the plastic frame of the chair. The base is also available in polished aluminum.

A foam seat comes with the leather upholstered version of the Freedom Chair.

Armpads are available with Duron covers over foam (Duron is a soft urethane plastic material)or gel. Both Duron and gel armpads are available with or without upholstery to match your seat.

A seat depth: 16.25" - 18.5"
B seat height: 16" - 21" (standard); 15.25" - 19.5" (low); 17" - 22.25" (tall)
C seat width: 21"
D backrest height: 18" - 21"
E chair width: 27.25"
F armrest height: 5" - 11"
G armrest length: 13" (standard); 14.25" (advanced)
H distance between armrests: 20" (standard); 11.5" - 21.5" (advanced)
I height (no headrest): 33.5" - 41.5"
J height (with headrest): 43" - 53"
K headrest height range: 5"
L base diameter: 25"
O backrest width: 21"
Freedom Armchair Depth
Freedom Chair Dimensions

Environmental Information

The Freedom Chair is Greenguard Certified and is made of 62 percent recycled materials. It is 90 percent recyclable.

For more information on the Freedom Chair's environmental impact and Humanscale's environmental polices, see our Freedom Chair Environmental Summary.


Shipping & Delivery

Free Shipping: Free

We love free shipping offers and we thought you might too! And just because it's free doesn't mean we skimp on service. The item will ship with UPS ground service which includes delivery directly to your front door or main office. Once shipped, orders will generally arrive within 2-5 business days. This shipping option is simple, fast, easy (and free)!


Chair without headrest: 35lb

Chair with headrest: 39lb

Questions & Answers


Fabric and cushions come with a 5 year warranty, all other pieces come with a 15 year warranty. To see what kind of value that kind of extensive warranty delivers, see our Freedom Chair Warranty summary.

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