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Salon Chair Buying Guide

choosing the best salon chair

Choosing salon chairs is a fundamental part of equipping your hair or beauty salon. Your choice of styling chair directly impacts the client experience because it’s where they’ll spend most of their time, as well as being a key part of your salon’s aesthetic. Salon chairs also make a big difference for stylists in terms of ergonomics and efficiency. Keep reading to learn what to look for in a good salon chair and how to select stylish and comfortable chairs that will impress your clients and help your salon run smoothly!

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Types of Salon Chairs

The first thing to decide is what type of salon chair will work best for your business.

Styling chairs are designed with a height-adjustable hydraulic base that swivels completely around, and a relatively low back to allow easier access to long hair. Salon styling chairs are well-suited for cutting, coloring and styling hair, and come in many different designs to accommodate the needs of different clients and stylists.

All-purpose salon chairs are styling chairs that can tilt back or fully recline and have a removable headrest, allowing them to be used for multiple services such as cutting and styling, shampooing, makeup, lash treatments, facials and more. All-purpose chairs are great for salons with limited space and can help you stretch your equipment budget when you’re first starting out. All-purpose chairs also have a hydraulic base with swivel and height adjustment—except for the Envie Electric All-Purpose Chair - Makeup, Brows, Facials & More, which has an electric base.

Shampoo chairs are designed for use with shampoo sinks, and are sloped or automatically recline. Unlike styling or all-purpose chairs, shampoo chairs don’t have a hydraulic base and are not height adjustable.

Dryer chairs have a high chair back with a cut-out space and a solid base. They’re designed for use with a hooded dryer, hair steamer or color processor.

Cutting stools are height adjustable stools (some with a removable chair back) for hair stylists or estheticians to use while cutting hair or providing other services to clients.

What’s the difference between a salon chair and a barber chair?

Unlike salon chairs, barber chairs have a headrest and are designed to recline for facial hair shaving and trimming. Barber chairs oftentimes have a wider seat cushion, bigger footprint and higher weight limit compared to salon chairs. All-purpose chairs are in between, and can work as both salon chairs or barber chairs.

Client Comfort

In a hair salon, clients spend most of their time sitting. You want to make sure you choose salon chairs that comfortably accommodate a wide range of body types so your guests look forward to coming back! Keep these factors in mind:

Cushioning

Minerva Beauty salon chairs feature high density foam seat cushions with memory for maximum comfort.

Chair width & depth

Our styling and all-purpose (AP) salon chairs range in width from 18” to 23” (measured inside the arms).

Salon chair seat depth is measured from the front of the seat cushion to the chair back, and ranges from 16” to 20.5”. Salon chairs below or at the lowest end of this range may be uncomfortable for clients with larger bodies, so keep inclusivity in mind when making your selections.

Armrest style

We offer different armrest styles so you can choose which type is most comfortable and best suits you, your space, and your clients. Open sided armrests allow more airflow through the clients sides, are easier to clean (no hair stuck in between cracks/crevices) and usually have a smaller footprint and lighter, airy look that is ideal if you're working in a smaller space or suite. Fully upholstered and cushioned armrests provide clients with the cradled "sink into the couch" type comfort with a look and design that's naturally bulkier and makes a statement - ideal for larger spaces OR as the statement piece in a 1 chair suite.

salon chairs with black vinyl seat and open armrests

Shop the Vantage Salon Styling Chair in 13 colors

luxury salon chair with padded armrests

Shop the Kona Salon Styling Chair in 3 colors

Footrest style & accessibility

salon chair with handicap accessible flip-up footrest shown in down and up positions

It's important to consider a salon chair's footrest style and how it could affect guests with disabilities or mobility issues.

T-shaped footrests are sleeker, take up less space and offer easier accessibility in/out of the chair, however U-shaped footrests can provide more stability and balance while in the chair, given their shape.

Two of our chairs, the Zaria Salon Styling Chair with Flip-Up Footrest and the Atikus All Purpose Salon Chair with Flip-Up Footrest, have a flip-up footrest specifically designed for handicap accessibility. This is an especially important consideration for salons in eldercare centers.


Hair Stylist Ergonomics

Hair stylists spend long hours working around salon chairs, so the more adjustable they are, the better! The first thing to look for is a height adjustable hydraulic base that rotates. This will allow the stylist to turn the client around, and raise or lower the chair as needed so they can work comfortably.

Most of our salon chairs have a travel range between 20” - 28” which provides a comfortable working height for the majority of stylists. You can increase or decrease the overall travel range of any styling chair depending on the base you pair it with (+/- 2”). Refer to the salon chair dimensions and hydraulic base specs at the end of this guide.

Best salon chair for short stylists

Our Emma Salon Styling Chair and Astrid Salon Styling Chair are ideal for stylists on the shorter side! They both have a lower-end travel range of 18” - 25” (measured from floor to top of seat cushion), and will sit even lower when paired with a Polished Chrome Round Styling Chair Base with Short Hydraulic Pump.

We also offer a Brushed Stainless Steel Low Profile Square Styling Chair Base with Hydraulic Pump and a Brushed Stainless Steel Low Profile Round Styling Chair Base with Hydraulic Pump—both of these go lower than our other base models.

Another consideration for short stylists is the back height of the styling chair: the lower it is, the easier it will be for them to reach over it.

two salon chairs for short stylists with seat covers

Shop the Emma Salon Styling Chair in 9 colors

salon chair for short hairstylist paired with a low chair base

Shop the Astrid Salon Styling Chair in 5 colors

Best salon chair for tall stylists

Our Noble All Purpose Salon Styling Chair is best for tall stylists, with a higher-end travel range of 23” - 30”.

Runners-up for best salon chair for tall stylists are our Murano Salon Styling Chair, Pagani Salon Styling Chair, Churchill Salon Styling Chair, Eros Salon Styling Chair and Arnage Salon Styling Chair, which each have a travel range of 22” - 29”.

To increase the height of any styling chair, pair it with our Electric Salon Styling Chair Base (up to 25.5” tall) or with our 5-star Polished Aluminum Styling Chair Base with Hydraulic Pump (up to 24”).

Salon Chair Accessories for Stylists

We offer a wide variety of salon floor mats that pair perfectly with our styling chairs and make it much more comfortable to stand for extended periods. Our floor mats offer different shaped cut-outs for different chair base styles and come in a variety of thicknesses, colors and textures.

Adjustable stools are another great option to keep stylists comfortable, especially for services that take longer.

Footprint & Spacing

You definitely want to think about how the salon chairs you choose will fit within your overall salon layout, including how much space you have around each styling chair.

Some salon chairs have a bigger footprint than others, which is measured side to side from the outside of the arms, and front to back from the footrest to the chair back. A difference of an inch or two might not sound like much, but it adds up when you’re placing multiple salon chairs in a row.

For small spaces, choose a compact styling chair like the Astra Salon Styling Chair or Prado Salon Styling Chair, which both have a footprint of 23”W x 33”D. If you have plenty of space you can easily fit chairs with a larger footprint, like the Eros Salon Styling Chair (29”W x 40”D) or the Arnage Salon Styling Chair (30”W x 40”D).

All-purpose salon chairs will have a larger footprint when reclined, so make sure you take that into account when planning your layout.

How should salon chairs be positioned?

Styling chairs should be positioned at least 2 feet away from a side wall, and at least 4 feet away from the mirror.

There needs to be enough room for the stylist to have a clear view in the mirror, access tools in the salon station, swivel the styling chair 360° and walk around the chair without crowding the client. Make sure to take the entire footprint (including the footrest) into account when planning space for your salon chairs and styling stations.

salon chairs positioned with enough distance between and around them

Plan on leaving ample space between and around styling chairs for comfort and efficiency

How much distance should there be between styling chairs?

You need at least four and a half feet (54”) between styling chairs (measured from the outside of the arms) so stylists can move around and rotate the chairs without worrying about bumping into each other.

If you have a luxury or high-end hair salon you should leave even more space between chairs, as clients paying premium prices expect greater comfort and more privacy during their appointment.

It’s also a good idea to have a couple of salon chairs with enough space around them to accommodate guests who use a walker or other mobility equipment. Guests who use a wheelchair may prefer to stay in their chair or transfer to a styling chair if they can easily do so.

You can use our free 2D design tool to create a layout of your salon’s floor plan, including styling chairs and other Minerva Beauty salon equipment.

free 2D design tool used to provide adequate distance between salon chairs

Use our 2D design tool to visualize your salon chair layout

Design & Aesthetics

Salon chairs are available in many different styles, shapes and colors to suit a wide range of salon aesthetics. Mid-century modern is a popular source of design inspiration for salons, and many of our styling chairs are a natural fit for the MCM aesthetic with neutral tones, clean lines and geometric shapes.

Our Bella Vita collection includes Italian-made styling chairs with a “trendy retro” look and plenty of fun colors to pick from. With hundreds of design, color and texture options, we have a styling chair to complement every style. We can even provide upholstery swatch samples if you’re looking for a very specific color.

Salon chair design tips:

  • Salon chairs with open armrests help create the illusion of more space and light (great for smaller spaces)
  • Chairs with floating backs, open armrests, or gaps along the base of the seat cushion allow hair to be cleaned more easily (the Astrid Salon Styling Chair is sleek, modern and supremely easy to clean)
  • Think about how your salon chairs will look in photos that go on social media and your website
  • If unsure of your salon aesthetic (or you like to change it up) go for a classic style and neutral color that will suit your space no matter how you repaint or redecorate (we love love the timeless, versatile look of the Murano Salon Styling Chair)
  • Your salon chairs don’t have to match - you can mix up the colors and even the styles if your tastes run more eclectic
  • Hair dye will stain vinyl upholstery - use salon chair covers and consider getting darker-colored styling chairs if your salon specializes in color treatments
  • A chair base with a rubber seal around it makes it easier to keep floors clean

Quality & Warranty

Before you buy, make sure you’re investing in salon chairs made from durable materials that are built to last through long hours in a busy salon setting. Our styling chairs have steel reinforced frames and heavy-duty ⅝” thick 7-ply plywood, and the commercial-grade vinyl upholstery is reinforced with double stitching.

We offer a hassle-free 1-year warranty on chair tops and a 2-year warranty on chair bases and hydraulic pumps (which can also be purchased separately). Our dedicated customer service team is available Monday-Friday from 9am-6pm EST at 888-332-0123.

How much weight does a salon chair hold?

All Minerva Beauty styling chairs and all-purpose salon chairs have a weight limit of 350 lbs. If you need to accommodate guests who are heavier, consider one of our barber chairs, which can support up to 450 lbs.

Available replacement parts

Minerva Beauty stocks commonly replaced parts for salon styling chairs to make it quick and easy to keep your chairs looking like new:

You can also replace just the chair top for all of our styling chairs - reach out to our customer service team to order a replacement chair top.

Budget

High-quality salon chairs range in price from $229 to $1000+. Features like padded armrests and design details like quilted embroidery affect how much salon chairs cost.

Think about the overall value rather than just the cost. A bargain-priced styling chair that creaks, cracks or wobbles after a few months of use won’t save you any money in the long run.

Best value-priced salon chairs

The Sonoma Salon Styling Chair, Ashburn Salon Styling Chair, Virage Salon Styling Chair and Carrera Salon Styling Chair all cost less than $250 and have a simple, timeless design. They’re made with the same durable materials and offer the same great warranty as our higher-end styling chairs!

Best-selling luxury salon chairs

When you want elegant styling chairs to impress your guests with exceptional beauty and comfort, look no further than the Cloud Salon Styling Chair, Tosca Salon Styling Chair and Sophia Salon Styling Chair - Special Order. These modern styling chairs are made in Italy and combine unique design with reliable functionality - every hairdresser’s dream!

Assembly

Before committing, you should read the assembly instructions and customer reviews to make sure the salon chairs you have in mind are easy to assemble and will feel sturdy once you’ve put them together. Our best-selling Avant Salon Styling Chair has dozens of five-star reviews, and like all of our styling chairs it only requires securing a few bolts to complete assembly.

Salon Chair Dimensions

While there’s no standard size for salon chairs, the most common salon chair dimensions you’ll find in salons today are:

Width: 19” - 20”

Height (range): 20” - 27”

Chair back: 14” - 17”

Seat depth: 18”

Footprint: 27”W x 38”D

Refer to the tables below for width, travel range, depth, back height, and footprint for each of our salon chairs, as well as the different hydraulic bases you can pair with them.

Salon Chairs by Width

Width of the seat is measured inside the arms.

Width Chair
18” Prado
18.25” Cloud, Aviator
18.5” Volante
19” Azure, Sequoia, Greta, Senna, Pagani, Arnage, Miriam, Tosca, Katrina, Noble (AP)
19.5” Denali, Astra, Emma, Astrid, Clarissa, Corsa, Zaria, Evora, Aston, Sophia, Phaeton (AP)
19.75” Maranello, Regal
20” Bellini, Aria, Evoque, Kona, Carrera, Sovereign, Element, Ashburn, Sonoma, Lydia, Modena (AP)
20.25” Atikus (AP)
20.5” Vantage, Avant, Murano, Virage, Envie (AP), Milano (AP)
21” Cinque, Venturi, Corsair, Rivoli, Eros
23” Churchill

Salon Chairs by Height

Height is measured from the floor to the top of the seat cushion and shown as a travel range, which can vary depending on the hydraulic base you choose for your chair.

Height travel range (+/- 2”) Chair
18” - 25” Emma, Astrid
18.25” - 24.5” Zaria
18.5” - 25.5” Clarissa
19” - 26” Prado, Venturi, Miriam, Katrina
19.25” - 26.25” Envie (AP)
19.5” - 26.5” Greta, Cloud
19.5” - 27.5” Corsa
19.75” - 27.75” Aviator
20” - 27” Astra, Volante, Bellini, Maranello, Corsair, Aston, Element, Ashburn, Virage, Sonoma
20.5” - 27.5” Senna, Avant, Carerra, Lydia
21” - 28” Denali, Sequoia, Evora, Cinque, Rivoli, Sovereign, Tosca, Atikus (AP), Phaeton (AP)
21.5” - 28.5” Regal
21.75” - 28.75” Vantage
22” - 28.5” Milano (AP), Modena (AP)
22” - 29” Murano, Pagani, Churchill, Eros, Arnage, Sophia
23” - 30” Noble (AP)

Salon Chairs by Back Height

Chair back height is measured from the base of the chair to the top of the chair back.

Back height Chair
14” Denali, Sequoia, Volante, Senna, Azure, Aria, Evoque, Venturi, Cloud, Pagani, Cinque, Corsair, Rivoli, Phaeton (AP), Noble (AP)
14.75” Aviator
15” Aston
15.25” Evora
15.5” Ashburn, Sonoma
15.75” Vantage
16” Sovereign
16.5” Astrid, Avant, Carrera, Element
16.75” Corsa
17” Astra, Murano, Kona, Churchill, Regal, Arnage, Atikus (AP)
17.5” Clarissa, Bellini, Maranello, Zaria
18” Greta, Eros, Virage, Modena (AP)
18.25” Miriam
18.5” Prado, Emma
21” Milano (AP)
23.5” Envie (AP)

Salon Chairs by Seat Depth

Seat depth is measured from the front of the seat cushion to the back of the chair.

Seat Depth Chair
16” Greta
16.5” Senna
16.75” Carrera
17” Denali, Emma, Astrid, Clarissa, Eros
17.5” Sequoia, Azure
17.75” Volante
18” Murano, Bellini, Evoque, Corsa, Pagani, Evora, Regal, Sovereign, Virage, Miriam, Phaeton (AP), Noble (AP), Modena (AP)
18.25” Prado, Cloud
18.5” Aria, Venturi, Churchill, Cinque, Rivoli
18.75” Astra, Avant, Aviator
19” Vantage, Element, Ashburn, Sonoma, Atikus
19.25” Envie (AP)
19.5” Corsair, Milano (AP)
19.75” Aston
20” Kona, Maranello, Arnage
20.5” Zaria

Salon Chairs by Footprint

Footprint is measured from the outsides of the arms (W) and from the front of the footrest to the back of the chair (D).

Footprint Chair
23”W x 33”D Astra, Prado
23”W x 40”D Denali
23.25”W x 35”D Aston
23.25”W x 37”D Azure
23.75”W x 34”D Vantage, Regal
23.875”W x 36”D Carrera
24”W x 36”D Astrid
24.5”W x 35”D Aria
24.5”W x 37”D Corsa
24.5”W x 38.5”D Aviator
24.75”W x 40”D Element
25”W x 34”D Emma
25”W x 36”D Sequoia
25.25”W x 33”D Volante
25.5”W x 33”D Zaria, Ashburn, Sonoma
25.5”W x 34”D Evoque
26”W x 35”D Pagani
26”W x 36.5”D Evora
26”W x 37”D Miriam
26”W x 38”D Bellini, Maranello, Corsair, Virage
26”W x 40”D Phaeton (AP) (47”D reclined)
26.5”W x 40”D Milano (AP) (50”D reclined), Modena (AP) (45”D reclined)
27”W x 33”D Atikus (AP) (49”D reclined)
27”W x 36”D Sophia
27”W x 38”D Venturi, Churchill, Cinque, Rivoli, Katrina
27.5”W x 33”D Clarissa
27.5”W x 38”D Avant
28”W x 35”D Greta
28.25”W x 37.25”D Envie (AP) (57”D reclined)
28.5”W x 33”D Senna
28.5”W x 34”D Cloud
29”W x 35”D Tosca, Lydia
29”W x 37”D Murano
29”W x 40”D Eros
29”W x 42”D Noble (AP) (47”D reclined)
30”W x 37”D Sovereign
30”W x 40”D Arnage
30.5”W x 37”D Kona

Hydraulic Chair Bases by Diameter & Height

Diameter is measured around the bottom of the base. Height range is measured from the floor to the seat bracket.

Hydraulic Base Diameter Height range
5-Star 23.5” 17” - 24”
Round (chrome, white, black) 23.5” 16” - 23”
Short round (chrome) 23.5” 14” - 20”
Oversized round (chrome, white, black) 23.5” 16” - 23”
Low profile round (stainless steel) 21.5” 15.5” - 22.5” (with collar)

14” - 21” (without collar)

Low profile square (stainless steel) 20” 15.5” - 22.5” (with collar)

14” - 21” (without collar)

Floor mount 7” 15.5” - 22.5”
Electric 23.5” 17” - 25”

Shop all styling chairs online or check out our lookbook for salon design inspiration!

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