Harnessing the Benefits of Ergonomic Home Environments


Do you ever wonder if a well-designed home and ergonomic furniture could affect your comfort and health? Maybe you’ve experienced back pain while doing repetitive tasks at home or wondered why you can’t relax on your couch. If you’ve experienced something similar, you need to familiarize yourself with ergonomics.

Ergonomics is generally associated with the design of workplaces to enhance comfort and individual productivity in the long term. However, the use of ergonomic principles has widened over time, even touching the design of homes and furniture. 

The link between ergonomic principles and housing design is critical because it helps ensure that the quality of your space and furniture will support your home’s comfort, functionality, safety, and livability. Therefore, this article invites you to understand what you must know to create a budget-friendly, ergonomic house.

The key principles of home ergonomic design

Ergonomics is the scientific field dedicated to comprehending the interactions between humans and various components within a system. Meanwhile, home ergonomics employs ergonomic theories, principles, and methods to create designs that enhance our well-being and overall system performance while doing housework. Ergonomics at home encompasses a wide range of factors, such as: 

Body posture and movement

When creating a well-designed home that follows ergonomics principles, you have to keep in mind that your body needs a specific range and area to maintain its neutral posture. Furniture and home designs that provide support in maintaining a neutral body posture are important for reducing fatigue and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) caused by repetitive movement in certain situations. Neutral body posture means your body is aligned and balanced while sitting, standing, lifting, pulling, and pushing. 

Applying this ergonomic principle could help you to enhance your productivity in some areas at home, such as :

Home office

Provide body support in your home office by using height-adjustable chairs, which have an armrest and lumbar support on the backrest for comfort while working long periods. Also, your work desk should have a soft part on the front side, where physical contact with the arms and hands often occurs. Apart from that, the placement of the monitor and laptop must be parallel to the direction of your view (not too high or too low).


Apart from the home office, the kitchen is also an area where you do most of the housework. Thus, when planning the kitchen, you have to consider the heights of countertops, the distances between items, and the placement of objects to create a functional and efficient kitchen that allows for easy working within the space.

The height of the countertops must be adjusted to suit your height. Too low countertops cause the back to bend improperly, while too high countertops cause the elbows to be bent too long. Apart from that, a good kitchen design is recommended to form a “triangle”, namely, countertops on the left, stove in the middle, then sink on the right to improve workflow in the kitchen.

Living room

Apart from an area for doing housework, individuals also need a living room as a relaxing area and a place to welcome guests. Lounge chairs are one of the important elements that must be considered in the living room to support a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. Lounge chairs should elevate the relaxation of your back muscles, so these chairs need to be cushioned for maximum comfort.


Besides the living room, the bedroom is also a critical relaxing area in a home. Bedrooms are generally small but occupied by several large pieces of furniture, so bedroom arrangements that meet ergonomic principles must be done with full consideration.

The bed is the main element in the bedroom. Generally, there is a choice of using a single bed or a double bed, but whatever the size choice, it is recommended to provide space on three sides (right, left, and bottom) as an area for getting on and off the bed.

Environmental elements

Applying home ergonomics to modify the environmental elements should cover lighting, vibration, and indoor climate. They might seem trivial since they do not involve furniture design and arrangement. However, they play an important role in elevating the comfort of your five senses when doing activities or relaxing in your home.


Lighting is an important element for individuals to obtain visual information from the surrounding environment. This is typically measured by lux, which is a unit of direct illumination between a light source and the surface of an object. The higher the lux levels, the farther the object can be reached by light, which is indicated by the brighter intensity of light.

Too low and too high lux levels can result in eye fatigue and headache. There is a range of lux levels which is ideal for different tasks:

  • The lighting level for reading, which is generally done in the home office, is recommended to be around 200-300 lux (for older people, it may be higher). 
  • Ceiling-mounted lights with a lighting level of around 300-500 lux are recommended for lighting in the kitchen area. 
  • It is recommended to set the lighting level around 100-200 lux in the dining area, living room, and bedroom.

You can find the lux levels of a lightbulb in its packaging or description, so be sure to plan ahead.


Noise is an auditory distraction. In creating comfortable home conditions according to ergonomic principles, the house can be divided into two zones: noise and quiet.

Noise zones include the kitchen, bathroom, dining room, living room, and entryway. Meanwhile, the quiet zone includes the bedroom, home office, or study room, where auditory distractions should be minimized.

Indoor climate

The third element is indoor climate, which is also crucial for your well-being and productivity. Of course, you don’t want to live in a home that is too hot during summer or too cold when winter is approaching.

Therefore, you have to maintain the temperature of each room within your home based on weather conditions. You could install an exhaust fan to reduce heat or use a heating system to keep you warm during winter.

The impact of ergonomic home design on physical health

Why should you consider ergonomics when designing your home and choosing furniture?

It’s because you have to think about what your body will feel when doing household chores, over and over and for long periods, with improper ergonomic design. Will you be able to do household chores for a long time if you experience pain? Or will you be lazy because some part of your body hurts? Let’s take a look at some research findings below.

Improves posture and reduces bodily discomfort

In 2022, a case study was conducted to evaluate home office designs used by office workers when working from home. The research showed that as many as 88% of the respondents complained of pain in parts of the body, especially the back and neck, when working from home due to improper ergonomic application. Thus, it’s important to comprehend the proper application of ergonomic principles to reduce bodily discomfort and improve posture during work activities at home.

Reduces physical load

According to Nowakowski (2017), applying ergonomic principles in the kitchen area has many benefits, such as reducing physical load, increasing task satisfaction, and feeling safe and efficient. 

However, poor ergonomic design in the kitchen, especially in the countertop area that is too low or too high, can cause extreme pain in the upper and lower back due to repetitive movements, such as cutting vegetables or preparing food. 

Creates an inviting atmosphere and enhances privacy

Applying ergonomic principles to leisure areas (dining room, living room, and bedroom) also has benefits, especially in reducing body muscle tension after daily activities. Adapting ergonomic principles in the living room and dining room can create an inviting atmosphere, thereby supporting social interaction between individuals in the room.

Meanwhile, designing a bedroom ergonomically can increase privacy and comfort while sleeping and separate it from daily activities.

Budget-friendly strategies for implementing ergonomics at home

You might think that creating an ergonomic home is expensive. However, there are simple strategies you can do to create comfortable and safe home conditions that follow ergonomic principles.

Home office

You don’t need expensive furniture to create a home office that meets ergonomic standards. You can use the following methods to support your body’s comfort and health when working in the home office:

  • Use a stack of books to make a laptop or monitor parallel with your optimal view level.
  • Use an external mouse and keyboard to avoid leaning forward to reach the built-in laptop’s keyboard and mouse.
  • Incorporate artificial and natural lights (make it not too bright or dim).
  • Use a pillow or cushion as a  chair backrest.
  • Adding soft materials (i.e., edge protectors) on the edge of the desk to protect the arm from contact with hard surfaces in the long term.
  • Soundproof your room using available materials, such as adding rugs on the floor or hanging blankets on specific walls where the sound source is.
  • Organize your stationery using a pen holder and put it on the corner of your desk or adjust it to make it reachable.

Read more: How to Organize Your Home Office so You Enjoy Working From Home 


The kitchen is an essential place for preparing daily meals. Therefore, the following simple steps can be taken to support comfort when using the kitchen according to ergonomic standards:

  • Take out everything from the cabinets before preparing food to make everything you need within reach. This will avoid repetitive squatting or bending to take food preparation tools while you need to deal with stuff on the countertops.
  • If the countertops are too low, you could utilize bowls aligned in an inverted position to slightly raise the lying position when cutting or a dough bowl when mixing.
  • Incorporate natural and artificial lights, especially in high-traffic areas.
  • Ensure the kitchen doesn’t have clutter to ease the movement between the sink, stove, and countertops.

Leisure areas

Places like the living room, dining room, and bedroom must ergonomically prioritize the comfort of the occupants. Therefore, here are several ways to make it happen:

  • For the living room, arrange the sofas into a U-position to enhance social interaction. This position is also great if you want to add a television in the living room.
  • The sofas must have a cushion at the backrest and armrest at both ends. For a single sofa, it must have a couple of armchairs. An additional feature for the elderly would be to add a footrest.
  • For the dining room, arrange the chairs around the table to be face-to-face.
  • Provide a space to walk behind the dining chairs to make it easier to access.
  • Bedrooms should be far from the noise zone. However, adding soundproofing on the wall is also recommended for dense homes to minimize noise.
  • To easily access the bed, create an open area on three sides, including the right, left, and bottom.
  • Don’t forget to incorporate natural and artificial lights in the leisure areas.

In conclusion

Ergonomic principles are applicable not only at work but can also be implemented at home. These principles are essential in creating a comfortable area that also supports health and body posture. 

Proper application of ergonomic principles at home is beneficial for your health, improving posture and reducing bodily discomfort. Moreover, it also benefits psychological aspects, improving privacy, enhancing social interaction, and creating an inviting atmosphere. Mistakes in application, although trivial, can cause discomfort and even pain over time.

Plus, applying ergonomic principles in several areas of the home doesn’t need to be expensive. You could easily utilize available equipment and tools to improve design and make a few adjustments.

After reading this article, are you starting to feel that you still need to make many adjustments to your home and furniture design to meet ergonomic principles? Then, let this article be your guide in creating a livable home that fulfills ergonomic principles.

If you would like to see more resources on home ergonomics, check out the Home Organization Science Labs. The lab uses the research of the Institute for Life Management Science to produce courses, certifications, podcasts, videos, and other tools. Visit the Home Organization Science Labs today.

home organization science labs

Photo by Image by Freepik

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.