How Much Legroom Should You Have Under Your Desk

Having enough legroom at your desk can be a big driver of desk comfort. If you’re not comfortable at your desk, you probably won’t want to spend much time there. 

You need enough space for your knees, thighs, and feet to be comfortable at your desk all day long. 

In this article, we’re going to talk about how much legroom you actually need to be comfortable at your desk. 

There are three dimensions you should care about underneath your desk: width, height, and depth. In short, you want a virtual box of legroom that measures 20 inches in width, 24 inches in depth, and 20 – 28 inches in height. 

Keep in mind that this is just a starting point. If you have longer or wider set legs and need more space, adjust accordingly. Let’s talk about each one of these dimensions individually in the event you are limited. 

Herman Miller Office Chair

Dialing In Vertical Leg Space

Vertical leg space is critical to having your thighs and knees free to move around under your desk. You don’t want them rubbing or being forced against the underside of your desk which can be pretty uncomfortable. 

We recommend having around 20 to 28 inches (51 to 71 centimeters) of vertical legroom under your desk. 

These numbers come straight from the US Department of Labor. They ensure all working Americans have a safe working environment. All the numbers in this article are from the experts in this department. 

This is a big range because we humans come in a huge range of heights too! A 5ft tall person won’t need the same amount of room as a 6ft tall person. 

First Dial-In Desk Height

If your desk height is limiting the height of your legroom, you first have to adjust your desk. We have a dedicated article on dialing in the perfect desk height here. 

Because the ideal desk height is different for people of different heights, use a desk height calculator, like this one

A desk that is too short can make your legroom very restrictive. A desk that is too high might just be uncomfortable for you to work at. 

Desktop Height measurement tape

For those of you with too short of a desk, check out our article on making your desk taller. You can simply use furniture risers to do this. If you have a standing desk, dialing in the perfect desk height should be easy enough. 

Heavy Duty Stackable Furniture Risers

The stackable furniture risers offer a customizable height design for various furniture legs, with each riser holding up to 12000 lbs. They can raise furniture anywhere from 0.59 inches to 4.49 inches.

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Once your desk is at the right height, you should have the right amount of legroom unless you have a seriously thick desk. 

As an easy vertical space test, I like to have about an inch or two of space above my thighs. 

Depth of Legroom Needed

The next dimension of legroom we need to pay attention to is depth. More legroom also lets you fit desk accessories like a footrest.

CushZone Under Desk Foot Rest

This CushZone footrest provides a comfortable sitting position, it elevates your legs which can improve blood circulation in the legs. It features an adjustable height, high-quality foam, and a non-slip and machine-washable cover.

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Having the right amount of legroom depth will allow you to stretch your legs comfortably without any impedance. 24 inches (61 cm) is the recommended legroom depth.

Legroom depth is a little more flexible as you can move your chair back a little bit for those moments you want to stretch your legs out fully. 

With this flexibility, it’s not nearly as important to perfectly nail as the other dimensions. 

I am 5’5″, and I have a desk depth of 30 inches with nothing under my desk. This translates to 30 inches of legroom depth. I rarely find myself needing the full 30 inches of depth for my legs. 

The US Department of Labor shows a requirement for a knee-level depth of 17 inches and a floor-level depth of 24 inches. This is because your feet will be able to stretch out more than your knees would. 

The Ideal Leg Width Space Needed

The last dimension here is the width of your virtual legroom box. Having the appropriate width underneath your desk will ensure both of your legs have room on either side and in between. 

Being crammed in your leg width can feel super claustrophobic and uncomfortable. 

20 inches (51 centimeters)  is the minimum recommended legroom width. 

Personally, I recommend more than 20 inches for most people. If you are in a small space, that might be all you are able to do, and it will be adequate. 

 I currently am using a larger desk with ALEX drawers on either side, so I am working with 32 inches in legroom width. It is very freeing to have this much leg space. 

I can easily move my legs in any orientation without bumping into anything. If you want to spread out your legs and you are restricted to 20 inches, pull your chair out and give your legs a break in the open air. 

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I'm a big time workspace enthusiast who is constantly experimenting with my setup. Sharing along the way to help people make their own desk setups more functional and inviting, whether it be for productivity or play!

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