How to find the right rocking chair
The classic rocking chair is one of the most underrated pieces of furniture. For more than three decades, the rocking chair has been used to put babies to sleep and helps adults relieve stress and anxiety. Their comfortable armrest and gentle rocking motion have been synonymous with slow mornings and lazy weekends.
Scientifically, the back and forth motion has therapeutic benefits. Typically, rocking chairs have a sloping, lounging angle that helps you relax and balance your centre of gravity. This places you in the best position possible for resting. It's not surprising that these chairs have not gone out of fashion after all these years.
Rocking chairs come in different shapes, sizes, styles and designs to suit your individual needs and preferences. If you are unsure about which rocking chair to choose, we'll help you find the perfect option for your needs.
Types of rocking chair designs
Your search for the right rocking chair starts with knowing the different types of rocking chairs available on the market. There are three common types of rocking chair designs. These include rockers, platform rockers and gliders. Let's take a closer look at the different designs to help you understand better.
Traditional rocking chairs
This rocking chair type has a simple design, typically featuring two feet made of curved wood. The two feet are the only point of contact between the chair and the floor. The design and aesthetics of these rocking chairs have evolved over the years. Today, you'll find more advanced designs, such as the eye-catching bentwood models.
Spring-loaded rocking chairs
Also known as platform rockers, spring-loaded rocking chairs are mounted to a base. In-built springs control the back and forth motion of the chair. Although these rocking chairs became popular, they never replaced traditional rocking chairs. Some platform rockers feature a reclining position and a footrest that extends outwards from the chair's body. However, these chairs are not as smooth as traditional rockers as the springs have to be oiled regularly to prevent squeaking. On the upside, they have a stable base that prevents the rocker chair from moving during use.
Like platform rockers, gliders have a stable base on which the chair is mounted using braces. The braces allow the chair to move back and forth, creating a gliding motion. Glider rockers are popular and often come with an extra piece of furniture that serves as a footrest. However, these chairs are resistant to tipping backwards, which, to some people, is actually not a drawback but an advantage.
How to select the right material for your rocking chair
There's no doubt that material is one of the most important factors to keep in mind when choosing a rocking chair. The durability of a rocker depends on the material used in its construction. Rocking chairs come in different materials to suit your needs. Here are the most commonly used materials.
Timeless and traditional, wood is one of the most popular materials used to make rocking chairs. The natural look of wood and the warmth it adds to a space are features you wouldn't find with other materials. There are different types and qualities of wood with varying degrees of resistance to the elements. This also creates a wide price range for rocking chairs made of different types of wood.
For outdoor rocking chairs, go for options made of hardwood. Teak is one of the most popular hardwoods. Rockers made of teak are not only strong but also long lasting. Teak has a high oil content which makes it impervious to rain, pests and sun rays. Acacia wood is another type of hardwood. Not only does it have an attractive natural grain, but it is also water resistant and naturally antibacterial.
Made with wood residue and fibre materials, MDF is an inexpensive alternative to solid wood. It might not be as durable as solid wood, but recent years have seen an upsurge of rocking chairs made from MDF. One of the main advantages of this material is its smooth surface and cuts. This results in a nice-looking rocker that enhances the look of your space.
MDF is a great material for garden rockers as it remains strong in humid conditions. This is because it can shrink and expand consistently. However, it tends to absorb water rapidly due to the fine fibres used to make it.
Rattan is one of the most popular materials for furniture, and we're now seeing a resurgence of its synthetic cousin, poly rattan. Also known as synthetic rattan, poly rattan is one of the best outdoor furniture materials, making it a great choice for rocking chairs.
Not only do rattan rocking chairs have a natural look, but they are also durable, versatile, weatherproof, and require little maintenance. You can also find them in different finishes, from traditional to modern.
Polypropylene is a flexible material that becomes deformable at high temperatures and retains its shape when cooled. This material is considered safer than other types of plastics. Rocking chairs made from this material are maintenance-free. You simply need to bring it home and place it where you want it to be; you won't spend any more money on it.
Polypropylene chairs are also environmentally friends. They can also take a thorough beating without breaking. Dropping a polypropylene chair won't damage it. In addition, they are available in a wide range of colours to choose from.
What rocking chair style should you choose?
Aside from material, you also need to know what rocking chair style you need for your space. Do you want a modern rocker or something more traditional? Choosing the right style ensures the chair complements your existing décor. This section will guide you in choosing the perfect rocking chair style for your space.
This is typically what comes to mind when you think about a rocking chair. The design of farmhouse rocking chairs is the same. The only variable would be seat construction, which can be slatted or one-piece. For a slatted model, you'll need a cushion, especially if you intend to sit on it for longer hours. A one-piece seat can look comfortable even without cushions. This model makes a good option for those looking for a clean, uncluttered look.
Farmhouse rockers offer a welcoming feel and add a touch of nature to your space. It embeds itself nicely into your space, as it has done for many years. Most farmhouse rocking chairs are made from wood, though you can find modern options.
Scandinavian, retro and modern
If you're looking to create a simple, modern space for relaxing, go for Scandinavian-style rocking chairs. These rocking chairs have clean lines and compact dimensions that fit perfectly in modern spaces.
Adding a modern piece to a traditional setting is also a great way to update your space. If you live in a home built in the 1950s, Retro rocking chairs will give your space a lift. There are many rocking chairs inspired by styles of the 20th century.
Rocking chairs can be plain or upholstered. Choose an upholstered gliding rocker if you're looking for something comfortable, preferably for your living room. For a kitchen or patio, go for plastic or plain wood as they are easy to clean. Most plain models come with a scatter cushion, allowing you to enjoy the best of both worlds. Alternatively, you can buy your own scatter cushions or use a rug that matches your existing décor theme.
What size of rocking chair should you select?
Rocking chairs require more space due to their rocking motion and roomy seats. It's important to measure your space first to ensure there's enough room to accommodate a rocking chair.
- The standard size of a rocking chair is 40 – 50 inches tall, 40 – 50 inches deep, and 26 – 30 inches wide.
- Leave a space of 2 – 3 feet on either side of your chair so that you won't bump into the wall or people when rocking. This will also allow space for people to move around easily.
Care and maintenance tips for your rocking chair?
Once you've found the right rocking chair, the next step is learning how to take care of it. Otherwise, mould and mildew will grow on the chair, and the bolts and fasteners will soon come loose. Here are a few guidelines to help you keep your rocking chair in good condition.
Paint and waterproofing
Your rocker will need painting, sealing and waterproofing every now and then. Exposing bare wood to weather elements will cause rotting, which will eventually destroy the chair.
Clean your rocking chair
Keeping your rocking chair clean is crucial in ensuring it lasts longer. Unlike regular dirt, mould and mildew will continue to colonise the chair if not removed. They will grow inside the wood and eventually force the joints apart. You'll rarely notice this until the chair falls apart.
Lubricate moving parts
If you have a gliding rocking chair, you'll need to oil or grease it regularly to ensure it operates smoothly. For outdoor rock chairs, use heavier grease to prevent moisture from damaging the mechanism. Indoor rocking chairs will only need a small quantity of oil. However, don't use excess oil or grease as it can drip on the floor and damage your finished surface.
Tighten loose bolts
Loose bolts can make the whole chair fall apart, making the repair process more complicated. Take a few minutes from your busy schedule to check loose bolts and tighten them to avoid future problems.
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