How To Choose A Rocking Chair

It is easy to become overwhelmed with choices when buying rocking chairs. There is a plethora of styles, designs, and materials from which to choose, and the chairs have only one thing in common: they rock.

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Why get a rocking chair?

  • Rocking chairs mimic the safe environment enjoyed by unborn infants. They sway like the body of a woman walking, invoking that sense of safety and peace.

  • They can also provide foot movement for someone who is sitting at a task that requires a degree of immobility, but perhaps not a lot of minute manual dexterity. Rocking flexes the feet and ankles, promoting a moderate amount of cardio exercise, without the coordination needed to operate a peddle bike or foot rocker.

  • Rocking chairs were the recliner of the past. Glider rockers with a gliding footstool can allow a mother with a fretful child to quietly rock her baby while being able to put her feet up. Rockers, as childcare assistants, have gone in and out of fashion with pediatricians, but any parent who is tired of walking the floor with a fretful baby will vouch for how grateful they are to have a rocking chair.

What style of rocking chair should you get?

Here are some of the most popular styles of rocking chairs:

  • Straight-Back, No Arms, Slat-Seated Rockers

Made from wood or faux wood, these are more comfortable than they sound. Add a thin pad to the seat, and you have the perfect place to sit on your front porch (or back porch, or patio) and shell peas, read a book, rock a baby or play a musical instrument.

They fulfill some of the conditions suggested by pediatricians who are trying to prevent SIDS or co-sleeping deaths because there is no heavy padding, no smothering upholstery, and the adult is unlikely to fall asleep in one.

Blue Armless Upholstered Cotton Metal Rocking Chair
Teak Finish Acacia Double Rocking Chair
Indonesia Wicker Rattan Rocking Chair
Black Cream Walnut Beech Solid Manufactured Wood Rocking Chair
Foam Fabric Upholstered Armless Rocking Chair
Natural Solid Wood Eucalyptus Rocking Chair
  • Straight-Back, with Arms, Slat-Seated or with Cushioned Seat

This is your sewing rocker, great for stitching away at long seams or basting quilt blocks. The arms provide a place to rest your elbows or to fasten a pin cushion. A nice side table is a big help. Not quite as suitable for the porch as the plain rocker.

Espresso Walnut Solid Manufactured Wood Rocking Chair
Blue Upholstered Birch Solid Manufactured Wood Rocking Chair
White Mahogany Solid Wood Rocking Chair
Brown Mahogany Wood Rocking Chair
Warm Brown Oak Asian Hardwood Rocker Chair
Fabric Acacia Teak Finish Rocking Chair
  • Glider Rocker and Rocking Stool

This can be a real blessing for a busy mother who needs a quiet place to put her feet up while she is nursing her baby. A model that has an upholstered rather than open work sides is better for keeping small feet and hands away from moving parts.

Glider rockers are great when your baby is an infant, 0 to 6 months, but as soon as your little one starts pulling up on things, it might be a good idea to move it from the nursery into the living room.

Metal Steel Reclining Glider And Ottoman
White Solid Wood Glider And Ottoman
Black Sleigh Frame Glider And Ottoman
Metal Solid Manufactured Beech Wood Rocking Chair
Walnut Upholstered Rocking Chair & Ottoman
Light Oak Microfiber Glider And Ottoman
  • Swivel Rocker

Often constructed from rattan, including a protective screen around the metal-spring base, this rocker will not only rock back and forth, but can swivel from side to side.

This can be a great way to save on space since it can easily be made to turn from one area to another. This feature also makes it possible to use this model as a desk chair.

Brown Wicker Rattan Swivel Rocking Chair
Polyester Rattan Wicker Swivel Rocker
Cotton Twill Polyester Swivel Papasan Chair
Black Faux Leather Swivel Rocker Game Chair
Black Synthetic Fiber Faux Leather Swivel Lounge Chair And Ottoman
  • Upholstered Seat on Solid Wood Rockers

This is a classic design that will go well with nearly any décor, from Victorian to shabby chic. The only design with which it will look a little out of place might be modern, and even there, a rocker could be upholstered to blend with the rest of the furnishings.

Foam Solid Wood Rocking Chair
Espresso Brown Faux Leather Solid Manufactured Wood Rocking Chair
Fabric Foam Natural Solid Wood Rocking Chair
Natural Black Gray Foam Polyester Solid Wood Rocking Chair
Dark Walnut Fabric Polyester Rocking Chair
Fabric Antique Oak Solid Manufactured Wood Rocking Chair
  • Portable Spring Rocker

Turn any chair, tree, wall or bench with a solid back into a rocking chair. The portable spring rocker is set with the rounded end down and the open end up to give you that little bit of bounce needed to rock a child. It can even be used as a backpacker’s seat. Just put down a pillow and prop the rocker against a sturdy tree.

Folding Pine Wood Rocking Chair
Acacia Solid Wood Rocking Adirondack Chair
Black Metal Outdoor Spring Rocking Chair With Cushions
Solid Wood Folding Rocking Chairs
Metal Steel Nylon Mesh Reclining Zero Gravity Chair
Outdoor Pod Rocker Collapsible Rocking Chair
  • Rocking Recliner

Combine the best of two worlds with a recliner that has a built-in footstool and that rocks. Talk about cradled in the arms of comfort! For chilly climates add a soft throw that is always there to bundle up in, and you are ready for the coldest winter night.

Foam Manufactured Wood Reclining Glider
Solid Manufactured Wood Reclining Glider
Faux Leather Rocker Glider Swivel Manual Recliner
Dark Brown Bonded Leather Manual Rocker Recliner
Vinyl Leather Power Rocker Recliner
Polyester Blend Metal Solid Manufactured Wood Manual Rocker Recliner
  • Rattan Rocker

For climates that are just too warm for upholstery, the forgiving structures made from rattan are both comfortable and supportive. Rocking helps produce a light breeze, making it easier to stay cool on a hot day. Add a side table with a cool drink, and you are ready to relax. Many rattan pieces are suitable for a covered porch.

Rattan Rocking Chair With Cushions
Wicker Rattan Rocking Chair With Cushions
Resin Wicker Rattan Rocking Chair With Cushions
Rattan Metal Modern Patio Rocking Chair With Cushion
Steel Wicker Rattan Rocking Chair
Wicker And Teak Rocking Chair With Cushions
Antique Gray Wicker Rattan Rocking Chair
  • Upholstered Reclining Glider with Stationary Foot Stool

For those who find the gliding footstool just a little too much movement, this is the answer. The upholstery helps keep toddlers from getting fingers or toes caught in the gliding mechanism, and stationary footstools are perfect for babies that are just learning to pull up.

Solid Wood Gray Taupe And Off White Polyester Reclining Glider
Solid Manufactured Wood Swivel Glider And Ottoman
Metal Polyester Swivel Glider And Ottoman
Metal Polyester Nursery Chair & Ottoman Set
Blue Polyester Metal Swivel Glider And Ottoman
Gray Solid Manufactured Wood Swivel Glider And Ottoman

Whar are the best upholstery choices for a rocking chair?

Rocking chairs can be upholstered in just about any possible fabric, ranging from faux leather to ornate, hand-embroidered tapestry.

But the most comfortable fabrics are smooth weave prints that can be scotch guarded, and wiped clean of spills. The framework and fabric can easily be coordinated with any sort of interior décor, but rocking chairs go really well with country or shabby chic. But if your living room is modern, then, by all means, go for a rocking chair that is upholstered in black or white and that has black or chrome rockers.

Rocking chairs were certainly around during Queen Victoria’s day. If your room has a Victorian décor, then here is where tapestry-style upholstery or even embroidered slipcovers will shine.

There is a rocking chair that can match any décor or any person. They have graced nurseries down through the ages, but are also perfect for relaxing on the porch or patio. All it takes is a little adjustment of the upholstery or perhaps a little refinishing of the wood from which the rocker is made.