Rocking Chairs 101: Your Guide To Everything Rockers

by Jeffrey Tottenham August 26, 2021

Rocking Chairs 101: Your Guide To Everything Rockers

Rocking chairs are known for their classic look with traditional, arched legs that offer a smooth, rocking motion as you move on the chair. They come in several different styles and provide numerous health benefits. With rockers picking up in popularity, both indoor and outdoor rockers have made a comeback. 

In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about rocking chairs. 

History of Rockers 

Rocking chairs date back to the 1700s. In fact, they were first invented by adding two ice skates to the bottom of a chair. Not even 75 years later, people began to reap the benefits of this makeshift invention. 

Health Benefits of Rockers

There’s a good reason that rocking chairs are so popular, and it begins with your health! They pose several health benefits and make a huge splash in your mental and physical health. 

Minimize Arthritis and Back Pain

Both arthritis and back pain are excruciating and chronic conditions. Over time, they can become debilitating. Rocking chairs send more oxygen to joints throughout the body by enhancing blood flow. With prolonged rocking, this begins to ease symptoms of both arthritis and pain. 

After all, John F. Kennedy used his rocker to ease back pain. If Former US President can trust his old rocking chair to assist in his achy back, then it must be proven to work. 

Soothes Newborns 

Are you having a difficult time putting your newborn baby to sleep? Put a rocking chair in a nursery and reap the soothing benefits of rocking. These chairs will help enhance parent-child bonding while calming an upset baby. There’s a reason why they have become a staple item for many new parents. 

Fights Insomnia 

Say goodbye to stress and hello to relaxation. It's not just newborns that a rocking chair will soothe! Adults get the same incredible benefits from these unique chairs as well. Get comfortable at the end of a busy day and read your favorite book on your rocker. This will help you fall asleep quicker and deeper than you could hope for. 

Decrease Symptoms of Dementia 

Dementia symptoms are hard for both the patient and their family. Thankfully, there’s a natural remedy that can help minimize symptoms. Depression, restlessness, and anxiety are common symptoms in those who suffer from dementia. Rocking can reduce these symptoms and make patient’s lives more comfortable and relaxing. 

Improve Balance

Did you know that your balance is controlled by a small structure in your inner ear? It’s an interesting fact! A rocker can help balance this mechanism and improve balance and posture. Just simply rock regularly to see an improvement. 

Enhance Mood 

Mood is directly controlled by hormones and endorphins. Without healthy endorphins being released, depression and anxiety can begin to creep in. Rocking can help to release endorphins and improve mood for a brighter, happier tomorrow. 

Popular Indoor Rocking Chair Types  

Traditional Rocking Chair

The most recognizable rocking chair is often characterized by wood material, curved legs, and intricate details. It’s durable, inflexible, and brings an antique finish to any room. Unlike other new-age rocking chairs, traditional rockers will rock back and forth in a rigid motion. 

Traditional rocking chairs are most often found in nurseries. The harsher rocking motion is perfect for getting crying babies back to sleep in the middle of the night. 

Glider 

Gliders utilize hinges and levers to complicate their rocking position so that they can rock back and forth. Instead of rocking in an arcing motion, it swings in a linear motion that is slightly more smooth than a traditional rocker. It requires less space than the conventional rocker but is often a more pricey option.

Spring Rocker 

Get the best of both worlds with the spring rocker! This option marries the traditional rocker and the glider chair and is supported by mounted springs. Spring rockers are durable and will last you ages. 

Swivel Rockers

Take a look at all angles of the house with your swivel rocking chair. Access all planes of motion and access all levels of functionality and comfort with this unique, modern invention to the traditional rocker. Unfortunately, the risks of it breaking are higher than your more simplistic designs. 

Reclining Rocking Chair 

Are you looking to put your rocking chair back as you read a book or watch your favorite television show? A reclining rocker is the perfect piece of furniture for the ultimate relaxation. For those who are a fan of lounge chairs, reclining rocking chairs are the perfect upgrade. 

Popular Outdoor Rocking Chair Types 

Wooden Rocking Chairs

Though they may require refinishing, they add a beautiful natural glow to your outdoor living space. Choose teak, ipe, or eucalyptus for high natural oil content. This will repel insects, pests, and water, making the wood more durable and long-lasting. Wood looks phenomenal in any outdoor living space but should be moved to storage when not being used.

Plastic Rockers 

Are you looking for a budget-friendly option that doesn't require a lot of maintenance for upkeep? Plastic rockers are a terrific way to go. For maintenance, just simply spray them down or wipe them with warm water and dish soap. Plastic rockers can withstand extreme temperatures and still offer stellar seating options when needed. 

Adirondack Rocking Chairs 

Bring a rustic vibe to your outdoor living space with the classic Adirondack rocking chair. These chairs are easily recognizable for their curved back and slatted seat. Often made with Polywood, Adirondack rocking chairs feature durability and low-maintenance care. Don't worry about tedious sanding, painting, or refinishing poly furniture. 

Metal Rockers

Heavy-duty, durable, and made to last, choose a metal rocker. These are often heavy, so moving back and forth can be a bit of a chore. However, metal finishes look great in garden settings. With metal furniture, avoid rust buildup and ensure sanding and repainting of any rust-dense spots. Once rust begins to build, it can quickly take over the entire piece of furniture. 

Where to Place Your Rocking Chair 

There are plenty of excellent places to place your rocker. It will add visual interest to any room in your home or to your outdoor living space. Some of the most common places to place your rocker are listed below: 

Nursery 

As previously stated, a nursery is an excellent place to place a rocking chair. When your newborn is having a difficult time sleeping in the middle of the night, a rocking chair will come in handy. Gently rock your baby to sleep in a traditional rocking chair. The harsher motion often works better for sleeping. 

Pair your rocker with throw blankets and throw pillows for added cushioning. Make this nook in the nursery as comfortable as possible. You’ll likely spend several sleepless nights here. Pillows for under the arm where you’ll rock your baby can be purchased as well. Consider buying an ottoman or a pouf to put your feet up as well. 

Reading Nook 

Wind down after a long day with a comfortable reading nook featuring a rocker. Choose between a glider, swivel rocker, or reclining rocker. Choose your favorite book and put your feet up after a hard day of work. 

This is an excellent place to reset the biological clock and battle insomnia. Reading before bed can automatically help quiet your brain and help you wind down. Coupled with the relaxing and sleep-inducing benefits of a rocking chair. 

Porch 

There’s nothing more romantic than the picture of sitting with your significant other on the porch in your rocking chairs. Whether you want to read a book or drink your morning coffee, you can do so in a rocker.

Position it either in the sun or the shade. Pick between a wooden, plastic, metal, or Adirondack outdoor rocker. Make sure to be willing to maintain it as per the materials requirements. During the off-season, move your rocker inside to a cool, dry storage place. 

Living Room 

If you’re a television lover or have an empty corner that you need to fill, consider a rocking chair. Rockers are the perfect addition to any living space. They add visual interest and are functional yet stylish. 

Choose a color that compliments your color palette and living space. Position next to a faux or real tree for a nice pop of color. Use as a reading nook or a comfortable place to watch television. 

How to Style 

There are plenty of creative ways to style your rocker. When styling, think outside the box and get creative by using different textures, colors, and items. This will add more visual interest and excitement to your new little nook. 

A rocking chair is a complimentary piece to your living space. Pick up different patterns to draw the eye to it and think of comfort as you add pieces to your new reading nook. As you piece together your rocking chair, temporary pieces such as throw pillows can be switched out as your style changes. 

With traditional slats and a stylish design, a rocking chair is a perfect piece to style. Some of our favorite ways to style a rocking chair are below: 

Throw Pillows and Removable Cushions 

Add additional comfort to your reading nook or soothing nursery seating with throw pillows or removable cushions. These are good transitional and temporary decor ideas that can be easily switched up. Play with textures, patterns, styles, and colors. Use this opportunity to add unique pops of colors and funky patterns that you wouldn’t otherwise incorporate into your living space. 

  • Textures such as cable knit add an extra layer of visual interest. They will make your living space seem more welcoming and comfortable. 
  • The removable cover on cushions and pillows can be easily taken off for cleaning in the washing machine. Follow the instructions as per the tag and you’ll constantly have clean linens for your home. 

When you want to change up the vibe in your living room, nursery, or outdoor living space, just replace the cover. You won’t have to replace the inserts. This saves money and energy. This is a non-committal way to transform your living space. 

Consider storing your throw pillows in a stylish wicker basket next to your rocker. This acts as a stylish and functional piece that looks as good as it works in your living space. Simply remove and use it when you’re ready to sit in your rocking chair. 

Throw Blankets 

Don’t get stuck in the cold when there are plenty of throw blanket options to choose from! Whether you’re styling an indoor or outdoor rocker, a throw blanket is the best way to cozy up. Feeling chilled is always uncomfortable (and unnecessary) - especially when you’re working to style your new rocker. 

A throw blanket adds style and convenience to any living space. Often available in many different textures, it can add depth and warmth to a living room or patio. Choose between cable knit, fleece, fur, or other comfortable options. 

Throw blankets are the perfect addition to your favorite book or rocking your newborn to sleep. Regardless of where you’ve placed your rocker, a throw blanket is the best finishing touch. 

When you aren’t using your throw blanket, place it in a wicker basket for storage. You can also throw it neatly over the back of the rocker. 

Ottoman or Pouf 

An ottoman or pouf is the perfect option to put your feet up after a long day. An ottoman may come as a matching set to your rocker. It is defined as an upholstered footstool that doesn't have a back or arms. It may come with rocking features to match the rocker as well, or it may have storage features to serve as a box. 

A pouf is often a solid floor cushion or accent piece. It can serve as a footstool or extra seating. It often is a little more simplistic than an ottoman. You’ll likely have to buy your pouf separately from your rocker.

Both an ottoman and a pouf are excellent options for styling your rocking chair. They offer additional seating for when you have company over. Meanwhile, they also offer the opportunity to put your feet up as you relax. 

An ottoman and pouf add an extra layer of stylistic features to your home. 

Plant

There’s nothing like a little greenery when it comes to your living space! Styling your rocking chair is no exception. Whether you have a green thumb or not, adding a plant next to your rocker is the perfect addition to your reading nook. Consider adding a faux or living plant depending on your ability to care for it. 

This can work whether you’re styling an indoor or outdoor rocking chair. Choose a nice pot that matches your style.

How to Transform A Regular Chair Into A Rocking Chair 

Rocking chairs can be expensive. It’s better for our environment and our pocketbooks to repurpose what we already have. With that being said, it’s possible to repurpose an existing chair and transform it into a rocking chair. With a little elbow grease and the DIY steps, you can make your dream rocking chair at home. 

Rockers can easily run hundreds of dollars, and a DIY project should only cost you a couple hundred and a few hours. After finishing this project, you’ll feel proud of yourself and ready to tackle just about anything. 

To get the final result, all you have to do is complete a custom rocker base. As long as you’re happy with the existing accent chair, then you’ll be good to go. 

The supplies you’ll need:

  • A chair of your choice 
  • Pine board 
  • Hardboard 
  • Pocket-hole screws 
  • Wood glue
  • Kreg jig 
  • Clamps
  • Drill
  • Miter saw 
  • Jigsaw
  • Protective finish 

Step 1: Build the new base 

You’ll want to begin by building the new legs for the base. For this, cut 2”x2” pine boards. A miter saw can be used for this step. Match the angle of the legs and shorten them to appropriate legs. 

You’ll also have to create a chair apron made with 1”x3” pine boards. The chair apron will create a stronger base. 

Pocket holds will be drilled in with the Kreg jig and everything will be connected with screws and wood glue. This will create a secure base for the chair to sit on. 

Step 2: Faux-connect the base to the chair 

Pocket holes will have to be drilled along the apron boards. This will allow the apron boards to become attached to the chair after we’ve created the rocker rails. 

Step 3: Create a rocker runner template 

Create a template with a spare piece of aluminum or wood. Use the chair base to indicate where the ends of the runner sit flush. This template will be the starting point for your rocking runners. 

Step 4: Create rocker runners 

Connect two 1”x6” pine boards together with wood glue and clamps. This should mimic the pine boards to match the 2”x2” width. You’ll want to give this ample time to dry to ensure that they don’t slide around. 

Trade the rocker template on the pine boards before using a jigsaw to cut out the runner. 

Step 5: Connect rocker runners to the base 

Using wood glue and 2” pocket hole screws, connect rocker runners to the apron base. This should create a finished product in terms of structure. 

Step 6: Use a protective finish or stain

Depending on the look you want, now is the time to achieve it! We like the look of a protective finish. It’ll preserve the look of the grain. However, if you want to go for a paint or stained look, get painting. 

After this step, allow the paint, stain, or protective finish to dry thoroughly. 

Step 7: Attach to chair 

Using 2” pocket hole screws, attach the base to the chair. Make sure it’s sturdy and allows the weight of a person to sit firmly in it. Fasten with additional screws if needed. 

After you finish step 7, you’ve successfully transformed your traditional chair into a rocking chair! This easy DIY project will allow you to save yourself time and money. Save the landfills from a chair you no longer used and transform it into a perfect rocker that you can repurpose for another five or more years. 

This DIY project offers a smooth rocking motion that doesn’t scrape or move too much. 

How Much Space Do You Need For A Rocking Chair?

One common complaint that people have about rocking chairs is the amount of space they require for maximum movement. While it is true that they need space, there are options for those who have minimal space allowance. 

For those who are tight on the room, straying away from a traditional rocking chair is a good option. Traditional rocking chairs need enough room to fully rock. However, glider rockers can be a good choice. Due to their linear motion, gliders need less space than a traditional rocking chair. If you’re worried about the room in your home, choose a glider. 

If you have quite a bit of space to fill up or you want to relax, a reclining rocking chair is a wonderful option. Due to the rocking motion and their reclining feature, they definitely need quite a bit of room to fully extend. However, they offer great benefits in return. You’re unlikely to find a more comfortable option than a reclining rocker. 

Regardless of what you choose, try out different options in store and measure how much room allowance you have in your home. This will help you narrow down what choices you have. 

Conclusion 

With so many options, styles, and health benefits, adding a rocking chair to your home is a great idea. Whether you choose an outdoor rocking chair or an indoor rocker, you’ll be able to style it so it’s functional and stylish. Choose from different colors, textures, and types to fit your personal decor. 

When it comes to a rocker, they are the furniture piece that keeps on giving. We recommend everyone add a rocking chair to their home for their many uses and ample benefits. Whether you decide to repurpose an old chair or purchase a new rocker, it’ll transform your living space. 

Jeffrey Tottenham
Jeffrey Tottenham



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7 slat bentwood rocker

well made. assembly easy. no missing parts

Comfortable

The chairs are comfortable and glide super smooth, but know that they come in pieces, in flat boxes you will have to put them together, if you are not handy good luck because the directions are a joke very hard to understand but I finally figured it out, very sturdy after together

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Great product, and even better service!

Thank you Rocking Furniture! After a huge 6 month debacle with a local vendor in Oklahoma (long story!) I was frustrated, and wanted to find a reputable vendor for these rocking chairs. I came across Rocking Furniture, and I was not disappointed! These chairs are awesome, and with the bundled price of two chairs and a table, it couldn't be beat! The quality of these chairs are fantastic, and will last a lifetime, and look great on our front porch! Oklahoma seasons can be rough, but these are built to last, and the quality shines through! Easy assembly, only 25 minutes/product taking my time.

I cannot say enough about the great customer service from Jeff and Rocking Furniture. I was hesitant about ordering furniture online, but Jeff made it easy! After ordering, the service remained above and beyond, with Jeff calling me direct when there was a delay in assembly (downed assembly line at the plant, but only a week to wait on the part during COVID). Although this was out of Jeffs control, he still apologized and made sure I remained updated on shipping times. He was great to work with, and gave me complete confidence along the way, especially after the debacle with the local Oklahoma vendor. Such a pleasant experience that I just had to write this review for others that might be hesitant. Do not hesitate- Jeff and Rocking Furniture will not let you down!

We are building a fire pit in the spring, and will only be ordering our outdoor furniture from Rocking Furniture- well done Jeff and Thank You Thank You!

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Our second set. They are perfect and worth the money. This style is especially comfortable.

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