Despite what we see in the media, rocking chairs aren’t just for grandparents observing the world from their front porch. Today, rockers are available in a variety of styles and materials, making it possible for everyone to find one that suits their needs. Finding the best outdoor rocking chairs should be easy with this guide.
In this article, we’ll explore the best outdoor rocking chairs to help you decide whether a rocker is the seating option that you’ve been missing.
The History of Outdoor Rocking Chairs
The history of the rocking chair began in the 18th century. It is rumored that the rocking chair was invented by Benjamin Franklin, but in fact, the earliest rocking chair can be traced back to when Franklin was a child.
Rocking chairs originated as outdoor seating, specifically in gardens. The first design was a little different than the ones we use today, and it continued to change throughout the centuries.
The style of rocking chair we’re familiar with reached the height of its popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries, becoming a worldwide sensation. Although they’re no longer the most popular type of seating, rocking chairs are still widely made and continue to have their place in the home.
How to Choose Rocking Chairs
The rocking chair is considered a classic piece of furniture, making them easy to find. They are carried in almost every furniture store and are typically not too difficult to assemble.
However, with so many different options, it can be a challenge to choose the right rocking chair for you. Although the basic concept remains the same, there are a few variations that can make your rocking chair a haven of relaxation or a piece of clutter on your front porch.
Here are a few factors to consider:
- Location (indoor or outdoor)
Let’s take a closer look at these factors.
If you plan on using your rocking chair outdoors, the material is the most important factor to consider. Even if it is under a covered porch, your outdoor rocking chair can still be vulnerable to harsh weather.
The best outdoor rocking chairs are made from resilient material so they can withstand the elements and remain in good condition for years to come. For the best durability, stay away from classic wood rocking chairs, such as oak and wicker.
Consider these factors when it comes to the best outdoor rocker material:
- Ongoing maintenance
- Wear and tear
One of the best materials for outdoor rocking chairs is teak. Teak is a type of hardwood that doesn’t easily dent or scratch, making it great for extended outdoor use. Unlike other types of wood, teak is durable and resilient because it produces its own oil. Teak is also resistant to the elements and won’t be easily affected by wind or rain, meaning you can keep it outdoors year-round.
That being said, teak requires a lot of maintenance in order to keep it looking fresh, which includes regular rubdowns and treatment with the right products. Because of its resilience, teak is one of the more expensive materials for outdoor furniture, including rocking chairs. Although teak doesn’t vary in color, you can always paint your rocking chair to give it a more personalized look.
Another sturdy outdoor material is high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is a synthetic resin commonly used to build outdoor furniture. The drawbacks to teak are the benefits of HDPE. It is easy to maintain and only needs to be wiped down with soap and water. It’s resistant to the elements and very sturdy, so you don’t have to worry about your rocker blowing away. Since HDPE is synthetic, you also have a wide range of choices when it comes to the color of your outdoor rocking chair.
The next important factor to consider when choosing the best outdoor rocking chair for your home is the size of the chair.
Rocking chairs tend to be larger than other single-seat options. They require more space due to the rocking motion of the chair. You need to make sure there’s adequate space in front and behind the chair to allow the user to rock comfortably without hitting anything. If you choose to have more than one outdoor rocker, be sure to space them out sufficiently to allow both chairs to rock at the same time.
Height and weight should be considered when searching for the best outdoor rocking chair. Rocking chairs can vary in weight, ranging from 15-50 pounds. If you think you’ll be moving your outdoor rocking chair around a lot, you may want to opt for a lighter chair for easier mobility. If your chair will be facing a lot of wind, then it’s best to opt for a heavier, sturdier option.
For height, think about who will be sitting in the rocker. If it’s meant for a child, choose an outdoor rocking chair with a lower seat height to enable the child to get in and out of it easier. At the same time, if the rocking chair is intended for a tall person or someone who is elderly or has bad joints, choose a chair with a higher seat so they can get up from it without struggling too much.
The basic concept of a rocking chair is pretty simple, and even the variations don’t differ too much. That being said, there are still different styles of outdoor rocking chairs that may make a difference when choosing the right one for your home.
The norm is a traditional rocking chair with a tall back, but modern rocking chairs come in several different styles. Everyone can find one that makes them feel the most comfortable.
The motion of each rocking chair differs. For example, there are nautical rocking chairs that are meant to emulate the motion of a boat at sea.
Some style options for outdoor rocking chairs include:
- Upright chair
- Wider seat
- Woven seat and back
- Contoured seats
Armrests are a big part of rocking chairs. After all, you need a comfortable place to place your arms as you rock back and forth. So, make sure the armrests of your outdoor rocking chair are at a comfortable height for you or whoever is sitting in it. A chair that’s too high or too low is a recipe for bad posture, and it’ll turn sitting in a rocking chair from a relaxing activity to a strain on your body.
Make It Your Own!
You always have the option of having your outdoor rocking chair custom-made, but this is an expensive option that can also take a long time. However, the good news is that just because you purchase an outdoor rocking chair as is, doesn’t mean you have to leave it that way.
Outdoor rocking chairs can be personalized to suit your individual needs. As mentioned, you have the option of painting your rocking chair any color you wish, even if you go with a wood one. This way, you can paint it to match your patio, deck, or other furniture.
An easy way to personalize your rocking chair is by adding some accessories to it, which can also make it more comfortable. This could be as simple as adding colorful cushions or a cozy throw that comes in handy on chilly evenings. You can even create a custom set by adding a matching side table beside your outdoor rocking chair.
Choosing the best outdoor rocking chairs for your home can be a challenging task, especially if you’ve never owned a rocking chair and aren’t sure what you want from one.
The good news is that outdoor rocking chairs are generally similar in design with only slight variations in style. As long as you know what kind of chair your space can handle and understand the best types of material for outdoor rocking chairs, you’ll be able to make whichever one you choose a favorite part of your outdoor space.
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