Swing Time The Ultimate Guide to Hanging Chairs


Swing Time The Ultimate Guide to Hanging Chairs

A hanging chair adds a touch of whimsy to any space, but can also be a practical seating choice for your indoor or outdoor area. Here we explore some of the popular styles and designs available, and the range of materials they’re made from. Plus we throw in a few cool decorating tips from the pros.


A hanging chair is more than just a piece of furniture in your home. It is a coming together of comfort and sophistication to leave you feeling uplifted, relaxed and energised.

When you’re in the market to buy these chairs, you’ll notice that some styles work well for both indoor and outdoor spaces, while others are designed for specific areas only. We’ll be exploring that at length.

Types of Hanging Chairs

Rope hammock chair

The great thing about this style is that the chairs look casual and sweet and are ideal for hanging indoors. During summer, they make for a striking addition to verandahs and patios too. These hammock chairs are generally made up of cotton or poly-cotton ropes tied and woven together. There’s enough slack for you to stretch your legs and relax, and once aboard, the chair will adapt to your body’s shape so you feel cradled.

Cotton is the softest type of rope, but may not be very durable and takes longer to dry when wet. Many manufacturers also use soft-spun polyester, so their hammocks feel softer and last longer than cotton. Polyester will also dry faster and is more resistant to mould and mildew.
Padded sofa chairs

These chairs are sturdier and provide more cushioning than their rope hammock-chair counterparts. They are composed of multiple layers of fabric for more comfort when you’re seated. A type of fabric that is often used is dyed acrylic, which is a particularly resilient fabric for outdoor use. It feels soft like cotton, is breathable and the colours will resist fading for a long time. Dyed acrylic is also resistant to mildew.

Hanging basket/egg/pod chairs

Rattan (natural and synthetic) is a popular material of choice for these iconic and classic hanging chair designs.

Good to know: Natural rattan is suitable for indoor use, while synthetic rattan or all-weather wicker is a better choice if you want to hang your chair outdoors. What’s more, rattan is easy to clean. That said, chairs made from this material are comparatively more expensive than others. If you’re not in favour of suspending your chair from ceiling beams, you could opt for swing chairs that come with independent stands.
Bubble chairs

Bubble chairs are so simple and yet so sophisticated; they also work well in a retro-themed space. These hanging chairs are composed of acrylic or polycarbonate and come with PVC cushions, making them a great choice for outdoors under cover, in addition to indoor spaces.

Patio swing

This oldie but goodie is ideal for seating two or three adults comfortably, and looks enticing when hung from the ceilings of covered verandahs.

What’s popular today?

Interior designer, Allison Williams of Green Apple Interiors & Design swears by anything that looks bohemian this summer. “I’m going with anything macrame and woven, especially with tassels,” she says. “Hanging teepee styles are fun too. Also big chairs – as in doubles – and hanging daybeds are great.”

What’s popular today? Interior designer, Allison Williams of Green Apple Interiors & Design swears by anything that looks bohemian this summer. “I’m going with anything macrame and woven, especially with tassels,” she says. “Hanging teepee styles are fun too. Also big chairs – as in doubles – and hanging daybeds are great.”

“A hanging chair feels like a treat, so why skimp or go simple when you can create an amazing space with a really good vibe and an element of fun,” says Williams.
Hanging the chair

When it comes to hanging your chair, there are two ways to go about it:
  • You can hang your chair from two ropes to help it rock back and forth.
  • Or you can hang it pivot style, which lets you rotate the swing 360 degrees.
Need to know
  • As a rule of the thumb, always follow the instructions in your swinging chair manual. Use our suggestions as an additional resource.
  • You’ll want to ensure there is enough clearance beneath and around the chair for it to swing.
  • During installation, remember to measure the distance between the eye bolts or hooks, so there is just the right amount of dip when you sit.
  • When you select a spot to hang your chair, ensure that there is at least one metre of space behind and 35 centimetres on either side, so you’re not hitting the wall or a railing.

Before you buy

Don’t hit the shops just yet, it’s important to do a reconnaissance in your home first to assess where you can hang a chair from. You’ll have to locate the ceiling joist (horizontal ceiling supports) in your room or verandah ceiling, depending on where you’re hanging the chair. You can use a stud finder to locate the joists. Then select a spot along the centre point of the joist to install the chair.

Always make sure that the beam you’re hanging your chair from is strong enough to bear the weight of an occupant in the chair. If you’re worried about the strength of the joist, always call on a professional to prevent accidents later on.
Most hanging chairs come with an S-hook, chain or rope, and hardware to attach it to your support structure.

If you’re going to hang your chair from a tree branch or a patio beam, wrap the rope multiple times around the beam or branch and secure it with a tight bowline knot. Then fasten the rope or chain to the eye of the hanging chair or hammock using a knot or a carabiner.
How to decorate around hanging chairs

According to interior designer Ioanna Lennox, “When it comes to hanging chairs, a big mistake that most people make is placing other furniture [such as side tables or stools] or accessories too close to them. Swinging chairs are not stationary; they swing and therefore need more space, at least half their diameter extra in circumference around them.

“Swinging chairs are their own ‘moment’ or vignette and when placed in the corner of a room, all they need is an inviting cushion or faux fur that says ‘Come over and linger’,” says Lennox.

Williams believes that layers are also important when decorating these hanging beauties. “Select a theme and create a layered space around the chair,” she says. “A hanging chair needs elements to ground it as well as play on the fun of a floating piece.” Introduce texture with rugs, cushions and lighting to create a cosy and comfortable vibe.
Source: Pia Sinha, Houzz Australia Contributor, Houzz