Can You Turn a Regular Chair into a Rocking Chair?

Buying a brand new rocking chair will be expensive, and even searching for second-hand furniture can lead to overpriced pieces that have “upcycling potential” or a long wait before you find the perfect chair. So, why not do a DIY transformation on a chair you already own?

That’s right, you can turn one of the regular chairs you have lying around your house into a rocking chair. You might be thinking to yourself, “but there’s no way I would be able to handle such a DIY job”, but all it will take is a bit of faith and a few tools you probably have at home. 

This article will walk you through all the things you will need to turn your regular chair into a rocking chair, the instructions you need to follow to put it together, and how to make it comfortable and style it aesthetically. So, without further ado, let’s go and get rocking! 

Can You Turn a Regular Chair into a Rocking Chair?

Is it Hard to Make a Rocking Chair?

Ask any woodworker and they would probably say yes, as building a rocking chair from scratch can be a hugely challenging task for even the most experienced carpenters. 

Not only does it require a number of specialist tools, but you also need to ensure that it’s balanced or you run the risk of the chair dangerously tipping over when you try to use it.

 With that said, turning a regular chair into a rocking chair is generally a much easier task. I can’t guarantee that you won’t run into any issues at all, but if you follow the instructions I’m about to give you, then there should be no reason why you shouldn’t have great success. 

What Tools and Materials Do You Need?

In order to convert your regular chair into a rocking chair, you will need the following essential tools and materials: 

  • Chair runners 
  • A saw
  • A drill 
  • Screws
  • Sanding paper
  • Wood glue

This is just to complete the basic transformation, but if you’re adding further embellishments like changing the upholstery or creating a padded cushion base, don’t forget the extra tools or materials that will be needed for these steps. 

To make life easier for yourself, gather everything you need together before you start to attempt your regular chair to rocking chair DIY transformation. 

How Do You Convert a Regular Chair to a Rocking Chair?

Seeing as a rocking chair is basically a regular chair on rockers anyway, there actually aren’t too many steps in turning your chair into a rocking chair, and you should be able to complete the job in just a couple of hours, depending on your existing level of DIY skill.

To help you out, I’ve put together some simple instructions that should be easy enough to follow, whether you’re an enthusiastic DIY pro or you’ve never even picked up a screwdriver. 

  1. First, place your chair runners on the floor and position the chair where you would like it to sit on the runners. You’ll need to work out how high both the front and back set of legs will be lifted and make sure that the runners are left longer in the back. 
  1. Use your saw to cut the bottom of the chair legs until they fit the measurements you’ve just determined from the last step and hit the right position on the runners. 
  1. Place the chair back on the runners to check they connect where you want them to and mark the areas that the legs touch to show where they will meet. 
  1. The next step is to drill and hollow the markings you made for the chair legs, as they will eventually slot into these places when you attach them to the runners. To make things easier, you might want to sand the bottom of the chair legs into a narrower ending so that they slot into these holes smoothly. 
  1. Once you’re sure the legs fit in the holes you’ve made, add the wood glue to the hole and slide the legs into place. Attach them all by drilling a screw through the underside of the runners into the legs.

And it’s as simple as that! Well, making the basic structure is, anyway. How you decide to decorate your new rocking chair will determine exactly how complicated a DIY job this is overall.

After following the instructions provided here, you can now paint your chair or reupholster it with new material and furnishings so that it can match your interior decor. 

What Makes a Rocking Chair Comfortable?

This is less to do with DIY and more to do with style, but there are plenty of ways to make your new rocking chair more comfortable if it’s currently lacking in the cozy department. 

If you’re still feeling crafty, you can create some cushioned padding for the base of the seat using a big enough piece of fabric, some padding, and some basic sewing skills. If, on the other hand, you’re all done with DIY, it can be as simple as adding a few cushions or a throw. 

A great way to make a chair more comfortable is to place a footrest in front of it, as this will give people who sit down there the option to put their feet up and relax into the chair better. Blankets are always a good idea, and you can add smaller, more comfortable pillows 

Final Thoughts

We hope that this has been a helpful guide for you to follow and that you’re feeling confident that, faced with no better alternatives, you could successfully turn one of the regular chairs you have at home into an awesomely repurposed rocking chair.

Not sure how long you’ll need a rocking chair for? If you keep the ends of the legs that you sawed off to attach the chair to the runners, you can even turn it back into a regular chair by reattaching the original bottoms of the chair legs. Who’d have thought, huh?