Do you sometimes find yourself wishing that your favorite TV chair can also be a rocking chair? Is there a new baby in the family that you wish you can sing to sleep in your arms while sitting comfortably yourself? Does your idea of unwinding after a long day’s work include reading a book by the fire in the winter or just contemplating the outside scenery in the summer?
American Fondness For Rocking Chairs
If you answer yes to any one of these questions, then you are not alone. A growing number of Americans either own a rocking chair which has become a member of the family or think of buying one. Most Americans, owning a rocking chair has become a distinct preoccupation, including some of America’s famous presidents, showing a great fondness for their rocking chairs.
Rocking chairs began to appear in the late 1700s when someone ingeniously thought of adding skates or rockers to the bottoms of adult furniture, similar to a rocking horse or child’s rocking cradle.
But how do you choose a good rocking chair? Below are some tips on how to choose a rocking chair that is right for you:
1. Where are you going to put your rocking chair?
If indoors by the fireplace or the family room, you can choose a cushioned or timber rocking chair made of light maple or yellowish oak. Or if outdoors in your garden or front porch, you can choose a sweetly-scented cedar, a painted Brazilian cherry wood or teakwood durable enough to withstand the elements.
2. Comfort is a very important priority in rocking chairs.
Rocking chairs have been used for therapeutic purposes, John F Kennedy’s rocking chair is a famous example. It is said that President Kennedy found hours and hours of relief for his bad back from this Appalachian oak rocker which has a steam-bent curved backrest and woven seat made of Malaysian rattan.
Answering the following questions may help you to judge whether the rocking chair you are choosing will give you the level of comfort that you need.
- Does the rocking chair provide comfort seat?
- Is the chair set low enough for comfortable elbow support?
- Do the seat and back offer both flexibility and firmness?
- Are the armrests wide enough to rest your arms and provide the right balance?
- Do the seats slant downward to fit the whole back while supporting the lower back?
3. Was the rocking chair constructed using techniques that have been proven to result in more durable rocking chairs and stronger that can withstand everyday use?
Some of these techniques include construction without glue, interlocking joinery and the famous Maloof technique of using seven laminated strips of wood to strengthen each of the long, elegant skis that are used in his rocking chair designs.
4. Is the rocker pitched correctly?
In layman’s terms, does the rocking chair provide a smooth and even rocking motion without tipping, even when you are in the reclining position? Or does it feel like you are about to flip back when you are rocking? Does a single push keep the rocking chair rocking for a few minutes or does it stop after only a few seconds?
5. What style of rocking chair will fit your decor?
Do you want an upholstered rocking chair or do you want to see the timber’s natural woodgrain enlivened by an oil finish? Do you want charming white wicker chair or casual rattan? How do you want your the back of your rocking chair – traditional ladder back horizontal slats, vertical slats or woven cane? Do you want it varnished, stained, or painted?
6. How much do you want to spend on your rocking chair?
Whatever your budget, there seems to be a rocking chair for everyone’s fancy, whether its the $20,000 Sam Maloof with a two-year waiting list for the ultimate in rocking chair experience or the vintage white wicker rocking chair you’ve just bid successfully on eBay for $20, or somewhere in between. And last but not least, do you want your rocking chair shipped to you assembled or are you handy with tools and don’t mind assembling it yourself if you can save some money?
I hope these tips will make it easier to find the rocking chair that’s just right for you, whether you’re the delighted parent of a newly-born baby, looking for a more comfortable seat in front of your favorite TV, or the urban worker trying to relax in the evening after dinner with a book or the quietness of the night by the front porch.