Rocking chairs are classic furnishings that give houses a cozy feel and nostalgic atmosphere. They serve many purposes from simple relaxing and people watching to nursing and soothing a baby. Originally, these chairs are made for patios, porches, and gardens. But they were so great that people wanted them inside their homes too. But if you are considering buying an outdoor rocking chair, you certainly know that not all rocking chairs are made for the frigid weather outside your home. You need some trustworthy tips to guide you to the right outdoor rockers that can upgrade any porch or garden.
What Purpose Will the Rocking Chairs Serve?
Knowing what you will use it for and where it will be placed is a big factor in choosing your ideal rocking chair. Will it be a patio rocking chair or a porch rocking chair? Who will be using the chair the most? Is it for rest and stress relief or for entertaining friends during a backyard party? Do you plan to sit in as you rock your baby to sleep during the summer? If you solely want to use your rocking chair outside, there are many things to consider. You need to start thinking about durability, the materials it’s built from, style, design, color, and comfort.
What Are Good Material Choices for Outdoor Rockers?
Indoor rocking chairs are usually made of bright, classy hardwoods like teak, North American ash, and cedar. Some are upholstered and quite heavy. But for outdoor rocking chairs, you need materials that are resilient to the weather and will keep looking good year after year. Weigh the pros and cons of the materials the chair is made of and give priority to its durability. Front porch rockers and other outside rocking chairs are usually made with softwoods like pine, hardwoods like oak and teak, wicker, plastic resin, fabric, HDPE lumber, and injection molded plastic. How well will these materials last when it’s left outside is a good place to start.
- High-density polyethylene (HDPE)
HDPE is one of the most commonly used plastics in the United States. It is used in milk jugs, plastic bags, refillable plastic bottles, garden products, buckets, crates, office products and automobile parts. Front porch rocking chairs made with HDPE lumber are manufactured to last a lifetime. They are available in a wide variety of colors and you will only need just a damp cloth, dish soap, and water to clean them. They are sturdy and are resistant to wind, water, and rust. Plus, they are recyclable, comfortable, stylish, and has luxurious designs to choose from.
Softwood comes from gymnosperm trees, like cedar, Douglas fir, juniper, pine, redwood, spruce, and yew. They are typically less expensive compared to hardwood when it comes to outdoor furniture. However, outdoor rockers made of softwood are not very resilient or durable. They are easily scratched or dented, and they need to be varnished and protected in a regular basis to maintain how good they look.
Examples of hardwood are alder, balsa, beech, hickory, mahogany, maple, oak, teak, and walnut. They are great for outdoor rocking chairs because they are resilient and durable against the elements and gusts of wind, and they are difficult to scratch, dent, or damage. Hardwood rockers are can be well-crafted and are long-lasting rocking chairs. They also need to be restained or revarnished on a semi-regular basis like softwoods, but they are a more expensive choice.
- Injection Molded Plastic
It is the cheapest option for outdoor furniture. Plastic rockers are durable and resistant to water and rust, which means, they can stay outside all year-round. However, plastic outdoor rockers are not very comfortable and luxurious-looking. There is no craftsmanship and they are vulnerable to wind gusts. They can lose their appearance quickly and will fade and take on stains.
Wicker can be from plants like cane or rattan stalks, willow switches, reed, and bamboo. The wicker has been popular for centuries and is well known for its strength and durability, as well as the high level of beauty and comfort. However, when used outside, wicker can lose its appearance quickly, as it is not weather-resistant. Wicker rocking chairs are also lightweight and are hence, vulnerable to wind gusts. Natural wicker requires maintenance to keep it in good shape.
Modern rocking chairs have steel frames that have been powder-treated for durability and rust resistance. They are easy to set up because they are lightweight and foldable, making them very affordable and portable. They are sturdy and durable and are ideal for traveling, camping, and other outdoor activities.
What About Construction and Craftsmanship?
Contributing to the durability of a patio rocking chair, is how well the chair is constructed and crafted. Outdoor rocking chairs need to be sturdy enough to accommodate both adults and children and won’t tip easily. You should check for the quality and strength of the construction.
Is the Chair Suitable for Your Climate?
A good consideration is the climate of your area. If you receive a lot of rain or snow, then, wooden chairs are not the best outdoor rockers for you. They need extra care and maintenance. You need to find wooden chairs with a waterproofing finish and if you want wickers, choose ones in resin and not the natural wicker. Buy also furniture covers to protect your chairs from fading or cracking during harsh weather. Have also a protected location to store your rockers and other outdoor furniture like a garage during the winter season.
What Kind of Style or Design Should You Choose?
There are plenty of design to choose from when it comes to outside rocking chairs. There are modern and conventional styles that will suit your taste and home theme. You should, of course, choose a design appropriate for outdoor use. Upholstered swivel gliders and modern recliner rockers are not really practical for the patio. Some popular traditional designs for wooden and plastic lumber patio or front porch rockers are the spindle or slat back chairs, Adirondacks, rustic rockers, mission, arts and crafts, and the Thonet rocker. These designs are great for the dark, finished wood, rich color palettes, and a variety of textures and curved lines for the traditional style, or for the worn and ornamental wooden furnishing of a French Country style. The Bohemian, rustic, and shabby chic styles are more of vintage rocking chairs and antique-style finishes.
If you are leaning more on the modern, contemporary, minimalist, industrial, mid-century modern, or the Scandinavian styles, there are also great outdoor rocking chairs that fit these styles. You can choose rockers with the classic modern designs like the Eames RAR, the Danish modern designs, the streamlined designs, the deco/industrial designs, or even the Avant-Garde designs. These types of rocking chairs are available in a wide range of bold colors, with intriguing geometric shapes, various materials and different dimensions for any taste. They have a unique and sometimes unusual appearance, but they are also comfortable and sturdy.
It is important that you choose a material that complements your porch or patio so that your rocking chairs won’t look out of place in your yard or on your porch or patio. For stylish longevity, reserve bold splashes of color for cushions and accent pieces. Outdoor rocking chair cushions and pillows do not just add flair to your patio, but they are also great for adding some padding to an already comfortable piece of furniture.
How Big Will the Chair Be?
You need to measure your space and decide how big and heavy your outdoor rockers will be. The outdoor rocking chairs come in many sizes and designs, so you can choose the right one for different settings and purposes. You should have enough space to space behind and in front of a rocking chair to rock backwards and forwards without hitting anything.
How Much Money Are You Willing to Spend?
For a good high-quality outdoor rocking chair, you may have to set a budget between $119 to $599. The cheaper rocking chairs are usually not very comfortable or durable. Foldable and portable rocking chairs range from $40 to $200. It is recommended to invest in good quality. A really good rocking chair will bring the added benefit of longevity, which means it can serve as an heirloom piece in the future. You need to shop with care, checking consumer reports and reviews, before making a big purchase.
Can You Handle the Care and Maintenance the Chair Needs?
If you want to preserve the appearance and beauty of your front porch rockers, you should be prepared to take good care of them. Softwood and hardwood rockers need regular varnishing. Cedar and teak need extensive annual maintenance to avoid losing their rich color profiles. You may want to purchase easy-care patio rockers made with HDPE lumber, resin, or molded plastic. You can simply clean them with soap and water. Buy as well, furniture covers for extra protection.
What Accessories Should You Add to Your Rockers?
To make your already comfortable chairs, you buy outdoor rocking chair cushions, pillows, and paddings. It should made with a fabric that will really make the chair look great. Choose fabrics that are good for outdoor use. They should resist mildew and repel UV damage. Many rockers will require custom cushions in order to get a good fit. You can also add a side table and an all-weather rug to create a complete set of beautiful outdoor furniture.
What Are Some Potential Downside?
The only potential downside to rocking chairs is that feet, paws, and tails can get caught under the rockers.
Outdoor rocking chairs are great for rest and stress relief and they are a solid choice for a patio or porch furniture piece. And when shopping for it, always address its utility and your personal taste. And with all the styles and designs today, you will surely never run out of choices that are perfect for your home and budget.