In starting the decorating for Emmett’s nursery, I basically knew the direction in which I wanted to go. My husband and I wanted a gender neutral nursery, with practical pieces throughout that would be able to 1. support siblings, and 2. be repurposed as the kids grew older. So for that reason, we did not buy traditional nursery furniture sets from childrens’ stores, but bought furniture that we could use for longer than the room would be called a “nursery.”
One piece, however, that I wanted purely for the baby years in our family was a rocker. I love that constant, comfortable swaying motion, and I wanted to have that in feeding and comforting my child. Once my mind was made, I started perusing throughout the internet looking for one I liked and could afford. (I soon noticed that those two qualifications would be so hard to meet.) I fell in love with expensive rockers like this Empire Rocker from Nursery Works or ones like these. I could not find a rocker that I could afford, which leads me to this post!
Empire Rocker- $799 Sleepytime Rocker- $499 Modern Sparrow Glider- $989
After I finally got over the disappointment of the large prices on some of those rockers available, I switched over from looking for a rocking chair to just an upholstered chair. This proved to be a much cheaper option. (I started to search for a used chair for an even greater savings.) I wound up buying a used IKEA Strandmon wing chair off of EBay that is actually now discontinued in the color that I had wanted – I got lucky! I bought the chair much cheaper than even the already inexpensive IKEA store price, which I was very happy about.
After finding a chair for the nursery, my stubborn side took over, and I still wanted to have a rocker, so I decided to research making an upholstered chair into a rocking chair. I have seen billions of IKEA hacks all over social media and decorating articles, so there had to be a way to make this work.
This project turned out to be my favorite hack. I hadn’t seen the project completed, but I couldn’t think of any major difficulties in trying it out. (After all, the difference between a rocking chair and straight legged chair would be the rockers underneath them.) All that had to be done was attach the rockers to the bottoms of the chair legs, right? I quickly consulted my handyman of a father, and he seemed to think that it could be done as long as I had rockers that were large and sturdy enough to support the weight of the upholstered chair I had… That was my green light!
After scanning the internet for quite some time for a pair of rocking chair rockers that could support my idea, my husband finally found one with dimensions that were perfect for the project. I bought these ( ) for $. Once they finally arrived in the mail, I immediately wanted to get started on the project. (Plus, being a couple weeks away from my due date definitely motivated me!) So like any other project, I headed to my parent’s house to get started. This is how we completed the project:
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- Arm Chair (We used the IKEA Strandmon, but this project could theoretically work on any chair!) $180
- Rocking chair rockers to fit your chair dimensions (in the width and length of the chair’s legs) $60 at architechturals.net
- Wood Stain (We used the Minwax stain color Ebony, but use whatever would match your chair’s legs) $5
- Hand Drill (with spade bits that match the diameter of your chair’s legs up to a half inch up the leg)
DISCLAIMER: The hardest part of this project is in the preparations. Measuring exactly where you need to place the rocker will take a necessarily extended time. Remember, you only have one set of rockers, so you need to get this right! Measure where you want your chair legs to rest on the rocker. One thing we had to research was the anatomy of a rocking chair. The longer end of rockers should always be beyond back legs, and a shorter space in front of the front legs. Also, you’ll see a more stubbed end of the rockers, and that should be at the front of the chair. If you are using this post as a IKEA hack, and are following my directions exactly to make an IKEA Strandmon chair a rocking chair, you can strictly follow the rest of this instructional, but double check your measurements!! Our chair alone held discrepancies in measurements in where each leg was placed on the chair and how thick the legs were. We, unfortunately learned this the hard way.
- Ok, here we go. Take your chair, and place it upside down, with the legs sticking straight up in the air. Measure the diameter of each leg bottom, your back legs should be a little more than an inch in diameter, and the front legs exactly and inch. Do we match? Good, then you can continue with a little more security. You will then need a hand drill with two spade bits, one 1” inch and 1 1/8” inch.
- Next, measure the space between the legs, measuring from the inside of legs. Is the space about 20 2/8″ inches? Great! Now you can follow my instructions. If not, just make the minor adjustments necessary, following the outline of this post.
- Take your rockers and keeping in mind the direction the rockers need to be from the above disclaimer, measure 2 2/8″ inches from the nubbed front side of the rocker, and 8 2/8″ inches from the back end of the rocker. Next, measure and mark ½ inch towards the center of the rocker from your first mark. This will be the marker for your drill bit when you drill.
- Take your hand drill and line the point of the spade bit to that ½ inch mark you just placed on the rockers. Drill only a ½ inch down into the wood.
- MAKE SURE THAT THE LEGS FIT INTO YOUR DRILLED HOLES! We double and triple checked, making adjustments along the way. That is how we found out about the mismatching measurements in the legs of the chair.
- Now we can stain the legs. We used Minwax’s Ebony stain to match the legs on the Strandmon. We only used one coat.
- Once the legs are dry, we can attach the rockers. We took a drill bit and drilled a hole the size of our screw in the center of the larger hole for the legs through to the bottom side of the rockers.
- Place the legs into the rocker’s holes and turn the chair upside down to drill the screw into the chair just to be a little more sturdy.
All done! Now you can enjoy a comfortable rocker that you don’t have to break the bank to get. Those $400+ rockers were just way too expensive, and all together, this project only cost $245! I honestly love this rocker so much, it has become a staple in our little nursery, where Emmett and I spend a lot of time nursing, consoling, and even just cuddling together on. I am so happy that I went this route to make a memorable piece in the room.