Hanging around the house has never been cooler. Suspended chairs and swings are coming inside to play and adding a sense of recess to grown-up rooms and interior spaces.
Justina Blakeney, a Los Angeles-based designer, blogger and author of the recently released book “The New Bohemians,” said she thinks there are several reasons why the chairs are having a moment.
One of the most obvious: They’re just plain fun.
“That can’t be ignored when it comes to a hanging chair,” said Blakeney. “It’s fun to swing. It’s fun for kids, and it’s fun for adults – there’s something about that feeling of flying through the air at any age that is compelling and fun and exciting.”
The indoor-outdoor appeal of rattan is also key as designophiles gravitate toward natural materials with an organic feel.
“The ’70s are definitely back,” said Blakeney, who is founder of the bohemian lifestyle blog the Jungalow. “We’re seeing so many ’70s influences in fashion and home decor, and I think that’s also a big part of why we’re seeing hanging chairs right now. It feels very ’70s in a good way.”
Blakeney designed a hanging chair under her own label for retailer Anthropologie and said she created it with the idea of feeling free and open.
She said hanging chairs look equally at home in minimalist, modern or contemporary interiors.
“You can throw a faux sheepskin on it, a few kilim pillows and it can feel very boho,” said Blakeney, “but it can also feel good in a more minimal environment … with the natural texture and materials.”
When considering room design as a whole, hanging chairs also add an element of balance. “In thinking about decor in a larger context,” said Blakeney, “oftentimes rooms can feel sort of bottom heavy. You have all of the furniture sitting on the floor, and maybe art on the walls, to create visual balance – but I think something coming down from the ceiling, like a hanging chair, can help create balance as well.”
Of course, not all ceilings are created equal, which is why many manufacturers also offer stands designed to support a hanging chair.
How to hang a chair
Contractor Josh Downing, owner of the Direct Movement Group, an expert we contacted through HomeAdvisor.com, said most single-family homes should be able to support a hanging chair.
“Most homes have a truss system that supports the roof,” said Downing. “You really want to secure that swing to some sort of beam, truss or frame that’s built into the house.”
If the beams don’t line up with where you want the chair, Downing said, it is possible to cut into the ceiling drywall and create your own box. But for most, that’s a job for a pro.
For a basic DIY approach, Downing advises heading to the hardware store and getting a stud finder.
“Put it on the ceiling and locate the stud,” said Downing. “Pre-drill first to make sure you hit wood.
“When you drill through the drywall [using a 1/16 or 5/8 drill bit] and stop getting drywall dust and start getting sawdust – that’s when you know you’ve hit a stud.”
Next, use pliers and elbow grease to tightly screw in what Downing describes as a “question mark” hook that looks like an upside down question mark.
After that you’re good to go – and swing to your heart’s content.
Bonnie McCarthy contributes to the Los Angeles Times as a home and lifestyle design writer. She enjoys scouting for directional trends and reporting on what’s new and next. Follow her on Twitter @ThsAmericanHome